today we learn that Valentine’s recovery was not as miraculous as everyone thought.
On that cool September morning, I awoke thinking that my only problem would be getting through my first day in 10th grade without anyone finding out I was wearing Dayups. After a month, I was finally able to feel the urge, but I still struggled to make it in time. So I was wearing mostly out of necessity, however I had another motive.
One of Dad’s many holdings happened to be The Royale Diaper Company who had risen in fame because of their renowned Lit’l Prince/Princess line of infant undergarments, training-pants, youth diapers and now youth bed/day wetting pants. They had offered the world the best in comfort, absorbency and price since the 2000’s and now they claimed to add all that to a new gimmick, discreteness.
It was my job to test that. If I signed off, they would launch the new line on January 1st. If I vetoed, it was back to the drawing board. That was a lot of power to give a teenager and I was getting paid to boot! So far the Sweet Dreams had passed the test both at night and during the day and now it was the Dayups turn.
The Dayups were supposedly designed to look and feel like normal underwear, panties in my case or boxer briefs for the boys, and have the 12hr. absorbency of a diaper. The first two points were definitely a check. Yesterday I had gone to the store and held up a pair next to a packet of normal panties. They looked exactly the same. Today they felt no different than the pair I’d worn three months ago. Well they were a tiny bit thicker, but who cares? So far, so good.
It was on the bus ride to school, that the weird feelings began. It started with a tingling in the roof of my mouth, like something was growing underneath the skin. It was gone by the time I got to school, so I wasn’t worried. I should have been.
The next time was when I wet myself in front of the bathroom door. I had almost made it, but a freshman had dropped her books and halted traffic for a good two minutes. As the warmth spread between my legs, I felt an almost uncontrollable urge to kill that freshman. It came out of nowhere; a voice that was mine, but wasn’t. “How dare she prevent you from reaching your goal? Punish her! Kill her!” Where the hell had that come from? I managed to calm down by splashing water in my face and was able to determine that one wetting held up to the claim, before heading back to class bewildered.
The third time was actually a combination of feelings that gradually increased in severity and it began a little before noon. I was hungry, which was nothing new, it was almost lunch time after all. The only weird thing was how suddenly the feeling came on. One second I was paying attention to the teacher, the next I was distracted by needing food. The bell rang and I went to the cafeteria where I got food like normal. I couldn’t eat it. My body simply refused to swallow and the hunger only got worse.
By the time lunch was over, I was in physical pain. I didn’t even realize that I was wetting myself again till I sat down. I felt a hand on my shoulder, it was Sarah. “Hey Val are you alright? You look really pale.” I could only shake my head. “Don’t move I’ll be right back.” When she returned I felt
something being pressed into my hand. “Let’s get you to the nurse.” I remembered entering the hallway and nothing more.
I was staring at a purple canopy. I was in bed at home, but how had I gotten there? Despite my confusion, I felt great, better than I’d even felt before the accident. Then I shifted and felt an unusual feeling between my legs. Reaching down I discovered that I’d messed in my sleep. Great there went my streak.
With a sigh I got up. The Dayup sagged and I made a mental note to put “The garment is discrete when wet, but obvious when soiled.” in my report, before heading into the bathroom. Taking a shower would be quicker than a change.
It was a good thing I decided to do that, because I had also suffered a massive nose bleed while I was napping. The mirror revealed a mess all over my mouth and chin and even some on my cheeks. Gross! That was worse than the mess between my legs. With both those combined, it was no wonder I felt better.
The shower cleared my head and I remembered climbing the stairs and collapsing in bed. What had happened at school was still a mystery, but I felt too happy to care. The clock said 6:30, so I went ahead and slipped into a Sweet Dreams and my pajamas. Dinner was usually at seven and then Jenny and the twins had bath-time after. I usually bathed them and then myself while Mom and Dad cleaned the kitchen, then we (the kids) all went to bed at the same time, so our parents could have some “alone time” after tucking the younger ones in. I just figured I’d jump a step forward.
