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"The Tears of a Child" [PAN2014]

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posted on Sep, 5 2014 @ 07:46 PM

The Tears of a Child

Chapter One – At the Market

The tears of a child. Nothing switches on the maternal instinct gene faster. After generations of evolution of doting mothers the instinct to care for a crying child is so strong in some women they truly can't ignore it. Just as human infants have evolved to be more dependent than ever before, mothers have evolved to be more nurturing.

“And she's off”, Joshua mused noting his wife Janette making a beeline for the crying child. Having studied the evolution of man, getting his masters, and teaching it at university Joshua knew quite a bit about the subject, but never tired of seeing it in action.

“Don't just snatch him up, there may be an angry mum around” Joshua cautioned.
“Nonsense,” replied Janette. “If his mum was here don't you think she would do something?”
“Just be careful anyway, Hon. We are the foreigners here. This is Zaire, not Chicago.”

Janette set Jason, her five year old, down and knelt in front of the crying child. She held out her water bottle to him. Instead of taking the water he practically jumped into her arms, burying his face in her shoulder. Janette handed the water to Jason and held the trembling child. His tears mixed with her sweat and ran across her sunburned shoulder. When he stopped crying she eased him back a bit to look him over. He was covered in dust, malnourished, and felt warm, even for July in Zaire. She took her handkerchief out of her pocket and wiped her shoulder, then patted the sweat from her forehead noting the sting of the salt as some entered the corner of her eye. She wiped the tears from the cheeks of the child in front of her as well. Knowing there was little she could ultimately do for him, she pulled a chocolate chip breakfast bar from her bag. The child snatched the bar and took off running.

“Wow, look at the little guy go” Janette exclaimed. In just a few seconds he was gone in a river of people swarming the busy market. “I guess that was my good deed for the day” Janette announced proudly. She then turned her attention to Jason, who seemed to be in a life or death struggle with something in his nose.

“Jason, stop. That's nasty. Come here.” Janette said holding her handkerchief out in front of Jason's nose.” Jason leaned in a blew almost before his mom was ready. She was used to that trick though, and knew to get a good seal around the tyke's nose or pay the price.

“I hope he is alright” Janette said looking back where she had last seen the running child.
“I'm sure he will be fine” Joshua said thinking they both knew better.

The sad truth was the odds were stacked against the little guy, and most of the other people there also. The lack of clean water, nourishing food, and proper health care were taking their toll. These people had little going for them from the start. It didn't take much to tip those odds badly in the wrong direction.

Chapter 2 – The Trip Home

“I hate airports” Joshua stated looking at the sea of bodies banging into each other trying to get a better place in line. “There really should be a better way. Weren't we supposed to have Tele-porters by now?”

“Ugh...I know. But imagine what vacations would be like. No time wasted on travel...or packing. Just put on your swimsuit and teleport right to the beach.” Janette was starting to like her train of thought until it was derailed by Jason.

“Mommy, I have a headache” Jason groaned.

“I was waiting for that” Joshua said. “He hates airports almost as much as I do.”

Janette placed her palm against Jason's forehead and looked at him more closely. “He does feel warm Hon. Does he look flushed to you?” Janette turned Jason to face his father who looked him over closely.

“He might be coming down with something. We should take him to the clinic when we get home. We should be boarding soon and the plane is always on the cool side. He will feel better on board” Joshua said looking at his watch. “We should be boarding any minute. Maybe I can get us to the head of the line with a sick little boy story.”

Joshua came back a few minutes later and told Janette to start grabbing gear, they were going to board first. The flight attendant was going to make a little bed for Jason from two empty seats. Janette was happy with that and soon the three were onboard and ready for the ride home.

Janette sat in the window seat with Jason laying down in the seats next to her. Joshua was on the other side of the aisle. The flight attendant came by and asked if there was anything she could do for them.

“Nothing right now but thank you.” Janette said. “Letting Jason lay down like this was really nice of you. Thank you so much.”

“No problem,” the flight attendant replied. “I have a five year old too, and travelling with him is hard enough when he feels good. When he's can be a real trial” she said stroking Jason's hair. “He's a cutie – a real heartbreaker in the making.”

