Disclaimer: This novel contains adult material including sexually explicit activities, strong language, homophobic language, extreme violence, suicide, depictions of trauma, and more. Reader discretion is advised.
The Dominance of Abigale Quinlan
Shard 07: The Enigmatic Sickness
…My concerns and worries over my future, about living up to those around me, and my own lacking confidence, would all make for great topics to discuss with a therapist. I mean, you don’t try to kill yourself in a dream, fuck up, and die from blood loss, when everything is right in your head.
However, before I could so much as recollect my dreams, I was faced with the reality that my body felt like utter crap. My throat ached as I tried to breathe through my mouth. A rash had broken out across my chest. And my entire body was filled with aches.
I grumbled as I thought back to yesterday. The sore throat could be explained by my vomit incident, even though I tried to soothe it as best I could. While my chest was irritated when I was running yesterday, it went away after I changed into less baggy clothes, so why was it back? Was it because I didn’t put something on it when I came home? As for the aching… how the hell could I get this sore from running for maybe half an hour? It’s not like I’m in my thirties or anything.
As I mulled over these unpleasant discoveries, I looked up at the clock. It was 6:30, and I most certainly was not feeling 100% today. With a grumble, I slowly crawled out of my bed, guzzled what was left of my water, grabbed my phone, and made some calls. I sent a text to my friend chat letting them know that I would not be attending school today. I called my mother, and she ordered me to not go to school the instant she heard my voice, before reiterating what we discussed last night. Then, lastly, I called Oransen High to say that I wasn’t going in today. I was worried while doing that since I was still a student, but the receptionist didn’t even ask me any questions. She just said “have a nice day Miss Steticks.” I just choked that up to my sore throat.
After I finished the calls, I tried going on with my morning routine as best as I could. Seeing as how I was going to leave my house today, I began by changing out of my pajamas. My weather app said it was going to be chilly today, and knowing how these places are, I dressed warmly. I pulled out a green sweater from my closet and some thicker jeans, but as I wore them, I could not help but feel that they were a bit tighter than normal. The sweater felt more form fitting than it did previously, while the jeans made me feel like I had gained weight since I last wore them.
“Did I put these in the dryer for longer than two minutes?” I asked myself as I looked down at my person “No. I have a timer for that, and my mother never lets clothes shrink.”
I contemplated having breakfast, but with my stomach feeling… irritated, I decided against that. Instead, I just checked the directions to the immediate care place. It was two kilometers away, short enough to walk, but my mother insisted that I take a taxi there instead, and pay the driver with some of the cash she hid in her bedroom. I felt like rolling my eyes on how petty this was, but I certainly was not feeling up for a four kilometer walk. I grabbed the cash, my wallet, my keys, a disposable face mask, put in the taxi order, and waited.
As I mulled around outside my front door, I began browsing things on my phone, starting with the group chat, where I saw that my friends had replied, offering me their condolences.
“Get well soon, Jad, and make sure to drink lots of water.” – Shiaka
“It’s unlike you to get sick. Remember that we’re here to help.” – Zoe
“NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! ;w; I’m gonna miss you all day, J-Styles!” – Maxxie
“I hope this is nothing serious. Get well soon, Jad.” – Terra
I tried to use these words to dissuade me from the future I prophesied in my dream last night. Even if they were all wildly successful, would they discard me like that? Would I truly want to distance myself from them like this? I mulled over this topic as I waited for the taxi and during the 3-minute-long car ride… only to remember that I had a solution to this problem.
JUST TELL YOUR FRIENDS THE TRUTH, YOU STUPID FUCK!!!
I just needed to find the words, sit down, and get shit done. Even if I felt like crap today, I hoped that I could at least do that. Then by Saturday, I could come clean. Tell them everything. If they disown me then and there, if their kind promises of understanding did not account for a reality this absurd… then so be it.
If they were in my position, this is what they would do. And they would have done it three fucking months ago…
I ended my musings as I entered the immediate care facility, a forlorn expression on my face. Opening the door, I was met with a waiting room, empty aside from the lone receptionist. A middle-aged white woman with short brown hair who called out to me as I walked through the door.
