Author Topic: Degree of the Human Heart  (Read 1758 times)


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Offline Phoenix

Degree of the Human Heart
« on: March 30, 2015, 02:52:32 PM »
Off-Topic: show
Unlike many of my others on here, this one is actually complete. I wrote this one a few years ago and have since had it self-published through If you wish to buy a copy I'll post the link here somewhere. But for now I'll leave you in Patrick's capable hands.

What if you had one year of your life left.

  Just over 20, Patrick Ashworth thinks he has his life in front of him, not realising a deadly illness is slowly taking it away. Not wanting people to feel sorry for him, he keeps his secret between a select number of people when the symptoms become harder to ignore.
   However, when he learns he has less than a year to live, it's harder to keep it hidden. Especially to the one he loves, and it's then that he realises he has to tell. The problem is he's not sure if she'll understand why it's taken him so long to tell her, or if she won't.

      Courage, friendship, love and bravery are shown.
              And in the most unlikely places.

'A message from 'Reaper' – Live life on edge and how you want, then you'll have no regrets.'


Prologue: Lost Property
.Chapter 1 – Secrets lie dormant.
.Chapter 2 – Past Revelations.
.Chapter 3 -- War on the Front Line.
.Chapter 4 - Sleep, Forever Angel Sleep.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2019, 11:07:23 AM by Phoenix »


Offline Phoenix

Prologue: Lost Property
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2015, 02:56:44 PM »
   Everyone's heard the announcements on the trains 'Please take all your personal belongings with you, any unattended items may be removed without warning'. They've heard the groans of the passengers as they hear the same things over and over again. Trying to block out that familiar voice out of their head, as they try to get on with their train ride without hearing the most obvious things anyone could think of.
   If it wasn't for the almost seeming never ending terrorist strikes these announcements wouldn't even be played, but they were.
   So it's here, on a well used and looked after train that this story is set in motion.

   Sitting near a window is a female, possessing a briefcase which she holds close to her chest and a suitcase which was on the racks above her. Both of these cases are worn, and somewhat customised with very skilful and creative hands. Designs, all hand drawn were covering the outsides of the material, which was a major contrast to the person holding them.
   The female shifts uncomfortably, it's not the seat she's sitting on that's making her so, it's what she's about to do. Nervously, she looks across with brilliant deep ocean blue eyes to the people sitting in the seats across from her. It's a family: Mother, father and two young boys. She bites her lip and sighs, it's time.

   Jumping as the voice over announces that they're approaching the next stop, she stands up and cautiously approaches the family with the briefcase still clutched tightly to her side. The mother, Sarah, looks up curious,
   “What can we do for you dear?” She asks. Her smile welcomes the girl only slightly as she looks into Sarah's hazel eyes, although they are mostly hidden behind the long blonde hair drifting in front of them.
   Sarah's look was simple yet effective, a pale blue dress came to just above her knees, showing off her slender legs and low cut shoes. To shield her arms from the cold wind a white jacket was slung over her shoulders.
   “Can you look after my bags whilst I go to the toilet? I won't be long.” the girl asks slyly.
   “Sure thing sweetheart. Just hurry back, we get off in a few stops and you don't want these lying on a train unguarded if you're still not back do you?” Sarah smiles. This calmed the female and she nods passing the briefcase to the dad who's smiling.
   Without a backward glance, she then turns away from the family and walks towards the toilet, biting her lip as she does. Predictably, the people start getting up and gathering their things at that time. And she finds that they disguise her as the train pulls to a stop at the platform. Tears start to freely fall from her eyes and it's then that she begins to regret her decision.
   She lets herself blend in even more by letting her long brunette hair lose from the bun it was in. As she shook it out she turned and gazed at what she was wearing. As it was a warm day she found herself putting on a simple black t-shirt and skirt, this was followed by the slip black shoes and make-up. Only slight to cover up the tears she'd been shedding everyday.
   She sadly wiped the the salty drops that were threatening to fall away from her eyes, and set her mind on the task once more. She wasn't a terrorist, she just wanted an unknown life to be told. The problem was, as she was well aware, she was a target. One who would easily kill innocent lives just for fun, all she hoped was that the family searched the suitcase and noticed the note before the bags got destroyed.

