I don't own Race to Witch Mountain.
Chapter Six: Illness
(Sara Point of View)
Sara moaned in fear. The bright red bumps covered her all over, and though Aunt Mary and Uncle Henry had assured her that it wouldn't last, that it would go away eventually, she still wasn't sure what to think. Would they ever go away? The sure looked permanent.
She was told not to scratch herself, that it wasn't healthy. But Sara didn't know what else to do. Aunt Mary had been right. The calamine lotion hadn't alleviated any of the "itchiness", or so that was what they called it.
'How can anyone on earth deal with something like this?' she thought to herself, still confused that something such as this could exist when her world wasn't used to bacterial illness, or anything of the such. They were used to occasional injuries, thus why everyone had doctors, but they weren't used to this where someone could get sick and die. Sara had heard lots of horror stories when it came to illnesses on earth, how illnesses would wipe out massive amounts of the population. Though Henry and Mary tried to reassure her that this wouldn't happen, and that this was just a mild disorder or condition, Sara secretly hoped that she wouldn't become another casualty.
It was uncomfortable just lying there. Her body ached everywhere and she wished that the pain would go away. It was miserable. Truth be told, all she could think of lately was misery anyways. Her life sucked. Now that the only people she trusted to be her parents had been taken away she didn't know what she was going to do. She didn't know what to think either. Should she trust Aunt Mary and Uncle Henry? And what if they wanted to hurt her again? What should she do? Should she run? Or should she bear it as patiently as she could and hope that Jack and Alex would return to her, and that rescue would come.
But what if Jack and Alex didn't return to her? And what if Aunt Mary and Uncle Henry started beating her again? What should she do then? Sara didn't know what to do in such a situation. She was such a mess, physically and emotionally since the trauma that had occurred.
But now that she thought on things there was some joy in her life. Jack and Alex always tried to say things that would make her laugh, and they always tried to make her and her brother smile. And before they had been summoned to appear in court they had succeeded. Jack would say the funniest and odd things, like the sun was made of gold, and the sky was the ocean and the ocean was the sky, even though he knew it wasn't true. It was these kind of weird things he said to try to make them laugh and lighten them up a little, and it succeeded.
Sara thought on these things, trying to lift her mood. 'Jack, Jack,' she thought fondly of her father. 'Where do you get these amusing ideas from?'
The girl sighed. Looking at a clock, and scratching at the bumps a little without realizing it she saw that it was now near lunchtime. As if right on cue the door opened and Mary came in. "How are you doing, sweetheart?" she murmured softly, a tray of food in one hand which she set down on the desk. "Would you like to come over here to eat or would you like your food in bed?"
"In bed," Sara replied, yawning a little. She had forgotten how exhausted she was. "What's on the tray to eat?"
Mary smiled. "Let it be a surprise!"
Though Sara didn't know what it was, it sure did smell good. And as the tray was opened in front of Sara's eyes she saw soup (why they would give her soup for breakfast she didn't know), crackers, and some eggs on the side. Sara looked curiously at Mary.
"It's chicken noodle soup," the woman explained. "It's sort of a tradition when one gets chicken pox that one eats chicken noodle soup."
Sara was still confused and gazed at Mary with a confused expression. "Never mind," Mary murmured softly, gently. Sara then turned to eating.
She had to admit, the food was good. Though she still didn't understand what seemed like a custom or tradition in eating chicken noodle soup when one had chicken pox (she thought it was odd since it didn't make any logical sense) she mulled it over in her head, wondering if it had anything to do with the fact that 'chicken' pox and 'chicken' noodle soup both had the word 'chicken' in it.
'Is chicken pox caused by chickens?' she wondered, remembering that bird flu came from birds and she looked down at her soup suspiciously, a little shiver going down her spine. Then she remembered that she got the 'chicken pox' before she had even first tasted any chicken noodle soup. She couldn't have gotten it from the soup she was eating. But she still wondered if chicken pox came from chickens.
The girl sighed. 'Their logic seems to defy me,' she thought exhaustively, her mind still foggy from lack of sleep due to the recent events and what she had gone through from whatever illness she had picked up.
Unconscious of what she was doing, the girl began scratching again like she had been doing a million times during the middle of the night. "Don't," Mary gently warned. "You'll only make things worse."
