Telling Yourself the Truth

A young boy with a mental disability at the age of eleven cannot understand the world around him to the fullest extent. When he "dies" in a hospital he learns things about himself he'd never known before.

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1. Home, A Daily Game

Neil Cross was just playing, in his room with his best friend ever; Sylvester, the always faithful, never missing teddy bear his genetic mother had given him three weeks before she tragically died in a fire. Neil believe his mother was still yet to come home and his father was getting counseling from a woman; Suzie.

Neil liked Suzie, she taught him life lessons. When Neil did something Suzie didn’t like Suzie would tell Neil not to do those things. Neil had become so accustomed to seeing her that it came no surprise to him when he found out she would be living with his father. Still, nonetheless, Neil sat in his room contently playing with Sylvester until he heard a knock on his door. He scrambled up off of the floor where he was playing with his friend and opened the door. Suzie was standing there, smiling at Neil, looking down on him as she always did.

“Neil, you want to play?” asked Suzie with too much innocent sweetness for it to be a legitimate request.

Neil didn’t notice the false-pretense in her speech and nodded enthusiastically as he turned to retrieve his beloved bear when Suzie interjected, “No, your toy can’t come with us.”

Neil’s attitude dropped, but he went back towards Suzie without protest leaving Sylvester alone on the floor, looking on with loneliness. Neil waved as Suzie closed the door and took him into the hallway.

“Today we’re going to play one of Suzie’s favourites, okay?” Suzie continued with her all-too-sweetness.

Neil cocked his head and lifted one eyebrow, when he opened his mouth to talk he received a swift smack.

“What did Suzie tell you about talking?”

Neil looked down at his feet, ready to play a game.

“Good, now we’re going to play kitchen, okay?” Suzie ruffled Neil’s hair.

Neil looked up, a goofy smile on his face, he loved kitchen, the only thing that would make it better was Sylvester, but Suzie didn’t like the bear and not to mention he was afraid of the refrigerator.

When they got into the kitchen Suzie handed Neil a little apron which he obligingly put on with eager contentment. Suzie opened the fridge and took out some pickles and handed them to Neil, “Can you open this jar for Suzie?”

Neil nodded, then struggling with both hands to open the jar.

The container however slipped from his grasp and hit the ground, shattering the glass in all directions with an unpleasant sound of liquid and delicacy across the floor. Suzie looked at Neil with a furrowed brow, she’d just gotten some beef out of the fridge and put it on the counter top, she shook her head furiously and went over to the boy. Neil was confused, and then his confusion was reassured when he received a forceful kick to his stomach that sent him face-first onto the vinegar, glass soaked ground.

“Neil! You made a mess! Now clean it up!” Suzie exclaimed with her over-dramatic voice.

Neil knew that this was all just a part of the game and by this point he knew how to play, what would get him treats and what wouldn’t. He stood up from the floor, shaking slightly as he realized there were a few spots where he was bleeding, the vinegar made them sting.  But instead of crying he ran off to the closet to get a dust pan and a broom to clean up his mess. Neil was in his socks and slid across the floors gleefully, a child-like look on his child-like face. He giggled a little bit to himself as he thought of what Sylvester would say in this situation as Neil opened the closet door and produced a broom that was taller than him and an over-sized dust pan.

Suzie was in the kitchen frying the beef, tapping her foot rhythmically as she whistled a catchy sea-shanty.

“Oh, there you are Neil! Are you okay? Suzie is so sorry for kicking you earlier, she didn’t know what came over her,” she said almost mockingly, but Neil seemed not to notice.

Neil nodded and then got to work brushing the glass into the pan on his hands and knees, he hurt himself just a little bit more doing this but he was ready to get his treat if he could win in the game. Once all of the glass was swept up he walked over the trash can to put it all in the bag. He struggled a little bit getting it all out of the pan, but eventually did so.

“Neil, honey, why don’t you go down the stairs and see if you can’t find Suzie some more pickles?” Suzie requested softly with her most fake smile yet.

Neil carefully placed the broom and pan next to the can and gave Suzie a silly little salute as he turned towards the basement door. When Neil opened the door the first thing that struck him was the amount of darkness there. Taking cautious steps, placing both feet on each step before continuing onwards. Then Neil heard Suzie mutter something as the sound of a door slamming startled the child. His small body careened down the stairs, the last thing he heard on his way down was a thud before the darkness was replaced by a vacuum, a void.

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