   The hustle and bustle hid her perfectly until the train was departing but it was only when she turned her back on it that she finally felt at peace. Almost as if she knew that things were going to be okay, even if they happened eventually it was better then never.
   The mum noticed her on the platform and looked to the case in her husbands arm.
   “Open it.” She said simply.
   “What? The girls coming back, she'll be-” Tom began,
   “She's not coming back. Open it.”
   Unwillingly, he unclasped the catch on the side of the case and opened it slowly. Although he expected a bomb to be in place or something similar, what he found wasn't what he expected either.
   Silently, he eyed to his wife to bring the suitcase off the shelf, she did this cautiously and slowly. As she walked over, she took a quick peek at what was inside the briefcase and immediately had the same first impression of the case as Tom.
   Unsure what to make of the briefcase, he searched through the top layer again. His soft brown eyes adjusted to the various things, his vision clear from his brown hair cut short.
   In the heat, he let his white t-shirt cling to the sides of his body that weren't facing the sun. Although his dark blue jeans and trainers did his legs and feet no favours.
 In the corner of her eye she noticed her sons looking at her.
   “What's going on Mummy?” their eldest son, Ashley asked.
   Annoyed with the heat making his hair stick to his forehead, he groaned and wiped the sweat off the best be could. His soft brown eyes then turned back to his mum, ignoring the phone in his hands he'd been immersed in playing until just moments before.
   “Nothing darling, every thing's fine.” She replied.
   Shrugging, he turned back to playing on the game on the phone and she turned her attention to Nick, the youngest. “Really, it's okay.”
   Gratefully, both Ashley and Nick were wearing t-shirts, shorts and light shoes. Even though they'd both complained about the heat earlier in the day.
   Nick darted his hazel eyes between his parents before sighing. His brown hair was cut much like his fathers, although it was only slightly longer. There wasn't much else he could do then, apart from look out the window.

   The case that Sarah had brought down was heavy, at first she was scared it'd fall on her head. Eventually, she placed it on the floor and carefully opened the zip. Inside was an almost silk like material lining with a couple of zip compartments on the top. It was a deep blue, ocean like with an encrusted design. In the main section, was a diary. It was carefully placed in the centre and on top of all the clothes and other items. Someone would have been blind not  to see it let alone the piece of paper attached to it.

   She looked up to Tom quickly, almost expecting him to be immersed in whatever was in the briefcase, but she found him looking directly at her.
   “What's in there?” he asked,
   “Not much.” Sarah replied. “Lets see what this note says shall we?” she shrugged and took the diary out of the suitcase and placed it gingerly on her lap. It took her a while to gain the confidence to read it though, and when she did her eyes welled up with tears so quickly she had to turn away to stop herself crying harder.
   “What does it say?” Tom asked. Sarah took a deep breath and sighed, after a few seconds she seemed to recover and read aloud the note.

   'Please do not destroy these cases, they mean the world to me.
   You may ask why I've left them here after I've just said that, I am just really hoping that somehow, someday you can understand.

   This, is all that remains of a life. I'm just hoping that after this I can have the strength to move on. Right now I'm just angry inside, his life was stolen and now all I have to remember him are by photos, memories borrowed from other people. The last look he gave was of rare, pure love.
   His family have kept secrets from us, and I'm hoping as you read through his life that you will understand where I'm coming from. This is the only way I can get his face, his life and work known.
   What am I hoping to achieve from this? I'm hoping to move on. I'm hoping for the closure I never had before. But what's more, I'm hoping that someone else, even if it's just one person, to know one persons life that once lived on this earth.

