Oliver of the Adirondacks

by Dashiell Walraven

Chapter 44

Categorically, without question, that was probably the shittiest Christmas Eve I have ever endured. By the time I woke up, in a nauseated cold sweat, I found myself lying on my own bed, with nothing on, save for a towel wrapped around my middle. I was surrounded by my very worried looking parents, and my pediatrician seated next to me, my wrist in his hand.

"His pulse is coming back to normal." the doctor said. I tried to speak but my tongue was glued to the roof of my mouth and all I could manage was a gagging retch as a wave of vertigo forced me to shut my eyes again. "Hush, now Oliver," the doctor said, smoothing a cold, damp cloth over my eyes, "Don't try to talk just yet. You've had a pretty big seizure and it's going to take a little while to get all your wires reconnected."

My entire body felt like I'd been washed, wrung out and tumble-dried. The very act of trying to raise an arm or turn my head seemed to require Herculean effort. I heard myself moaning and gave up trying to do much of anything other than just lay there.

"He's got a broken rib, I'm pretty sure," I heard the doctor tell my parents, "How often does he have these seizures?"

"This is the first one he's had since we came back from Newington, Pat," my father told him, "the medication has been keeping them at bay. This is probably the worst one we've seen so far..."

I drifted off as they muttered over me, and I'm not sure exactly how long I slept. When I woke again, it was dark outside my window. I lay there, blinking as my eyes adjusted to the darkness. The weight of my blanket on my chest felt a little uncomfortable but when I tried to throw it off, I found I couldn't move my arm. Confused, I squirmed, only to find my other arm was pinned to my side as well. Turning my head, I found my nose buried in a deep pile of soft hair; Neal was snoring gently, leaned up against me with one hand protectively enclosing my nuts.

My wiggling about awakened Neal, his eyes sparkled in the spare light coming in the room from the dim bulb down the hallway.

"Hey!" he whispered, smiling, "Welcome back to the world!"

"I gotta pee." I mumbled, my voice sounding like sandpaper blocks rubbing together. Come to think of it, that's the way it felt too. Neal swung away and bounced out of the bed, causing a sharp wave of pain to slice through my side; I winced and hissed in a breath.

"Oooh!" Neal cried, "Sorry!" He came around the bed, threw off the covers and gently stood me up with my good arm. I looked down and saw my other arm in a sling which had been splinted to my chest. I must have looked confused. "That's to keep you from bumping your broken rib."

"Broken rib?" I asked, "What the hell happened to me?"

"You don't remember?"

"No, not really."

Truthfully, it would take a little while before the jumble in my brain sorted itself out. For the moment, I just had to trust that it would, eventually. My head throbbed as Neal helped me shuffle into the bathroom. He tugged my briefs down and suggested I sit to pee, which seemed like a good idea. As I sat, another wave of nausea twisted inside of me. Leaning back, I felt the cool porcelain of the toilet tank on my back, and it felt nice. A deep, visceral pain looped its way around my belly and marched toward, what I hoped would be a quick conclusion. Trying to relax, I took a deep, sighing breath of relief as I felt the contents of my bowels rush out in a glorious, fetid torrent.

"Jesus Horatio Hornblower Christ!" Neal exclaimed, pinching his nose and waving the air around his head. Even in my misery, I short laugh burst from my lips. He reached behind me and flushed, I felt the cooling rush of air between my legs, along with the splash of cold water spray as the toilet emptied and refilled. Several more volleys of only liquid poured from me, interposed by noisy, but very satisfying farts. By the time I was certain I was through, my butt hole was stinging and raw, and I found it difficult to wipe in my present condition. Neal, heaven bless him, took a warm, soapy washcloth and gently dabbed at my sore anus. One takes one's joy where one can, I suppose, and at that particular moment in time, getting my sore butt lovingly cleaned by Neal was probably the best thing he could have done for me.

We returned to bed so I could lay back down. I still felt kind of woozy, and didn't relish the idea of trying to walk downstairs, even though I was starting to feel a little hungry. I mean, I thought I was hungry, but the delicate state of my stomach made me unsure. Mom saved the day by bringing up a steaming bowl of chicken soup and some sandwiches for me and Neal. I didn't touch the sandwich, but the hot soup felt like liquid gold as it soothed my skittish innards. True to his nature, Neal didn't let my sandwich go to waste.