When Sara heard this she looked down, not realizing what she had been doing until now. But she could feel the itchiness through and through. "It itches!" she complained mildly, moping that she wasn't allowed to scratch which would alleviate the symptoms.
"I know," Mary tried to comfort her in her motherly manner. "But it isn't good for you to do that. Believe me; I know what it's like. I've been there."
"You have?" Sara surprisingly looked up curiosity burning in her bright blue eyes.
Mary smiled. "Yes, in fact I remember mentioning that to you the other day."
"Oh," Sara replied, her voice dull again. She looked away, her body sagging in depression. "I forgot."
Mary sighed and sat next to her, putting her arm around her. As she did this Sara remained emotionless, the gentle honey smell of what must have been her Aunt's shampoo wafting towards the girl's nose. Sara inhaled and the scent calmed her some. It felt like home. Her body immediately relaxed some, and the girl could feel her muscles letting go. Gently, Sara put her head on Mary's shoulder's taking in the comfort. "I know that you've been through a lot," Mary's calm voice came to her. "And I'm sorry for the past. I do love you, you know." The woman gently kissed the top of her head and tears ran down Sara's cheek slowly as she remembered the past. She still wasn't healed from it. It had been so traumatic for her.
But she was also a lot more comfortable around her aunt and uncle than she used to be. They had changed some, for her and her brother. She could feel it. They were kinder to her and they wanted better for her. "This is a cruel world sometimes," Sara whispered, some emotions that were deep inside her sticking inside her despite the fact that Sara tried to let them out so that she could weep. But they didn't want to come out and they wouldn't, and she was unable to force them. She couldn't even identify the emotions.
"It is," Mary admitted. "It's a cruel universe at times."
"Why does it have to be so?" Sara asked, closing her eyes and craving the comfort that she was receiving. She had received lots of comfort from Jack and Alex, but now that they were not here to give it she needed someone else to give it. That and she needed the comfort that could only come from Mary and Henry. She needed it from them because they were the ones that had hurt her. Jack and Alex wouldn't understand because they hadn't been through it, and if Sara or Seth tried to explain that they needed to see Mary and Henry for that comfort, that they simply needed it, they wouldn't let them go because they wouldn't understand. In Jack and Alex's eyes, they would be protecting the kids. Sara acknowledged that Jack and Alex wouldn't have meant to harm them in this manner and that they were only trying to protect them, but at the same time that didn't help them get any better and that didn't help them get what they needed. So in a way it was good that she had come here, that way she could get the comfort they needed. After all, the only reason they were here was because Jack and Alex didn't have a choice but to come here.
The girl sighed. Her thoughts now dwelt on her current family, Jack and Alex. "How long until I find out if I can go home again?" she asked.
"Not long, hopefully," came the reply from Mary, her voice sweet and compassionate, which Sara appreciated.
"And what if I can't go home?" These thoughts had been lingering in Sara's mind and as she looked up at Mary, the woman's arm still gently around her, the girl's eyes wide with fear showing in them, Mary gently stroked her.
Mary gently pulled Sara's head towards her and whispered in her ear, "I'm sure it will work out in your favor, especially with the recent intel on their trial that's leaked in. Between you and me, Jack and Alex have been putting up a fight for you and to keep you, along with a fight to give you and other aliens equal rights like humans. And they seem to be succeeding." Sara's eyes ran around, looking at various things excitedly. She might get to go home?! Suddenly her dream of being with Jack and Alex seemed closer to reality that it had been a little bit ago.
"But you mustn't let anyone know that I told you that," Mary continued to whisper in her ear. "Or it could end in a disaster. I wasn't supposed to tell you that, but I knew you needed to know."
Sara breathed heavily, excited. She was going to go home! She was going to go home! "Don't get your hopes up, though," and Mary gently kissed the top of her hear again, bringing Sara close to her again so that she could rock her back and forth and cradle her. "I don't want you getting disappointed should anything else happen."
