Chapter 3 Dany
I sit up startled, panting, and the nurse opens the dark drape and says, “Time to go home. The first bell rang already. Didn’t you hear it?”
The nurse puts her hands up in the air like I’m senseless.
“You really must not feel well. Go home and take it easy, ok, dear? Maybe you’ll feel better tomorrow?” She asks. All I can see is a fly roaming around her face.
“Oh, ok,” I say, getting up slowly. Covering my nose and mouth so I don’t smell her horrid breath, I feel dizzy as I stand up and I almost fall, trying to swat a fly. My legs are asleep. “Ouch,” I say.
The nurse writes something on her pad and sits back down in her chair. She picks up the phone and starts talking to someone. Maybe it’s the same person as before. I glance at her and she’s looking up at me with this weird look on her face and whispering like she’s discovered a secret and doesn’t want me to hear. Whatever, I really want to go home.
I can’t believe how much my legs hurt. Walking to my locker. Jon is standing there “Hey, Opie,” he says with his cute smile.
I can feel my face getting red, and suddenly I am more energetic and my legs are better. Could it be that I have a crush on him? Duh! Of course, I do. I shrug my shoulders and smile. I turn to my locker and get out my bag. I reach in my pocket for my Chapstick and put some on.
“Are you feeling better? I can walk you out if you like?”
“Sure,” I reply and shrug my shoulders. Argh. I hate it when I do that. “Oh, um Miles always walks me home, he’ll be here in a minute if you don’t mind waiting.” I say, forgetting about Miles. We walk home every day together and stop to see his mom. Their house is right in the zoo behind the gate it’s a mobile home but it’s easy for her to be there when the animals are sick and she travels a lot so miles is usually alone but he’s a year older than me so he is fine to be alone.
“Good thing, bad thing?” Jon asks.
“Um, let’s see, ok first day I guess, and I spent most of it in the nurse’s office.” I roll my eyes and give another half-grinned smile. “You?”
“Definitely seeing you is great, and, nothing bad today, not yet anyway.” He smiles and pushes his gorgeous hair out of his dazzling blue eyes that seem to go on endlessly. I’m pretty sure I could stare at them for days.
“Opal! Jon!!” I can hear Violet yelling down the hallway. I break free from Jon’s eyes to see her. She has her hand up like she’s hailing a cab. There are these two snobby girls between Violet and us. They are the kind who look perfect, like models from Instagram, tall and thin. They’re both wearing short skirts with tall boots and short-sleeved sweaters. One is talking with her hands, gossiping probably, and playing with gum in her mouth. The other one is barely listening. She’s on her phone looking at a mirror, checking her makeup. Violet bumps her arm and her phone flies right into the locker and the front of it shatters.
“Dany, I’m so sorry.” Violet apologizes.
“O-M-G!” says the girl.
She has black hair, as black as night, and green eyes, kind of like a cat. Her chin is tiny, but she has huge, pretty lips. All the boys gawk at her and want to date her. She was so mean in middle school. Mostly, though, she left me alone. But she makes fun of Violet. And now with her hair purple, she has something else to make fun of. Well, if my head didn’t hurt it does now because I have to hear Dany scream her head off.
“AAGGHH! Your miserable idiot!!! I can’t believe you did this!!!!!”
“Wait a minute,” says Mrs. Simpson. “I saw the whole thing, and it wasn’t Violet’s fault.”
Mrs. Simpson picks up the phone and says, “You’re not even supposed to have this out now. Cell phones are allowed for emergencies only. Put it away, and I don’t want to see you with it again, or I will take it away. You get one warning and that’s it.”
Dany gives Mrs. Simpson the meanest look, but Mrs. Simpson just ignores her and walks over to Violet.
“Are you ok?” she asks, winking at her and walks down the hallway to break up the crowd that’s formed. As she does, Miles walks through. Ms. Simpson takes a hold of his arm and they exchange something and look at each other for a minute. Miles puts something in his pocket it looks like the crystal I found this morning.
Dany and Violet stare at each other, while everyone is silent, waiting to see what’s going to happen next.
