The Rash Gets Bigger
Today I went and flew another space shuttle without permission again. I know I’m too young to fly, but I have to. I just have to. And along with that, it’s in my blood that I must fly. My mom flew spaceships and space shuttles. My grandma and great grandma flew them too. I can’t help but fly them as well. I like piloting.
Unfortunately today when I was flying, I was itchy and uncomfortable again. I remembered the first time I had and itch attack. It felt funny. But it went away for a few days. Now it came back at me like a nuclear bomb.
When I went into the shower, I looked behind me into the mirror and saw a big red rash on my back. I’m scared now. Now I wonder if I’m getting a disease and will end up back in nature with my dead family members. I’m not scared of death. I’m only scared of pain. I wish I were strong.
I went to bed early tonight, having odd dreams about water and feeling as though I would vomit. I laid awake most of the time during the middle of the night from eleven until one in the morning. I was shivering and sweating like a pig. I wondered if I would die soon.
But after a long moment of painful dreaming, I fell into a deep, long sleep. It was so deep and so long, I didn’t even hear my alarm go off at six in the morning. I missed more than a half a day of school.
Then this morning I found a rather funny thing. When I looked in the mirror this morning—more likely this afternoon since I woke up so late—I saw dragonfly wings on my back. I wanted to believe I was dreaming, but I was too awake. I started to scream again. I pulled at my hair and paced for an hour I think. I paced until my doorbell rang.
Maybe it was only my mind, but I found myself lying on my sofa with my head on Kenneth’s lap. I don’t know, but I believe I was sucking my thumb like a little child. So many things were running through my mind at once. Then I remembered the wings I had seen in the mirror on my back.
“Do you see wings?” I had asked Kenneth. I sat up and looked directly into his eyes. He seemed to note that my question was serious. “Skyler?” he said. “Are you okay?” And I didn’t answer him, which I feel terrible about. I told him about the wings I saw on my back. He said he didn’t see wings. I was disappointed.
So then I asked him if he could see the rash on my back. He said yes willingly. He even put some sort of ointment on the rash to make it less itchy. The ointment tickled me and made me laugh almost. Then Kenneth turned me so that I faced him. This time, he looked directly into my eyes and said, “Skyler, you seem to be hiding something form me. What is wrong with you? Why won’t you tell me?”
I looked down and said to him, “I don’t know.” Then I remembered how I often stole those space shuttles and illegally flew them. But I wasn’t about to tell my friend that. That was supposed to be a secret. I’m good at keeping secrets. I wanted to tell him that the rash was getting bigger, but I think he already knows that.
I think Kenneth is worried for me. Every time I look into his deep-set eyes, I see a mixture of hatred, desire, and worry. I can read his emotions. I can read all people’s emotions, but I can read Kenneth’s the easiest because he’s been my friend since I was five.
Kenneth was looking at me. He expected a real answer. I didn’t know what to say. I was too confused. But after a while of silence, my friend’s expression grew from demanding to understanding. I think he’s grown to be very understanding now. He used to be too practical, but now he accepts other people’s opinions and statements.
Kenneth grabbed my hand. He looked down at it, his mouth quivering slightly as if he were about to speak. He didn’t speak, though. I think he was being shy. After a while, he finally did speak.
“Skyler—about the dragonflies,” he started. “Tell me more about them. You told me once that they have been speaking to you ever since the death of you mother.”
“Yeah,” I said with a squeak in my voice. “They do things for me. I like them a lot. They teach me things—.”
“What do they teach you?” Kenneth interrupted. The question hit me. I bit my lip until I could taste blood in my mouth. I think I was shaking even.
“Nothing. Just things about their society and things like that,” I lied. But lying hurts. I couldn’t just lie to my friend. He knew I was lying. I could see it in his eyes. “Well, they taught me how to pilot a space shuttle,” I finally said, shying down into a little ball. I felt Kenneth growing tense. I saw his jaw squeeze shut tightly. He didn’t say anything. Instead, he stood up almost abruptly and stood in front of me, towering above me. I felt threatened like a kitten stuck in the middle of a busy road.
“So that’s why there was a shuttle flying in the wrong area of the square,” he said. “Why did you do it?” I didn’t answer him. I felt the presence of the dragonflies drawing nearer. My head began to throb suddenly. Kenneth asked me again. “Why did you do it? Answer me now.” This time, he sounded very demanding.
My head felt like it was going to burst. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know what was happening to me. I could only curl myself into a tighter ball and wheeze. Pain was overtaking me. I felt like I did last night when I had those funny dreams and was sweating like a pig. Somehow, those dragonflies had something to do with it.
“Is that why you weren’t in school today? IS IT?” Kenneth was raging at me now. He had his hands gripping my shoulders very tightly. So tightly, I thought my shoulders were breaking. I suddenly screamed. My spasms began again.
I have always had spasms ever since I was a very little child. Whenever I sensed bad things about to occur, they would happen. My mother was always there to calm me down. Kenneth had witnessed a few of my little spasms during our friendship, but he never experienced one like this.
My head throbbed. I was wheezing. I never wheezed before during any of my spasm attacks. I thought I was dying. I began to say discombobulated phrases, trying to get whatever was in my mind, out. I spoke in a frightened tone. “Me. They’re coming. For me. I—I—am going to them. They’re everywhere. They’re everywhere! Oh, help me!” I said ending with a shrill cry. I began to sob.
Kenneth broke his grip on me and stumbled back. His eyes were wide. I was turning red and sweaty. “Skyler?” he said. He suddenly rushed back to me and grabbed my shoulders again, this time lighter. “Skyler, what’s wrong with you? I’m sorry!”
“It’s not you,” I said. “Never you. It’s—it’s them.” Then I had a fuzzy feeling grow inside me. I suddenly burst out in laughter as if I had never been upset. I hadn’t been upset. It was my spasm. The laughter was part of my spasm too. My eyes went bloodshot and I laughed and laughed. Then I passed out. Blackness took over.