Friday, August 16, 2013

Sneezy Death

After thinking about it for a while, I've decided to just go ahead and start posting some of my fictional stories on here. Most of them will be about Kieran, the character I've been working on the most recently, and with that said here's a little teaser/intro/thingy. Enjoy.

It was about ten in the morning in Munich when Travis Braun got a frantic text message from his good friend and charge, Kieran White. By the time Travis had gone to the nearest U-Bahn station, taken the U-4 to Boehmerwaldplatz and sprinted to the front door of Kieran's apartment building, it was around ten-thirty. He was relieved when Kieran buzzed him in - a sure sign that the young man was still able to move around and control his actions - but he still walked briskly up the three flights of stairs to the front door of the studio apartment Travis had found for Kieran six months before. The door was open.

"Kieran, you okay?" Travis asked as he entered the apartment, shutting the door quietly but firmly behind him. His query was not answered immediately by the small bundle of blankets on the bed in the corner, but when Travis did get his answer, it was loud and dramatic.

"ACHOO! Do you really think I-" Kieran sneezed. "-would have texted-" He sneezed again. "'I think I'm dying' if I was-" Another sneeze. "-okay?"

Travis bit his lip to keep from laughing. He was still concerned, but considering he'd never heard Kieran sneeze this much in the seventeen years they'd known each other, whatever had sent the adolescent into a panic was not without its comical merits. "What's up with the sneezing fit?"

"I don't know," Kieran said before letting out another sneeze that caused him to hit his forehead on his knees, which he had pulled up to his chest shortly after Travis arrived. "Motherfucker! I just know that-" He sneezed. "I feel like shit and I'm scared."

"How exactly do you feel like shit?" Travis asked, picking up the small trash can on the floor and using his sleeve to shove a massive pile of dirty tissues into it. "I mean, besides the obvious."

"I just... I can't really breathe, and I know this place has never exactly been a sauna but it feels way too cold in here, and..."

Travis waited patiently as Kieran went through another sneezing fit. He was still waiting for whatever it was that made Kieran think that he was dying, because so far it sounded like the kid just had a cold.
"I've gone through about twenty packs of tissue since I woke up this morning, and I feel like... I feel like shit, Travis, and I'm really, really scared."

Travis frowned and held up the trash can for Kieran to throw away the newest wad of dirty tissues. "Could you give me a little more to go on here, bud? Because right now it sounds like you've got a cold."

"But it's not- I mean, I've never felt this bad before, how could it just be a cold when I'm this- Achoo!"
Travis let out an irritated huff. He was used to Kieran being, well, strange, but to have the kid go into a panic about a cold was just a little too ridiculous for him. "Kieran, you're not going to die from a cold. Calm down, buddy."

"It's not a cold! It feels so much worse than that that-"

Travis sighed as he waited for the latest sneezing fit to end. "Come on, I've had worse colds than this and I'm still around. You'll be fine."

Kieran looked up at Travis with incredulity. "You... you've seriously had worse than this?"

"Sure. Haven't you?" Travis asked.

Kieran shook his head.

"Well, how's this compare to the last time you had a cold?"

Kieran was quiet. Travis waited patiently for the pre-pubescent young adult to answer, but after a couple of minutes he let out a groan and said, "Don't tell me you've never had a cold before."
Kieran shook his head. "I can't remember ever getting one before. I mean, maybe I did when I was little, but-"

"How the hell could you have made it this long without catching a cold?" Travis asked incredulously.

"I don't know! I- um, hm. Come to think of it, I can't remember ever getting sick, period."

Travis blinked. "Seriously?"

Kieran looked up at him. "Well, yeah. I mean, sure, I've felt sick before, like when Mr. Shithead tried to see what constituted as poison for... well, whatever my species is, but I don't think there was ever a time when I couldn't trace my physical state directly to something the lab people did to me."

Travis was dumbfounded, but only for a moment. He had been warned about something like this, after all. "Okay, look, I think what's happening here is that you just caught a cold for the first time in your life. You're panicking because it's a new experience, but I promise you it won't kill you as long as you just take it easy and take care of yourself."

"But, but why now?" Kieran asked. "I mean, I know the lab was sterile and all, but I did get to go outside and-"

"You've probably just got a really damn good immune system," Travis said. "I'll check with Jethrow on that and see what he thinks, but I'm guessing this is a result of the meds."

Kieran frowned. "I really don't get this."

Travis patted the boy on the back, stood, and headed for the door. "Don't worry, you're just experiencing the same feeling I've gotten every time I talk to you. You get used to it eventually."

He exited the apartment and closed the door just in time to avoid being hit by whatever Kieran had decided to throw at him. It looked like he was in for a long day...

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