It was when I got down stairs, that I realized something was wrong. Mom and Dad weren’t home and neither were my sisters. I looked everywhere and found no clues as to where they had gone, or even if they had come home. A new feeling hit me, panic.
I am alone. My family is gone. I will never see them again. I am alone. These thoughts repeated through my head and I was filled with an unstoppable feeling of abandonment and fear. I found myself sobbing uncontrollably in my closet. I don’t know how long I was in there, but eventually a buzzing in my pocket brought me back to my senses. My phone! I mentally kicked myself. I could just have called them! I came out of the closet and looked at the screen.
It was a text from Sarah. A text message warning me that my parents were on the way home and that she was sorry she couldn’t cover for me any longer. What? I hadn’t asked her to do that. What was going on? I was soon to have answer, as below me the front door opened.
I had barely set foot at the bottom of the stairs, before I received a sister around each leg and one around the middle. They were crying and holding on like I might float away. “Hey guys, what’s wrong? Did something happen?”
Mom just gave me a look. "Jen, why don’t you take the twins upstairs and play with the doll house? " Jenifer gave me a sympathetic look as she unlatched Emily and Silvia and headed up the stairs. “Valentine, can you meet us in the living room?” Uh oh. Mom only used that tone when we were in trouble. What had I done?
The living room couch was designed with a “U” shape and I was placed on one side while my parents sat on the other. The way they looked at me, made me wish more than a glass coffee table separated us. “So…what do you want to talk about?” I asked, suddenly very interested in my top’s print.
Dad’s voice was even, but I could tell he was unhappy. “We were hoping you could tell us about School. How was it today?”
“Fine, we had spaghetti for lunch and started a new book in English.”
“Did you enjoy your science class?”
My science class? Did I have science today? Suddenly my head hurt and I couldn’t see straight. “I didn’t have science today.”
“You mean you didn’t go. In fact none of your teachers saw you after lunch.”
What? That wasn’t true was it? No, Sarah and I sat next to each other in history. I remembered that. “Sarah and I have history after lunch. We sat together.”
“Valentine Margret Eaglestone, don’t lie to us!” Mom was really mad. “You made Sarah think you were sick and then left her outside the bathroom.”
“I left her outside the bathroom?” It was a question, but I said it so low that Mom misinterpreted. “Now don’t go getting mad at her. A true friend doesn’t keep secrets that might hurt you.”
“Your mother’s right. The fact that your friend is playing hooky is not a secret to keep. Now where did you go?”
“And why did you ignore our phone calls, or Sarah’s texts?”
I looked at my phone. 27 missed calls and 10 text messages stared back at me. I didn’t remember my phone ringing or buzzing until I was in the closet. I thought back and tried, really tried, but I couldn’t recall what happened after I sat down in my desk beside Sarah. “I don’t know.”
“You don’t know?! Valentine, you’re turning sixteen in two months, not six. What do you mean you don’t know?”
“I don’t know.”
“Valentine! This is not the time for games.”
I tried again and failed again. For whatever reason, I had lost five hours and that scared me more than you know. It’s hard to explain, losing a few hours would be scary for anyone. However, for a girl who could remember her parents arguing while she was in the womb and recite an entire book after reading it once, losing even thirty minutes was terrifying and I had lost a full five hours.
I began sobbing again. “I really don’t know. I…I… Can’t remember. I can’t, why can’t I? What’s happening to me?” For a second my parents thought I was faking, but they quickly realized that no one could fake my level of fear. Almost immediately, I was wrapped in Mom’s arms and sobbing into her as Dad held us both. Mom kept whispering “Its ok baby, Mommy’s got you.” and other sweetings until I calmed down. She then stood up, giving a quiet grunt as she took my full weight. It was only 100lbs, but she was used to the total 30lbs of the twins. “Robert will you go up and get the girls ready for bed? I’ll take care of Valentine.” They kissed over me.
“Sure thing, honey. Should I call the song bird?”
“Tomorrow, if she can.”
