Prompt for August 23, 2016

Complete the short story/flash fiction, that has the following opening:

He sat in a corner, away from the other kids and just watched. Watched as they laughed and talked and behaved as if nothing was wrong. He knew better. He knew that each and every person in there was dying, including him. Cancer had no age limit and didn’t discriminate. He had discovered that this morning and had also discovered that he had less time than expected: six weeks. Inoperable they had told him. Untreatable they added as an afterthought.

Twelve years old and with a death sentence. He hung his head, his breath coming in ragged bursts, trying desperately not to cry, not to waste his six weeks crying. His eyes almost hurt as he squeezed them together, doing his best ot block out the outside world.

“Are you okay?” The voice, quiet and soft, penetrated his brain and made him look up, his blurry eyes barely able to focus on the girl in front of him. He sniffed, used his fingers to clear the unshed tears from his eyes and wiped his nose on his sleeve.

“I’m fine,” he said, his voice raspy. She smiled at him, her teeth blinding white in his vision. She was about his age, maybe a year or two older, but it was hard to tell with no hair on her head. Chemotherapy. He knew about chemotherapy, his mother had talked to him about it but the doctors had told them that due to the nature and ferocity of his cancer it wasn’t an option.

“No, I don’t think you’re fine,” she said, “I think that you’re hurting and you don’t know how to feel. I used to be that way. This is my second time here. The first time they thought they got it all, the cancer that is, but they were wrong and it came back. That’s why I’m here now, they’re trying to get the rest, but they don’t know if they can. They hope they can, but they don’t know. I’ll be here until the cancer goes away or …” She trailed off and just shrugged her shoulders.

“They told me,” he started, “they told me I have six weeks before, before, you know. Six weeks. I didn’t even know I was sick until just a couple of days ago and now they tell me I have six weeks. I don’t know what to do.”

The tears that had threatened early came with a vengeance and he bent over, sobbing as large fat tears dripped on the tiled floor. Each sob ripped at his soul and felt like a part of him escaping the inevitable. He could have been there for seconds or for hours, he didn’t know, all he knew was that when this girl, this unknown girl hugged him he felt better. He hugged her back, wishing that her cancer would go away, wishing that she could live a happy life. Wishing that he could get to know someone who cared so much for others even when her life was in tatters.

Post a link to the story in the comments.

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