Flashes of Life

Reads: 324  | Likes: 1  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Religion and Spirituality  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 2 (v.1) - Little Boy

Submitted: August 07, 2019

Reads: 25

A A A | A A A

Submitted: August 07, 2019

A A A

A A A

“Ow, it hurts. Julian, can you help me with these thorns?” asked the little boy cringing with pain.

I looked around slowly in complete bewilderment. Whoa. Did I somehow wonder off out of the hospice center in my sleep? But there was a snowstorm coming with blizzard-like conditions that was gonna last a couple of days. I would’ve frozen to death. And this doesn’t look like winter to me. It looks more like spring. But that’s impossible. I must be hallucinating. This has to be some kind of dream. But everything looks so real and vivid.

I can see the Space Needle, so I know I’m still in Seattle. But I don’t recognize this park or any of the surroundings and I’ve lived here all my life. Children were playing in the playground in their shorts while parents looked on wearing their sandals and sunglasses. There was a small pond with ducks and little ducklings quacking at the onlookers for food. There was even an ice cream truck on the side of the pathway with a young teen girl with a visor taking orders from overly excited boys and girls in front of their parents. What the hell’s going on?

“Julian, did you hear me? Come help me,” the little boy whined.

I instinctively walked over and knelt down in front of the little fella as I kept looking around. I distractedly started pulling out the remaining thorns and splinters from the boy’s feet and realized that I had absolutely no difficulty walking over here. I was amazed at how easy it was for me to actually get down on my knees without even a hint of pain. I was still wearing the same smocks from the hospice center and I could still see all the needle marks on my arm from all the injections.

The little boy jumped to his feet. “Ahh, thanks Julian, that feels a lot better. Hey, come push me on the swings yeah?”

Before he ran off, I held him back with my arm. I noticed he was missing his two front teeth and sounded so adorable with that lisp of his. “Hold on. Hey, what’s your name little buddy?”

“My name? What’s a name?” he asked curiously.

“Come on kid. I ain’t got time for games. Just tell me your name.”

The boy just stared at me scratching his head.

“Um, what do your parents call you?”

The boy looked confused. “I don’t understand.” Then he started jumping up and down with excitement. “A squar-rel! A squar-rel!” he shrieked pointing at a tall tree. He started running around gathering pinecones and started tossing them at the squirrels dancing around the bark.

“Julian, could you please get me some more payen-cones from the branch?”

Despite my concerns wondering what was going on, I smiled at the enthusiasm of this cute little squirt as I started plucking some pinecones from the tree. “Here you go little guy. Here’s some more payen-cones for you,” I offered matching his cute mispronunciations.

The boy looked up at the branch. “Get me some of those little ones,” he said pointing up with all his fingers.

“But those are baby payen-cones. Don’t you want some bigger ones?”

The boy looked up in awe. “There’s babies in there?” he asked innocently.

I just started laughing out loud as he continued tossing the pinecones at the tree with glee.

I went and knelt down in front of him. “Alright, let’s try this again. Where are your parents? Who did you come with?”

“I’m here all by myself,” he said proudly puffing out his chest. “I’m brave.”

“Aren’t you a little young to be out here by yourself?”

“Don’t worry. Mommy is close by.”

“Well, what’s her name?”

“I just told you – her name is mommy,” he said pointedly.

I looked around to see if I could spot any parents frantically looking for their wayward child, but everyone looked normal. The boy started pulling me by the hand. “Julian, come on, come on! Push me on the swing.”

As I followed the little guy to the swing set, I marveled at how easily I could walk. I even started jogging with minimal effort. I took a deep breath waiting for the little boy to get on the swing and there was absolutely no pain in my lungs.

“What are you waiting for?” the boy said over his shoulder.

I started pushing him gently not knowing how hard I was supposed to push. “Faster!” he shouted with giggles.

Since I’ve never had any children of my own, I’ve never had much experience with them as an adult. Me being an only child, there were no nephews or nieces to speak of. When my mom died in that car accident, I was only ten. My dad apparently lost it and couldn’t cope with all the pain.

