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The Kacie Kronicles
William Kacie tossed and turned in his bed. Sweat poured down his back as he groaned in agony.
His right leg felt like it was burning in a pizza oven. He didn’t know what to do. All he could think of doing was lying there and moaning.
Will couldn’t take it anymore. He leaned over and clicked on the small blue and green lamp on his nightstand. He sat up in bed and rubbed his sore leg.
What had he done to it that would have made it hurt so bad? All he had done this evening was finish his homework, eat supper, and lay in bed to read.
He slowly pulled up his long pant leg to reveal his calf. His hazel eyes grew wide as he stared at the golf ball sized lump that dominated his lower leg.
I have to get a drink of water to calm myself down. He slid out of bed and slumped across the dark hallway to the bathroom. Immediately after he had put his weight on his right foot, a searing pain shot from his leg up to his neck. He collapsed on the floor and clutched his burning leg, his eyes growing wide as the pain coursed through his body.
After a few minutes, he decided to try again. Using the wall as support, he slowly and carefully tested his weight on his right leg. It didn’t hurt as much, so he hobbled back over to his bed, forgetting all about his drink of water.
He lay on his bed. His short brown hair was soaked with sweat that ran down his face and neck. He clenched his fists, and gritted his teeth. The pain was unendurable.
After what seemed like hours, the searing pain finally grew weaker. Will pulled his warm covers up over his shaking and convulsing body, and fell into a deep sleep.
Will’s digital alarm clock buzzed in his ear. The small clock brightly flashed, 6:00, 6:00, 6:00. Will rubbed his eyes and sat upright in his bed. The moment his head left the pillow he immediately felt different. His head throbbed violently and his body ached all over. He felt his head. It was burning up.
He swiftly yanked off his covers and pulled up his pant leg. He began to sweat even more as he stared at the dominating lump that had become terribly red and itchy.
He stumbled out of bed, his head swimming. He limped to his parents’ bedroom as the roaring pain arced up and down his aching leg.
He burst into his parents’ bedroom and ran over to his mother, Keira, who was ironing clothes. “Mom!” He yelled hysterically and tugged on her shoulder. He yanked up his pajama pant and thrust a finger at his lump.
Keira gasped and nearly dropped the scalding iron. She quickly sat Will down on her bed. She threw a hand to his forehead, and felt it with the back of her shaking hand. “You absolutely cannot go to school today,” she exclaimed, breathing heavily. “ We have to get you to the doctor’s office as soon as possible.”
Will sat on a bench across from a room at the Welsh County Hospital. His mother and father were in the room, talking to the doctor about his about his X-rays.
Will’s knees knocked together as he waited on the cold, wooden bench patiently. He drummed his fingers on the crude, rough surface. His little sister Aeyla sat by his side clutching his hand. She was in kindergarten, and got out of school early. She sucked her thumb with her free hand, and leaned her tiny head on his arm.
Will resisted the urge to scratch his leg. It had become swollen and awfully itchy. Unfortunately, the lump had grown to the size of an orange.
The doorknob to the hospital door turned, and Keira and her husband, Derk, walked out. The doctor followed right after them.
The doctor’s face was sad and somber. It was solid and stern. No hint of a smile broke through on his pale face. Will clutched his sister closer to his chest.
The doctor sighed heavily and rested a hand on each of the parents’ shoulders. “Mr. And Mrs. Kacie,” He glanced at Will and closed his eyes for a brief second. He opened them back up and looked into the Kacie’s eyes, his own eyes glistening with tears. “Your son has developed a cancer in his leg called Osteosarcoma.”
Keira gasped and clutched Derk’s arm. She hid her face in his shirt and sobbed quietly. Derk’s eyes filled with tears, and he stroked Keira’s hair gently. “Is there anything we can do?” He asked, his voice faltering.
The doctor nodded sadly.” Yes, there is. We can try to remove the cancer from his leg. He will have to go through surgery and chemo therapy to try to help the cancer go away.”
Will squeezed Aeyla closer to his chest. How could this be happening? What did he do to deserve this? Was God punishing him for not having too many friends, and being quiet all the time? He laid his cheek on Aeyla’s hair and sobbed quietly.
“There may be possible side effects from the cancer and chemo. Hair loss is one,” The doctor continued. “He will have to avoid scratching his leg too much. After the surgery, he’ll have to stay off of his feet for awhile.”
Derk and Keira just stood there, holding each other and crying.
The doctor patted them gently on the backs and backed away. “I’m so sorry. I hate giving this kind of news to my patients.” With that he gave a sigh and walked down the hallway, his shoes padding quietly on the linoleum floor.