Sara nodded in understanding, knowing where her Aunt was coming from. After all, Mary was wise enough to know that if Jack and Alex didn't succeed then Sara and Seth would be so disappointed and would probably sink into a worse depression, one that they couldn't get out of or heal from – ever. And she was probably right. Mary and Henry knew that Sara and Seth needed Jack and Alex, and they acknowledged that. And for that reason they were secretly fighting and praying for them, that Jack and Alex would succeed and get to take Sara and Seth home. They wanted Sara and Seth to be happy, especially after everything they had done to them. They had sincere regret in hurting them. They loved them.
Sara sighed. "I'm tired," she yawned and Mary gently set her down and put the covers over her.
"Get some rest, my little one," she murmured softly and Sara's eyes began closing.
But there was still something she wanted to ask. "Mary," she whispered groggily, almost as if she had been drugged.
"Yes?" the woman questioned back, curious as to what her former daughter wanted, and concerned for her. The woman asked it in wariness, almost as if she was wondering if she could provide an appropriate yet honest and truthful answer to whatever her niece wanted to ask, without having to give her something that could throw her into a worse depression.
"Do you think my mommy and daddy will come back? In all honesty? In your personal opinion?"
The woman hesitated, and Sara could see that Mary was having trouble producing an answer. "I don't know," she replied. "I believe so, things are certainly turning in their favor, but I am also aware that the tides can turn again at any time. But I want to believe it." She added the last part warily, looking around as if she was paranoid that she was being watched, and she was probably right. She looked like she feared and regretted saying the last part.
"Oh," Sara replied at the whole answer, no emotion in her voice. Then again she was stressed and very tired.
Mary eyed her empathetically. "Get some rest, sweetheart."
Sara nodded again, sighed. "Good night, Aunt Mary."
Mary smiled. "Good night, sweetheart."
(Seth Point of View)
Seth groaned slightly, watching the whole room nervously. On a sudden impulse he began scratching his arm, unable to resist, despite the fact that his uncle Henry Burke had told him not to. "You'll only make the itching worse," he had said, and from what was said Seth had inferred that the sensation that was new to him was called 'itching'.
The boy sighed. "Why does this have to happen to me?" he moaned aloud, not in pain, but slightly miserable from this 'chicken pox'; or at least that is what Henry Burke had called it.
'Chicken pox,' the boy thought in annoyance. 'Great.' After all, this was certainly the last thing he needed when he was already going through enough. Why did it have to happen now?
The bright little red bumps itched all over and Seth hated thinking about it. "Get some rest," he had been told by his aunt and uncle. But how could he rest? He was so itchy! It was as if they didn't understand, yet they claimed they did because, said they, that they had been through it before, and they knew what it was like.
But if they knew what it was like, then why were they telling him that? Why were they telling him to get rest if they knew he would be unable to because he was so itchy all over?! Either that, or, if they were even telling him the truth, which Seth wondered, they didn't understand because the disease affected aliens differently. Or did it?
Seth was so frustrated! He couldn't even obey a simple command as 'get rest' because of his situation! Continuing to scratch himself because he was unable to help it even though they had put calamine lotion on him, he tossed around a bit, his muscles aching from the disease.
It was unpleasant. Seth honestly didn't know why they even bothered putting calamine lotion on him when they admitted themselves that it probably wouldn't do anything. So why put it on him? What was the point of that? It didn't make any logical sense! Could it be tradition, like the chicken noodle soup thing? If so, it didn't make any rational sense at all!
As he was in this unrested state, slightly distressed at his circumstances, he heard a mellifluous knock on the door, a relief in his heart that he had company again to attend him through this trial. Quickly, he stopped itching, hoping they'd never notice that he had been. But he highly doubted that because Henry Burke had good eyes and was a good judge of character, and thus he would pick up on these things. But would he get punished for disobedience because he had disobeyed Henry's direct order not to scratch himself? He sincerely hoped not. Immediately he regretted having scratched himself.
Henry opened the door, and Seth, who was exhausted, looked up at him. "How are you feeling?" the man asked, coming over and sitting on his bed.
The boy sighed. "I'm fine, I think," he lied, and Henry, who gazed at him sternly in a reprimanding manner to scold him warned, "Seth-"
"Okay! Okay!" the boy finally gave in. "I'm itchy all over! I've never had to deal with disease before! I miss my mom and dad and I want to go home! I'm scared!"
Henry nodded, understanding in his eyes. "You've been scratching yourself, haven't you?" he asked the boy when he looked down and saw how red the boy's arms were.