“Ok everyone, break it up, nothing to see here,” says a voice with a chuckle behind it. It’s Jon.
Dany and Violet look at him and then look back at each other.
Dany backs down and looks at Violet up and down for a minute.
“It’s tragic really, I mean-ugh, you look utterly homeless.” She sticks her nose up and looks at Jon. ”Mm-mmm, I haven’t seen you before.” She pulls herself together and pushes her hair back. “Where did you come from?” She says, looking at Jon.
She looks over at me when she says that. I feel embarrassed, like she thinks I’m claiming him or something. She grabs his arm, pretends to like the muscle she feels, and pulls him to walk away with her. Jon turns to look at me and I half-wave goodbye. There goes my crush. I smile.
I walk over to Violet and ask her if she’s ok.
She looks relieved and like she’s holding on to tears and says, “Perfect, let’s just go.”
“Hi.” I hear Miles say. “Are you feeling any better?” He asks.
“Oh, Hi Miles! Yes, much better thanks. Um, how did you know?” I say quickly.
“I know everything about you, Opal. I’m here for you, remember.” He smiles at me, gazing at me through his errant curls.
I go to close my locker and see that there’s a note on the shelf. I put it quickly in my bag to read later.
“Vi? Are you alright?” Miles says, practically holding her up. As soon as he touches her, she cries. He just has that way with her. Miles is so sensitive, it’s like he knows how girls feel and knows the right thing to say and do all the time.
Violet says goodbye to us at the corner. Miles and I walk over to our secret way into the zoo.
“Ty? Ty-y?” I say louder. We hear a thump behind the fence and then a long grey elephant trunk plops down in front of us. Miles helps me to sit on Ty’s trunk, and he lifts me up and over the fence. Then he does the same for Miles.
“Thanks, buddy.” I say, patting him.
“You’re welcome.” Ty says to me back. “Hi Miles.” Ty is waiting for Miles to pet him. Miles scratches behind his ears. He knows the perfect spots to scratch.
“Hey Ty, How’s it going?” Miles says, scratching away at his long grey ears.
Ty giggles and pulls his trunk over Mile’s neck to hug him.
“See you in a bit, Ty, ok?” Miles says. I give Ty a hug and we sneak out of the elephant den. I have always talked to animals. I have heard of other people that can talk to animals too but, if someone is near me, they can hear the animals speak. Miles is the only friend I have that talks to the animals with me. My father could talk to them too. I remember sitting here with Horizon and my father when I was little. They would talk for hours while I played with the monkeys. His mom knows too. When they first moved here, I was visiting Horizon, and he was not walking properly. He was neighing. But to me he was whining and telling me he had a sliver in his hoof. Miles’ mom, the Dr, Dr. Michaels, didn’t know what was wrong. So, I told her. I told her he told me. She was fascinated and didn’t believe me. Miles did right away. He has never second guessed anything that I have told him or anything that I have done. He is so amazing that way.
We head over to the monkeys. Miles’s mom is holding a baby, feeding her. And there are people watching them. When she sees us, she nods for us to come over and help.
“Hi Dr. Michael’s.” I say as I sit next to her and she hands me the baby monkey suckling on the bottle. She puts her arms around me so I can hold up the baby and feed it. Then she bends down and takes another baby from a basket that was sleeping. She hands it to Miles and gives him a bottle. Then she stands up and continues to talk about the baby’s, with the audience. When she finished, she takes the baby monkeys, that fell fast asleep, and put them back in the basket. She thanked the audience and comes over to sit with us.
“How are you Opal?” She asks, hugging me.
“I’m fine Dr. Michael’s, the baby’s, are so cute.” I say, smiling.
“Aren’t they!” She says. “Opal, I have a job for you if you two aren’t busy.” She looks at Miles. We all get up and follow her as she talks. “There is a bear that keeps moaning.” I can’t figure out what’s wrong. We put him to sleep so I could examine him and I took some blood. I’m just waiting for the results, but he seems very irritated. I was hoping you would talk to him for me?”