At the time, I thought she was telling him when to call. Later I realized they were talking about the Doctor and she was telling him when to get an appointment. They were stealthy like that.
Dad kissed me on the top of the head, said “I love you, Miracle Girl” and headed up the stairs. As his footsteps receded, Mom shifted me to a better position. “Are you hungry, sweetie?” I shook my head. I wasn’t quite ready to speak yet.
“All right then. Let’s get you ready for bed.” She carried me up the stairs, through my room and into my bathroom. There she sat me on the toilet and began to run water in the tub. I was back to myself enough to ask: “Mom, what are you doing?”
“I’m going to give you a bath, sweetheart.”
“But mom, I-” she put her figure to my lips. “Hush dear, let momma take care of you.” She rolled up her sleeves and tested the water. Finding it warm enough, she closed the drain and took a bottle from under the sink. She poured a capful into the water and I realized I was about to have a bubble bath.
Ten years of programming is not so easily lost in five, and I found my arms automatically rising into position. Mom gently pulled off my shirt, folded it and placed it next to my sink. “Now lie down.” I obeyed and my bottoms soon joined my top.
I felt mom check my Sweet Dreams. “Well I was worried we’d be wasting your special panties, but it looks like someone had a little accident.” I blushed. It must have been while I was in the closet. The wet garment joined the soiled one from earlier in the pail. “Apparently more than one.” My blush deepened and Mom laughed. “Don’t worry, Mommy will get you all cleaned up.”
Mom clearly hadn’t lost her touch. The water was just right and the bubbles did their job of lifting my spirits. Since I had already showered, most of what was washed away was the cares of the day. It was just so relaxing to let Mom take care of me. By the time she got to my hair, my eyes were drooping.
Soon the water was draining away and I was wrapped in a fuzzy towel I hadn’t seen Mom get. Once again she carried me into my room. This time I was placed on the changing table that had been my roommate since July. Through half-lidded eyes, I watched as I was powdered and placed into one of my remaining night diapers. They featured a picture of Sleeping beauty, their name sake, and were incredibly obvious. I was too far gone to complain, but I’m not sure I would have. My hair was brushed and I was placed in bed, somehow back in my pajamas. I felt Mom kiss me on the forehead and I was asleep.
The next morning, I was woken long enough to dress and climb in the back of mom’s car. I woke up again as it entered the parking lot at Granny’s Daycare and babysitting. Confused, I looked down at myself. While it was obvious that I was diapered, my dress was clearly one bought after my fifteenth birthday. Then I noticed the twins on either side of me. The morning came back. Oh. In the driver’s seat Mom was having a hard time not
It was pretty funny, but we managed not to wake Emily or Silvia by laughing out loud as we carried them inside. When we handed them off, however, they stirred long enough to exchange goodbyes. It was while she was signing them in that Mom couldn’t hold back anymore. Stifling a laugh she managed: “So, Val you want me to sign you in too?” before we both lost it. Our laughs got some weird looks from the staff, so I said. “You had to be there.” I hadn’t laughed like that in a while; it felt good.
Back at the car though, reality came back. “I’m not going to school today, am I?” I asked, climbing into the passenger seat. The only time Mom drove us to school, was if there was a delay or an after school activity. Otherwise Jenifer and I used the school’s bus system while Mom dropped the twins off on the way to work at the publishing house.
While she probably could use an extra hand deciding which of her clients’ manuscripts to publish, I wouldn’t be the first choice. Which meant I was either going to be late or something more serious was afoot. She got in and started the car before replying. “No you’re not. We’re going to see Dr. Melody about what happened yesterday.” Oh great, another trip to the hospital. Well at least I now understood the code exchange the night before.
“Ok, we’re going to put the dye in now. Don’t worry if it feels like you wet yourself, that’s natural.”
“I won’t worry, I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference anyway.”
I heard laughter from the other side of the window. Somewhere behind it stood Mom, Dr. Melody, Nurse Joi and some technician I didn’t know. There was a click as the dye machine began to send its contents down the IV tube and into my blood stream. The foreign liquid caused a weird warmth to spread over my body and they were right, it did feel like I was wetting myself. Though, I could have actually done it.
