...And Ye Shall Be Healed: A Short Story (first draft)

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...And Ye Shall Be Healed: A Short Story (first draft)

Postby Brian » Tue Jul 13, 2010 9:09 am

Two things of note, first of all:

1) The story isn't finished. I'm working on it, but I wanted to get a few opinions as to whether or not it's crap.
2) The title is tentative. I'm not 100% happy with it, but it sums up what the story's about.
3) The experience is real, but the dialogue is mostly invented. In grad school, two fellow students knocked on my door and wanted to "lay hands" on me to heal me. They were true believers, and came away quite disappointed (I think...).

With that said, I give you....

(Edited to add: The formatting is gone now, except for the title, but hopefully that doesn't matter too much.)
Edited further to add: The dedication is to make it fit in more closely with the concept behind Long-Distance Dedications.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

...AND YE SHALL BE HEALED

(To Cari)

Jesus! It must be 11 o'clock. I've got an 8:30 class tomorrow, goddamit! If it's anyone but Cari, I'm gonna be pissed.

I open the door. By God, it's Cari. Holy shit.

She's got'r sweats and a t-shirt on, but hey, she'd be beautiful in a potato sack. (Not that anyone with any sense would suggest it...)

Holy Christ...Look at those blue eyes...My God...

“Hey, I . I'm heading out with some of the sisters. We're gonna stop at McDonald's on the way back. You want anything?”

“Um, sure.” I hand her five bucks. “Could you get me a value meal with a Big Mac and six-piece McNuggets, hon?”

She smiles. “Sure. I'll be back in a bit... Hey, I didn't wake you up, did I?”

“Um...No....No. It's just been a long day's all.”

“Wanna talk about it?”

“Oh, no. I'm fine. We'll talk when you get back. Thanks, though, hon.”

“Okay, I . I'll be back in a little bit.” She pauses. “Take a nap'r something while i'm gone. You look really beat.”

She leaves, and I close the door. Hopefully I can get some sleep now.

I roll half-way back to my bed, and there's another knock.

Must be Cari double-checking on me. I must really look like shit.

It wasn't Cari.

Two girls. They look vaguely familiar, but I can't place them. It's not surprising. Most places, if you're handicapped, you're a minor celebrity. The chair really sticks out. And Ramapo's a little podunk college. Out of 2,000 students, there may be 20 of us. Maybe.

“Hi I . Do you remember us? I'm Sheila and this is Amy. We met you a few days ago? Could we come in?” Amy, the non-blonde one, carries a Bible.

Okay, so there's two girls at my door, it's 11:30 and change, and they want to come in. And I'm gonna say no....why?

“Sure. C'mon in.”

Both girls have their hair up in schrunchie-type things. The one who doesn't have the Bible (Sheila) is wearing a cross. (Not a crucifix, mind you, a cross.) They look nice enough. The kinda kids you wouldn't mind your sons dating, if you had any.
“We were thinking about you tonight. We decided to come over.” Sheila.
I smile cordially. “Oh, okay. Cool. Thanks.”

Why on Earth were two girls thinking about me at 11 at night? I mean one girl, okay, if it's the right girl, but two?

“The Lord put it upon us to come pray with you for healing.”

Yeah. It figures. If you're up there: Nice one, God. Thanks!

“Um, the what, now?”

“The Lord. Have you found Jesus?”

“He lost'r something?”

Predictably, she ignores my half-assed witticism.

“We came here because the Lord put it on our hearts that you need to be healed. And to be healed, you need to be saved.”

“Oh. Yeah. That. I'm actually okay with the whole handicapped thing. I mean, I've had twenty years to get used to it, y'know?”

“Wouldn't you want to walk, if you could?”

“Well, yeah. I mean, of course. That's a given...”

“Well, we – uh, I mean, God, through his son, Jesus – can make it happen.”

“Oh. Okay. Well, I'm not really sure I believe in that stuff.”

“Even if you don't, what's the worst that could happen? Right?”

Okay. Well, they seem sincere enough. Maybe just let 'em do their dog and pony show and be on their way... “Yeah, I guess so.”
“Great!”

They both come in and stand beside me.

“Would you mind if we laid hands on you? “ Sheila.

“Um, beg pardon?”

Amy blushed a little. “We just mean, healing. We lay our hands on you, and it'll heal you. If God wills it, I mean...”

“Oh. That. Yeah, that's fine, I guess.”

To Sheila: “Okay, you take his arms. I'll get his legs.”

“Well, there's nothing really wrong with my arms. You can skip those, if you want...”