“What brings you here today?” The woman said in an Eastern European accent.
“Oh, um, nothing too serious,” I answered, having not scripted a response. “Sore throat, chest irritation, headaches, vomiting—”
“You can save it for the doctor. Can I see your ID and insurance?”
I produced the two requested cards, and she began putting them through a desktop scanner, darting her eyes between me and my ID card, before handing them back to me.
“Okay, Jade, Dr. Blitz is available at the moment,” the woman said, mispronouncing my name. “Let’s just check your height and weight and I’ll take you to the exam room.”
I was then directed further into the facility, specifically a little corner with a physician scale, along with a two-meter-tall ruler attached to the wall. As I let her take my height and weight, I noticed a nearby full-body mirror. I had neglected to look in the mirror before leaving for the doctor’s office, but I definitely looked different. My hair had gotten longer and now covered my ears, while my skin looked darker, like I had spent a few summer days working outside.
“Okay, Jade, you weigh 58 kilograms and are 180 centimeters tall. Does that sound right?”
That was 2 kilograms more than I weighed last week, and 3 centimeters taller than I was last I checked. It was… perplexing, but I chose to only reply to the first part of her comment.
“It’s actually pronounced Jad. Like bad, dad, glad, mad.”
“Oh, my apologies, Jad. Anyway, follow me.”
The woman then escorted me to an exam room. A vacant room with a medical practice table, several chairs, a laptop, and various shelves that I did not dare pilfer through.
“Dr. Blitz will be here in a few minutes,” the receptionist said before closing the door.
I took a seat as I waited for the doctor to arrive, looking over this room, allowing my thoughts to flow in a discordant manner. In that hazy state, I stumbled onto the realization that, for the first time in over a decade, I went a full day without playing a video game. Just as I made a mental joke about how I was going through ‘gaming withdrawal,’ the door opened, revealing a young black woman in a gray lab coat.
She was short yet slender, her hair was curly and voluminous, and I think I noticed bags under her eyes. She looked down at me with a mildly forced smile, saw my face mask, and began speaking to me while walking toward a cabinet.
“Good morning Jad. My name is Doctor Ruby Blitz. What brings you here today?”
“Well… it’s a lot of things that have been happening to me over the past day,” I began, trying to formulate a script as I spoke.
“Well, just start listing what’s been happening and I’ll see what I can do,” Dr. Blitz said as she grabbed a pen and clipboard.”
“I guess it all started on Monday. I got a severe headache while walking home from a friend’s house. I woke up the next day, sweaty and sore despite not doing anything strenuous. Then, during gym class on Tuesday, I started getting a rash on my chest while running, even though I was wearing an undershirt. By the time I got home I, apropos of nothing, vomited. I went to bed early, but woke up with more aches, an irritated stomach, and a sore throat. Also, my hair has grown… at least four centimeters over the past two days, and I grew another three centimeters.”
I was not paying enough attention to Dr. Blitz’s face to know when she thought I was pulling shit outta my ass, but by the end of it, she was definitely doubting everything I had to say. The grab bag symptoms and my awkward delivery made it seem like I was making things up on the fly.
“Okay, Jad, let’s start with your throat. Would you mind taking off the face mask?”
I did as she requested, taking off the mask and opening up my mouth in preparation. She stuck a small light and mirror into my mouth as she examined things, while maintaining a blank expression.
“It’s just some usual irritation. It’s common to see things like this, especially during spring. Now, could you take off your top? I’d like to examine your chest.”
I did as she requested and pulled my sweater over my head, before doing the same with my undershirt. I flinched as the fabric of the undershirt brushed against my nipples, confirming that they were still irritated. Looking down, I could see a rash across my upper chest, while my nipples were quite swollen.
“Did you start wearing new undershirts?” She asked, sounding as if she was going through a mental checklist.
“No, ma’am,” I answered.
“Did you or your school change their detergent?”