   People tell me he was an amazing person, his laugh and smile made anyone feel on top of the world. A rare case to see these days without the drugs to influence them. He was happy, the most easy going guy you could think of, mixed in with his daredevil attitude you never knew what you were expecting.
   He was also protective, he would often encounter fights as he stood up for the people he cared .
   Please don't throw his life away, it's all I have left.'

   “What does that mean?” Tom asked,
   “I guess we've got extra bags to carry back.” Sarah sniffled.
   “You're a real sentimentalist at times you know that?”
   “We'd better pack this all up then and get off, our stops next.” Tom shrugged. He motioned for the boys to start getting ready and by the time they were the suitcase and briefcase were closed and zipped up once more.

   The train pulled in to the station slower then before, which gave the family time to get to the doors before they opened so they could pile out. Ashley and Nick asked why they were taking someone else's things but when they received no reply they simply gave up. Only paying attention to the taxi ride home with the strange smelling driver.
   They almost missed their house though, and it was only down to Nick telling him to stop that his parents finally snapped out of their daydream world of wondering what exactly was in the cases.
   Ashley ran across the road quickly, the driver had managed to park on the opposite side of the road, with Nick following behind him. As their parents unpacked the boot of the car they played in their small front garden, a race from one end to the other. Nick lost multiple times before the front door was unlocked, and he sulked and stormed up to his bedroom.

   His brother would have joined him but he was once again hyper, and when he knocked a vase with flowers and water in over the tiles in the kitchen, he was ordered to play outside.
   When he was a safe distance away, Sarah once again unzipped the case, taking the diary out once more. It had a small padlock on, but a bunch of keys was attached to it. The keys had multiple key rings on, a miniature nodding dog, metal star with someone's birth year amongst five others. She unwound the keys from the padlock and found the one she was looking for, within a few seconds the padlock unclipped and hung loosely at the diary's side.
   Tom appeared in the doorway then, two cups of juice with ice cubes in his hands. He set one next to his wife and sat down, and together they opened the front cover.

   Inside was yet another note, saying a contact number to ring on. Then, the diary entries started on the next page.

   Thursday 25th January.
   Let me introduce you before you get to read my life, my nicknames 'Reaper' because of the way I live.
'Live life on edge and how you want, then you'll have no regrets.' -one of my more favourite quotes.
   I'll eventually tell you my real name but for now you'll have to settle for a cover.
   Talking of covers mines covered with books right now. I may just sleep on the floor at this rate, I don't even know where half of them sprung up from to be honest with you.
   Right now, it's cold. And I'm in the warmest room in the house, which is nice for Winter but not so in Summer. It won't matter so much next week though, I'll be back at university (my first year) with my three best friends and laughing about all the embarrassing things that have happened over the past two weeks.'

   Sarah paused for a moment and looked to her husband,
   “What'd you make of it?”
   “I'd say nothing and let you read on.” He replied. This, Sarah did solemnly.

   And so, the diary entries were read. One after another with few breaks, where Sarah or Tom stood up for some reason or another. They were reading through a life now lost, but now not forgotten. And it's for that reason they treasured each word they spoke or listened to.

Offline Angel

Re: Degree of the Human Heart
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2015, 11:02:48 PM »
Aaah I remember this being around but i never got the chance to read it!. Looking forward to getting that chance now. :)

Enter Helena's world of light.