During my first two times, I was asleep. So the third was a whole new experience for me. It was… quite boring actually. I had to stay almost perfectly still while this ring rotated above my head. After five minutes, they had me read a passage from some Teen romance novel. I was told to read both silently and out loud. Then I had to regurgitate what I’d read without the passage in front of me. Talk about a vomit fest, but I did it verbatim. They had me lay there silently for one more pass and then I was done.
Dr. Melody had me and Mom follow her to her office. For a place of business, the chairs were really comfy. The one I sat in, virtually ate me and Mom gave a little gasp of surprise as well. The doctor smiled. “Sorry about the chairs. They were a gift from a wealthy benefactor and the Director is worried we’ll lose that support if we get rid of them.” I relocated to Mom’s lap and the Doctor began.
“So when you got here, we determined that you did not have a concussion or like injury.” How shinning a light in my eyes told them anything, I still don’t know, but I nodded anyway. “Then we had you lay in that boring machine for several minutes. Would you like to see why?” At least she agreed that it was boring. “Sure.”
Dr. Melody turned her computer screen around and colorful oblong shapes appeared. “This is your brain after your first surgery. We took these images to see what could be done. The dark areas you see are damage caused by hitting the road.” A new set appeared. “These were taken after the second surgery. As you can see the damage has healed remarkably on its own. Based on this evidence we left your head be.” The final set was from today, the date said so. “Today there are no signs of trauma left. Your brain is as healthy as the day you were born.”
She let that sink in for a moment. I wasn’t sure whether to be glad or upset “So you don’t know what’s wrong with me?” She shook her head. “Medically nothing is wrong with you. All the tests came back clean.” My face fell. Now what?
Dr. Melody took a brochure out of her desk. “This could be just a mental thing. I have a good friend, Dr. Crystal McLean, who specializes in helping kids overcome trauma. Unless this happens again, it’s up to you whether to see her or not. If it does happen, however, schedule an appointment immediately. You do not need a third episode.” That was for sure.
Mom took the brochure and we stood up. After Mom thanked Dr. Melody for her time, the doctor escorted us to the door and we left. I was still a little down and mostly shuffled to the car. When we got there, mom stopped me from getting in the passenger side. She took a plastic card out of her purse and handed it to me. It was my permit.
“How about you drive home?” I was instantly happy again. The cool thing about Mom’s car was that everything was adjustable. It didn’t matter that I was barely tall enough to see over the wheel, one button press and problem solved. Welcome driver Valentine the computerized voice said. Applying your settings. I love that car.
It was another two months before anything strange happened again. Sarah and I were having a small party at my house. This time I was the woman of the day and I was celebrating three things. First I’d passed my driving test. Second: I was now totally dry during the day, (but I still wore for comfort and monetary reasons). Finally, saving the best for last, it was my birthday! Sweet sixteen had come at last.
We shared the traditional cake and ice-cream with Jenifer and the Twins and enjoyed the two year olds wearing more of their food than eating it. They apparently didn’t like being laughed at and started a food fight. Hearing the commotion, Mom walked out of the kitchen and took a piece of cake that I had just dodged. We all froze and waited for the “rage”. She looked at everyone, picked the cake off her shirt, shrugged and threw it at Jen. That wasn’t weird, what happened next was.
After we cleaned up the dining room we retreated to our own various bathrooms to clean ourselves. Well Mom took the twins with her and Sarah shared with me, but that’s not important. I was brushing my teeth, when Sarah called in to ask me if I would brush her hair. After I gave her an affirmative, I turned back to the mirror and dropped my toothbrush in surprise. I was gone!
I looked away and back, still only the curtained shower tub was reflected. I reached out and touched the mirror. My hand sank into it. I jumped back with a scream and fell in the tub. Sarah was there before I could even get up. “Are you alright? What happened?” I took the offered hand and started to tell her about the mirror then stopped. I was back. “Uh, I just slipped is all.” I said turning red. She turned redder “Oh sorry, I think my shower concert got a little too wild.” We laughed and that was that.
