A Friday Flash by J.M. Rich
I feel like I'm at a damn AA meeting. Hello. My name is Mike and I have lung cancer. No, I never smoked. It was asbestos in my apartment. That's what you get for trying to do something yourself.
For the record, it's always too cold on the fourth floor at Danish General. Every time I'm stuck there the nurses won't do a thing about it except gimme another blanket. As if that helps.
But you know what I hate the most? I hate it when people stare at you like they could contract cancer just from being in the same room with you. I know, I know, most people know it isn't contagious like a cold. But most people seem to keep their distance just the same, don't they? I don't even think they realize they're doing it. The fake smiles, the awkard wave and "Hey, how's it going?" even know they know full well how's it's going. I'm dying. It's cancer. What do you expect?
Don't think I'm always this pessimistic. It comes and goes, ebbs and flows, same as the cancer. I just need to type all this up before I do break down and actually tell someone everything. Like any of you will believe me either, but there's just some things that I need to say here so I don't go blabbing and earn myself a permanent trip into the crazy ward. Hell, I know I'm going to end up there. It's only a matter of time now, isn't it?
Look, I don't know how much time I have, so I'm just gonna be blunt cause everything else I've tried writing sounds too haughty. I have a super power.
Any of you ever wanted a super power? Me, I always wanted super strength. I mean who wouldn't get a kick out of bending steel beams like plastic straws and kicking cars out of your way. I've always wanted to kick a Hummer.
You know what I ended up with instead? A cure for cancer. Leukemia. Alzheimer's. I'm a living antidote. It's all here in my fingertips. That's me. Miracle Man.
Sounds ridiculous, doesn't it?
I know one of you wise guys is saying, "Well why don't you heal yourself, genius!" Yeah, of course I tried that. That's the strangest part about this whole thing. I can help everyone but me. I don't know why. It doesn't make sense. Not that anything makes sense about all of this.
I don't blame you if you don't believe me. Hell, I didn't believe it myself at first. The first few people I cured I just wrote it off as coincidences, until Simon. Then, I knew.
It was Vicky who signed me up for Hospital Pals program. She said it would be good for me. Considering she was nice enough not to dump my ass as soon as she found out I had Mr. Big C - I tend to listen to her. She's good - too good for the likes of me.
Anyway, my pal was Simon. Amazing kid. Wanted to be a cancer doctor. Can you believe it? He didn't deserve to be here, but can't you say that about a lot of these kids? Damnit, they're so nice. I envy the pediatric side of the ward sometimes cause it's so positive over there. Unlike this side of things. Too many nights where you wish you didn't hear the wailing down the hall. Not that it's all sunshine over there either. They just try to keep things upbeat for the kids when they can, you know?
Even though Simon was only like 8 or something and I was more than triple that, we had a ton of similar interests, including fast cars. Kid had a great eye for a Porche. We were car-watching in the glass-walkway over the street bridging Building II and III when it happened.
One minute he was fine and laughing about a purple slug bug and the next he was seizing. I barely caught him before he hit the ground. I panicked and called out for help. It was one thing to see someone seize, and I had seen my share in the ward, but it was another to see it happen to someone you care about. Someone so small.
My hands were shaking as I lowered him to the ground. I took off my jacket and slipped it under his head so it didn't bang against the cold tiles. No one was coming to help. I yelled again. I felt so helpless and so utterly useless. When it finally passed, he began to cry.
"I'm sorry, Mike. I peed my pants. I didn't mean to..." He had nothing to be sorry for. I held him in my arms as he cried and he hugged me tightly.
"Am I dying, Mike? Am I dying?" I was crying. I couldn't stand his suffering. I wanted him to get better and maybe that was all it took.
Something passed between us that felt like at first like a warm wave, but it intensified. I thought I was burning alive. It was the same as before with Gerald, with Emma, with Paulie. Only it was stronger now. The fires within me consumed everything until everything was black and charred.
It was a day later and I was back in my room when I came to. I called my nurse and asked about Simon. She seemed surprised but then said, "Oh I suppose you haven't heard yet. Well, he's apparently been cured like those other three people. They're saying it's another miracle of God. He's probably just gone into remission. That usually happens." I wanted to slap her.
Dr. Carmichaels met with me privately later that day. Asked me directly if I had noticed anything strange about any of the patients. At some point just before their recovery, each patient recalled being struck with a violent hot flash. Each patient had been with me at the time, touching me. A handshake. A hand on a shoulder. Hands helping him stand. A hug...
I kept my mouth shut. That night, I had to see for myself. I snuck around after hours and I tried to make it happen. By doing it on command I found I could control the heat like a faucet. I let it burn as hot as I could take it before dousing it and moving on. I couldn't stay in one place so I went everywhere. Seniors. Adults. Teens. Kids. Babies. I healed thirteen in that night alone before I became completely exhausted. By the end of the week they were calling this place The Hospital of Miracles. The sick were lining up to get in and the Press tried to squeeze in at every open door. No one knew what was causing it and with so many cases popping up with no evidence of me involved, I was removed from suspicion.
Security tightened though, and I found it harder to sneak around. I had to invent excuses, even forge a few things I'd rather not admit to. I should have stopped then, but I couldn't. Once I found this power, I knew I had to help as many people as I could. I had to.
Simon was like my son, the son I'll never have with Vicky. Everyday I think if I can just save a few more people like him before my clock runs out... But it's getting so hard.
I guess that's why I'm writing this. I want people to know the truth before they catch me.
Tonight I'm going for it. I'm shooting for the whole terminal ward. God help me whatever happens tomorrow, but I can't stand waiting anymore. I need to help. I need to heal. I just have to. I'm sorry I couldn't do more. I don't give a damn what happens to me anymore. My life isn't worth as much as someone like Simon. I've taken so many things for granted. The world will be better off when I'm gone.
Vicky, if you're reading this, please forget about me and move on to something better. You deserve it.
a.k.a Miracle Man
Thanks for reading!
If you loved it, hated it, or somewhere in-between please let me know. I'm always open for improvement. If you like this one, why not read some of my other #FridayFlash entries?
I write new flash fiction every Friday. On Tuesdays I update one of my #TuesdaySerials: Last One Standing Tall and Eleven & Counting.