Offline Phoenix

.Chapter 1 – Secrets lie dormant.
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2015, 11:13:52 PM »
   “I'm sorry Mr.Ashworth, there is nothing we can do. The tumour's too advanced for treatment,” Dr.Kenny said sympathetically.
   “So what?” Patrick bit his lip bravely, “How long are you saying I have of my life left?”
   “Honestly, I'm not completely sure. I'd say a year, two at most.”
   “Will I have enough time to complete my course?” Patrick asked. He knew the answer already but he had to ask to make sure,
   “Patrick, it's not advisable for you to be in university at all right now.” Dr.Kenny sighed, pausing to look at his wrists he continued sombrely. “Yes, yes you will. But you know how I feel about this.”
   “I've waited 22 years to get where I am now, 22 years of ambitions and failed dreams. Do you really think I'm going to let this get me down? I've held on too long to give up. Besides, if I drop out of the course now what do I have to show after I'm gone?” Patrick sighed. Only just managing to hold back the tears, he looked up for the first time into the doctors eyes.
   “I understand that, really I do. But you may not hold on for as long as you think, what happens if you collapse in the middle of a lecture?”
   “I don't know.” The 22 year old sighed, “I guess I'll just work that out when I get there.”
   “Patrick you can't go on living like this.” Dr.Kenny stated,
   “I don't intend to. See, unlike you, my deaths looking a lot closer then what yours does.”
   “Keep me informed of your progress, I like to keep close tabs on my patients until they're better in case they need me.”
   “Of course I will, although I think I'm one of the few who will never get better.” Patrick sighed but stood up all the same. It was time to brave the facts, in a few years he wouldn't be here.

   He walked out of the doctor's surgery slowly, feeling the warm air trickle sweat down his back. Biting his lip slightly once more, he looked straight at the floor where his feet were covered by his dark blue baggy jeans. They were hidden, lost, almost like the rest of his life. Within seconds, Patrick couldn't look any longer and instead turned to his reflection on one of the windows which showed his reflection.
   During this quiet time, he realised just how much of his life he would be missing on. His thick brown hair cascaded down his face like a waterfall, covering his bright blue eyes. Nothing but fear showed from them any more, hope that somehow something would change. That maybe tomorrow he would wake up and this would all be a long nightmare, just one long dream. Bad or good the outcome had  to be better then dying before your life had even started.
   Patrick smiled bravely and tried to hold back the tears that were threatening to fall from his already bloodshot eyes. In a weak attempt he focused them on his white-t-shirt and jeans instead.  He was hoping that by looking at something other then what he would never see again it would be easier, but he knew somehow it wouldn't be that easy.

   Just as Patrick was about to let the tears fall, his phone started buzzing in his jeans. He took it out carefully, checking the name on the screen at the same time. Nigel, Patrick's room mate at university.
   “Hey, how did it go?” Nigel asked as Patrick answered.
   “Oh my god, it's that bad?”
   “No, I dunno.” Patrick paused before continuing. He was trying to find the best way to tell him that he was dying, but he just couldn't bring himself to do it. At least not yet. “I just collected a few more results, I get the results next week sometime.”
   “Okay, cool? Hey, I'm in town now. You want to meet up? It sounds like you need company.” Nigel suggested.
   “Please, I'll be in the library in five minutes.”
   “See you then Pat.” Nigel said cheerfully. Patrick wasn't so happy though, he looked to his watch and sighed once more. His time was running low.


   The heat struck everyone one who was in and out doors, causing the attitudes of many to be irritable and short. The few that stayed in the same happy  mood as always were the ones who didn't actually mind what the weather was like. Out of the left over few who did, many were stuck with air conditioning.
   One of these buildings, thankfully, was the library.  Nigel arrived first, in the least amount of clothes possible. Light trainers covered his feet, followed by khaki baggy shorts that reached just past his knees. As he was going inside though, he pulled out his t-shirt from his pockets and slid it on slowly. He wasn't into the fashion of showing his underwear off but he realised only too late that the shorts he had on were too big and so even with a belt they managed to slide slowly downwards as he walked.
   He waited outside for his friend patiently, but at the same time he realised  that if he didn't come soon he'd walk inside and probably never come out again. The heat was already making him sweat more then any work out he'd done in the past two weeks, which was saying something as he was exercising everyday.

