29 Days to Go
I almost talked to Hector today.
How it happened was, as soon as I got off the bus Tim the Bore popped up like he was waiting for me. I can’t remember a time when Tim was not picking on me. He is such a jerk. Anyway, nothing new today, same old joke. “Hey, Felix,” he says. “Guh-guh-guh-guess what?” Making fun of how Zyx makes it hard for me to talk. So incredibly clever, he is. As usual I don’t answer, but that never stops him. “Time for the word of the day,” he says. “What do you think? Will the streak continue? Let’s find out. . . .” He’s run-hopping along next to me, and I just stare at the ground and keep walking. “The word of the day is, Felix Yz a . . . retard!” Which is supposed to be funny because my last name sounds like “is.” Get it? Then he does a leap with his arms in the air and screams, “Yes! The streak continues!”
Like I said, usually I don’t respond, but this time maybe I’m feeling a little more stressy than usual on account of how hard it has been getting to move in the morning and ZeroDay finally being set, because all of a sudden I feel this hot squirt in my stomach and I make a fist. I only do it for a second before uncurling my hand again, but he still goes nuts. “What? What’s that?” he shouts, shoving me and punching my shoulder. I start shaking and turn to face him, but before I can do anything else he pushes me into the janitor’s closet and slams the door. I crash into the big square sink and fall over against the rolling bucket and lie there for a second, feeling swoopy.
Once the floor stops pitching around I get up and try to open the door. It pushes out a little and then slams back, and I hear Tim’s stupid laugh and figure out from the foot shadows under the crack that he and one of his stupid friends must be holding the door shut. I try again and they push back so hard they make it bang. I still feel dizzy, so I slide down and sit leaning against the door, letting my body curl naturally into the Pose, the way it always wants to these days. The wood feels cool against the side of my head. They start whisper-calling through the door, but I can’t hear what they’re saying and I don’t care.
I start to think maybe I’ll take a nap or something when I hear high heels and a teacher’s voice. Tim answers, and even through the door I can hear the fakey apologizing tone in his voice. The teacher speaks again and sneakers go away, squeaking hard on purpose, and then the door opens and Mrs. O is there.
Mrs. O is OK, I guess. She talks to me like I’m eight years old, but then she talks to all the other kids the same way, so maybe it’s not because she thinks I’m stupid. Maybe it’s because she always says things right out of the Positive Things for Teachers to Say Handbook. “Felix,” she says, in her *very concerned* voice. “Are you all right?” But I hardly hear her, because Hector is standing right behind her.
OK, do I really have to explain about Hector? Because it’s complicated and I don’t actually know what I’m explaining and I don’t want to. do what you want do not do what you do not want
Great, Zyx, that’s such a big help. sarcasm question mark
No, you think? sarc
Yes, sarcasm. Gah. Anyway, I think I do have to explain, because that was my idea with this secret blog or e-journal or whatever, that I am telling everything from scratch to a total stranger, so that if ZeroDay goes, um . . . let’s just say, if I don’t happen to be around later, people will have everything they need to understand. So. Explaining Hector. felix explain question mark
I’m thinking, I’m thinking. Uh.
Yeah, you know what? I’m done for today. zyx love felix
You love everybody and everything. Or so you keep saying. But, yeah, thanks. welcome
Twenty-nine days until ZeroDay. I’m counting down. Twenty-nine days to go. 28 Days to Go
I just read through what I wrote last night, and I realized that if someone reads this who doesn’t know me, which is the whole idea, then there are a bunch of things that would be hard to understand, like how a lot of the time I have trouble talking, and the part about it getting hard to move in the morning, and ZeroDay, and the Pose, and the words in italics. Well, all of these things have one reason behind them, which is that when I was little there was an accident with a secret machine my dad was working on, and I got fused at the atomic level with a hyperintelligent being from the fourth dimension. Zyx, say hello. why say hello question mark
If you understood humans better it would be easy to explain, but you don’t, so it’s not. Could you just do it, please? Hello
Thank you. As you can see, Zyx communicates by using my fingers to type, but has never figured out about shift keys or punctuation. Or italics for that matter. Those I go back and put in after so you can tell who is who.
So that’s Zyx (rhymes with “six,” in case you were wondering), and the Pose is the exact position I was in when the accident happened. That was when I was three, so I hardly remember anything about it, but from what they tell me, Dad had me at the lab, babysitting while he worked. There were these two big spheres, and the idea of the experiment was to make a tiny crystal marble disappear from one of the spheres, pass through the fourth dimension (the actual space kind of fourth dimension, not time), and appear instantly in the other sphere, and what happened was, the machine went off before it was supposed to. Maybe Dad got a little excited or something. Mom says he could be like that—overeager is the word she used. In any case, the spheres were not sealed up the way they were supposed to be, and at that moment they figure I was losing my balance and falling on my butt, because in the Pose I’m half curled between standing and sitting, with my right arm sticking out to the side and my neck bent. Which is why I walk hunched over, and why I sleep on a recliner instead of a bed. And being fused with Zyx also makes it hard for me to talk most of the time, which is why Tim came up with the R-word for his little game. Most people think I’m mentally disabled, but I’m not. Just stuck together with an alien.
What else? ZeroDay, right. That’s when the Procedure is going to happen, which means they are going to try to separate me and Zyx again. Dr. Yoon is worried that if we stay fused together for too long it might be bad for me, for both of us. None of this has ever happened before, so nobody really knows for sure, but it seems like, um . . . like . . . I don’t want to say it, but I guess I have to. It seems like if we stay fused together for too long, there’s a chance we might both die.
Copyright © 2017 by Lisa Bunker. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.