One morning he told me he was going to the store to get some milk and cereal and that was the last time I ever saw him. What a selfish bastard. How could he do that to his only child? What about my pain? I spent the rest of my childhood in shelters for children and in various foster homes. I had to learn how to grow up really fast.

I looked at this little boy and started getting really concerned. What if he’s lost and ends up in a foster home just like me? Maybe I should take him to the police or just walk him around the park to see if anyone recognizes him. Hearing the laughter and the giggles of this little boy made me wonder what it would’ve been like to have children of my own. To be able to guide them and nurture them and play with them. What would it have been like to teach them life’s lessons and comfort them during all the adversities in life and to be able to … to be able to love them?”

“Julian, why did you stop pushing me?”

Now I’ll never know. Isabel robbed me of the joys of having my own children. I shouldn’t have gone back for her. I should’ve let her die. As heartless as that sounds, I should have let that bitch die.

The little boy got off his swing and stood in front of me. He grabbed my hands and had me kneel down so that I was at eye level with him. “Julian, why are you sad?”

I put my hand on his shoulder as I felt a tear rolling down my cheek. “Can I ask you something? How do you know my name?”

He regarded me with a serious expression and put his little hand on my wet cheek. “Why do you have tears? Did I make you cry? I’m sorry,” he whimpered. “I didn’t mean to. Please don’t cry. Please don’t go away.”

“Please, just tell me how you know my name?”

The little boy gently wrapped his arms around my neck. “Because I am you Julian. And you’re going to die,” he declared.

And that’s when I woke up gasping for air.

(Hospice Examination Room)

The nurse was tapping her finger on my arm looking for a vein to draw blood from while other nurses and specialists were attaching monitoring wires all over my body. “Mr. Edwards, please hold still. Sir … sir please. I can’t get this lab sample if you don’t remain still,” the nurse admonished.

“That’s the point,” I muttered. I’m getting tired of all this bullshit. Roll up your sleeve; take a deep breath, breath from this tube, give me a urine sample … I’m beginning to feel like a damned lab rat. “That’s it! I’ve had it. Get these damned wires off me. And you can take that damned needle and shove it up your …”

“Julian!” shouted Melanie. She looked around the examination room with embarrassment. “Alright. Everyone, can I please have the room.” Everyone started filing out shrugging their shoulders and looking relieved. I bet they’ll all be glad when I’m gone. Good riddance. Who wants to be around a cranky old fool anyways? I’m gonna come back and haunt them and scare the shit out of them and wipe that smug off their faces.

After closing the door, she came to the side of the bed with a look of disapproval. “Julian, I’m trying to understand how you’re feeling. I really am. But you need to help me out here. My staff are trying to do their best and they are following my instructions. When you disrespect them, you’re disrespecting me,” she said gently while she held my hand.

I lowered my head as I continued to stew. “You’re right. I’m … I’m sorry Mel,” I said trying to swallow my pride.  I took a deep calming breath. “What does it matter anyways? Pretty soon I’ll be gone and you and your staff won’t have to put up with me anymore.”

She regarded me for a moment. “I’ve never known you to be this cranky or seen you lash out like that before. Is there something going on that you’re not telling me?”

“Well I … I didn’t want to mention this but, I did have a hallucination before I passed out. And then I had the most vivid dream.”

“You wanna tell me about it?”

I told her about the little boy in the Visitor’s Lounge and about how he appeared in my dream. I recounted the surroundings and the unexpected spring-like weather in as much detail as I could remember. I smiled warmly at the memory of that boy’s smile and his exuberance and how he was so full of energy. I also remember how good it felt to be free of the constant pain in my body.

“Mel, it was wonderful. It felt so real and I didn’t feel any pain at all. If it weren’t for the fact that I’m lying down right here talking to you, I wouldn’t have believed I was dreaming. You know how people say that their life flashes before their eyes during a near death experience. Well, I’m near death. Maybe that’s what this is. Maybe my brain pulled up that memory from my subconscious mind and I was looking at myself at that age. What I don’t understand is, why did I find myself in a local park that I’ve never seen before? I remember my mom telling me that she had taken me to every single park in the city. Where did that memory come from?”