   Bored, he turned his attention to the girls across the road, one of them seemed to be looking directly at him so he smiled at her. She nodded back briefly, smiling the returned gesture. She seemed to talk to her friends less and less as he watched her out of the corner of his eye and before long she stood up to leave.  Right when Nigel was about to walk after her to say 'hi' though, Patrick appeared dishevelled passing right by her.
   He spotted his friend standing outside the library and sighed, he'd tried to calm down all the way along but after fighting and losing with a sink in the public toilets he gave up. Now damp patches could be seen on his white t-shirt making certain areas see through, and on his jeans too. Luckily, by the time he'd crossed the road and stood beside Nigel, most of the water had evaporated.
   “What happened to you? Had a fight with a sink?” Nigel almost laughed. The expression of his friends face though, made him change his mind before he did.
   “It's that easy to guess huh?”
   “Hey, what's eating you up?”
   “Tumour.” Patrick thought sadly, but he put his best brave face on and answered something totally different. “It's just this heat.”
   “You're right, lets get inside before  we melt like witches.”
   “Except witches are girls?”
   “Fine,” Nigel rolled his eyes, “Wizards.” he muttered.

   Without another word, the duo entered the library quickly and quietly. Leaving the heat behind them they welcomed the coolness and sat down far away from the windows. Books surrounded them, all about medical health care and babies, they looked to each other blankly and  shrugged. It was the only free table with chairs on the lower level and they weren't planning to stay here for that long.
   “Well isn't this cosy?” Nigel asked.
   “You say that one more time and I'll set Buddy on you.” Patrick growled.
   “What? Buddy? The porcelain husky that's five inches tall?”
   “He doesn't like you.” Patrick muttered, “he thinks you smell funny.”
   “Granted, I tend to after a two hour work out.”
   “He says you smell funny all the time.”
   “He doesn't even have a nose.” Nigel rolled his eyes. Checking the coast was clear he leant back in his chair staring at Patrick.
   “Yeah, because you threw him on the floor last week. Before that he was a healthy dog.” Patrick growled once more.
   “Apart from the fact he's not real?”
   “Yeah, well neither are you!” Patrick joked, he stuck his tongue out mockingly and waited. No come back ever came. Instead, he let the silence spread a little longer.
   “You know, with your attitude changes I never know who I'm going to get any more.” Nigel said after a while. It took Patrick a while but he sighed,
   “Neither do I.”
   “Has the immature Patrick gone to bed then?”
   “I didn't say that.” Patrick grinned. He turned his attention to the floor, hoping to find something to look at except his feet.
   “What are you saying then?” Nigel asked.
   “Frankly, I have no idea. Maybe I'm hoping for a miracle, maybe I'm saying I need help finding something I lost years ago. Or maybe I'm saying I need to lose it again.”
   “Dude, you're making no sense.”
   “Same as always then?” Patrick looked up shrugging. He held the serious look in his eye that made Nigel want to ask more, but he never got the chance.
   “Patrick!” a familiar voice screeched excitedly. Both Patrick and Nigel turned around to find Emily waving at them, slowly making her way over.
   “You still haven't told her what's been going on have you?” Nigel asked quietly.
   “I don't want to hurt her until I know it's bad, if I get better there's no point in worrying her is there?” Patrick answered.
   “Don't, I've heard it before from you. I'll handle it when I get there okay? For now I just want to enjoy myself.”

   Emily reached the table looking at her surroundings and raised her eyebrow. She let her long light brunette hair, which was neatly pulled into a ponytail flow over her shoulders before turning to look at the books more closely.
   This she did carefully, her soft brown eyes scanning the spines with a somewhat amused expression.
   “Never thought of you two as the paternal type.” She said slowly.
   “It's was his choice,” Nigel said rather quickly,
   “Yeah, people who talk fast and are first to deny things tend to be the ones who are lying Nigel.” Emily giggled. “It doesn't matter anyway, I came here to see you two.”
   “Aww, I'm flattered Em, but I have a girlfriend.” Nigel smirked.
   “Eww” Emily cringed, “I don't mean in that way.”
   “Leave her be pervert,” Patrick joked. “Why did you want to find us exactly?” he asked to his girlfriend.
   “Because my mum's out for the weekend, she asked me to house sit for her. Was wondering if you wanted to help me, looking after two hyperactive dogs isn't as much a laugh as you think it is.”
   “So you're asking us a favour?” Nigel asked.
   “Yeah, pretty much.”
   “I don't know about him, but I'm free till Tuesday.” Patrick smiled.
   “Yeah, and me till Wednesday.”
   “Then it's settled. We'll buy some ice cream on the way, mum said she was running low.”


