Ghost 33 – Repercussions

Julia closed the door on Max’s room and headed downstairs, her heart heavy. James had been right, they needed to let the family know what was happening. But just because it was right, didn’t make it easy.

“Where’s the squirt?” Bre asked as Julia entered the kitchen. “You told him about the pancakes?” A mound of golden pancakes already sat next to her and she poured the batter into the pan.

Julia and Bre in the Kichen. Bre has a spatula in hand and Julia back is to us - she is facing Bre.

“He’s not feeling well,” Julia said, trying to sound casual. “I’m going to call the school, give him a day off.” Bre nodded, but her smile had slipped to a frown. Julia finished up the call with the school and returned to the kitchen for a plate of pancakes.

“This is why I didn’t want to say anything,” Bre said at last with a heavy sigh. “I wanted things to be normal for as long as possible.” They both knew peach pancakes wouldn’t fix what was broken, but they were Max’s favorite breakfast.

Juila and Bre are at the dining table, eating pancakes. Bre is looking down sadly at her plate.

Julia nodded. “He’s a smart kid, though. He knew something was up.”

“Divorce,” Bre said flatly and grimaced. “I’m not sure which is worse, honestly. I just wish we could have waited until we knew more. We can’t really tell him anything because we don’t know anything.”

Julia collected their plates and wondered what to do about James. They couldn’t leave him in his room all day.

Bre carries pancakes past Julia from the kitchen. She will be heading upstairs.

“I’ll bring him up some pancakes,” Bre made a small plate. “He must be hungry.”


Max’s heart sank and his stomach knotted at the soft knock on his door. He wished he could hide or disappear. But the door opened, bringing with it the scent of buttery pancakes and warm peaches. He felt sick to his stomach.

“Max, honey?” his Mum’s voice was soft but bright.

Bre walks into Max's room. He is in his pjs laying on his bed. His back is to the room.

How could she smile today? Go away, he thought. Willing his mum to leave since he hadn’t disappeared. But Bre didn’t obey his unspoken plea. There was a soft click as she set a plate down on his nightstand and then the bed shook as she sat down next to him.

For a moment they stayed that way. Max’s heart raced wondering what was going to happen. He could hardly think. There was a cacophony of words racing around his head. Mum is sick. We don’t know. Are you going to die? We love you. It’ll be alright. And the biggest of all, CANCER. That word drowned out all the other words they’d said last night. That word bounced around his head with bright red letters, dripping in blood. That word meant death.

Max jumped as someone grabbed his shoulder and pulled him close. He had forgotten his mum was there. And she wrapped her arms around him. He felt her chest rise against his head as she took a deep breath.

Bre puts her arm around Max and holds him close.

“Mom called the school,” she said at last. “So there’s no rush today.”

Max had forgotten all about school. How could you go to school when your mum was dying? How could life be normal again? Peach pancakes and a day off? That wouldn’t fix mum. He knew he was crying when the tears hit his hands.

“Hey, sprout,” Bre said softly and kissed him on his head. She tilted his head up and wiped his tears away. Although more fell just as fast. A sob caught in his throat and Max choked on it. He curled up into a ball on his mum’s lap. CANCER. Mum is dying. It’s all right. CANCER. Are you going to die? The words spilled through his head blocking everything else.

Eventually, he realized his mum was rubbing his back, his eyes stung and he hiccuped back another sob. But he was wrung out. Exhausted by crying, the words fading into the background. They were still there, but they weren’t overwhelming him.

Bre and Max chat on the bed. She is holding Max still.

“It’s scary isn’t it?” She said at last. “And we can’t say it’s all going to be okay. We don’t know that yet. But there’s a really good chance. There are new treatments and surgeries and there’s a really good chance, I’ll be fine. I’m still young and strong.”

Max wasn’t sure what to think.

“Do you know what I’d like more than anything in the world?” she asked leaning in close. Her eyes were sparkling. “I’d like to teach you to fish.”

Max blinked. That wasn’t what he expected. He knew what he wanted more than anything in the world. “F-fish?”

Bre grinned. “First off, I’m not sick yet. There’s still a lot more tests to go and that will tell us more. Let’s concentrate on what we’ve got now. And what we’ve got now is a day off. Let’s run away.”

“Run away?”

