Author : Dylan Otto Krider

After I got out of prison, I stopped by the O’Malleys place first. I passed a sicky on my way, babbling to himself, screaming about the spirits. “The spirits are upon you!”

I hate sickies. Their brains rotted in space.

I knocked, but no one answered, so I hacked the locks. I surveyed the apartment, and heard splashing on the other side of one door. I hacked it, and went inside. Their daughter was there in the bathtub.

“I am looking for your parents,” I said. The daughter – Cassia, I think her name was, if remembered from court – just sat there, hugging her breasts, slacked-jawed and wide-eyed. Looking at me like some kind of pervert. “I’m not gay,” I snapped. “Nothing I haven’t seen before.” She wasn’t anything I would want to look at, anyways. She had this mutation that made her bones all crooked, like hunchbacks.

Different planets have different environments that screw up your genes. Some have underground rivers of mercury, other planets covered with lead dust. Infinite combinations, in infinite varieties, all of them poisonous. People were just made to live on one planet, I guess.

My counselor said I should make amends, so that’s what I am here to do. I went into the kitchen and fixed myself a sandwich. I was finishing making it when the O’Malleys came home. Mr. O’Malley look kind of pissed because he blamed me for killing their son, which wasn’t really my fault, but it is important to not make excuses when making amends.

“What are you doing here?”

“Making amends,” I said.

“We don’t want anything from you,” Mr. O’Malley said. “We never want do see you again.”

Cassia came out, fully dressed, using those crutches that strap in the forearms. “She barged into the bathroom when I was taking a bath,” Cassia said.

“Leave,” Mr. O’Malley said.

“I came here to make amends,” I said.

Mr. O’Malley stood there for a beat, looking me over. He looked resigned to it, now. “Fine,” Mr. O’Malley said. “Make amends.” He crossed his arms, waiting.

I realized I didn’t know how to make amends. My counselor kept telling me to make them without telling me how. Up to now, I thought it was saying you are making amends, and you were done.

“Sorry,” I said.

“You’re sorry.”

“Well, he shouldn’t have been there in the first place.”

Mr. O’Malley looked like he was about to blow his top, but Cassie got between us walking with her crutches like a praying mantis. “Dad,” she said empathetically, “Can’t you see, she has space sickness.”

“Do not,” I said.

“That might get her a lighter sentence,” Mr. O’Malley said, “but it doesn’t bring my son back.” Mr. O’Malley grabbed me and pushed me out of the apartment.

“What’s your problem? I’m making amends.”

“Where does it say that I have to accept them?” Mr. O’Malley said.

The door slid shut.

“I don’t have space sickness,” I said to the door. It kind of pissed me off that she said that. I started heading back to the shelter.

The sicky was still there on the corner, screaming at no one in particular. I started to chuckle. “You think there are spirits!” I said. I pointed him out to one of the passersby. “He thinks there are spirits!” She kept walking, ignoring me. “Hey! Hey! He thinks there are spirits!”

I laughed, trying to get people to laugh with me, but they were too polite. I laughed and laughed, even when it stopped being funny. I’m not like him. Sickies are sad. They are sick in the brain.