The Grim and The Fantastic Chapter Three Excerpt
It was another stormy night in December, with rain hammering against the window, and lightning flashes casting shadows around the hospital room where Merton lay.The shadows appeared to snarl at Merton with dripping jaws ready to bite. He had his back pressed as far back against his pillow as possible, his little hands gripping fiercely at his covers. He was alone for the moment as his mother had gone to the cafeteria to get some coffee, and his father had gone home to grab some of Merton’s things while he was in quarantine.
Merton closed his eyes and summoned up every ounce of energy he could muster to will the scary shadows away. When he opened his eyes again he blinked a few times to try to make sense of what he was seeing.The shadows were gone and the gray screen of rain drumming against the windows had turned to drops of sparkling color bouncing softly against the glass—not the least bit threatening. It looked magical. But, no matter how much Merton blinked and rubbed his eyes, this time the color splashes beading down the window didn’t go away.
“Are they real?” He breathed to himself, throwing his legs over the edge of the mattress and hopping out of bed to approach the window. The color continued to drip shining light in front of his face. He reached out a hand and placed it against the inside of the glass, wishing he could touch the water rolling down the outside.
“It’s pretty magnificent, isn’t it?”Merton whirled around at the sound of a voice behind him. He looked up at the face of Doctor Jankins, standing in the doorway.
“You… you can see the color? I thought I was seeing things that aren’t there.
Hallucinating?” He scrunched up his nose in confusion, wrinkling his freckles as he did so.
“Yes, hallucinating is the word you’re looking for. But, I can assure you, that you aren’t seeing a hallucination.”
“What is it, then? And what about the other splashes I saw?”
“I definitely noted what you were seeing when we first met, Merton. If you’d like to take a seat, I would like to explain some things to you, now that we have your diagnosis confirmed, and you’re officially an in-patient for treatment.”
“Um, ok, I suppose.” Merton agreed warily. He hopped back up onto his bed. “Should my mom or dad be here for this if it’s medical information?”
“This information is a little different, and I’m afraid I am only permitted to share it with the children.” Jankins answered, sitting in the recliner chair beside the bed. “Alright, this is going to be a lot of information to take in. Are you sure you’re up to it?”
Merton glanced back at the colorful rain cascading down the windows and nodded. “Yes, I can handle it.” He answered seriously.
“Well, Merton, first things first; all of the children always have a choice. There are two options— two paths, if you will— that each child can choose to embark on.” Jankins began.