“I started doing the laundry— instead of my mother— but I measured the amounts just like she did. I didn’t start using another detergent, and my school doesn’t do laundry for students.”
“For the sores and aching, I take it you only have one big burst of physical activity every day?”
“Um, I suppose so. I don’t go out much, and am pretty sedentary in class and at home. The only time I do anything anaerobic is during my gym class.”
“And for your gym class, do you warm up and cool down?” The doctor asked, a brow raised.
“Um, no. We don’t have time for that.”
“Typical phys-ed teachers… And did you just get back from spring break?”
“Yes, and… I guess I wasn’t too active. I mostly just hung out with my friends.”
“Gotcha. Well, in that case, my only recommendation would be to do some stretching beforehand and afterwards. If your teacher gives you crap for that, tell him a doctor told him otherwise.”
I could sense some serious disapproval in her voice, so I merely nodded and muttered a confirmation in response.
“You also said something about rapid hair growth and that you grew a lot recently?”
“Ye-yeah. I don’t know why it’s happening, but it’s strange for it to all happen this rapidly.”
“Hm… to be honest, kid, I don’t think there’s anything really wrong with you. Your case sounds unusual, but I think you’re just going through the final round of puberty, and it’s hitting you all at once. I can recommend some off-the-shelf supplements to help with the soreness, and a lotion to help with the chest irritation, but I don’t think you really need them. Unless this escalates to something more serious, there’s not too much I can do. Just try to eat right, take it easy, and get some rest. Puberty’s a bitch, and it can hit some people like a dump truck.”
“…Is that in reference to something, or—” I asked before getting cut off.
“It’s just an expression,” she said with a slight smirk. “You’re a perfectly healthy young man as far as I can tell. But just to be safe, I want you to have a blood test done. Go see Nadia at the front desk and she’ll take you to the blood drawing area.”
Dr. Blitz then began escorting me through this office to the front desk before handing me over to the Eastern European woman, Nadia. She brought me deeper into the office, where she sat me down, put a needle into my inner-elbow, and bandaged a cotton ball to the injection site to prevent any bleeding.
Once done, I followed Nadia back to the front desk, where she provided me with a list of multivitamins and a lotion that should help with whatever I’m going through. Though, Dr. Blitz clearly did not think I needed any of these things.
With this decision of ‘to buy or not to buy’ weighing down on my mind, I decided to leave the medical office and give my mother a call. I took off my face mask and gave her a call.
“Godmorgen fra Copenhagen. How’re you holding up, Jad?” My mother said, her voice chipper and lively.
“I just met with a doctor at the immediate care place. She said that there likely wasn’t anything strictly wrong with me, and said that I should just rest, eat right, and let things pass. She also hypothesized that this might just be late-stage puberty.”
“Well, you did develop a bit slower than other… kids your age, Jad. And even though you might not think of it, the gut is pretty sensitive to hormones. Still, I want you to take every precaution so you’re 100% tomorrow. Did the doctor recommend anything else?”
“Um, she did give me some supplements and lotions to try with my chest rash—”
“—You didn’t tell me about a chest rash. Is everything okay with the detergent? Are you using two lines worth?”
“S-Sorry, it slipped my mind. I’ve been over this several times, but my laundry should be fine… actually, I should have enough for a load today.”
“Well, if she recommended some things for you, I would like you to try them. If it’s lotion, we’re going to wind up using it, eventually. Plus, there’s nothing wrong with taking an extra supplement or two. …Wait, do you know where you can find these things?”
“Oh, um, she said that I could find everything at the pharmacy three blocks away,” I answered, referring to Nadia.
“In that case, go ahead and buy them. Just make sure you use your credit card. We get 5% cashback on pharmacies this quarter. Remind me to reimburse you when I get home.”
“Mother, you give me an allowance for a reason.”
“Sweetie, if I was there, I would be taking care of you and spending my money. I love how you’re so responsible, but when your mother says she is going to reimburse you for something, you don’t say no, you say thank you.”
