The Boy who Would be Man and Child Chapter 2-
The rapid and loud pulses of a telephone could be heard even with the noise in the background, “Ace Auto-repair, this is Mike.”
“Hi Mike, this is Sheila Dunn, Elias’ mother?”
“Oh yeah, hi, how is everything?”
“Not very good, I’m calling to tell you that Elias won’t be able to accept that job offer you left a message about.”
“Oh? Sorry for asking but why can’t Elias tell me this himself? I was really looking forward to meeting him.”
“He was in an accident recently…a reckless driver ran him over and…well, long story short he’s not going to be able to work for some time.”
“I’m so sorry to hear that. Well, I wish you all the best of luck, I hope he makes a full recovery!”
Outside it was about to storm something fierce; the wind was howling at the trees and the county sirens pierced through the town like the the crying of a child in a household. It was dark, but there were no lights on in the entire house. Sheila sat alone in her dining room, just having pressed the off button to her phone before breaking down once again.
Moments later she heard the rattling of a key through a doorknob, and a very tall man walked in. With short, crew-cut hair and the physique of a Marine, he was what everyone in town thought a police officer should look like.
“Babe? Saw your car but the lights weren’t on. Power go out?”
Sheila had hurriedly dried her eyes and forced herself to stop crying only to maintain her image to her husband. “In here Dave.”
With the flick of a light, Dave quickly established that the power wasn’t out. Sheila had been sitting in the dark, probably since the storm started considering it took a moment for her eyes to adjust to the now well lit dining area.
“Sorry, didn’t mean to blind ya. What were you doing sitting in the dark,” he said, wandering over to hold her as any husband would when his wife is in shambles.
“I…I guess I just didn’t notice. It’s been a pretty rough day…”
“I’m sorry I couldn’t be there. Did Dr. Feinberg explain everything, he’s going to help Elias right?”
“Y-yeah. Carl’s an old friend, I know he’ll do everything he can.”
“So what’s going on with Elias then? Why was he acting so weird the last time I saw him.”
“He’s not acting Dave!” She shot back, defending her son as if Dave were some random bigot she barely knew.
“Easy, easy…That’s not what I meant,” Dave stumbled.
“Sorry…god this is hard, I…I don’t even know where to begin.”
“It can’t be that hard…so he’s a little wacko from the accident, big deal.”
“That’s your SON! Don’t you EVER talk about him like that! I-I can’t believe you’d even say something like that, its fucking terrible!” She backed off for a moment, taking a moment to breath and calm down, didn’t seem to help much though. She also took a quarter out of her pocket and placed it in a jar in the dining room, where an abundance of change sat.
“Sheil’, the “F” word is just a word. Its not going to hurt anything…”
She shot back with the same, tired explanation of why she doesn’t want to use profanities, but it didn’t seem like Dave cared about that….“Whatever, sorry. Just tell me, is he going to be out of there soon?”
“No, and I wish you wouldn’t take that tone with me!”
“Maybe if you’d explain it like I asked….”
“FINE! Our son has turned into a two year old girl!!”
Dave was stunned at the sheer bluntness of the statement. It was poorly worded, and wasn’t a fair assessment of the situation but he wasn’t an idiot, he knew it had to be a little more complicated than that. He backed off their argument, apologized and let her continue with what she was saying.
In great detail they talked about the disorder Elias now has. Some parts of the story Dave sat there, trying to absorb the information, while others he went into clear denial with. The idea that his only son has an extra personality, one of an infant and a woman no less seemed extremely incredulous.
She did assure him though, even if the technology to scan his brain functions for this type of disorder didn’t exist, spending ten minutes in a room with “Rhia” made it abundantly clear that Elias wasn’t faking. Dr. Feinberg explained that infantile behavior from a second personality can be brought on by traumatic abuse from a childhood, but in this family that wasn’t the case. The Dunn’s have never abused their children, they’ve never even spanked them for misbehaving.
The conversation continued, they talked about what they were going to do to help him. Sheila explained why she and Dave needed to smile and be happy, even if they’re only pretending, just to help Elias/Rhia adjust better.
Unbeknown to them, a twelve year old girl sat at the top of the stairs, quietly listening in on her parents conversation about her brother. She had no idea how to process what she was hearing, but she continued listening on.
Sheila went on, “During the time I spent with Rhia, she didn’t seem to know who I was. She doesn’t appear to have memories of anyone in this family, of this house, or friends of Elias’. For all she cared I was likely just another nurse at the hospital…”
“Will that affect Elias’ memory or something? He won’t forget us will he?”
“No…Carl explained that he probably just won’t remember anything that happened during the time Rhia was in control, something like the other personalities are “dormant” I think is what he said.”
“But what about that other one, Chris right? You said he knew of the accident and nearly everything else about Elias’ life.”
"It was Chase…apparently. Carl wasn’t sure why that is, he’s worked with a lot of people with multiple personalities but this is the first one he’s worked with that has more than one extra personality.
Chase rarely comes out though…"
“Right, something about dreams of the accident…” Dave tried to recall.
“Yeah, when Rhia, or even potentially Elias has a dream about the drunk driver slamming into him, Chase takes over until he goes back to sleep. Carl was only able to talk to him one time and that was because of a mild case of Insomnia for a couple of days.”
“This…this is too much, I don’t even know what to say.”
“You think I’m doing any better? Before you came home I had to deal with someone who wanted to offer Elias a job, he worked so hard to get that degree and now I have to tell all the employers that it’s never going to happen.”