Max is talking to Bre. They are still sitting on the bed.

His mum nodded. “What do you say we all pile in the car and head up North? You’ve never been to Granite Falls, have you. It’s my favorite place in the world. There are giant trees and tons of birds. You’ll love it.”


Julia watched Max and Bre from the porch. She was bending down helping him get the worm on his hook, then he cast it enthusiastically into the lake.

Julia is sitting around the fire. In the distance, Bre and Max are fishing.

Why had they waited so long? Why had it taken a crisis to get them to come up here? They should have come every summer. Here, Max had enough space to run off all his excess energy.

Max is running in the background. In the foreground Julia and Bre are playing cards on the cabin porch.

Here, she could show him the different flowers growing by the paths and what plants to avoid.

Julia and Max are walking through the forest together.

Here they could sit together as a family and tell stories around the fire, roasting marshmallows.

Max and Juila are roasting marshmallows. Bre is as well, but you can only see her stick.

And here they could sneak out in the middle of the night and lay in the grass and find all the constellations.

10-19-16_10-50-49-pm

Tomorrow they had to return to the real world. The new world they lived in with phone calls from doctors and fear and worry. Doctor’s appointment and hospital visited. There would be surgery and chemotherapy. Julia had to tell herself it would all be okay. Lots of folks recovered from cancer. And the doctors were very hopeful with Bre. The five-ear outlook was over 70%. Not the best outlook, but Bre was still very young and the doctors said the overall survival rate was much higher when you factored in age.

The night sky, stars, a full moon, and the tips of evergreen trees.


Credits

16 comments

  1. When one of my friends’ wife got breastfeeding cancer, they bought a camper-motor home , and every weekend they escaped to the mountains near here. That was six years ago , and she’s well now and they’re still escaping !

    Liked by 2 people

  2. So sad! My heart breaks for Max right now — it must be so scary for the poor kid! I love the way you wriote his thoughts in this one! It was so well done and effective ^_^

    (Also, from a challenge-standpoint… yay! The next step has begun! :P)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh dear… cancer is indeed pretty scary. But I’m going to be hopeful. Bre is awesome, especially when she was comforting Max. It was nice to see more on-screen interaction with Max and Bre in general. And Max’s thoughts, sadness and fears were really well depicted.

    And yay! Fishing! I love how the fishing didn’t start out as a part of the quest for Ambrosia, but was more of a family thing at first. Somehow it’ll make it all the sweeter when they do realise that the fishing skills are needed. The Granite Falls pics were really heartwarming too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wanted to have it be something that Max and Bre could share. Technically Julia is a day or three away from the final death flower since we have to run around the town gathering the proper plants and grafting them. So I decided that meant he could “start” fishing without it being all about the end goal.

      We’ve seen a lot of Max-Julia and Max-James, so when I went to write this chapter initially it was Max-Julia. But I quickly realized that they weren’t the important couple in this group. And then as I was writing it, Max starting crying unexpectedly. I wasn’t sure I could pull it off. So I’m grateful that it seemed legit.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I was so sorry for Max in this chapter 😦 but the way his parents handle it, it should help. Bre is still able to do everything with her son and they should enjoy this time. When they start with the whole therapies Bre won’t be able to do everything she wants. Max will step back then but now they can be a happy family. It was so beautiful to see them together in such a hard time. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, right now Bre is stilll “healthy” but she has surgery and chemo to go through. I’m glad they had this chance to be a family before all that mess. Max is still very worried about his mum, but at least for this moment, they can push that into the background and just enjoy being together.

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      • Yeah – I remembered that happened before. Sadly it’s the chrome-wordpress connection not letting you check the box, so there’s nothing I can really do unless they fix it or I change my theme (and that’s not a guarantee since the next theme I pick could also be broken).

        I think there are wordpress settings that you can choose to get notifications on comments and likes – but it’s not blog specific so it would be for all the blogs you follow.

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    • Yeah – I’m not used to doing “real world” stuff in my sim stories – so I ended up going the “easier” route of cancer versus another illness. Cancer is always scary, but we’re getting better and better at living with it and treating it so there’s hope. (We won’t see a lot of her exact cancer treatment, since I’m not sure I could pull that off realistically, but know that they talk to Max and answer all his questions the best they can).

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