Seth looked away. "Maybe," was the answer.
"Seth..." Henry let himself trail off, his calm but reprimanding manner coming out again though he gazed at Seth kindly and with genuine concern. The boy sighed, looking away, his eyes closing and Henry held his hand.
"I couldn't help it!" the boy pled, finally, eyes still closed. He was terribly tired. "I was so itchy and the calamine lotion didn't do anything! I didn't know what to do!"
Henry gently stroked the boy's hair and replied, "I can understand it. I've been there to you know. And yes, calamine lotion really doesn't do anything." His reply was sympathetic and kind.
Seth opened his eyes, suddenly curious. "Then why did you put it on if you knew it wouldn't work? That doesn't make any logical sense."
Henry shrugged. "I honestly don't know why. I guess it's because that's what everyone does. Or rather that's what everyone does for their children."
Seth admitted that he was honestly confused at this point. Henry only did it because others did it, even though it did absolutely nothing? Why on earth would someone do that? As Henry saw Seth's confused expression, which looked so cute at the moment (Seth didn't realize this) he chuckled in amusement. "Never mind," the man answered. "You don't get it and I don't know if you'll ever get it."
This only turned out a cuter more confused expression from Seth. "Never mind," Henry replied again and Seth finally let it go.
"So," Henry began, changing the subject and Seth wondered if he was only doing this so that he could get the boy's mind off of the disease he was suffering and how much he itched. If that was what Henry was doing then the boy sincerely hoped that it would work. He needed something like that to work. "What's been on your mind lately?"
This wasn't the change of subject that Seth had wanted. Though the boy knew that Henry was only trying to help, this wasn't helping. It was only reminding him of the other kind of pain and suffering he was going through, even though it was mild compared to the trauma that had previously occurred to him. It only reminded him that he was stuck here and that there was a possibility that he might never see his parents again, that he might never see Jack and Alex again. But he had a dim hope, especially after what Aunt Mary had mentioned to him. Jack and Alex were fighting for him and for this he was grateful to them for and proud of them, like a son proud of his mother and father. It helped reinforce to him that Jack and Alex really did love him, and that he was there's.
Henry seemed to notice Seth's change and demeanor, and knowing how sensitive the boy and the girl were, he speedily changed the subject. "What do you want me and your Aunt Mary to cook you tonight?" he asked instead.
Seth immediately brightened up. If there was anything he loved it was delicious food. "Tacos!" he burst out cheerfully and Seth could tell that Henry was having a hard time containing his laughter and amusement, for which he was immediately embarrassed for. Henry must have found his outburst adorable.
"Tacos?" Henry asked and the boy nodded. Henry then got up. "Right, then I'll tell Aunt Mary and we'll prepare it together for you." As Henry went to the door to leave he turned back again. "And Seth?" he reminded the boy.
Seth immediately turned to look at Henry, curious. "Yes?" he replied obediently.
"Don't scratch," Henry reminded him and exited.
The boy sighed as he heard the soft closing of the door. 'Don't scratch?' he thought to himself, Henry's words echoing in his mind. The soft smell of fresh vegetables cooking reached his nose and he knew immediately that his Aunt and Uncle were preparing him lunch. But he looked forward to dinner most because he loved tacos. 'Like I can't scratch!' he thought again, and immediately he reached down to resume scratching his feet.
(A few hours later)
(Sara Point of View)
Though she hadn't been here that long Sara appreciated Aunt Mary and Uncle Henry's hospitality, well at least the amount of hospitality the government would allow them to show, and even then she knew that they were pushing it for their sakes. Sara, even with all the chicken pox and everything, wondered what Henry's employees were thinking of him. Did they approve of the way he and his wife treated Seth and Sara? She wondered about this. Truth be told, she hadn't seen that many government agents apart from Henry and Mary, and she wondered if her aunt and uncle were purposely keeping them away.
Sara knew the risk that they were playing. She also knew that if word got out, Henry and Mary could be in a lot of trouble and it could ruin Jack and Alex's attempts to get him back. She wondered if this was part of the reason Henry and Mary were trying to keep such a low profile with them. If that was the case then she had good reason to fear that the government might take her and her brother away permanently, and not just from Jack and Alex, from Henry and Mary as well. They didn't like aliens being treated well and she was being treated rather well. So in a way it was a bad thing that Henry and Mary were treating her this well. But they knew that she needed it and so they did this for her and her brother. She appreciated it.
