I walked into the kitchen, and sat down at the table.
"Morning." I said to my dad.
He grunted over his cup of coffee. I got out a bowl of cereal and poured it out. I took a giant bite, but coughed it all first. Blood splattered out with the Frosted Flakes. I continued to cough, and more blood came out.
"No." Dad whispered fearfully.
Mom, she'd done that. First was the bloody coughs and the vomiting. Next came the chest pains. And, eventually, her lungs failed her, and she died.
"Dad?" I asked as he stood there, frozen, "Daddy?"
I hadn't called him that since I was five years old. Since Mom had died. The room began to spin, and it was all I could do to keep my eyes open. I stumbled, and Dad caught me, but I was already falling, falling, falling.....
* * * *
I kept my eyes closed, trying not to panic. The hospital smell, the beeping of machines, the feeling of rough, scratchy sheets against my skin. It was like being with Mom all over again. But eventually, curiosity won out. Slowly, tentatively, I opened my eyes.
I regretted it instantly. I'd had nightmares for years about this. A needle was in my wrist, pumping God only knows what into my veins. It was all too much, too soon.
"Stiles!" Dad said, at my side, "You okay?"
"No." I coughed out.
Scott rushed into the room.
"Hey." I croaked, "Sorry I missed lacrosse practice."
"It's fine." Scott said in a soothing voice, "We didn't do much anyway."
"Hey, Scott?" Dad asked, "Can I talk to you outside?"
* * * *
"What's wrong with him?" I asked.
"Lung cancer." the Sheriff said, "Extensive. They say it's already spread to his pancreas, and throughout his entire respiratory system. They also said he's got a month. Two, at most."
Tears welled up in his eyes.
"He'll get better." I said, "I'll find a way, I'll do something. He will get better. I promise."
We went back into the small room.
"Lung cancer?" Stiles asked.
He'd heard every word.
"Y-yes." his dad sobbed.
"C-can I t-talk to Scott fora second?" Stiles said.
"Sure. Of course. Anything you want, just say the word, okay?" came the reply.
* * * *
I felt numb. Only two or three phrases echoed through my head. Lung cancer. Spread to pancreas. A month, two at most. Scott stared at me.
"Can you smell it?" I asked
"Well, there's a lot of other people here so I don't know it might not be you but itdoessmellalittlebitlikedeathnotthatmuchthough,don'tfreakoutokay?" he said in a rush.
I breathed out slowly.
"Wait!" Scott said, "We can fix this!"
"How?" I said in a flat voice.