I’ve been hearing rumors around school about Paul Jenkins being seriously ill. Apparently, the vomiting episode that I encountered the other day didn’t end. I took him to the health room and attempted to clean off the vomit from my shoes and then left. Evidently, he continued to puke and is now in the hospital with severe dehydration. He can’t keep anything down. People are saying it’s like some weird form of dysentery. I know that people in Third World countries had serious problems with dysentery, but Americans haven’t. Our water has always been clean and purified ever since I can remember. But we did just get here, relatively speaking, so maybe they were having some trouble with the pipes.
I decided to stop drinking the school water, thinking it was that, but after awhile I got too thirsty and everyone seemed to be doing fine. I guess it was just Paul’s house. I went to the store and picked up a water purifier for my mom and hooked it up for her. Didn’t want to take any chances.
Jake Fields, Paul’s best friend, came up to me when I was cleaning out my locker at the end of a long day.
“Hey, I just wanted to thank you for taking care of Paul the other day.”
I gave him a strange look, unsure of what to say in response to that. All I did was take him to the health room.
“He was like puking all morning, but he insisted on coming to school ‘cause he had a test. I told him it was a terrible idea and he should stay home and rest.”
“Hey, don’t worry about it. Is he doing okay?”
Jake shrugged. “I don’t know. He’s not stopping. He’s got nothing left. I went to see him and he was like a skeleton. It’s only been a week. The doctors can’t figure out what’s wrong with him, they’ve tried everything. His mom’s freaking out. You know.”
I nodded, swallowing deeply. I felt my heart speed up and could only imagine how worried Paul’s mom was.
“So…is it Paul’s water or what?” I asked, cautiously, not wanting to upset Jake.
“Yeah, I guess so. But his mom’s been on some kind of juice diet, so she hasn’t been drinking the water. Just buying juice from the store.”
“Man…I’m sorry about Paul.”
“Yeah, thanks,” Jake said, patting me on the shoulder. “I’ll see you.” He walked past me.
“See ya.” I watched him walk away, my heart beating out of my chest. I threw my backpack over my shoulder and fast-walked hurriedly out of school, anxious to get home and talk to Juliet about what’s going on. Things are starting to weird me out. A new planet, fishy water, threatening weather patterns. We were definitely not as safe here as the government claimed we were.