I asked about who was watching the boys, and Neal assured me that my Dad had it covered. Before we settled in entirely for the night, Eddie came to visit, with his father, who graciously let us be, to talk alone.

"Eddie, dude," I sighed, as he sat on the edge of my bed, "I am so sorry."

"S'okay, Oliver," he said softly, "I'm sorry too. You really scared me back there in the wood shed. Does that happen to you a lot?"

"More than I want, which is never," I scowled, not sure I made sense there. "I'm sorry, my talking is still kinda messed up."

"Never saw that before," he said, almost admiringly, "I know a guy at my school who has seizures, but he never flopped around like you did."

"I flopped around?"

"Like a fish," Eddie nodded, "I thought you were gonna shake apart."

Well, that was new wrinkle, wasn't it? I thought quietly for a moment, worried that maybe my seizures were getting worse, instead of better. What did that mean? Maybe I had a brain tumor or something. My heart sank at the thought, not only was I suddenly afraid of dying, I was scared of leaving Neal all alone. Tears spilled down my face once more.

"Oh no!" Eddie cried out, "What's wrong?"

"I don't wanna die," I sniffled pathetically.

In that moment, my mother appeared at the door, with Eddie's concerned father at her shoulder. Mom rushed over to my side, Eddie stood and let her take his place next to me. Her hand was cool and soft on my cheek as she wiped away some of my tears with her thumb.

"Sweetie, its okay," she soothed, "You're not going to die honey." I leaned into her gentle touch and closed my eyes, heaving a liquid sigh. "Darling, you had a bad seizure, but remember what the doctors said, right? They can be caused by emotional stress, and you were involved in a fight." I nodded my understanding, my eyes drooping. I felt like I really needed to go back to sleep, I didn't have any energy left. I worried that if I pushed too hard, I might have another seizure. I wasn't sure, if it happened again, that I might not come out of it this time.

I sagged against the pillows while mom shooed everybody except Neal out of my room. As she left, she affixed a kiss on my forehead, planted one on Neal too, and then clicked the light off as she left. Neal stood up, stripped down to nothing, and slid, extremely gently this time, into the bed next to me. He laid his head on the pillow next to mine.

"Hey Ollie?" he said in a faint voice.

"Yeah?"

"What's it like?"

"What?"

"You know," he paused for a beat, "when you have one, what do you feel." I sighed into the darkness, my thoughts like wheat chaff scattered in the wind.

"To be honest, I'm not sure I could say. It's a real strange feeling. By the time I figure out something is wrong, the next thing I know I'm waking up and feeling sick with a massive headache."

"You seemed like you were confused when you came to," he observed.

"Yeah," I nodded, "That's the worst part. Even though I'm awake, I'm not really. You ever have a really weird dream and then wake up not knowing where you are, 'cause you feel like you're still in the dream?"

"Sort of," Neal said, "but not really. I usually figure it out pretty quick."

"It's almost as if... "I said slowly, trying to gather my thoughts, "It almost like I'm in another world, on another planet or something, and I'm living another life. Then there's this weird noise and pressure on the back of my neck and boom, I'm back here again and I start to forget who I was in that world, and remember who I am in this one."

"Whoa," Neal breathed, "that's coooool!"

"No it's not," I assured him, "It sucks balls."

"I wonder if it's like being high." Neal ventured.

"Couldn't tell ya," I grunted, "but if it's anything like having a seizure, you can fuckin' have it."

Neal giggled at that. As we lay there, he scooted up close to me again, and caressed my face with the palm of his hand. His warmth soothed the throbbing in my temples and I sighed deeply. Lightly, he ran his fingertips over my face, tracing the vermilion line of my lips, the cleft of my chin, along the angle of my jaw, and eventually, gently rubbing the auricle of my ear. Relaxing under his touch, I began to drift off into a comfortable sleep. The last part that I remember was Neal's hand slowly making its way down my belly and firmly gripping my penis. I know I went to sleep with a smile on my face, that boy is incorrigible.

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