Chapters One & Two

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Shilo, Age Five

Warm, bloody fur oozes through my fingers. "You'll be okay," I whisper, but it doesn't take away the fear in his eyes. "You'll see. You'll be okay."

"Somebody should just shoot the thing." The blue-haired old lady stands by the curb, glaring at Shadow. "Ain't gonna live anyway." Her voice crackles like shoes on gravel. "Dumb dog. What was he doin', runnin' into the street like that? And why's that little girlie kneelin' next to him?"

A truck rumbles by and flings tiny stones that sting my face, but Mommy doesn't notice. She's busy trying to make my baby sister stop fussing. Seems like Julia's always fussing.

I lean down until my lips touch Shadow's floppy ear. "Don't die," I whisper. "Please."

Inside my head, I see his broken parts. Inside my soul, I feel his pain. Ba-bum, ba-bum. Our hearts thump together as death creeps closer like a big, hairy spider. But I know something Shadow doesn't – God can squash death if he wants to.

Please, God, make him better. You have lots of power and lots of love. Please use those things to fix him.

My head gets light and dreamy. All the noises disappear. No more trucks rumbling or babies crying or old lady voices. And the whole world is washed in the color of love. Warmth replaces the tears in my heart. It flows through my body and down my arms like a river of cocoa, sweet and wonderful, then into my hands. Warmer and warmer. I spread my fingers, and they fill with heat. It flows into Shadow from my very own hands, but I can't see my hands; they're covered by bigger, stronger hands like Daddy's, only these glow soft as fireflies.

And I am not afraid.

"Shilo!" Mommy turns away from Julia to look at me. "

Mama mia, what are you doing?"

The words swirl in a hazy blue mist. Mommy sways in the fog, her face soft and dreamy, but there's worry lines on her forehead. I look down at my red, sticky fingers. "My hands," I whisper. "My hands."

Shadow raises his head. He's not bleeding or jerking like before. He struggles to stand and falls back down but doesn't give up. When he tries again, it works. A warm tongue licks my cheek and makes me smile. He barks a happy bark.

"Would ya look at that," the old lady says. "Simply ain't possible." And all the people start talking at once.

"Oh, no." Mommy shakes her head. "No, no, no." She says it too quiet for the people to hear. But I hear. Why isn't she happy like me? I am too sleepy to ask and too sleepy to stand, even though she's telling me we have to go.

By the time we reach home, my jelly legs can hardly hold me up. I lean against Mommy as she scrubs the rest of the blood off my hands. Julia watches from her stroller, cuddling her bunny blanket.

"So tired."

"I know, Honey. I know." Her voice is calm now, but something in her eyes reminds me of Shadow before he got better. "Come on, I'll tuck you in."

I take one slow step toward my room, then lay down on the cool kitchen tile, and close my eyes. Loving arms wrap around me.

"Please, God." Mommy's voice sounds far away, but her soft kiss brushes my forehead. "Not my daughter, too." 

Chapter Two

It's been three days since my family got slammed with the news. Cancer. Like a demon it rose from the depths, sinking its ragged claws into the one person who gets me. Really knows me.

Healer by Susan Miura (Chapters One and Two)Where stories live. Discover now