Chop, chop, chop... the almost mechanic and rhythmic sound from the chopping knife resounded in the kitchen. The mother dreamily smiled to herself. She gleefully anticipated the delight on her child's face when she finds out that they are going to have her favourite for dinner- Spaghetti Bolognaise. Her five year old had always gone into whoops over it, and the mother couldn't wait! She glanced over at the clock on the wall and read, "five o'clock." Anytime soon and her husband would be back. The feeling warmed her heart.
Suddenly however, the rhythmic beat paused, and silence filled the air. A pungent smell had reached her sensitive nose, and her hurried around to the boiling pot, worried that her sauce had gone bad. But no, the sauce bubbled nicely- and ohhhh!- smelt lovelier than ever. (If a sauce can smell lovely.)
She stood in a puzzled state- where on earth was that horrid burnt smell coming from?
"Ashleigh! Ashleigh honey- are you alright?" A bright gurgle of laughter reassured her, and she continued her chopping. However, the smell would not go away. Instead, it intensified. Piqued and annoyed, the mother set her knife down, and her nose to the work. Hurrying through the corridor, she checked the sitting room- it looked fine, and the smell was not coming from there. The bedrooms looked fine too. She came to Ashleigh's room. Everything looked fine- everything except that Ashleigh wasn't there.
"Ashleigh? Ashleigh?" When no reply came back, the alarmed mother rushed to the only room left unchecked- the laundry. The smell got worse.
What a sight met the poor mother's eyes as she opened the door. There Ashleigh sat on the floor grinning from ear to ear (well, what was left of it) with a iron in one hand.
While playing, she had happened on the iron in the laundry- which the mother had left on. She tried to grasp it- at the wrong end- and found that she couldn't pick it up easily. Her hand couldn't fit across the flat of the iron. So she was about to shift her grasp when she caught sight of her palm, swelling and reddening. Interested, she stuck her other hand to the iron and pulled away. The same thing happened. Wow- she was really intrigued. What was this machine that caused her to change colour and become big? Suddenly, she had an idea. Her dad had promised to take her to the fancy restaurant with mommy when she grew 'bigger'.
"Ah ha! He won't recognise me when he comes home! I'm going to be big!" So thinking, she applied the hot iron to the remaining parts of her body.
True enough, her dad did NOT recognise his sunny little Ashleigh some 10 minutes later when he returned from work. In fact, he stepped into a kitchen to find the bolognaise sauce boiling over on the floor, and no sign of his wife. His heart dropped.
"Dear? The sauce..." but he got no further, for he was arrested by wailing sirens and lights drawing up his driveway.
"What the?" It was an ambulance, and the emergency team was already rushing up the steps and banging on the door. He stood rooted to the spot, unable to move. What had been happening? A lightning figure rushed to the door and opened it. "
"Hurry, Hurry"- the figure sobbed-"she's over here." It was his wife, he realized some 10 seconds later. But he didn't have time. In fact, since he stepped through the door of his home, time became an obsolete factor.
In the next 3 hours, he saw his little girl wheeled into the emergency unit, and anxiously pored over by the doctors. He saw the 3rd degree burns his darling had inflicted on herself. How had she done it? Why didn't she stop at the first sting of pain? Was she mad? He saw his wife bearing with heroic fortitude through it all, through the surgery and examination. He watched the door of the operating room shut, and waited an everlasting time for it to open again. How funny- time seems to be playing tricks- it was too short before, and now it's too long. He saw the white-washed door of the room where his sunshine lay, finally open; a figure clothed in white walked out. An angel? No, it couldn't be. Angels never wore puffy green caps like this person did.
"Hello? Are you the parents of Ashleigh?" The doctor.
He saw the mouth of the doctor open and close, making noises. But not sense.
"I regret to inform you that Ashleigh has Seper, a disease that plays havoc with the nervous system, causing insensitivity to pain. In other words, when Ashleigh put the hot iron on herself, she felt no pain. She has the pain killer, Cepa."
They never got to eat that Bolognaise.