Pandemic Danny

©2009, Made in DNA

Danny sat quietly, a sporadic jerk the only thing punctuating his otherwise silent countenance. His left eye had gone milky white with cataract, his skin was a mottled yellow and sickly, and despite the fair temperature of the room on a fine spring morning, whispery rivulets of sweat snuck their way down his hot brow passed his earlobe until they found a hiding spot under his jaw.

Tiffany rolled the dice over the game board and took her turn, landing on a penalty space. She groaned while Kent snickered. “Stop laughing, Kent,” she gave him a mean look.

"I wouldn’t laugh if you weren’t such a stupid player," he stuck his tongue out.

Tiffany did her best to ignore him and passed the dice to Danny. Or tried to anyway… for the umpteenth time.

"Danny if you don’t roll, Kent will win," she cajoled half-heartedly. "You know you are the only one who can beat him," she smiled, but it was a hard sell. Danny wasn’t looking so good. Maybe he was sick.

"Ah forget him!" Erica grabbed the dice from Tiffany’s outstretched hand. "Besides… he smells." The third-grader was trying to hold her breath while playing but it was impossible as the bedroom window was open and Danny was closest to it. The otherwise soft breeze coming through it brought with it a putrid smell of something like the egg Ms Bircham had brought to class for a science experiment and let rot on purpose.

"He always smells!" chirped Louis, the fat kid from down the block with thick glasses.

"Stop it you guys! That’s not nice. Danny has is our friend!" Tiffany demonstrated.

Erica rolled ignoring the outburst; the only thing she was interested in was finishing the game. Her mother had promised she could go home after it was over. Why she even had to be here was beyond her. Today was piano lessons and she preferred them over playing stupid games with the other neighborhood kids. But she knew it was going to be a long game as she watched one of the dice bounce off the board and careened haphazardly under Danny’s pant leg. The look on her face went from one of haughtiness to open disgust.

"BWHAHAAA!" Kent began to laugh obnoxiously, a common and annoying habit of his.

Erica balled his fists and was ready to punch Kent in the nose when Tiffany stopped her. “It’s okay. I’ll get it,” with a smile.

But that just ticked Erica off more. She didn’t want to seem like a chicken in front of the others and Tiffany’s smug smile was too much.

As she reached forward stretching to reach the piece without getting too close, Danny’s breathing suddenly intensified. His breath hit her in the face like a brick wall—heavy and sickly sweet like her hospitalized Great-Grandmother Denyi who also smelled, like, well…

"Groooss!" Erica screeched and recoiled as drool dripped down from Danny’s open mouth onto the back of her hand. "I don’t wanna play no more! MOM!!!" She began to tear up.

The words were barely out of Erica’s mouth when Danny finally became animated. His head whipped in the direction of the young girl’s pleas for her mother to come get her and a deep, undeniable hunger took control…

Downstairs in the living room of Mrs Henders the screams could be clearly heard via the baby monitor she had hid under her daughter Tiffany’s bed.

The other mothers in the room with her all turned their attention toward it as well. Then came the unmistakable growling they had half-expected, half-feared, and the sound of running feet across the ceiling which ended in a desperate banging on the door at the top of the stairs leading to the second floor.

"Did you lock the door?" Carol, Louis’ mother asked her eyes somewhat bovine in complacency and worry.

"Of course," Mrs Henders smiled, and reached for the nice China cup before her friend, "More tea?"

"Thank you, yes," a relieved look crossed the woman’s face.

Erica’s mother spoke next, “I don’t mind this party ladies… in fact, I really appreciate it.” She looked down at the coffee table situated between them as if the words she sought might crystallize there before her, “I guess i just have my concerns.”

"Oh Fawn," Mrs Lechenko reassured, "It’s no big deal. I took Danny to the dentist yesterday and had all his incisors capped so that while he’ll break the skin when he bites the other kids, he’ll just infect them, not eat."

A smile and understanding giggling broke out among the ladies.

"I guess I’m just being silly. It really is such a relief to have this taken care of. I hear catching The Pandemic can be deadly in adults."

"It can be," Mrs Lechenko pointed out. "My own mother brought me to one of these parties when I was a young girl."

Fawn fidgeted slightly and then laughed all over again, “By the way Jenny, this cake is absolutely fantastic.”

"Thank you, actually I got the recipe off Cake Net. They have all kinds of afternoon cakes."

"Oh do you have the URL?" Carol quickly asked, not wanting to miss out.

"Just a moment, I think I have it here…" and she whipped out her PDA thumbing through her bookmarked sites to the children’s panicked screams.

Inspired by the insanity that are Pox Parties.

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posted : Saturday, May 9th, 2009

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