Note: I strongly suggest going back and reading the earlier parts of this before proceeding, especially the beginning of this chapter.
But everyone was monsters! Where the teacher had been was a slimy, green squid with rulers in every tentacle. It was swatting the rulers at the… Nearly every desk had some kind of slug creature in it. They were whining and wailing and flailing around. There were a few of the actual students left in the room, all cowering in their desks, Cedric coated with slime and some kind of white tinge to his skin. This, of course, is what he would remember later, what his memory would stamp in his brain so that he could never forget it. In the moment, what he was doing was screaming and trying to run away, trying to get out of his desk so that he could run away. Or cower in the corner since running away would have meant running through the room full of monsters and the squid-monster was looking at him with bright green eyes filled with loathing and moving toward him…
He would not, later, remember kicking his teacher in the face as she came at him. Not even the teacher knew what her intent had been in trying to close with a screaming and flailing student. She should have stayed back and called for assistance but, instead, she took a foot to the chin, bit off the end of her tongue, and had two teeth knocked out. She used that to get Jeremiah expelled, framing it as a personal, pre-meditated attack.
It didn’t matter that the on-duty police offer had to call for help with the hysterical child and that he was clearly having some kind of breakdown. EMTs had to be called in to hold him down and sedate him. Jeremiah would remember none of that, either. And he would spend the next several hours unconscious, waking only to find himself strapped down to a bed and under “observation and evaluation.”
His mother was there when he woke up, sitting next to his bed. He didn’t realize that at first because the first thing he did was panic at his restraints and not knowing where he was. He hadn’t even remembered the monsters yet. He just wanted up and out, so, before his mother knew he was awake – she wasn’t actually paying very close attention after sitting there for almost three hours – he was already screaming and jerking against his restraints.
She was unable to get her hand into his and get him to hear anything she was saying before the nurses had burst into the room, shoving her out of the way, and were injecting him with more drugs. He did calm down, though. So calm that he was unable to realize that it was his mother in the room with him, not for hours more when he started coming out from under the influence of the drugs.
What he did remember, once he was clear-headed enough to think, was the first time he had seen a monster. He remembered that that is what caused everything with the mailman, not that the mailman had scared him. He hadn’t even seen the mailman until his mother had dragged him out of the closet. Now he had seen monsters again, and it scared him, and it scared him to think of what bad things might happen next because of it.