“Takes after his old man” Joshua chimed in grinning at his comedic timing.

“Now I feel sick” Janette said and laughed. The flight attendant rolled her eyes and they enjoyed a private joke at Joshua's expense.

Joshua had the feeling he and Jason would sleep most of the way home and hoped Janette would get some rest too. Looking at her though it was obvious, at least for now, that she was going to keep watch over her son. Evolution, Joshua thought. Powerful stuff.


edit on 5-9-2014 by Vroomfondel because: (no reason given)

edit on 5-9-2014 by Vroomfondel because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 5 2014 @ 07:59 PM
a reply to: Vroomfondel

You got me hooked!


posted on Sep, 5 2014 @ 08:10 PM
a reply to: beezzer

Thank you! Moar there now... )

posted on Sep, 5 2014 @ 08:26 PM
Chapter 3 – Wake Up.

“Ma'am?” The flight attendant tapped Janette's arm trying to wake her. “Ma'am...your son is sick.”

Janette jumped when the words hit her ears. Jason was leaning forward vomiting into a cardboard box lined with a trash bag. He looked like he was hung over. Badly hung over.

“Its okay baby, Mommy is here.” “Joshua!” Janette shouted.

Joshua woke quickly to the smell of vomit and the sight of his wife almost frantic with concern.

“What happened?” Joshua asked.

“He woke up, sat up, and started vomiting almost immediately” the flight attendant said. “It was so quick we barely had time to get the box in front of him before the second volley started.”

“Is there a doctor on board?” Janette asked. “If there is please ask them to take a look at him for us.”

A few minutes later the flight attendant returned with a kind looking man in his late forties or early fifties. “This is Dr. Pierce. He said he would be happy to take a look at your son.”

The doctor kneeled down next to Jason to find him with a finger buried half way up his nose. Janette tugged on Jason's arm moving his hand away from his face revealing a spot of blood on his fingertip.

“Probably just scratched the mucous membrane, nothing to worry about. How are you feeling Jason? Can you tell me how you feel?”

“Icky” was the most descriptive answer Jason could manage without more prodding. “My head hurts and my tummy hurts and I feel funny,” Jason said slowly as if the words were hard to find.

Janette was fanning herself with her handkerchief. She felt warm all of a sudden and checked the air vent over her seat. It was open all the way. Jason started to cough a little then leaned forward for another round of vomit, this time with a pink tint to it.

Doctor Pierce looked into the box and seemed concerned. “He might have a stomach bug, not unusual for children travelling in this part of the world. This seems a bit worse than what I would expect though.” Doctor Pierce was looking at Jason's eyes when it happened. Jason vomited again, this time a little more pink.

“Oh my God, I am so sorry” Janette exclaimed. “We will pay for your dry cleaning, I promise.”

“That's ok,” said the doctor. “If I had a dollar for every time a child threw up on me...wait, I get paid for that,” he joked. The doctor told them again not to worry, he had another shirt in his carry on bag and went to retrieve it.

“How long until we land?” Joshua asked the flight attendant. “About two hours or so. We can have emergency services waiting for you if you like.”

Janette answered for him, “Yes, please. Better safe than sorry.”

Chapter 4 – Home at Last

The plane landed. Janette could see the flashing lights of the ambulance near the terminal. She felt bad about all the fuss but her concern for Jason was more important. Joshua looked at his wife reassuringly, noting that she too looked a bit flushed. Jason had stopped vomiting and looked to be perking up a bit. He seemed more like his normal self, though he still fidgeted with his nose more than usual, just enough to make sure it kept bleeding.

The ride to the hospital was one long train of questions. Janette and Joshua did their best to answer as many as they could. The paramedics had checked Jason out thoroughly and seemed to think he was probably suffering from some kind of stomach flu but recommended that he get checked out at the hospital anyway.

Jason's condition stabilized and he seemed to be doing well. The doctor in the ER said they could keep Jason overnight, but it was more precautionary than anything else. Eager to get home and be done with it all Joshua suggested they take Jason home and keep a close eye on him. The doctor said if Jason seemed to backslide at all they could come to ER and get admitted right away.