Now normally school night sleep overs are frowned upon and for good reason, but there was a delay in place due to an early ice storm and as an added bonus Sarah got stuck at our house. So that night found Sarah and me falling asleep to the movie version of the romance novel I had read in the hospital. Weird dreams followed.
Most involved romantic liaisons with strapping men, with both Sarah and me participating. Some just had Sarah featured and others just me. Then towards the very end, the two of us were enjoying each other’s company in a way that was unexpected but not at all unpleasant. Then the nightmares came.
I was running through the woods. It was night, but I could see clearly. I felt powerful like nothing could stop me. A shape caught my eye, someone else was running. I smiled. I liked it when they ran. I took to the trees, following them from above, and when I grew tired of the chase I pounced. Hot, fear seasoned blood filled my mouth. It was delicious. I turned the corpse over, it was Emily. I didn’t have time to react before the dream reset. Each time dream me got its prey, it was a different family member. After five times, it was Sarah who stared back with dead eyes and I was able to wake up screaming.
I was still shaking on the ride into school. I had never ever wished that my family was dead. Why then had I dreamed about killing them? It was the same feeling I had gotten after the traffic jam the first day of school, a foreign feeling of pure aggression. I looked over at Sarah, who was driving. She was my best friend. Sure we’d had fights, but I’d never wanted to hurt her. My life had gotten very weird lately.
The good thing about school, is that it helps you forget your problems for a while. All you have to do is fall into the rhythm for 6-8 hours. That’s what I did. From 10 to 4 all that mattered was geometric equations, Spanish conversations, and winning at dodge ball. I made myself forget the dreams and the lost hours and just enjoy learning. Then it happened again.
After school Sarah and I went to the local coffee joint to do our homework. It was a tradition dating back to pre-algebra and the caffeinated goodness was the perfect treat after a long day. At first I thought the disorganized shapes on my paper were the cause of my headache, math had never been my strong suit. Then I caught the news.
Police had responded to a suspicious smell and had found a massacre. An entire drug den had been ripped apart. My headache got worse and my vison was starting to fuzz. The speculation was that a rival gang had shot up the place and then unleased dogs on the corpses. I lost feeling. I remembered looking up at Sarah and saying “Call mom, it’s happening ag…”
I was first in line at the precinct. The Sargent was asking if I was alright. I shook my head. “I don’t know how I got here.” He pressed a button on her desk. “Detective Lions, could you come to the desk?” A police-woman in plain clothes arrived soon after. She looked me over. “10-73?”
She took my hand. “Alright sweetie, come with me.” I was too confused to resist, so I obediently followed. She took me to a decently sized office and put me in a chair. “Do you have a phone?” I nodded and handed it over after putting in the password. Mom chose that moment to call and the detective obviously answered. “No mam, this Detective Lions. Don’t worry Valentine is perfectly fine, she’s just a little confused right now. Yes mam, I’ll watch her till you get here. We’re next to the courthouse. Yes mam, 5th and pine. Good bye.”
I was handed back my phone. “Sit right there and don’t move till your mom gets here, ok?” I nodded. It was quiet for a few moments, I played with my phone and the detective worked on whatever it was that she did. Then a question came to me. Why on earth was a Detective playing babysitter? I had to ask. “Mam?”
“Why did they have you watch me?”
She thought for a moment. “Your momma let you watch cop shows?”
“In any of the episodes did a new guy show up?”
Oh. As a way of initiation the veteran cops gave the newbies, whether they were fresh from the academy or not, the strangest cases. “I’m your initiation aren’t I?”
“Smart girl. I appreciate the lack of over the top craziness.”
We were silent again till mom showed up, which wasn’t long. After a very tearful greeting and thanking of Detective Lions, mom took me home. She didn’t say anything, but I knew that I would be missing school again tomorrow and I knew were I’d be. Money has a great way to move appointments forward.