"Mmm, this looks like it hurts."

Very observant of you, Nurse Manoy. Any other gems you'd like to contribute?

I wished the male nurse had been available to look at my burning neck. Not because I liked him, but more because he'd actually joke around and be straight with me. Nurse Manoy, on the other hand, was more of the smothering type.

She wore a pink uniform in the exact same shade of the decomposing gum stuck to the bottom of my desk, and it made me want to puke every time I looked at her. Her overly done up eyes practically waterfalled mascara flecks with every blink. And that never ending "Mmm" of hers...there were a lot of things about Manoy that made me want to puke, actually.

"Mmm, can you think of any allergies that could cause this, Felyn?" she asked, mispronouncing my name, somehow. Seriously, how did people ever get the idea that I was called "Feln" instead of "Felyn?" She remained oblivious to my glare, completely focused on smoothing the wrinkles in her uniform--as if being fastidiously tidy was going to cure me.

The answer "You." was on the tip of my tongue, but I resisted, instead shaking my head.

Next to me, Nana balled her hands into tight little fists and stared at Nurse Manoy as if both of our lives depended on it. Her intense gaze could've lazered through concrete. "Is there anything you can do, Nurse? We have to be in class in five minutes."

Manoy pursed her lips, which were also the color of aged bubblegum. "I'm sorry, Nana, but I think you'll have to go on ahead to class. Felyn looks serious."

"Oh, she always looks serious. That's just the way her face was made."

The nurse blinked. "Mmmm...okay?"

I nudged her in the ribs. "You're an idiot, you know that?" She scowled at me, but I stopped her angry torrent with a hand. "Go on to class, Nana. I'll get treated and see you after school." She hesitated. "Go."

Her eyes did that weird melty doe-like thing, but she slid off the bench without a word, only squeezing my itchy hand instead.

When the only trace of Nana ever being there was the slight swing of the door, Manoy gave me a horrible smile. Well, horrible to me, at least.

"Now then," she said. No 'Mmm' for once, at least, I thought. "Lie down on the bench, please, and I'll make you a cold compress to cool that nasty rash."

A compress wouldn't help this rash. The only thing that could cure this bugger was to empty my mind. Forget every detail of the conversation in the lavatory. However, I maneuvered myself onto my stomach like Manoy directed and then began the long and hard process of shoving all my thoughts into the dark depths of my mind.

Unfortunately, the dark depths of your mind is still a part of your mind.

"So, Felyn," said Manoy as she draped the cold cloth across my feverish neck. "You're quite close with Nana, aren't you?"

"Yes, ma'am." What did it matter to her?

"For how long? You seem quite chummy."

The word chummy is not one I would ever deign to use in my every day conversation. In fact, it's another one of those words I wish would be wiped out of existence.

"Since we were 10, ma'am."

"Wow, 8 years," she said and started to massage my shoulders. I grimaced. How weird could this lady get? "Bet you know a lot about each other, mmm?"

I tensed. "What?"

"I mean," she said, chuckling under her breath, "our Nana seems to be a rather hotheaded individual. I'm sure she's a bit of a character to be around all the time."

I shrug slightly, and the compress slides off onto the ground. "Sorry..."

"No problem." She replaces it with nimble fingers. "Funny that this happened allergen warnings were posted online."

"It's not that big of a deal," I said. "This actually happens a lot."

"Really?" She sounds curious. "Do you know why?"

As per usual, a block settled in the depths of my throat, and my tongue was paralyzed. I blinked away the stars in my eyes and struggled to pull air into my lungs, mentally screaming at my brain, "I wasn't going to tell her, you dummy!"

Yes, I understand the irony of calling my mind a dummy.

Actually, the biggest irony is that I can never tell anyone about this part of me. It's my biggest secret, and somewhere in that dark depth of my mind, along with a thousand other secrets that I've been told, it's locked away in my strongbox. And if I do tell anyone, I'm pretty sure I die.

At least, that's what my parents always told me.

 to be continued...


  1. Oooo! I like it! But what a place to end! I will be eagerly awaiting the next part!


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