Background: I’ve been a bit slack with my short stories as of recent but I’m trying so hard to get in a mood where I write something worth reading. This is a story inspired by children with such diseases as leukaemia and their battle of pain and love. This is dedicated to those who have both won and lost the battle, little soldiers whose hearts are full and are a true inspiration in the world. I listened to Boyce Avenue’s acoustic version of ‘On My Way’ during writing this.
Short Story #10 - Separated
Saline watched the fan whirl around in circles on the ceiling. It had gone around four hundred times now, a continuous whir that buzzed in her mind. Her wrist tickled where the plastic band was wrapped, her medical details written in scrawling black ink. It was her twelfth birthday and yet instead of being at home, celebrating with her family, she was in a too-clean white room of the hospital, recovering.
A nurse walked in with a clipboard in hand, her scrubs glaringly immaculate as she smiled. Kind brown eyes looked at Saline sympathetically, like most people looked at her now. The nurse left again after checking her progress.
Sympathy, an expression that made her skin tingle with frustration. Saline had collapsed during class one day and ever since it was the same expression duplicated on so many strangers’ faces. She disliked the expression so much, wishing that people would look at her like she was a human instead of some thing that had mutated before their eyes.
She glanced to her right and saw the table beside her bed, a mass of colour from the gifts and balloons that her family had brought. They weren’t allowed to see her yet – she was much too weak from the surgery. They’d seen her briefly when she woke, squeezing her hand and telling her that everything was going to be alright. That wasn’t what the doctors’ faces said as they wheeled her grimly away, tearing her hand away from her mother’s.
“We still have to allow her time to rest,” the main surgeon had told her parents and sisters. “Then we’ll commence testing to see if we cured her of her cancer. You will see her later.”
Saline sat up, grabbing the first present and she tore open the paper; inside was a box with ‘Danbo’ written in large letters. She smiled, remembering the moment before all this; she’d been a happy, normal girl back then, looking through various shopping websites with her mother for gift ideas. When she’d seen the Japanese Danbo robots she’d instantly asked her parents for one, disappointed when they said no.
Apparently they changed their minds along with the dramatic change in her health.
Saline went through the other presents – her first mobile phone, a porcelain collectors doll; a portable gaming console with her favourite games – but it was the last present that caught her eye: a professional camera. She checked the card that came with it: anonymous. Pushing the other presents aside, she opened the box and setup the camera, waiting until the sun began setting before the camera was charged and ready to go.
She grabbed it, gently getting out of bed despite the doctor’s orders; she could barely move but managed, sliding open the window to reveal the pink-purple sunset over the Nevada desert. She raised the camera, taking shot after shot as the sky changed colour, dimming until it was completely evening. The moon raised overhead, a sliver of the whiteness mostly blackened by the earth’s shadow.
Exhausted, Saline walked back to her hospital bed and grabbed her laptop, logging onto Flickr. It took a few moments to load but when it was fully open she set about uploading the photos she’d taken, writing a simple fact about herself on each one: her favourite colour, her favourite season; her favourite sport and what she wanted to be if she lived old enough. When she ran out of facts she started writing haikus and sonnets describing the beauty of nature and the things that people took for granted.
Yawning, she put away the laptop as the words began to blur from her exhaustion; she settled under the crisp blankets and fell asleep, dreaming of the world the way she wished it would be. Morning came quickly, the sun shining brightly through the window. She sat up, going through the morning routine of breakfast and getting cleaned up before returning to her bed to be left alone again.
She opened her Flickr.
Over 2,000,000 views in the past hour alone and several requests from Hollywood and big-time photographers to do a collaboration photo shoot.
She declined with a grin.
She was only a normal 12-year-old girl after all.