The walkie-talkie around Dave’s waste crackled, and a woman requested all units for a possible 404 outside the community college stadium. “Dammit.”
“What is it?”
“A potential riot, there was a big basketball game tonight….I gotta go.”
“I’ll be alright, look why don’t you make some tea or something and relax for a while. I’ll be back soon.”
Dave ran outside into the rain, hopped in his car and headed out. Sheila turned some soft music on and then made herself something to eat, though after she finished cooking she barely ate anything at all.
Meanwhile, the little girl had gone back to her room. It was almost as if she had forgotten about the conversation, and she just started listening to a pop band through her headphones while doing her homework. She appeared to be acting normal, but it was a Friday. She never does homework on the weekends, not until late sunday night where she usually scrambles to finish up before the next day.
The thunder crackled, some soft and some extremely loud. It didn’t matter, Rhia sat curled up in her bed, scared to death of the sounds that emanated and echoed through the walls of the hospital. She was sucking her thumb, quietly whimpering to herself until one lightning bolt was big enough to create an extremely loud thundering, almost deafening.
At that point she was in tears. The nurse on staff happened to hear her, she was the only patient still awake. The nurse rushed over to her, trying to console her, it didn’t seem to do much good though. Rhia had developed a bit of an attachment to this nurse, almost as if she considered the nurse to actually be her mother.
Nurse Rivers had developed a similar relationship as well. A lot of the staff at this facility can be impartial, clinical and even somewhat cold to the patients, mainly to keep an image of authority in place. They have the mindset that the patients don’t need friends, they need therapy with a hint of discipline.
Rivers on the other hand, she was like a ray of sunshine that brightens up the cold, empty darkness of a psychiatric ward. Most of the patients revered her as a friend, but Rhia was different. Rivers is the only person Rhia ever opens up to, whether or not her words are garbled.
“It’s okay honey, lets get you something warm to drink.” Rivers helped Rhia into her wheelchair, and wheeled her out to the commons area. After heating up a glass of milk in the microwave, she sat next to Rhia, holding her with one hand and literally feeding her the milk with the other.
Rhia was still terrified of the thundering though, “It’s okay, shh shh it’s okay,” Rivers whispered. “That booming sound will never hurt you, I promise…”
After wiping the milk off her chin, she noticed Rhia had pretty well fallen asleep. The gentle rocking must have soothed her enough to help her fall asleep. Nurse Rivers actually carried Rhia back to bed. The next thing she had to do was something she always hated to do, but knew there wasn’t any other option. Due to the possibility of Rhia dreaming of the car accident, she had to be restrained just in case Chase appeared.
Sheila had fallen asleep in front of the television where an old black and white sitcom was muted. She was awoken quite suddenly from the door slamming shut, “Oh, sorry. Didn’t mean to wake ya babe.”
“No, it’s okay, I need to get upstairs anyways…were there any problems?”
“Nah, the riot pretty much broke itself up once it started storming. A couple sports fans have black eyes but there wasn’t anything more serious than that…”
“Good…glad to hear you’re okay.”
“Listen…I’ve thought a lot about what’s happening with Elias. I’m still not sure how I’d react if I saw him as a…well “baby” as you told me, but he’s still my son. If it’ll help I think I can put on a friendlier face, god knows I have to do it everyday when dealing with morons roaming the streets…”
“Thank you. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to do this alone, I really do need you with me next time we visit.”
“No problem…” Dave said almost hesitantly. “Have you thought about what to tell Kayla?”
“Oh my god! Kayla!”
Sheila jumped up off the couch and nearly wanted to bolt upstairs to her room before Dave stopped her “What, what’s the matter?”
“I…I just completely forgot about her today. I didn’t mean to but I don’t even know if she got anything to eat or if her chores or done or anything, god I feel terrible. I was so worked up over Elias I forgot about…”
David Shushed her, “it’s okay. Kayla’s twelve, I’m sure she made herself a sandwich or something. Look, you’ve been through a lot today, how about I go up and check on her?”
“O….okay. Don’t um….just don’t tell her about Elias yet, okay? We need to be careful how we tell her…”
“My lips are sealed,” Dave said, trying to make a mild joke to see if Sheila would smile. She did, briefly though.
Dave wandered upstairs towards Kayla’s room. He knocked a couple of times before opening, “Hey kiddo, hows it going?”
Dave noticed that the pre-teen’s normally messy and unkempt room was for the most part clean, and there were textbooks and an open notebook laying on a chair near her closet. “Hey Daddy, when’d you get home?”
“Oh, just a few minutes ago. Your room looks nice, thanks for cleaning it.”
“Oh…yeah. Mom was asleep so I didn’t want to vacuum even though it was my turn today, so I cleaned my room instead.”
“Well that was thoughtful, wait a second! Your homework’s done before the end of the weekend, your cleaning your room, what’d you do with my daughter, where’s Kayla!” Dave teased.
“Dad!!” she moaned, with a half grin.
“Well, thank you. I’ll tell your mother, I’m sure it’ll mean a lot to her.”
“You get anything to eat? Want me to heat up some pizza rolls or something?”
“Oh, nah. I heated up some leftovers earlier.”
“Well, okay then, you should get some sleep,” Dave suggested, pulling up his watch, “It’s nearly midnight.”
Kayla quickly changed the subject, not really caring about going to bed before midnight on a Friday, “Who’s Rhia?”