Episode the Sixth: Little Dot Gets Sick

By: Mr. E. S. Stranger

One day, Dot was busy working a puzzle when her throat began to bother her.

"I think," she said, "that I have a sore-"

Immediately she fell into a violent fit of coughing and sneezing at the same time. She clutched at various muscles in her body and fell to the ground, taking wheezing breaths between her hacking fits. She began to crawl toward the bathroom. Her mother helped her the rest of the way there, but she was still in the doorway of it when her breakfast opened the escape hatch and ejected with all due haste. Though she tried to aim it at the toilet, she left her mother quite a bit of work to do.

When she was sure even the food she hadn't yet eaten had come out, her mother led her, shivering uncontrollably, to her room. Right away her mother took her temperature and found that she had a fever; then Dot's mother gave her medicine and some tea. Thunder rumbled somewhere overhead.

Throughout the day Dot moaned and groaned and shivered, and the lights flickered, and doors opened and closed. Her brother happened to check on her during an especially bad fit. She shouted at him in tongues and spewed an unidentifiable substance, and he ran for his life.

She slept some. Toona and Funny Bunny watched over her from a distance. When she awoke, she started to speak.

"I want-" she began, and Toona and Funny Bunny listened intently. But that was all. She wouldn't produce another sound.

Instead, she began flailing her arms about with increasing urgency. Toona and Funny Bunny tried to guess her intentions, shouting suggestions such as "Thirsty Horned Demon," and then they took to mimicking her. They were jumping up and down, flailing their arms about wildly, when Dot's mother walked in. Dot slapped her own throat, made a crude drinking motion, made horns out of her fingers, and pointed at the kitchen.

"Bouillon?" her mother asked.

Dottie nodded. She made a motion as of holding something, made claws out of her hands, and fakes a ferocious look.

Her mother nodded. "The mug with the bear on it?"

Dot nodded. Her mother brought the bouillon, and Dot drank it.

At seven her shows started, so she dragged herself to the couch. At nine they ended, and she dragged herself, with help, back to bed.

All that night the air was restless. Dottie shivered and piled the blankets high; she tossed and turned; from across the house, she summoned her mom many times by sign language.

At eleven the following morning, her cocoon of blankets slowly parted, and Dot came out. She had to sneeze. Hurriedly she grabbed a tissue and sneezed into it, and then she blew her nose. She looked into the tissue and was astonished.

"Wow," she said. "I think that was the last piece of it."

She tossed the tissue into the corner for the room fairies, breathed deeply, and went out to play.