A horribly common sounds bolts me up. Sweat drips down me, for I know what's going on. My worst nightmare. I turn my head over to Nicoli, who is puking everything over the side of his bed. The noise send chill after chill up my spine. I scamper out of my bed and kneel by his side, clipping his long bangs to the top of his head with an old clothespin. I call desperately for Marco.
"Marco get up!!! Nicoli is sick and we need your help!" I try to not shout too much so I don't wake up anyone else.
He sits up and leans over my bed."What is it Alek? I'm trying to sleep!" He groans.
"Go to the shower caddy rack and pull out the washcloths. Get one damp and hand me the others." I demand as calmly as I can. "Nicoli is sick!"
His expression changes very quickly. He shoots out of his bed and races to the racks. He grabs as many as he can and a small bucket of water from the corner. He plunges one into the water and hands it to me.
"Here Nicoli lean back." I whisper. I can hear his breathing, rushed and heavy. He leans back slowly against the bedpost. I gently clean him off and Marco lays a few down to clean up the mess.
"Guys. . .I swear. . . swear I'm fine." He whispers." I just . . had a. . " Before he can finish he starts puking all over again. I freak out and turn back to Marco.
"Run down the hall and press the intercom button 1S. That's the staff room. Tell them Nicoli from Boys R3 is sick and will need help." I explain quickly. Marco jumps up and sprints out the door, a determined look in his eyes.
I turn back to Nicoli, who is still gagging onto the cold floor. I keep the washcloth on his forehead and my other hand on his back. Soon he sits up and slumps against the bed again. By now the nurses and an on call doctor have rushed in. They start the vitals routine. Everyone wakes up and freaks out; Marco is standing next to the stretcher, trembling a bit. I stand up and watch as they carry him out of the room. Everyone else asks about a million questions:
"What happened to Nicoli?"
"Is he gonna die?"
"It smells in here, did Nicoli throw up?"
"Is he gonna be okay?"
"Why was he rushed out of here?"
I stand, shaking. I want to scream at everyone, tell them I just don't know. To run after him and spend the rest of the night by his side, singing him lullabies, holding his hand as he falls asleep. But I can't leave the room until morning.
"Hey everyone go back to sleep!" Commands Marco as he heads over to me. He picks me up and drops me onto my bed. Still wide eyed and shaking, I slither under the covers and curl into a ball. Marco slides in as well, coaxing me to stop my trembling as he whispers.
"He'll be fine, everyone will be fine, don't worry Alek." His voice is all I hear in the dark room." Everything will be okay, he'll be back by tomorrow afternoon, he's okay, he's okay," I listen to his rambles until I slip back into sleep.
When I wake up almost nothing of last night has stuck. I see the same boys in their beds, some awake, some asleep. I turn and remember Marco coming into my bed, but he's still asleep. Turning to Nicoli's bed and finding no one there jogs my memory. I start to freak out.
"Marco, where's Nicoli? Is he okay? He should be back here by now!"
Marco wakes up and grabs my arm. "Calm down Alek. He's fine. If anything, he's probably relaxing in R4, sipping on juice."
I slowly calm down. Some of the other boys are staring.
"Is Nicoli gonna be okay?" Blurts Les from the other side of the room. He climbs out of his bed and hobbles over. "Cause I think he'll be okay."
I suddenly wrap my arms around Les and hug him tightly. I can feel him freeze up a bit. I let go quickly and keep my head down.
"I'm sorry Les." I mutter to the floor. "I'm used to hugging Nicoli when I'm upset and you're about his height."
"Don't give it a second thought." He whispers back. "I would've done the same thing if you looked like my older brother." He quickly turns back and pulls out a book from under his bed.
Crissy, Zayla, and the girl who's name I know now is Wendi come in with morning carts. I can see on Zayla's face as she says the prayer that she was in the room last night.
We all eat in silence. It kind of amazes me how close knit we all are. When Rocco and Les were out, no one could get the thought of them being gone forever out of their minds. Now, we sit and eat, thinking those thoughts for Nicoli. I try my best to keep them out, I'll go into full on panic mode if I don't.
If you're wondering why we all think that, then you have never been woken up in the middle of the night to someone coughing blood or dying of shock right then and there repeatedly.
The sun is shining bright, so we head outside.
"Alek, isn't the window to Boys R4 near the pond?" He asks slyly as we hobble down the stairs. At least I can walk without crutches.
"Yeah," I stare him, looking annoyed. "What are thinking of?"
"Why don't we gather stones and bang on the window? With our combined knowledge of Greek, Italian, and a bit of English, we should be able to ask for Nicoli."
For once, one of his crazy schemes isn't dangerous. "That's a great idea! We can find good ones by the very edge of the water."
It doesn't take us long to get enough stones. We throw a few practice ones on the wall to make sure we can hit it. Marco goes first and hits it right on the glass. I'm not as lucky as I'd hoped. It takes a while before I really hit the glass. But by then a tall kid who's paler than a ghost and looks really dizzy opens the window.
"What do you want! Are you wishing to brag at your strength!?" He hollers in swift Italian.
Marco steps up. "Is there a young boy named Nicoli in your room? He would have arrived early this morning, maybe even late last night?" He looks really serious, like he'll rip the boy out of the room if he doesn't know.
"Yeah, what's it to you though? Got unfinished business?" He's quite a cocky boy.
"He's my best friends brother! Can we see him or what?!" His words almost feel like a stab in the heart. Not like I'm sad, but kind words that hit you hard. I guess Nicoli is my little brother, even if we aren't directly related. And I would say we're all best friends. We've been through thick and thin, especially thin.
The window kid turns back into the room for a moment but pops out within the minute.
"He's sleeping. And even if he was awake, I doubt he could make it to the window. I'll tell him you were looking for him." He closes the window and heads back to wherever he was at first.
Marco mumbles something under his breath and heads off. I stare a bit more at the window, hoping maybe Nicoli will come over for a second. I guess Marco's not in the mood for it, cause he grabs my arm and pulls me to some benches near the edge of the pond. He almost throws me onto one of them before he flakes out into another one.
"Don't worry Marco. It's like you said this morning, he's probably fine." I try to console like he did me this morning.
He sighs and throws an extra rock into the pond. "He spoke of Nicoli rudely." His face looks angered and upset at once.
"I'm sure he didn't really mean it. Remember, a lot of us here are in pain or agony, and sometimes we let it out the wrong way." We turn to the pond and throw rocks into it. We don't know why, we just feel like throwing stones as hard as we can could fix something.
YOU ARE READING
In the near future, in a war torn Santa Monica, lives an old Medical Center, dedicated to helping orphaned children and teens. There live three boys, Marco, Nicoli, and Aleksander, sick from biological warfare from the war. There, they spend their d...