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The Super Chemical; Chapter 2
Milwaukee, Wisconsin; March 19, 2010
A young, smiling nurse walked into James’s room, ready to give some great news. “Hi, James. Guess what.”
“Is the hospital getting good food? Finally!”
“I’m going to miss that sense of humor when you leave.”
James’s face lit up. “I’m leaving?”
“In two days. The doctors said you healed enough to get out of the hospital. You’re one of the fastest healers they have ever seen.”
“What about David?” He knew what the answer would be as soon as he finished the sentence.
“His doctors are thinking about it. He had worse burns than you.”
“What about all those other explosions? Did they find anything else?”
“Yeah. They think that last one in February was it. Whoever did it has disappeared.”
“Good. Did they find out how many people were killed?”
“More than 50,000. Only fifty people got injured, everyone else died.”
“Why did so many people die?”
“It wasn’t just the fire. It was the poison that did it. The labs were all making a weird chemical that kills almost everyone, but a few people are immune to it.”
“I wonder why they made it in the first place.”
“I heard that they were trying to make a new type of chemical from it. It is supposed to be like a super energy pill thing.”
The nurse checked her watch. “I’d better go. Nice seeing you.”
“Bye,” James said, and smiled. She was his favorite nurse. He couldn’t wait to get out of the hospital, though. For an athlete like James it was mind-numbing to sit there for hours on end. He didn’t get very many visits anymore. His friends had too much homework, or were too preoccupied with sports. James sighed. He wished that his only worry could be getting his homework in on time.
A few hours later, James was getting his daily visit from his mom. He was doing homework, given to him by a tutor. His mom was telling him about the school concert his class had given, but he wasn’t listening. His mom had brought a scented candle with her. She thought it took the bad smells out of the room. He didn’t smell anything, but she said that he couldn’t because he was a guy.
His mom suddenly said, “How about your stepfather coming to visit.”
James jerked his head up, “No!” As he said it, the candle next to him burned more.
“James, you need to get past your father’s death! It doesn’t mean that I can’t date anyone else. It’s been four years,” his mom checked her watch and said, “I have to leave. You can keep the candle.”
After she left, James fell back onto his pillow. Why did he have to make her so unhappy? When he fell, the candle that was so bright a second before burnt out suddenly. He looked at it. It had been acting weirdly. It would have bursts of energy, and then it would stop. He thought it would be cool to be able to control fire. He put his hand near it and told it to burn. It worked! The flame built up. It got so high that he dropped it, and it started the bed sheet on fire! James almost yelled for help, but he knew he’d get in trouble. He tried to control it like before, and it worked. It burned out, but it left the blanket in ashes. He threw it in the garbage, and then he noticed that he hadn’t been touched. He swore that it had been right on his arm, but he didn’t get a single burn. He grabbed the scented candle and put his hand in the flame. The flame didn’t do anything to his hand.
“Help!” he yelled. The nurses came running and saw the blanket.
“Oh my gosh! Are you hurt?” James was about to answer, but then he stopped himself. He really didn’t want to get moved to the crazy part of the hospital.
“No. I just had a bad dream.” James smiled at her, but she didn’t return it.
“Don’t scare me like that! I thought you were having a heart attack.”
“Sorry. Can I have a new blanket?”
Boston, Massachusetts; March 19, 2010
David was awake, but just barely. He had been like this his entire hospital stay. And when they told him that his mom had been in a coma, he had felt even worse. She might not even wake up for years.
“Hi David!” his nurse said cheerfully. “I heard that James is getting out in two days!”
So what, he thought. I’m not.
“And the doctors decided that you can leave with him.”
“They decided that you are okay physically, just not mentally. We think that you would be better off in a happier place.”
The nurse kept rambling on, but David didn’t listen. He smiled for the first time in months, and his day was going to get even better.
David was trying to get some sleep, but he couldn’t. He was so excited about going to Milwaukee and living with James. He was relieved that he didn’t have to live with Aunt Margaret. All she did was play cards with her friends and smoke.
Maybe we can go to the zoo, he thought. I remember when we went there a few years ago. As soon as he thought about it, he felt like he was getting sucked in a vacuum. He blinked, but when he opened his eyes he realized that he wasn’t at the hospital anymore. He was in the middle of a zoo!
He pinched himself, and realized that he wasn’t dreaming. He was standing in the middle of a path, on hot day. It isn’t this hot in March, he thought. Then he noticed two fourth graders looking at the elephants. One of them looked like James, and the other was David’s spitting image. David backed away from them, then turned and ran.
“I want to go back to the hospital,” he said to himself. He blinked, and he was lying in his hospital bed.
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