I laughed before thanking her and ending the call.
With a new mission added, I began walking toward the local independent pharmacy, one of the few left standing as CVS and Walgreens continue their domination of the industry. It was a quaint and modest place with shelves slightly overrun with inventory, but I had been here enough times with my mother to generally know where things are. Though, that did not stop a male employee from approaching me as I sifted through the vitamin supplements.
“Can I help you with anything, miss?”
It took me a moment to realize that the employee was talking to me. With my limber frame, tighter clothing, and earlobe-length hair, it made sense for him to assume I was a girl. I thought of correcting him, but I just turned around and spoke to him.
“I’m looking for a specific type of calcium supplement, though I think anything similar would do,” I said before reading out the specific brand name.
The employee, a young Filipino man with a patchy mustache, likely a relative of the couple who ran the store, then panned his eyes over a shelf. It took him three seconds before he leaned forward to grab the exact bottle I was looking for. He then held it out to me, and I placed it in my little basket.
“Do you need help with anything else?” He asked while looking at me from head to toe.
“Um, no, I think I have everything. I… I’m ready to check-out, if you can help with that,” I stammered.
The man then led me to the back, where I swiped my credit card and was given a tiny paper bag with all of my things neatly packed.
“Thank you, and have a nice day,” he said.
“You too,” I replied as I turned around.
Exiting the store, I paused as I realized I did not have a car waiting for me, and my house was still about two kilometers away. I could just wait for a taxi, and take it easy, as my mother and doctor suggested. But as I felt the crisp spring air brush against my face, I decided that I could handle a short walk like this.
I then headed down the familiar side streets of my neighborhood and casually took in the scenery. The white of winter had long-since faded, and the once dark remnants of vegetation were budding with color yet again, with different plants in different states of bloom. Bushes and flowers have moved beyond budding, while trees only bore specks of color across the ends of their dark branches. It was not the most idyllic of set pieces, with many lawns still bearing tufts of yellowed grass, but it was clear that things were changing.
As I continued to walk however, I felt myself getting a bit warm. While I thought today would be overcast, or at least cloudy, the sun shined down on me unimpeded. I briefly looked around, finding the streets to be relatively empty at this hour, and alleviated myself of any excess heat by taking off my sweater. I let out a sigh of relief as I felt the heat disperse from my chest and arms, only for my attention to drift back to my chest, where I saw my erect nipples poking through my undershirt. Embarrassed, I pushed the sweater against my chest, hoping that no one saw that.
As I continued walking in this mildly awkward pose, I thought back to what I had just done. I went to the doctor and went shopping, all without my mother driving me. It was a bout of self-sufficiency that I seldom enacted upon, and it made me feel more competent, mature, and less like a kid.
As my mind bounced between discordant thoughts with only tenuous tissue connecting them, I finally made it back to my home. But before I washed my hands or put away my bag of things, I threw myself onto the nearest chair. While I felt fine as the walk began, fatigue overcame me as I continued it. I felt hotter and hotter as I walked, and my body was now covered in sweat, with my undershirt so damp that there wasn’t a square centimeter you could lick without tasting salt.
It was an absurd level of exhaustion, especially when the high for today was only 19°C. Eventually, I regained enough stamina to start guzzling water. I could feel my metaphorical health points scrolling back up as my stomach filled with fluids, but that, strangely, only seemed to stimulate my hunger.
Not wanting to eat anything heavy, I reheated some of the split pea soup my mother stored in the freezer. I had not eaten in over twelve hours, and I only ate about 1,000 Calories yesterday, so I had little difficulty finishing this soup within about seven minutes.
With my energy restored, at least partially, I began cleaning up after my outing. I took a quick minute-long shower to douse the sweat off of my body. I opened up the supplements and had them with some applesauce. Before I lathered the lotion onto my swollen chest.
Once I was situated and back at my computer, I realized it was already past 11:00. Too late to even consider going into school, but early enough that I had the bulk of a day ahead of me. I still felt aches across my body, and my throat was still irritated from this morning, but I felt better. Or at least, good enough to try and tackle some of my homework.
