The skin grafts took okay, and he ended up fine, but it just made me more anxious. After a while I wouldn't go outside if I didn't absolutely have too. I spent my days terrified that I'd just seize up and hurt someone. My job was mostly remote, and no one was too bothered when I made excuses for the times I should have gone in, so I managed to stay afloat. But I lost that girlfriend, alienated pretty much all of my friends. Started to put on a bunch of weight.
Finally, after a couple of months of uncharacteristic silence, my grandparents came a-knocking. Grandma was worried and Grandpa was angry. He wasn't a yeller, but he had a sternness about him that always cut me deep. I shouted. He smoldered. Grandma protested and tried to calm us down, remind everyone that, strong feelings aside, this was still coming from a place of love. She might as well have been in a different house. Then Grandpa said it.
“We're taking you to the Hospital.”
It was like he hit a dimmer switch in my head. Everything just kinda faded into a keening hum. I felt like I was being sucked down and out by some kind of mental riptide. Pulled away from the world.
Three weeks later I woke up in the hospital I had been so terrified of. The news was trying to force some story about a terrorist and a “sophisticated EMP device”. They never found any evidence, and the story dropped out of the public eye pretty quickly. A lot of people were really badly hurt. A lot of people died. My grandmother was one of them.