Chapter 6

As told by Ada

"I'm sorry, but it seems she's not yet settle down," Nurse Hulbert said professionally. Her voice was calm and her words chosen carefully, making it seem that Deeann literally going crazy was no big deal. She'd survive. But her face told us something different. She frowned, looking at Deeann as if she were a problem, a big problem, but a problem she was so clueless on how to solve that she'd rather not touch it.

Her sharp nose shiny with sweat, and sweat beads rolling down the sides of her head continuously. Her eyes squeezed shut. And when Nurse Hulbert had cupped Deeann's cheeks, she was holding a syringe very gently between her first and middle finger. Deeann had immediately pulled her face out of Nurse Hulbert's hold, like her hand had shiny red boils, and the syringe scrapped her cheek. Now, there was a faint line right across her cheek, and the flesh around the line was swelling and red. She was like a bomb exploding, and she was right beside us. And because Nurse Hulbert was pretending to be calm, we all looked that way, too, as if observing a museum artifact when in fact, it was being destroyed, eating itself up. She was bursting. She was so noisy, and we all pretended she was a silent movie.

She looked like Miss Scream, a lame doll I used to have. Except, of course, Deeann wasn't lame.

The doll, if you touched her in the wrong parts – such as her lips, or cheeks, or stomach, she'd sing a scream through her dainty lips that were permanently shaped in an O. Deeann looked that way now. Her gentle curls sitting prettily on her shoulders and hanging all the way to her waist, ending in a half-curl that looked like a fish hook. Her pretty lips fixed in an oval shape, and she kept screaming, holding her breath for an amazingly long time.

"Stop, Deeann," I said quietly, not liking the bystander role I was playing. I was her best friend. Then I tried it louder, "Deeann…" and touched her arm once more.

She didn't stop screaming.

"Ann!" her boyfriend, Zed, looked alarm. He reached out and squeezed her arm. She pulled her arm from his grip and didn't stop screaming.

"Nurse, what's wrong with her?" Wolfe also finding his voice, panicked.

"Oh my God," Isabel Ballesteros gasped.

"Why is she… that way?"

"Deeann…" some people said for lack of better things to say. I don't blame them.

We were all now squeezed in a tight circle around her bed.

"Okay, students," Nurse Hulbert said loudly. "I am touched by your, ahem, affection for your friend," sounding sarcastic, though I don't think any of us knew what she was being sarcastic about. It was as if she thought we were all putting up a show. A show for Deeann to see? When she was obviously awake and unconscious? "But if you don't give her air, no amount of love can save her."

"Whatever. It's not funny," Wolfe crossed his arms and sulked and took backward steps calmly, avoiding the little table behind him, as if he had eyes behind his head. He frowned at Nurse Hulbert. "Are you sure she'll be alright?"

"Yeah, I guess we should… leave her alone," Zed agreed quietly.

Everybody started backing away from the bed.

I had my fingers on the edge of the bed, beside her legs. But when I lifted them to walk away from the bed, her hand dived and she chopped her hands on my fingers. "No, dad, please!" she screamed now, "I… I… I," she shivered, her lips closing slightly. I could see, under the quivering flap of lip, her teeth chattering. She looked as if she were in a freezer and on pills. She looked warm and cold at the same time. Freckles of sweat were under her nose, on top of her lips, and she shivered. Her eyes were now half-opened, as if she were dizzy. Even the curls sitting decoratively on her shoulders trembled and they fell of her shoulder strands by strands, like ornaments tumbling off a shelf. "I… Mrs. Buldeveire, please don't TAKE HIM AWAY!" she screamed madly. "YOU SLUT!" she yelled at the top of her voice. "How did you know?" her voice was now softer, scared. "How… how did you… DID YOU TELL HIM, YOU SLUT! If I don't have you with me, I have no one. SHUT UP! How did you… I get in here? LEAVE ME ALONE!" Her eyes were wide open now, flashing dangerously. She continued having them so wide. I could see emotions running through them, skidding across the surface of her eyeballs. Anger, then fright, and shock, and fright again. We were now locked at the eyeballs, and I wondered if she was seeing me, or was she seeing the images in her mind, like she was. After quite a while, she shook, like a jolt of electricity had run through her. "Ada!" she gasped. "I'm so sorry… I… I can explain… Wolfe… Are you not angry? Please… please don't…" she stuttered and trembled and her voice went pitchy at times, then she paused, as if realizing reality. Thank God.

"What happened?" she blinked slowly, tiredly, as a drop of blood seeped out through the end of the scratch on her cheek.