Nightmarish Reaction – Random Chapter (Untitled)

I’ll be posting some random chapters sporadically from time to time.  


February 14, 2002 

Dear Journal,

Lathyrus carried me to the bathroom that night; he put me in the tub and then turned on the pipe. When I finally came to, I was in some warm water with a cold rag on my forehead. Lathyrus apologized for acting like such a jackass; he said he’d never do that again. I don’t know what he did. But why can’t I remember anything?

Luckily, Lathyrus helped me out of the tub as soon as Mom came home, just in time for us to celebrate my sister’s birthday. It’s Valentine’s Day, and yet I can hardly keep track of the days. I’m feeling a little better and refreshed now after my bath. Mom takes us all out to celebrate at the Cheese Pizzeria. Isa loves it there and she enjoys exploring inside the large, mazed playhouses. Lathyrus doesn’t mind it either, besides he’d never been to such a cool place before. 

He happily eats the pepperoni pizza and plays some of the arcade games with me. Mom has fun too as she sits at the table and watches us. One of the employees brings out a cake for Isa and we all sing Happy Birthday to her. My little sister is having the best day of her life. Even though it’s a school weekday, Mom lets us stay until closing time. 

In the car, Isa falls asleep on my lap as we drive away from the parking lot. However, the next morning when I’m getting ready for school, Lathyrus suddenly can’t get out of bed. He has a high fever and Mom says he shouldn’t be going anywhere today. I’ve been noticing that Lathyrus is getting sick quite often. He seemed fine the other day, but now I’m beginning to worry about him. 

He tells me he’s been sick all week, due to an unknown illness spreading around campus. It’s odd…I haven’t caught it yet. Mom says it might be best for Lathyrus to stay at home and recover for a day or two. She even calls Mr. Jefferson and tells him she won’t be coming in, ‘cause of a family emergency. I can’t believe she’s actually taking some time off from work to care for Lathyrus. 


In the guest room, I leaned over to the bedside and saw Lathyrus sweating underneath the sheets. I sat down next to him. Should I go to school without him? Or should I remain with Lathyrus, just in case anything happened to him?

“Want me to stay?” I asked. “Maybe I should fake being sick for once…”

“I’ll be fine. Just go on,” Lathyrus said, coughing out.

I didn’t understand why he had gotten so ill––was it the pizza that we ate last night? But he wasn’t complaining of anything stomach related. It looked like the common cold, but what did I know? 

“Does this happen a lot? You getting the flu and all?”


“Ever thought of going to see a doctor?”

Lathyrus shook his head at me. “Hell nah. Unless, you want to come with me.”

“I guess not then,” I said. 

“I’ll be good in a couple of days. Stop worryin’ ‘bout me.”

“You sure? My mom can get you some medicine, if you want.”

“I can’t take that stuff, Zander. It’ll only make me sicker.”

“Well, I hope you feel better soon.”

“Me too.”

“You’ll be okay by yourself, for a day?”

“Yea, I think I can manage for a few hours. I’ll listen to some music and it’ll help me relax.”

I gave Lathyrus a hug. “Try to stay in bed and don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.”

He kissed me on the cheek real quick. I walked toward the door, opened it, and then looked over my shoulder one last time. 

“Get some sleep this time,” I said, closing the door on my way out.

Going downstairs, I jumped over the last two steps and Mom gave me a kiss on the forehead. 

“Have a good day at school,” she said.

I rubbed the kiss off with my sleeve. “Mom, stop doing that––I’m not ten anymore.” 

“I’m sorry…”

“You’ll be okay with him?” I gave her a look.

“Don’t worry. I think I know how to handle this. Once I drop Isa off at school, I’ll drive straight home and make Devon some chicken soup. Is that all right by you? Do I need your permission to take care of him?”

“Just don’t say anything to make Lathyrus sad,” I said. “He already thinks he’s a burden on us.”

Mom waved at me. “Trust me, everything will be fine. Now, get going or you’ll be late for the bus.”

I ran out the door and didn’t look back.

Copyrighted © by W.D. Lady

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