If she caught a cold from him, then all she could hope was he was feeling awful too. It wasn't fair she should be laid up with a fever and he wasn't. She gave a moan as another wave of aches came over her. She was on fire, sweating like a pig and dry as a bone all at once. Her tongue was feeling swole up and dry and getting worse all the time. She was gonna call for Doc Jenkins for some water, but her throat hurt too bad to make a sound.
Just when she thought she couldn't feel more awful, her head took a turn for the worse. Sunlight was streaming in through the open window of the side room and trying to burn holes clean through her eyes and there were kids yelling outside after school. Them and the schoolbell sounded like they were inside her skull, pounding like a hammer. Doc Jenkin’s office was right by the street, so every wagon that came by and everybody who yelled too loud outside just made it worse. She could hardly stand the pain and the awful-tasting medicine that Doc made her swallow earlier didn’t help a bit.
She laid there for maybe another hour with her head hurting so bad she just knew it would split wide open. Doc Jenkins finally took notice of her moaning and came over to look in on her, but all he did was put another cold towel on her head and she was shaking so bad with cold shivers she couldn't even feel it. She took a deep breath and gave a shudder before she fell asleep.
There was no telling how long she slept, but when she woke up again she felt tingly and numb all over. Her head was burning hot, like it was on fire inside, but at least it didn't hurt so bad. Her eyes felt sticky and red when she opened them, but she couldn't see anything. Somebody had pulled the sheet up over her face so she pulled it down and tried to take a breath, but no air would come. She gasped and tried to stretch her lungs, but she couldn't breathe! She was choking for air, but she couldn't get any!
Maggie sat up in the bed and swung her legs over, still gasping, starting to panic. She lifted her trembling hands to her face and pulled like she was going to claw it off, but there wasn't anything there stopping up her mouth and there wasn't any way for her to clear her throat. She got up to her feet and staggered against the wood timber of the door frame, knocking a dish to the floor when she banged into the side table. It crashed to the ground, so she hoped someone would at least hear that, even if she couldn’t scream.
She was stiff and sore in the joints and her head was burning so bad! But she had to get help! Somebody had to help her breathe! She was gonna choke to death and nobody was going to help!
The whole place was dark already. Nobody was around. She stumbled against a stuffed sofa chair in the main room and thought she was gonna fall over and die, but she managed to keep moving. She had to find somebody! Off through one closed door she could see a flicker of light. That was the doc's office and he must still be there if there was a lamp burning. The whole room seemed to go sideways when she made for it and she ended up leaning on the rocks of the side wall the whole way. She was so numb all over she couldn't even feel the cold of the stone wall and knew this is what it must be like to choke to death. The burning in her head, her shaking hands and cold skin: she was dying. She was just as like to keel over right there and die. And wouldn't that be a sight? He'd have himself a sixteen-year-old choke to death right in front of him, a doctor!
She pushed the door open against the creaking hinges and saw the chubby old man with his head back, snoring in his chair. Right then, as soon as she laid eyes on him, something broke inside. Something came loose. Something in her head, underneath that burning pain. All at once, she stopped trying to breathe and stopped trying to figure out what was happening and stopped trying so hard to stand up straight. All of a sudden, she didn't see anything else or feel any more pain. All she could see was Doc Jenkins in his chair. He was warm. And she was cold.
And there he was in front of her. So close she could smell him. He stunk so bad and so good. Like sweat and bad breath. And there was all his tools. So big and so sharp. And her shaking hand on them.
She didn't hurt any more. Her vision was going red all around and getting more narrow like a tunnel so all she could see was a hole in the middle. And there was Doc Jenkins sleeping in his chair. And there was her hand on something big and heavy and sharp, raising up over the old man. And he stunk so good!