Blog: Wayward Hallucinations, part 5

Connor Oswald, Jagwire reporter

Wayward Hallucinations

The can would have been normal anywhere else. If you passed it at the grocery store it wouldn’t even earn a glance, hidden among the countless shelves. But sitting in my hand it couldn’t have felt more out of place.
I looked up at my parents. They were standing now, their backs ramrod straight and stiff, as if they were petrified in trepidation. They were scared of me, the kid whose world was ruled by his imagination, the boy that had let a simple yellow note and a can punch holes through his life.
I let my eyes drift back to the can, reading its label. My parents said nothing, reveling in my silence. I paused for a second, taking a breath and asked, “Dried Milk?”
“Because it keeps long.” My mom answered.
“Keeps long?” I asked, it didn’t make sense, they could always get more, all it took was a simple trip downtown. They didn’t say anything. Instead, with my dad leading the way, they walked towards the living room, leaving the groceries strewn across the floor. I followed them, still clutching the can. My knuckles had turned white from the effort.
The television flickered on, roaring to life. It was tuned into the news, where a pretty little anchorwoman was talking. My dad reached down for the remote, searching for it in the folds of our leather couch. Finding it, he turned the volume up. The sound got so loud that I could feel it reverberating through my bones, or maybe that was just the message it carried.
“Another town, this time Martensdale, Iowa, has been devastated by the disease that is sweeping across the nation.”
The newscaster took a deep breath, as if she didn’t wanting to continue.
“Scientists have not been able to make any headway in the treatment of this sickness; however they remain hopeful that they will discover a cure in time.” Her voice crackling at the end. I took a step backwards from the television, the words ‘in time’ echoing in my head. What did ‘in time’ mean? I wanted to shout that question out, to throw my confusion at the television, at my parents. But I just let it stay there, festering like an unwrapped wound.
The anchorwomen started up again,
“Now we go live with Dr. Clint McTosh, who is going to outline the symptom…” The screen flashed back to black. I looked back at my parents; my dad was holding the remote, his finger still pressing the off button.
I looked down at the can of dried milk once more.
“I get it now,” I said to my parents, while forcing myself out of the room, leaving them to wonder the implications of what I just said. I wish I’d never learned the reasons behind them leaving that yellow note. Because, I know that even my wildest hallucinations couldn’t compare to this new, twisted reality.

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