You see, Oransen High used a service called Desire2Learn. An online portal to submit assignments, take electronic quizzes, and review course materials. And teachers were required to post up-to-date assignments there. I checked the pages for Psychology and Creative Writing, where I found a summary of what was covered, along with an assignment for each of them. Even though I was out sick, I still had to do the homework, and figured that all my homework and review would consume a few hours of my day.
After reheating some chicken and rice I made on Sunday, I got to work going through the required reading and completing whatever tiny assignments I had. By 11:45, I was just about done, when my phone rang. Looking at it, I saw it was a call from Maxxie, likely wanting to check in on me during our lunch period.
“Hey Maxxie,” I said, coughing a little after I spoke.
“Hm, that sounds like a nasty throat worm you’ve got, J-dizzy,” Maxxie replied, her voice sounding like she was talking on speaker phone
“Maybe it’s the connection, but it almost sounds like your voice is higher,” Zoe remarked.
“W-We just wanted to check in and see how you’re doing,” Shiaka chimed in, her voice stifled and quiet.
“I went to a doctor, she said it was probably nothing major, probably just part of puberty, but I was extra careful and got some vitamins to hopefully help my immune system going forward.”
“So, shall thou grace us with thine presence at the morrow?” Maxxie asked.
“Assuming I don’t feel like garbage tomorrow, yeah. I’m pretty sure I’m not ‘sick’ sick anyway.”
“What exactly do you mean by ‘part of puberty?’” Zoe asked, a discernible degree of doubt in his voice.
“Well, I grew about three centimeters, my hair has continued to grow at a rapid rate, my body aches, and I’ve had stomach issues. The doctor said it sort of jokingly, but she still advised that I take it easy and wait for this to pass.”
“And you’re doing that, right Jad?” Shiaka asked, clearly talking closer to Maxxie’s phone.
“Well… I decided it was a good idea to try and take a two kilometer walk, which was a mistake. But now that I’ve had some lunch, I’m feeling a lot better.”
“So, what’s the plan?! Chill out and finally embrace the true plague by vegging out with some Bloodborne?!” Maxxie posited, clearly shouting at the other end.
“I don’t think Souls games are really ‘vegging out’ games, Maxxie,” Shiaka commented, her words hard to make out.
“Probably not. I’m just doing some homework now and… there’s something I really need to write, so I’m going to try tackling that when I’m done.”
“Bah!” Maxxie barked. “Keep this up for another week, and I’ll start thinking that you’re intentionally delaying our Yharnam-some ramble ‘em ups!”
Before the conversation could progress further, I realized my mother was trying to call me.
“Ah crud. Sorry guys, but Caroline is calling me. I’ll catch up with you later.”
I then switched over to my mother, whose microphone was being slightly muffled by wind.
“Hey Jad, I just wanted to make sure that you made it home alright.”
“I did, Mother. I’m home, I got the supplements, and I just finished having lunch. Just split pea soup, chicken, and rice. Nothing too hard on the stomach.”
“That’s good. And are you feeling better?”
“Yeah, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to go to school tomorrow. I just need to take it easy. …Even though I feel like I’ve been taking it easy all week.”
“I just wish I could be there for you,” my mother said longingly. “The first time you get sick in the better half of a decade, and I’m thousands of kilometers away. If things were serious, I would take the next flight back to O’Hare. You know that, right?”
“I know, Mother. ‘I am your world,’ ‘I am your sunshine,’ and you want what is best for me.”
“And I know that you are more of a homebody, you never liked going on vacations—”
“Because it meant being around Bryce and away from my friends,” I said, blurting out the first memory that came to mind.
“…Well, except for that time you, me, and the Flare family went to California.”
“Also known as the first time I saw Maxxie naked…” I said, dread dripping in my voice.
“—But anyway, Europe is truly a wonderful place, and I would love to come back here with you sometime this summer. Just you and me, mother and child.”
