The Lorax attempted to wake Once-ler awhile later, but nothing he tried worked. He then recalled this was the same guy who had his bed hit the door several times and didn't wake up. He tried shaking him a little but nothing worked.
"Wake up kid," he said.
He didn't get any response. He took a closer look at the boy and noticed beads of sweat falling down his face. His hair was plastered to his pale and flushed faced. His mouth was open just enough to allow air in.
The Lorax gently laid a paw against Once-ler's forehead. "Jeeze kid, ever do anything by the halves?" He asked. The boy's eyelashes flickered but he didn't wake.
"Come on kid, I need to try and get some water in ya," he said trying to wake the teenager up. "Come on kid," he said rubbing circles on Once-ler's hand. He grabbed the damp Thneed again and dabbed Once-ler's face.
He was lost in thoughts. He heard a loud thump from his first tree hitting the ground. He saw his younger self reaching out as his father left the house. He ducked under a fence in the school yard as the taunts and insults met his ears. He was so lost and dizzy. Suddenly a memory absorbed him.
"Daddy where are you going?" He asked.
"You should be sleeping kiddo," his father said ruffling his dark hair.
"But 'm almost better where are you going?" the little Once-ler demanded.
"I have to go far away."
"Why? Are you coming back?"
"No, buddy, your mom, she's sending me away."
"No, no!" He sobbed. "NO!" He ran back to his room and sobbed into his pillows.
"I heard your dad left you butt-head."
"No, my mom made him leave." Once-ler said sadly.
"Oh sure that's the reason," Charlie said to him.
"It IS TOO THE REASON!" He was starting to get upset.
"Ooo think he's going to cry," Sam taunted.
Sam and Charlie were the most ruthless of all the bullies in the entire world.
"Yeah Onezy," they mocked. "Who would ever want YOU as a son? You can't even lift a baseball bat much less an axe or anything. You're just a pathetic waste of space and everyone knows it!"
"YOU KNOW IT!"
. . .
The Lorax was at his side in seconds. "Sit up, breathe kid I'm here what are you seeing? What's wrong bean pole?"
"NO! STOP IT! HE LEFT 'CAUSE HE HAD TO!" Tears flew down his cheeks. He seemed to lose control of his arms as he shook a little.
"Kid? Kid what's wrong? Can you hear me?"
"PLEASE MAKE THEM STOP!" He sobbed harshly. "I-IT'S NOT MY FAULT!"
"What's not your fault? Who's hurting you kid?"
"They are!" He pointed at nothing his big blue eyes glazed with fever. "They are! They always call me a looser. They always make fun of me. I'm just not good enough for anyone! Not my mother, not my aunt, and I wasn't even good enough to . . ." He broke out sobbing and coughing into the pillow. He let out a wail again before deciding that the chest pain was too intense to do it again.
"Kid, I won't let them do that anymore. I promise. I won't let 'em control your life like that."
"Thanks," he whimpered. He was lost in the mind of a six year old and was only vaguely aware of his surroundings.
"Here drink this kid might help a little," the Lorax offered him some water.
It felt good going down his burning throat. He looked over to the side of the bed where his tormenters still stood. He pulled the blankets up to his nose trying to look away.