Mrs. Miller had not been happy at all. When Jamie’s mum had phoned the school the morning of the 16thto tell them he had been suddenly caught with the flu, his history teacher had personally phoned his home to see what was going on. His mum had seemed suddenly annoyed, defended Jamie saying he was not lying, the defending herself saying she was not trying to ruin her son’s life by depriving him of an education. Then she found out there was a test and made assurances that he would sit it, even if it meant Jamie coming in during the summer holidays!
He had a feeling this was to make sure he definitely wasn’t faking being ill, but when he spent the whole day in and out of fever dreams, both crying and laughing hysterically whilst thrashing around in anger, not to forget puking into buckets, she was much more sympathetic.
He had many bad dreams, like shards of a black looking glass that fell to the floor, when he thought about them, he picked up these pieces and threw them away in fear, waking up only to feel exhausted and generally terrible.
He thought he was dying, or going insane, either way it was hellish for him throughout the whole day. Evening came however and it was slowly subsiding. When his mum came upstairs, he promised he’d try to come down for tea, after all, this was his dad’s last night before he went to America.
Part of him was still angry at his dad, didn’t want to give him an undeserved goodbye, wanted his dad to suffer a little for breaking his promise.
It wasn’t the first time he’d done this, often his dad was called away and broke some promise here and there, and he spent so many hours working at his book shop that often Jamie wouldn’t see him till very late in the evening which his dad spent writing away in his study. He never had much time for Jamie, and when he did show interest, he suddenly went swanning off to America.
That was unfair. His dad was just busy, he couldn’t blame him for working hard to make sure his family had a roof right? But that couldn’t stop the swell of anger in his chest.
Reluctantly, Jamie made it down to the dinner table.
It was beef stew today, ladled onto a plate with dumplings that had been kept heated in his mum’s slow cooker. The smell was wonderful, although it made his stomach turn a little with the richness.
She placed the plate on the table in front of him and where his dad would be sitting, but he was upstairs in the study again. Jamie couldn’t understand why he was there, since he was going on a book tour soon, why would he still need to be writing.
He heard the study door shut and his father came down, his heavy steps like thumps against the house.
He was a tall man, quite strong despite his geeky appearance, what with his receding, brown hair greying with age and his thin glasses covering his silvery eyes. He ruffled Jamies hair as he walked past to his place at the end of the table. His mum took her place to his right, Jamie on his left.
“Smells gorgeous,” he smiled and speared a huge dumpling, splashing beef stock and carrots onto it, then stuffed the whole thing in his mouth.
“What, as in, it doesn’t normally?” his mum asked innocently, though she winked at Jamie who had to suppress a giggle.
His dad nearly choked to reply fast enough.
“Oh no,” he said, his mouth half full, then swallowed the hot food, his eyes teary, “it’s always good!”
“Don’t talk with your mouth full dad,” Jamie tutted.
“Don’t be cheeky!” he snapped, the his face lit up and he ruffled Jamie’s hair again, “heard you’re ill,” his face suddenly fell a little. Jamie was surprised to see concern there. Jamie just stirred the stew a little and nibbled at a small piece of beef. It was rich indeed, but he didn’t want to make his mum’s effort a waste.
“Just feel sick, and bad fever dreams,” he muttered.
“Y’know I used to have bad dreams,” his dad said, then he shivered, “after we’d been burgled, horrible stuff,” Jamie looked up from the food, intrigued.
“What about?” but something told him he didn’t want to know.
“I dunno mate, honestly,” he seemed to be straining at remembering, “I think... it was a person, trying to get into the house,” he shivered again, “really nasty stuff. After the burglary I just couldn’t sleep well for months.” Suddenly his mum laced her fingers through his dad’s. Jamie made a retching motion. She rolled her eyes but moved her hand anyway.
Inside however, Jamie did not feel so casual, in fact he was scared. The thought of his dad having the same dream as him was just too weird. He had a sudden thought about History, about patterns repeating themselves. It almost made him want to ask his dad about what he’d done to get rid of those dreams but something seemed to stop him.
Jamie sat at the table, feeling very uncomfortable. He felt another wave of nausea and ran for the bathroom.