“That would be a hard sell to Maxxie…”
“Trust me, I understand that girl. Or… I think I do. At the very least, I know that I can persuade her. Besides, couldn’t you and your friends just Skype to catch up every day or two?”
“Heh. I guess you’re right. I’m not sure what I would really get out of traveling, but—”
“Jad, I don’t mean to be rude, but… you seem like you’ve been in a funk for a while. I think it would be good for you to get away from it all, do some soul searching, and think about who you want to be. I know it might not be ideal to do that with your mom, but… you know you can tell me anything. There’s nothing you could do that would stop me from loving you.”
I frowned as I took in her words. I agreed to go on the vacation with her, ended the call, and then stared back at my computer. It would be a few hours before my other assignments would be posted, and I still had a lot of writing to do, with only dissonant notes to guide me. I had to explain this ‘funk’ I have been in, articulate my worries to those I loved.
I focused less on an introduction and more on a straight recap of what happened, focusing on the big events, the major moves, knowing that I would possibly lose them if I added too many details. Seeing as how my time with Verde Dusk, and the adventures she sent me on, were burned, etched, and scared into my brain, I could provide any detail without hesitation.
I wrote and wrote, typing away as I discarded any notion of format, and ended up with a 4,000 word speech. Something that would take me about 35 minutes to get through without any interruptions. And something that I was sure was in dire need of a detailed edit.
As I realized I had just broken past such an imposing word count, I also noticed the time. It was 17:37. This spurred me to distance myself from this project for the night and take care of the things I needed to do. I started a load of my clothes, being extra careful with how much detergent and softener I used. Took another shower, if only to wash my hair. And heated a dinner of schnitzel, pilaf, and broccoli I prepared on Sunday. Once I was situated, I took a break from writing by doing my math and accounting homework. I finished shortly after 19:00, and despite having gotten such a full night’s sleep yesterday, I felt compelled to turn in early yet again.
After brushing my teeth, I was lying in my bed, once again sifting through thoughts as my body found the calm it needed to return to dreamland. Having just gone through so much mental baggage, forming it into a summary of events, I could not help but linger on those events for the hundredth time. Namely over how… I failed to fulfill something that Maxxie enthusiastically urged me to try. Masturbating as a girl.
I strongly disliked masturbation. It was a struggle for me to get started or maintain it, and when I came, I felt like a beast. Like a monster. I only ever tried because Maxxie wanted to.
When she was in my body, she learned to love the sensation of cumming ‘as a man.’ But I never did much more than sheepishly look over her naked body. If my time there, in the world with the VD, lasted longer then… would I have tried to masturbate in Maxxie’s body? Would I have liked it? I… liked being in her body. It was comfortable in a way I had not been comfortable since then. Shiaka was close, but it was just not the same. …While being in Abigale’s body only brought me dread.
If I were to have continued on in that world, what would have happened? Would I have been happier? Would Maxxie and I have continued to swap bodies? Would I have ever experienced what it was like to… get off as her?
As I mused over such vain hypotheticals, my eyes shuttered, and the next nightmare began.
The Dominance of Abigale Quinlan Main Page
Shard 00: The Novus Logs Volumes 1 & 2
Shard 01: 108 Days Later
Shard 02: Melancholic Mundanity
Shard 03: Another Day; Another Doubt
Shard 04: Fractured Family
Shard 05: Troublesome Tuesday
Shard 06: Despair And Die
Shard 07: The Enigmatic Sickness
Shard 08: The Erotic Fantasy (Osananajimi;Myself Part 3700)
Shard 09: The Egregious Downfall
Shard 10: The Oransen High Massacre
Shard 11: The Dark Metamorphosis
Shard 12: The Dominant Reflection
Shard 13: My Life As Jadigale Novus
Shard 14: Fade Unto Dusk
Shard 15: Re;Birth Unto Jade
Shard 16: Gender Reveal Party
Shard 17: Enter The Three Wives (Psycho Bullet Festival 2222 – Bout 21-2)
Shard 18: Novus X – Ten Years Later