The itching hadn't subsided one bit and it was beyond annoying. Much as she loved dinner as she loved tacos, she was annoyed at constant, "Stop scratching!" and "You'll scratch your skin raw!" and tons of other soft approval for her and her brother to stop scratching those annoying little red bumps. She knew that they meant well and they knew that they were itching, but it was beyond annoying being told it constantly. She wished that they wouldn't remind her. But at least they loved her and didn't hate her or try to abuse her again. She admitted that things could be worse.
'Ugh!' she thought. She was supposed to be getting rest due to the fact that she was really sick. 'Why can't this stuff go away sooner?'
As she looked down at herself she saw that the bumps were still as present as ever and she frowned is discomfort, not sure how one earth she was going to get sleep with this stuff going on. And Aunt Mary and Uncle Henry had told her to get some sleep. But how?
Right as she was thinking on some things there was a soft knock on the door. Henry entered without waiting for her to say 'come in', a courtesy he couldn't allow due to the watchful eyes of the government and Sara was grateful that he hadn't accidentally entered when she was changing. "Hard time sleeping?" he questioned her when he saw how tired she was, yet how wide awake she was at the same time.
Sara nodded. "Need anything?" Henry queued her further. Sara shook her head. Upon this the man sighed. "I'm sorry that you're sick."
"There's nothing that you can do about that so you don't need to apologize," Sara murmured softly.
"But in some ways I do," Henry subtly implied about their past together, albeit a little too boldly for Sara's liking do to the fact that the government was probably watching them. She didn't want her chances to go home with Jack and Alex again ruined.
The girl looked away. "The past is the past."
"I guess what I'm asking for," Henry continued even though he noticed her discomfort on the subject. "Is for your forgiveness. What I'm saying is that I need your forgiveness so that I can move on, and so that I can know that our relationship will be better in the future, even if I can't be your uncle or father anymore."
At this Sara turned back to him, her eyes brimming with tears and emotions, forgetting all the possible danger of the government knowing what he said. Then again Henry was really careful and he was also in the know, unlike Jack and Alex, so he should know when it was safe to say these things and not. Should.
The girl had tears in her eyes, the need to let go and move beyond what happened clearly in them. Clearly Sara felt she needed to extend this forgiveness to so that she could heal and get better. Leaping out of bed she ran into his arms and embraced him, sobbing softly. "Of course I forgive you!" she whispered softly. "Of course! Uncle, you don't know how hard it's been on me! In truth I've needed this too!"
The two embraced each other and even Henry began shedding tears. "Shh, shh, my little girl," the man soothingly comforted her. "You will always be my little girl, my little Sara."
How long they stood there Sara didn't know, but suddenly she felt as if tons of emotions were dropping away and peace and serenity were filling her soul. She felt herself healing, literally felt herself healing. It was a soothing and peaceful experience.
"You know," Henry whispered softly into her ears. "The trial's over. Your mom and dad are coming to pick you and Seth up soon, take you home."
Sara looked up quickly. "They won?!" she softly replied, excitement in her eyes.
Henry looked away, like he didn't want to say anything. Finally the man replied, "They didn't win but the government felt threatened enough and they knew that it would cause more trouble to keep them and you than to let all of you go, so Jack and Alex are able to bring the two of you home. But they didn't win. Not perse."
"Oh," Sara replied unenthusiastically, and went back to hugging Henry. But regardless she was excited that she was going to get to go home and have a second chance at a life with Jack and Alex as her parents.
When Sara finally pulled back the tears that had stained her face had dried. She had been hugging Henry for a long time. She was glad that he wanted forgiveness and was willing to forgive her to. "What now?" she asked her uncle, not sure what to do.
Henry smiled. "Now we wait."
"Right," Sara replied. "Now we wait."
And so they waited.
I'm sorry that this is a short chapter, but I really wanted to get this chapter up. So...
I'll leave what happens next for next time.
Please read and review!
And my next story to update will be The Caprican Experiment. Hopefully it will be sometime next month. Stick around for it! Review it to please!
Til next time!