Will sobbed on and on. He didn’t care that anyone around him could hear his sobs. He didn’t care if he wasn’t acting like a seventeen- year old teenager. He didn’t care. This was just one more thing to add on top of being lonely and not having many friends. He never thought that things could get any worse than this.
His parents came over and wrapped their loving arms around him. The three cried together as a family.
Derk squeezed his son to his chest. “We will get through this,” More sobs left his mouth and tears tracked down his cheeks. “We will get through this.”
All Will could do was helplessly clutch his father and cry.
Edward Kacie sat on the top of his bunk bed. His twin brother, Skandar, shared the bunk with him. From time to time they would switch, and Skandar would sleep on the top.
Ed scratched his head, a puzzled look on his soft face. He was trying to think of what the square root of 1,274 would be. 8th grade is tough, he thought as he continued his homework.
A thumping noise suddenly sounded from somewhere to his right.
He set aside his homework and climbed down the wooden bunk ladder. He opened the door and followed the strange thumping noise.
The noise led him to his older brother’s room. He slowly and quietly opened the door to his brother’s room.
Will was sobbing and punching the wall violently. He finally collapsed onto the floor, tears streaking down his face and cries leaking from his mouth.
He leaned his head on one hand, the other clutching his burning leg.
Ed’s shoulders sagged. His heart ached for his brother. Just two days ago, his parents had told the whole family about Will’s catastrophe.
Ed slipped into Will’s room and plopped down next to his hurting brother. He sighed and pulled his knees up to his chin.
Will sobbed on. He sniffed and tried to resist scratching his swollen leg.
Ed opened his mouth to say something, but he didn’t know exactly what to say. He finally mustered up the courage to speak what was on his heart. “Will, you know, I know this is hard for you, but you got to know that we’ll be with you every step of the way. I know how you feel ….”
“How could you possibly know how I’m feeling right now!” Will shot his head up and looked his brother straight in the eyes. Tear marks stained his pale cheeks.
“You have it so easy!” His words came out more like sobs than yells. “You don’t know what I’m going through! I have no friends at school, I can’t do anything right, and I don’t have a talent!
“But look at you, Ed! Your life is so much better than mine. You’re popular, you play sports, and everyone likes you! You have no idea what I’m experiencing!”
Ed gritted his teeth and clenched his fists. He wished he could whack his brother with a pillow right now, but he knew that his brother was feeling so lonely and awful.
Ed looked Will in the eyes again, and spoke wisdom words to his brother, a fire in his speech. “You know Will, being popular isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. People love me for my looks and my talents. Not what’s in my heart. Sometimes I wish I were you. I wish people would see me for the real me, instead of looking at my outward appearance. True, I don’t know what you’re going through, but I know that we will get through this together. Your burden is my burden,” He clutched his brother’s shaking shoulder.
Will’s lip trembled, and his hazel eyes filled with tears. He pulled Ed into a manly embrace. Ed felt tears coming to his own eyes, and the two cried into each other’s shirts. Brother and brother.
Will limped to his High School’s cafeteria. His leg burned extra badly today. He winced in pain as he progressed toward his lunch table.
He sat down at his table and started to pray for his food. He heard shuffling to his right, but he continued to pray quietly, keeping his eyes closed.
“Well, well, what do we have here?” a voice crooned in Will’s ear.
He quickly said “Amen” and opened his eyes, only to come face to face with the Welsh County Senior High School bullies: Pete O’Dorsy and his two minions Nick and Trevor. If there was an award for, “The meanest bully of the year,” Pete and his gang would win first prize.
Will rolled his eyes and started eating his lunch, not saying anything. He recalled one of his latest encounters with these bullies. Pete had beaten him up, and Nick had stolen his lunch money. He had hoped that he would never cross paths with them again. Unfortunately that wish didn’t come true. Too bad I don’t have a magic carpet or a golden lamp to rub.
Pete continued to torment Will with his piercing words. “It’s a little Christian praying to his Big Daddy in Heaven,” he laughed out loud hysterically, his minions playing along.
Nick laughed and sneered.” His mean Daddy too. Ready to strike us when we do something bad.”
“Yeah,” Trevor added. “But where is the lightning? Hah! Maybe your so-called Daddy isn’t actually real,” Nick and Trevor chest bumped each other and gave each other high fives.
Will felt tears coming to his eyes. He felt so helpless. He wasn’t brave enough to stand up to these bullies. All he could do was sit there and let them chatter his ear off.