“Honey, you were only ten when your mom died. Maybe she missed one or two of those parks. Also, it’s not uncommon for patients with advanced cancer to experience visions and hallucinations. Dreams are not necessarily based on reality. And it may be something else. I don’t want to alarm you but, based on your latest lab results, the cancer in your body is accelerating rapidly for some reason. It’s not unheard of, but it is unusual.

I thought for a moment. “I guess in a way that’s good news, isn’t it? A couple of months, a couple of weeks, a couple of days. The sooner I’m gone, the sooner I’m done with all this suffering, right?” There was a moment of awkward silence. “Hey, do me a favor. Will you go out there and tell your staff that I’m sorry. Tell them they can come in and do their ministrations and I’ll be as docile as a kitten.”

(About an hour later)

“Alright Julian, it looks like were all done here. Thank you for being so patient. I really do appreciate it.”

“Yeah well, don’t count your lucky stars yet. This may just be the calm before the storm.”

“Hmm, I can deal with Tropical Storm Julian. Just make sure you don’t turn into a hurricane. Um, let me get someone to walk you back to your room.”

“Mel, that’s okay. I don’t need an escort.”

“Look you stubborn mule, I’m putting my foot down. The last thing I need is for you to fall on you head and get a concussion. You’re getting an escort whether you like it or not.”

“Well I’m putting my foot down. No escort and that’s final,” I said heatedly.

“Fine. I’ll be your escort. Just try and stop me,” she said with her arms crossed.

I took a deep breath and let it out. “Fine,” I relented. “Just try and keep up and don’t fall behind, will you?”

Melanie chuckled. “You’re such an ass you know that? Come on.”

When Melanie opened the door, she went one way and I went the other. “Julian, where are you going?”

“I ahh … can we go this way? I wanna check something out really quick.

“Okaaay, sure. Let’s go.”

When we were passing by the Visitor’s Lounge, I casually looked over to the coffee table to see if I could see any signs of that little boy again. The room was empty but something else caught my attention. Melanie looked at me with curiosity as I walked towards that table. I gasped softly at what I was seeing. It can’t be.”

“Julian, what’s wrong,” Melanie asked with concern.

“Mel, could you come over here and tell me what you see on this table?”

“I don’t see anything other than some thorns that someone dragged in from outside. Are you having another hallucination?”

These are the same thorns that little boy was plucking from his feet. I just know it. How can this be? Hallucinations don’t leave evidence behind. I decided to endure the pain of bending down so that I could collect every one of those thorns and held them in my palm. Maybe this is just part of my hallucination too. “Hey, could you hold these for me until I get back to my room?”

“Um, sure. But why?” she asked as I poured the thorns onto her own palm. They’re still there. She sees them and she can feel them just like me. That means I’m not hallucinating, and that little boy couldn’t have been a hallucination either. I decided to keep this to myself for the moment. The last thing I need is for Mel to turn me around and send me back to the examination room.

“What the hell?” Melanie exclaimed as she looked down the hallway.

I looked over her shoulder and noticed a thin solid track of mud on the carpet. Suddenly my eyes widened as I noticed an older boy walking his muddy bike towards us. It was that same boy, but a little bit older like nine or ten.

I leaned into Melanie. “Mel, do you see a young boy trailing mud with his bike?” I asked softly.

“Is that what you’re seeing Julian? The only thing I see is the trail of mud,” she whispered back.

 The young boy gave me a short wave with his hand. “Hey Julian. Um, one of my tires has a hole. Can you help me fix it?” the boy asked with a pleading smile.

I could hear my heartbeat again. The sounds became muffled as if my body was submerging underwater. My peripheral vision started closing in and I started feeling dizzy.

Oh no, not again.


© Copyright 2019 Bright Light. All rights reserved.

Chapters

Add Your Comments:

More Religion and Spirituality Books