Sheila gives me a quizzical look. “Oh, no. It's just that, well, I think we need to cover the whole body. I mean, y'know...just in case.”

“Oh, okay. Sorry. I'm new to this.”

“Oh, no problem. We've only tried it a couple times ourselves. Close your eyes. We're gonna pray.”

I close my eyes and wait.

“Heavenly Father, we pray for my healing. We know that you have the power. If it's in your will, please let him walk, free of this wheelchair forever. We pray this, in Jesus' name. Amen.”

The three of us wait there a few seconds. Nothing happens. Yeah, there's a shocker.

Sheila speaks first.

“Can you move your legs now?”

I move my right foot in a tapping motion, the same as I could've done before this. The two of them look genuinely distressed by this. Amy looks at Sheila.

“You think we did it right?”

“I don't know. That's how Pastor always prays for healing, isn't it?”

“Yeah. That's how he does it.”

“Maybe we just need faith that it worked. Let's get him up.” She pauses. “I , we're gonna get you up. Is that okay?”

“Well, if you want to try.” I'm starting to get a bad feeling about this.

They both grab me by the arms (which is exactly the wrong way to lift someone in a wheelchair, in case you were wondering) and then let go.

Shit.

Luckily, the first thing they teach you in physical therapy is how to fall. I catch myself okay.

The two of them are very unhappy with this latest turn of events.

“Oh, my God, I . I'm sorry. I mean, we're sorry. I don't know what...what happened. I mean --”

Sheila cuts in. “We're new at this. I mean, I guess that must be what it is. I don't know...”

I'm feeling really bad now. These girls are clearly out of their depths.

“Hey, listen. It's not your fault. Sit down.”

They both sit on the couch off to the right as you walk in the door.

“Listen, the walking thing isn't that big a deal.”

“But you want to walk, don't you?”, Amy asked.

“Well, yeah. I mean, sure. I want it in the same way I'd like to win the lottery. I'd like it, but it's not keeping me up at night.”

“God wants that for you, too.”

I crack a smile. “What, the lottery? That'd be cool. It kinda sucks being a poor college student, y'know?”

Amy looks down, a little embarrassed. “You're not taking this seriously.”

“Look, it's not that I don't appreciate the thought. I do. It's just that, well... You're not listening to me. You're not taking me seriously.” I touched Amy's shoulder. “I know you two mean well. I know you want to help. But I'm okay. Really. And the things that're hard about being handicapped have nothing to do with being in a wheelchair, mostly. So it's okay.”

Amy looks up hopefully. “Well, Christ can help you with whatever that is, too...”.

I lie. “I'm sure he can. Maybe he will. I hope he will. But there's nowhere on my body you could put your hands that would make my body change.” Amy looks at me a little uncomfortably. “Well, yeah, there's that, I guess, but not change in the way you want it to, I mean.”
Amy joins Sheila, who by now was back by the door. “We're going to pray for you.”
I try to smile. “Thanks.”

They leave, closing the door.

I roll back to my bed, setting the clock radio for midnight so I'll be awake when Cari gets back.

Screeching brakes fail. Blood everywhere. Andrea knocks on my door. “She's...She's dead. Drunk driver. Her brakes...” Panic. “I can't believe thi-...” My brain can't process it. It can't be real. It can't be rea...

A knock.

I shake it off, and turn on the nightstand light, climbing into my chair.

Cari. Alive. Here. Holding a bag.

“Hey. I wake you up?”

“You're...You're okay.”

“Yeah. Why wouldn't I be?”

I shake my head. “Just a nightmare. Nothing.”

She looks concerned. “You okay?”

“Yeah, I'm fine, hon. Thanks, though.” When she's sweet like that, the “hon” thing just comes out. Luckily, she ignores it and smiles.

She hands me the five dollars. “Let's eat.”

I raise a hand. “Your money's no good here.”

She laughs. “It's your money, remember?”

I smile.“Well, yeah, but you were supposed to spend it on my meal.”

“Yeah, well, your money's no good here, either.” She smiles and starts unpacking the food on my desk, pulling up a chair. She hands me my value meal and pulls out a Diet Coke and french fries for herself.

“You didn't eat out with your sisters?”

“Nah. I figured I'd wait so you wouldn't be eating alone. And John's off with his brothers.”

(John's the Boyfriend.)

“You didn't have to do that, but thanks.”

Her smile... “We haven't hung out in a while.” She takes a bite of her french fry. “So, seriously, you feel okay?”