Pete crossed his arms over his burly chest and grinned. “Well, Willy, looks like your Big Daddy isn’t here to help you with your bully troubles after all,” He laid his palms flat on the lunch table. “And there isn’t anything you can do about it. So…”
“Knock it off Pete,” A young man Will’s age stepped up to Pete and his gang, his arms crossed over his wiry chest. He wore denim blue jeans, and an orange polo shirt. His short blond hair was nicely combed, and his piercing green eyes burned into Pete. The boy chuckled and scooted closer to the bully. “It’s a wonder why bullies go after the kids that are more quiet and defenseless, instead of picking on those that are as big and mean as they are.”
Pete took his attention off of Will and lumbered over to the stranger. He set his face a couple of inches away from the teens, looking straight into his emerald eyes. The teen stood his ground, staring at Pete and not even blinking an eye.
“What are you going to do about it, Hanover?” Pete threatened menacingly.
The teen just stood with his arms crossed. His expression was that of a stone, a strong man who doesn’t back down easily.
He set his hands on his hips. His voice grew louder with every word he spoke. “I’m not going to do anything about it… the principle will. So if you don’t want to get detention or a referral, you better stop teasin’ this kid!” He stepped closer to Pete, who backed up toward his buddies.
Pete crossed his arms once more and glanced from Will, to the teen, and back again. He firmed his chin and motioned for his friends to follow him. “Come on guys, let’s go before this brat tattletales on us to the principle,” With that they glared at Will once more, and lumbered over to their lunch table.
The teen plopped down in the cafeteria seat right across from Will. All Will could do was sit there and chew on his ham sandwich, his hazel eyes wide open in amazement.
The boy extended a smooth hand to Will. “Gageway Hanover.”
Will sat there for a second, not knowing whether he should shake his hero’s hand, or sit there and stare.
He finally mustered up the courage to shake his hand and squeak out a reply. “William Kacie.”
“Nice name. You can call me Gage.”
“You can call me Will.”
Gage sensed Will’s hesitation to talk. He scratched his head and drummed his thin fingers on the cold lunch table. “I see you over here sometimes,” he began. “Those bullies pick on you a lot. I was wondering if I could sit over here by you sometimes.”
Will stared at his new acquaintance as he finished his sandwich. He didn’t know what to say. No one at school had ever treated him this nicely before.
Will squinted at Gage, looking him over completely. He then realized exactly who Gage was. He rolled his eyes and twisted the cap on his water bottle. “ Aren’t you one of those… popular kids?” He made quotation marks in the air with his fingers.
Gage grinned slightly and leaned back in his chair. “ Well if that’s what you want to call me,” he ran his fingers through his mesmerizing blond hair. “I play on the varsity basketball and soccer team.”
Will gulped down a swig of his cold water. He glared at Gage with a piercing gaze. “You can stop acting now.”
“Oh come on! You know what I mean… Gage. You just saved me from those bullies to show off to your buddies, or show your stuff to the girls. I appreciate your help but you can go back to your own kind now.”
Gage’s eyebrows furrowed. “I wasn’t acting for anyone, Will. I just saw that you were struggling, so I came to help.”
“Yeah, well I had it under control.”
“Oh yeah, I could see that as you were helplessly doing nothing to stop them!”
“They do this to me all the time!”
“So why won’t you let me help you!”
Will’s eyes suddenly filled with tears. He clutched his burning leg and hid his face behind his red lunch box.
Gage sighed. He reached out his hand and slid the lunch box away from Will’s face. “I know what you’re going through. I know how you feel.”
Gage’s soft green eyes glimmered with compassion. His jaw was set and firm. Somehow, deep within, Will knew that he understood.
All the teen could do was nod at his new acquaintance, and returned to eating his lunch. Tears stained his pale cheeks.
Gage smiled. He was finally getting through to this boy who needed help. He rubbed the side of his head. There was something else going on in this teen’s life, and he was going to figure it out.
He stood and clasped Will’s shoulder with a firm grip. “I’ll always be there for you when you need me,” He gave Will’s shoulder a tight squeeze and turned to leave.
He spun around. “Yeah?”
Will smiled. “Thanks,” he said quietly.
Gage grinned. “Anytime,” and he spun on his heel and hopped into the lunch line.
Will’s mind raced over what had just happened. He didn’t know why Gage had decided to help him out. Maybe it was God saying, “Go.”
Will smiled. It didn’t matter. He knew that this was just the beginning.
A pain suddenly shot through Will’s body. He clutched his leg and winced in pain…
To Be Continued In The Next “Kacie Kronicles” Short Story.