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An intelligent but inexperienced child becomes ill and must be taken to a hospital for a bodily mishap that he was unaware of, only to have his body begin to deteriorate as he spends time trying to get better and making new friends. He eventually receives a doll that changes his life forever.

Horror / Mystery
Age Rating:

Bedside Chills

Giorgio woke up shivering and he didn't know why. He tossed and turned on his bed trying to ignore the cold before giving up. As he sat up on his bed, he found the source of the cold he felt. His arms were oddly cold to the touch, making the hair on his neck stand up.

‘Well, that’s not right.’ He thought. After a few seconds of staring at his arms, he decided to ignore the coldness as he could just ask his mother later during breakfast before his homeschooling session. That was when something odd struck him. ‘Why didn’t any of my maids wake me up?’ he thought. His homeschooling session normally started very early in the morning but from the light pouring down from his curtain, it seemed like his maids neglected to wake him up. He thought about questioning them about this but decided against it after thinking about it. ‘This is great! It must be my lucky day since if I just don’t remind them then I don’t have to attend the session for today.’ he thought. He carefully went down the stairs of the family mansion eyeing his maid, Josephine.

“Buongiorno, Josie.”

“Ah, good morning, young master. I have already prepared breakfast for you. Come sit down at the table.” She said nonchalantly as if nothing was any different this morning.

As he sat down at the table waiting for his breakfast which he guessed was probably scrambled eggs from the smell, he wondered where his mother was. He looked at the chair at the head of the table where she normally sat. It was her throne he and his sisters joked, as she did everything from knitting to solving word games from the local newspaper there, which made the absence of his mother all the more jarring. ‘She must have gone to work early’ he thought. This lowered his mood as he wanted to say goodbye to her at least. He had a nagging fear of her dying whenever she went off to work which wasn’t all that improbable considering her line of work and what their family did. It was very dangerous from what he could discern from the vague conversations his parents did with intimidating men who came to visit.

“Here you go, it’s your favorite. Buon appetito.” She said as she returned from the kitchen and set a plate in front of him. It was what he had every day, scrambled eggs and pork strips. He said grace and then proceeded to eat. He went through his breakfast mechanically as he had no appetite that morning. In between bites he glanced at the clock a few times. He mentally debated with himself about asking her before enough time had passed that his curiosity ultimately won out.

“Why didn’t you wake me up, Josie?”

“No particular reason, I just didn’t want to wake you up.”

He didn’t buy that at all, but he decided to drop it as she seemed unwilling to tell him and he didn’t want her to change her mind now. Going through the remains of his breakfast was a slog as each bite made him more unwilling to go through the next.

“Are you going to finish your food, young master, or will you continue praying to it?”

“I don’t have an appetite.”

He didn’t and the thought of taking another bite upset his stomach. So much so that he felt the urge to throw up the breakfast he had just eaten. No longer an urge, he ran to the bathroom and puked on the sink. Immediately concerned but weirdly not surprised, she followed him to the bathroom and rubbed his back as he continued to waste the breakfast she dutifully made for him. He would have felt guilty if he wasn’t so busy throwing up. Once he had emptied his stomach of whatever contents it had, his body decided that was time to throw another curve ball as the cold in his arms suddenly spread to the rest of his body. Relying on her for support, he limped his way toward the couch. He felt tired, and despite waking up earlier, he felt the urge to curl up in a ball and sleep again.

“You’re very cold,” she said as she pressed the back of her hand on his neck.

“Do you want a blanket?” she asked.

“Yes, please,” he replied.

Maybe it wasn’t his lucky day after all as he continued to spend his morning and later his afternoon laying on a couch and feeling like poop with Josephine continuing to care for him. He continued to lay there until a sound of a chime rang across the mansion.

“I’m home” His older sister, Angela, had said as the sound of her voice came from the front door along with her footsteps. “What happened to you?” She said as she came across him lying on the couch draped with a blanket.

He was too delirious in his sickness to reply, however; even before he could formulate a response, Angela had already knelt beside him. She grabbed his arm and inspected it for a good few minutes. Giorgio was about to say something before she uttered two words.

“Mana Pulse.”

A piercing coldness stronger than whatever he had felt all day struck him after Angela had said those words. The coldness ran along glowing green lines across his arms towards his sleeves, which continued to his chest. After a few seconds, the coldness dropped in intensity and was an almost soothing sensation.

“So that’s how it is,” Angela muttered. She then turned towards Josephine.

“We’re going to have to take him to Black Apple Magicks,” she said.

“Alright, I’ll carry him to the carriage,” Josephine replied.

“Where are we going?” he asked.

“To the hospital,” Angela replied.

He nodded at her reply as Josephine had already finished packing his things. Josephine then carried him on her back as the three of them walked to the family carriage. Along the way, he saw something that caught his eye. It was a missing children’s poster, it read: “Mary Smith, aged 10” Along with contact information if the girl was ever seen. Several other missing children’s posters cover the surface of the wall, with other girls of similar age. He thought about it for a while before dozing off to sleep on the way to the supposed hospital they were taking him to.

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