“Yeah, I'm fine.” I smile. “Now. Just had some crazy evangelist faith healers in here before.”

She shakes her head. “Nutjobs. There's nothing wrong with you. You get along fine. Look, I'm a Christian, but if Jesus was gonna heal you, he doesn't need help. And from what I can tell, you're fine the way you are.”

I smile. “Thanks.”

“For what?”

“Just...Thanks.”

She smiles and takes a bite of a french fry. “Well, you're welcome, I guess.”

I take a sip of my Coke, and I really do feel better.
"I guess the winter makes you laugh a little slower
Makes you talk a little lower
About the things you could not show her."

-- Counting Crows, "A Long December"
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Re: Faith Healing (Or Not): A Short Story (excerpt)

Postby Boba » Mon Jul 19, 2010 8:45 pm

Good start. you need to explain somehow how they showed up at 11:00. (or maybe make it a little earlier) So what did Cari say when she returned? Come on dude, let's see more!









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Re: Faith Healing (Or Not): A Short Story (excerpt)

Postby Brian » Mon Jul 19, 2010 9:36 pm

Boba wrote:Good start. you need to explain somehow how they showed up at 11:00. (or maybe make it a little earlier) So what did Cari say when she returned? Come on dude, let's see more!


Thanks, Boba. I'll be writing more tonight. :)
"I guess the winter makes you laugh a little slower
Makes you talk a little lower
About the things you could not show her."

-- Counting Crows, "A Long December"
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Re: Faith Healing (Or Not): A Short Story (excerpt)

Postby Brian » Thu Jul 22, 2010 5:26 pm

Not a major edit yet (I'm still working on it), but I changed the title...
"I guess the winter makes you laugh a little slower
Makes you talk a little lower
About the things you could not show her."

-- Counting Crows, "A Long December"
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Re: ...And Ye Shall Be Healed: A Short Story (excerpt)

Postby Brian » Mon Feb 20, 2012 12:28 pm

I worked some more on this today (after putting it away for more than a year). I'm thinking of putting it in my next collection of stories, which will be called Long-Distance Dedications

I'm going to edit the first post to show the state of the story now.
"I guess the winter makes you laugh a little slower
Makes you talk a little lower
About the things you could not show her."

-- Counting Crows, "A Long December"
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Re: ...And Ye Shall Be Healed: A Short Story (excerpt)

Postby Brian » Mon Feb 20, 2012 1:32 pm

Posted a link here to Twitter and Facebook, so hopefully that will get us more members. :)
"I guess the winter makes you laugh a little slower
Makes you talk a little lower
About the things you could not show her."

-- Counting Crows, "A Long December"
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Re: ...And Ye Shall Be Healed: A Short Story (excerpt)

Postby Nicki » Mon Feb 20, 2012 2:32 pm

I'd love to read more.
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Re: ...And Ye Shall Be Healed: A Short Story (excerpt)

Postby Saint » Mon Feb 20, 2012 2:59 pm

You've got a great handle on natural dialogue, which is hard to do right without sounding stilted. One thing, though. You should only start a new paragraph when another person is talking. Or are you double spacing in anticipation of sending it in to a publisher? I like it already though! :study:
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Re: ...And Ye Shall Be Healed: A Short Story (excerpt)

Postby Brian » Mon Feb 20, 2012 3:15 pm

Saint wrote:You've got a great handle on natural dialogue, which is hard to do right without sounding stilted. One thing, though. You should only start a new paragraph when another person is talking. Or are you double spacing in anticipation of sending it in to a publisher? I like it already though! :study:


I'm thinking of sending it out to a few magazines to see if I can get it published. Ultimately, I want to self-publish it in a short story collection I'm working on, Long-Distance Dedications.

It's kind of hard to keep track of, because there's a lot of back and forth, but I'll clean it up so that a new paragraph only starts when a new person is talking. Thanks, Saint! :goodpost:
"I guess the winter makes you laugh a little slower
Makes you talk a little lower
About the things you could not show her."

-- Counting Crows, "A Long December"
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Re: ...And Ye Shall Be Healed: A Short Story (excerpt)

Postby Brian » Mon Feb 20, 2012 3:16 pm

Nicki wrote:I'd love to read more.


I can't post the whole thing on here, because then it'll be considered "published", which limits what I'll be able to do with it, but I'll add to the excerpt as I go, and I'll send you the final copy, if you like. :)
"I guess the winter makes you laugh a little slower
Makes you talk a little lower
About the things you could not show her."

-- Counting Crows, "A Long December"
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Brian
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