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J.S. Frankel


J.S. Frankel was born in Toronto, Canada, many moons ago and managed to graduate the University of Toronto with a degree in English Literature. He moved to Japan shortly thereafter in order to teach ESL to anyone who would listen to him. In 1997, he married the charming Akiko Koike. Frankel, his wife and two sons make their home in Osaka where he teaches English during the day and writes at night until the wee hours of the morning.

Email : a-man@h3.dion.ne.jp

Website : http://www.writerwannabe.weebly.com

Death Bytes

Written By: J.S. Frankel
Published By: Devine Destinies
Heat Level:

Death is not the end.   Where there is death, there is also life, only in a different form. High scho...

“How long does he have?”

The question came from my mother. Even though we both already knew what would happen, she got straight to the point. I expected nothing less.

We sat in the specialist’s office and the warm, mid-June Portland sunshine came filtering in through the half-closed blinds of the window. Doctor Lind, a middle-aged, short and chubby man, looked at the barely-in-control features of my mother and delivered his verdict in a quiet, measured voice.

“We’ve run the tests twice. At the rate the disease is progressing, Mrs. Benson, he’s got less than six months.”

My mother then broke down crying and I just sat there, mentally figuring out how many hours that amounted to. Not a whole lot, considering everything.

Lind came over and put a comforting hand on my mother’s shoulder. As a neurologist, he’d probably seen this a million times himself. He even looked as if he were about to cry. Oddly enough, only yours truly managed to stay calm.

Actually, in my case, it was pretty easy to do.  I couldn’t move very well, and my mouth didn’t work properly. Inside, though, my mind raced with a million thoughts all at once and none of them counted as being good ones. ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, had to be the bitchiest of all diseases to contract. No known cure and the patients usually died within five years or less.

I’d been diagnosed with the disease only three months ago and at seventeen, it seemed to progress incredibly fast. The signs—slowness and unsteadiness of gait, trouble speaking and swallowing, and extreme muscle weakness—came quickly. I’d always liked playing sports—baseball and swimming in particular—but now, no more activities. I had to use a computer to check on the baseball scores and see the outside world instead of doing it for myself. It had to be tough on my mother. She looked at the doctor, doing her best to compose her features and not succeeding very well.

“Doctor, didn’t the medicine work?” I asked.

Lind turned toward me, his mind attempting to translate the semi-gibberish which came out of my mouth. After he caught the meaning, his face dissolved into a picture of regret. “Sam, the treatment looked promising, and for a while it worked, but you knew it was experimental. In your case, this kind of ALS is a particularly aggressive form, and it’s moved even faster than I thought possible.”

Experimental or not, he’d tried. I nodded slightly, the only thing I could do. “Thank you, doctor.”

My mother then asked me to go outside. Shuffling out slowly, leaning on my crutches for support, I didn’t feel ready for the wheelchair yet, but knew it would come soon enough. I closed the door behind me and heard my mother’s voice filter through. They discussed alternative medicine treatments for a while, and then I heard my mother give a sharp what? Finally, their voices settled down to a low hum.

They didn’t have to go all secret society on me. I knew what would happen, and yes, I raged for a few moments about the unfairness of it all. Then, with a soft sigh, the anger left me. As much as I wanted to dump this…this…crap in someone else’s lap, I knew that wasn’t a possibility. The disease attacking me didn’t know how poor my mother was, didn’t care I carried a 3.8 GPA, forgot about how much I loved reading English literature, hadn’t seen what I achieved on the baseball field or in the pool, and couldn’t have cared less how many friends I had.

Some people would say it wasn’t fair. Fair had nothing to do with it. Disease didn’t care who it got and death cared even less. My mind still worked though…for as long as my body would let it.

Thing is, it all happened so fast. At almost eighteen, I felt the world was mine. Most kids my age did. Sam Benson, student council leader, swim team member, baseball devotee…I had it all and couldn’t wait for my senior year to start.

Then the U-turn happened. I started having trouble swallowing food, got weak in my arms and legs, and soon had trouble standing. At first, the doctors thought it was a virus. “Take two weeks off all activity,” our GP advised, and my mother, being the conscientious sort, forbade me from doing anything physical. It didn’t matter, as soon I couldn’t get out of bed.

Death is not the end.
 
Where there is death, there is also life, only in a different form. High school student Sam Benson had to die in order to experience it, and once he did, he found it the most thrilling ride of his life! 
Death Bytes, a Young Adult Fantasy of the highest order.
Price: $5.99