It was late. It had been a long day. Everyone felt like they had been run over by a steamroller. It was time for bed. Janette left a glass of water with a swirly straw next to Jason's bed in case he got thirsty through the night. She felt so tired it was almost like she was dreaming it all. Joshua was already asleep. She didn't remember laying down in bed.

Chapter 5 - WAKE UP!

Bright. That was the first word through her mind. Bright. Why were the lights so bright? Squinting, Janette couldn't make out the dresser across the room her mother had given her. None of the shapes she was seeing looked right. Somewhere there were voices talking about some tragedy or something she couldn't quite make out.

“Honey.” Joshua said. “Can you hear me?”

That's a strange question to ask, Janette thought. Why am I not answering him, she wondered. She struggled to answer and barely felt her lips move. Someone was doing something to her arm and it hurt a little. Joshua was on the other side of the bed. Who was touching her arm? She wondered.

“Honey, you are in the hospital. You have been here for three days.” Joshua's voice seemed to be coming from somewhere far away.

Feeling some strength returning, Janette lifted her hand up to block the light from her eyes. Her arm seemed like it weighed a ton. As her hand swept in front of the light she realized she was in a plastic tent. Her senses were slowly coming back to her. She looked to her right and saw a similar tent with Joshua inside.

“What's happening Joshua?” Janette asked. “Who has Jason?”

“Jason is fine,” the nurse said. Her voice sounded mechanical. Janette looked to her left and saw a nurse in a plastic suit covering her from head to toe. Her voice crackled as it came through. “You and your husband are going to be okay. Can you tell me how you feel?”

“Awful,” was the only word Janette could think of. “What's wrong with me?” she asked.

“The doctors are working on that right now Janette. In the mean time I want you to rest and keep your strength up. You have a bad bug and you will need it.” The nurse smiled at her and patter her hand.

“Joshua, are you alright?” Janette had the feeling that things were worse than they seemed.

Just then Joshua turned up the volume on the television. There they were again, the voices talking about the tragedy.

“...hundreds dead, thousands flocking to hospitals all over the world as health care specialists try to figure out how, when and where this all started.”

The newscaster was stressing the seriousness of the situation so much he almost lost credibility. It started to sound like a joke instead of a real newscast.

“Africa is reporting a shocking increase in the number of cases. And new cases are popping up everywhere. A doctor in suburban Chicago. And perhaps most frightening of all, a flight attendant in New York. How and when the virus went global is the big mystery. How did this happen so quickly, is the question on everyone's mind. Could that be the answer we are looking for? Stay tuned for further updates as events unfold...”

Janette could feel the tears stinging her eyes before rolling down her cheeks. In an instant she knew Jason was dead. And she knew how all of it started...

The tears of a child.

posted on Sep, 5 2014 @ 08:41 PM
a reply to: Vroomfondel

A nice finish.

Well done!

posted on Sep, 6 2014 @ 08:16 PM
Wow, that was very gritty and realistic. It could happen exactly like that, from an innocent act of kindness. Good story!

posted on Sep, 7 2014 @ 11:33 AM
a reply to: Vroomfondel

WOW! That was Fantastic!! Very Real!!!

posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 08:51 PM
A reply to Beezzer, Argentus, Syxpak:

Thank you for the kind words. It is appreciated.

posted on Sep, 14 2014 @ 04:39 PM
This is really an excellent story-very plausible,as a woman and mother i could really relate to this.Great work,compliments.a reply to: Vroomfondel

posted on Sep, 14 2014 @ 05:45 PM
a reply to: Raxoxane

Thank you for the kind words. It is appreciated.

posted on Sep, 30 2014 @ 03:22 PM
Hello Vroomfondel,


Sorry to just now be getting around to reading your submission - very good work. I was hurting for the mom the moment she wiped the handkerchief, knowing what would come next, but you spun it out nicely, like in a horror film where you know people are going to die, and in this case, most of them were going out of their way to be helpful.



posted on Sep, 30 2014 @ 05:14 PM
a reply to: AboveBoard

Thank you. It is appreciated.

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