Cadell laid on his back with his eyes wide open. The headache had disappeared and to his relief, so had the voices. Indistinct words flew around the room, but he couldn't pick them out until a puzzled face blocked his view of the ceiling.
"Cad, are you sleeping with your eyes open?"
Cadell's eyesight was still distorted, but Elijah Shin could still easily be recognised. Why? For one, he had the coolest afro Cadell had ever seen in his life and secondly, his arms and legs were abnormally long, ridiculously out of proportion from the rest of his body. When they met during their first year of high school, Cadell had told Elijah that he would make an excellent boxer, because he could probably hit his opponent from two metres back. Elijah had responded with a low laugh that sounded like a broken washing machine.
"In the flesh. Are you okay?" his friend said, helping him up.
"Yeah, I am now. I think it was a migraine or something." That almost melted my brain.
"Seriously bro, you scared everyone. Let's get you to the nurse and then..." Elijah's response was drowned out from Cadell's earshot. Not by any sound. Not by any voice in his head. But by the facial expression of his teacher that disappeared a second after it was noticed by Cadell. The face was partly blank, probably unnoticeable from a far distance, but he'd definitely not mistaken.
"Make sure you get yourself checked out, Walker. I'll let you off this time"
No. She was too late. He had seen the veins that had stuck out of her neck. The arched eyebrows. The squinted eyes. Cadell locked his eyes on Miss Jenkins further, analysing. Searching for something. Anything.
"Where are you going?" Elijah shouted while Cadell ran up a staircase two steps at a time. "The school nurse is this way!"
"I don't need help. I'm fine," said Cadell.
That was a lie, but he felt like being alone. Understanding what happened back in class was his priority, and he had only realised this until now, but he didn't want to explain to Elijah why he was losing his sanity.
Cadell rushed down a corridor and burst into the boy's toilets. After making sure no one was there, he hissed a curse and paced himself up and down the room. Two questions stabbed at his brain. What if he heard the voices again? What if the headache would carry on unless he...
"But what if I didn't hear the voice?" Cadell said to himself as he swung around to face a mirror. "Am I making a correlation between a headache and something that didn't even happen? Yes... Of course. Voices in my head? My imagination has no bounds. It never happened. It was a lingering side effect from the headache, implanting false memories! It never happened."
Cadell continuously splashed heaps of water on his face from a tap in front of him. Some of it soaked his uniform.
"Yes, it never happened."
"What never happened?" said Elijah, his head poking out of the entrance door.
"Nothing. Let's go."
It wasn't long until the bell rang for lunch. As they walked towards the canteen, Elijah would keep asking if he was okay which Cadell responded with a yes at first, but then it got annoying so he changed it to a no, explaining that someone around him was being irritating. Elijah stopped talking. A few minutes later, they were eating at an alfresco area, which had small round tables and aluminium chairs that were extremely uncomfortable. It was very cold outside, being the middle of January, but there were fewer people which they both greatly preferred.
The silence continued. Usually, they would talk about school, anime, games, films or anything that annoyed them but today they ate their sandwiches in silence. Elijah would occasionally crack his knuckles and sat, or rather crouched, in his typical awkward position, where his knees threatened to hit him in the chin. Elijah was an eccentric genius. There was a time when teachers would force him to sit properly, but they eventually gave up. It was hard for them to complain when he completed worksheets before most students had even written their name. One teacher even let him eat in class.
"Thanks." Cadell finally said.
"No problem... Wait, what for?"
"For caring. And for letting me eat in peace. I don't feel like talking."
"Liiiiiisten," Elijah mumbled, who almost fell over as he reached for his drink. "A wise man once said nothing at all." Cadell gave a smile and they kept eating. It would have been a peaceful lunch for them. Would have.
"Ow!" Cadell shouted, rubbing the back of his head. "Can't you say hi like a normal person?"
"Not until you comb your hair. And you're normal?" a girl said, sliding into a nearby chair. Elijah's incredibly abnormal laugh rang through the air.
"I don't want to comb my hair."
"It's unsightly!" She screwed up her face as if someone had farted.
"So are your glasses. What's your point?"
The girl was Sara Castilla, Cadell's childhood friend, and next-door neighbour. She was his only friend until high school because he was home-schooled and was extremely talented at annoying him. She had OCD and Cadell, who was disorganised and slightly unhygienic, sometimes felt like a slug when talking to her. Their parents arranged play dates when they were younger which primarily consisted of playing games, but all Cadell could remember was her running away from him because he was "gross". Whereas everything about Cadell seemed out of place, Sara was the complete opposite. Her shoulder-length, black hair was smooth, and her olive skin was flawless.
Sara tucked into her chicken curry for a few minutes, and then she straightened up.
"I didn't just hit you." She pointed with a finger, and Cadell looked behind him to see his coat and bag.
"Thanks. You're not in my Chemistry though." Cadell said.
"I know. But when I heard you had... a migraine was it? I figured you would forget something."
She cautiously eyed him.
"Are you okay?"
Cadell put on his coat. He realised he was shivering.
YOU ARE READING
As a child, Cadell Walker once told himself that having superpowers would be the best day of his life. He couldn't have been more wrong. In a near-future London, eighteen-year-old Cadell suffers from a super-powered schizophrenia which torments hi...