We get to his enclosure, and he is hiding behind a big rock.
“We will have to go inside and get close to him.” Dr. Michael’s says. We go around and unlock the cage from behind and peak inside. He is just coming out of the anesthesia so he looks loopy and tired. As I take a few steps, I get an eerie feeling and step back, right into Miles. He holds on to my hips to stop me. I feel my heart skip a beat just for a second and I close my eyes as he holds on to me.
“You ok?” he asks.
“There is something in here with him.” I say nervously.
Miles pulls me aside and points for me and his mom to leave, and he enters the enclosure to take a better look. With the bear still in and out of sleep, he can look around the whole enclosure without worrying about the bear. Miles reaches down to his ankle and pulls out his knife. It has blades on both sides. He holds it so comfortable, like it’s a part of him. When he is just behind the rock checking on the bear, I can see a black fog emerge from under the rock. It gets really thick and moves over to Miles.
“Miles watch out.” I yell. The fog looks like it is moving towards him. He takes his knife, holds it up to the sun and a light shines from the sun to his knife and it gets larger and turns into a weapon a bow. He whips it around his head and through his arm into his other hand and through the black fog. The light emulates through the fog like it’s taking it away. And the fog disappears. His double sided weapon turns mechanically back into a measly ankle knife and he places it into its holder and covers it with his jeans.
I can’t help but run to him and hug him. His mom comes in and checks on the bear.
“He seems better. He isn’t as restless. I’ll see how he is when he wakes up.” she looks at Miles with questioning eyes and then looks at me. “I’ll leave you too to talk.” We walk out of the cage and she locks it and says goodbye. “Come back later Opal to talk to the bear, ok?” I nod ok.
Miles and I stand there watching the bear for a few moments. I’m recalling what happened in my head. Did he get light from the sun? What was that black fog?
“That was cool, what you did.” I say. Trying to get an explanation of what I saw.
“Yeah, cool.” Is all he said. Taking my hand, we walk over to the zebra’s to see Horizon.
When we get there. We sit down in our spot. He asks me if I think Violet will be ok. And asks me about my day. Completely ignoring what just happened.
“I felt like I was dreaming all day, but I can’t remember anything.” I tell Miles, reaching down to my sore ankles. Miles takes off my shoe to look at my ankle. Horizon walks slowly over, staring at me. He puts his head right through the bar and nudges me.
“You have a burn around both ankles.” Miles says, inspecting me. He is always making sure I’m ok. Others might think it’s weird, but I’m so used to it. It’s just the way he is. His eyes look so heartfelt as he gazes at me. I love him, I know I do but I’m not sure if it’s a friend love, brother love or I’m in love. We’ve seen each other every day since the day we met. I’m just so used to him being in my life. I just stare back. He’s never tried to kiss me, I think to myself except on the cheek, but that’s for sharing my lunch with him. Horizon nudges me again, interrupting our gaze. I pet him on the head.
“He is so amazing.” I say.
“As are you?” Miles says, putting my shoes back on. “Jon seems nice.” He says. I can feel my face getting red.
“Yes, he is. He is a good guy. I mean, I haven’t seen him in a while but he used to be a good guy.”
A beeping sound interrupts us. Miles pulls up his jacket on his arm and he has a watch, it’s beeping red.
“What kind of watch is that?” I ask.
“Oh, it’s a new thing, no big deal. It’s my mom I need to go.” Miles pats Horizon on the head, saying goodbye, and gets up quickly. He nods at him as if to say goodbye.
“I’ll walk you out.” Miles says.
I smile and reach to horizon to say goodbye. He’s so soft. Miles pulls my arm to go.
“Is everything ok?” I ask him, worried.
“Yes, I’m fine just need to hurry home for dinner.” He blurts.
“You never have dinner with your mom. You usually eat at my house.” I remind him.
“We have company.” He says.
“Oh, Ok, I’ll see you later?” I ask. “And about the sun? I just..”
He puts his hand up to my mouth.
“Not here, I’ll meet you tonight on the tree.” He says. I nod and he watches me cross to my street. And then disappears.