   Annoyingly, the warm air hit the three of them harsher than it had when they'd entered. Being mid-day shopping in a supermarket seemed the best idea at the time, but when they got there they found that even though the queues were shorter, there was a reason for it.
   The air conditioning wasn't working, and because of this, it was just as hot indoors as out.
   “If we're getting any from here we'd better get it back to yours quick other wise it'll melt before we're even half way.” Nigel groaned.
   “You pick the ice cream out then, I'll grab the basket.” Emily smiled.
   As soon as she was walking away, Nigel and Patrick made their way to the frozen section, but once out of earshot Nigel started the conversation up again.
   “Why can't you just tell her?”
   “Nigel please! Why can't you just drop this?” Patrick sighed weakly,
   “Because I love Emily like she was my sister, I don't want to see her hurt.”
   “And that's why I'm protecting her.”
   “From what? You don't even know what it is.”
   “Exactly!” Patrick cried out a bit too loud. He noticed people turning towards him but just carried on walking. “I don't want her to worry until I know what I'm dealing with.”
   “And you think it's just a simple case of telling her when you're ready?” Nigel asked.
   “No, it's a case of telling her when I think she can handle it.”
   “What do you mean?”
   “Come on. Why, and be honest here, do you think her mum's gone away for the weekend?” Patrick stopped and doubled back a few paces. He'd reached the ice cream, and stood opposite Nigel not being able to look him in the eye.
   “I don't know do I?” Nigel rolled his eyes.
   “She's not telling you everything, she's keeping secrets from even me.”
   “Well then, maybe you know how she probably feels about you.” Nigel muttered.
   “Hey!” Patrick growled, “I'm trying to protect her!”
   “Yeah, course you are.”
   “Nigel please! Don't do this-”
   “-Don't do what? Why can't you just tell her what's going on?”
   “I told you to drop this,” Patrick cried weakly. “Please, just don't-”
   “I'm trying to be your friend here, if I were her I'd want to know what was going on.”
   “I can't tell-”
   “-No, you won't tell. There's a difference, why can't you see that?” Nigel cut in again,
   “Why can't you see it from my angle?”
   “Because right now you don't have one!” Nigel snapped.
   “I don't want my last days with people feeling sorry for me, why can't you just let me figure this out on my own? It's my problem not yours.” Patrick continued on crying. He only just managed to get the words out before he broke down completely.
   Before Nigel had a chance to apologise though, he ran up the isle he was in, across the middle of the supermarket and out through the exit. He didn't want Emily seeing him like this, he didn't want anyone  seeing him this way.

Offline Angel

Re: Degree of the Human Heart
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2015, 11:39:07 PM »
I have the feeling I'm going to have to have tissues ready for this one.  :read:

Enter Helena's world of light.

Offline Phoenix

Re: Degree of the Human Heart
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2015, 11:56:15 PM »
Yeah, I probably should have put a warning in. Sorry  :'( I'll post another chapter up in a few days.

Offline Phoenix

.Chapter 2 – Past Revelations.
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2015, 09:13:16 AM »

   Nigel silently cursed himself, only moments later Emily turned around the next isle smiling happily. She hadn't heard anything of what was just said and was confused at where Patrick had gone.
   “Where is he?” she asked, “Is he getting the cones or something?”
   “He-” Nigel began, “-he ran off,” he sighed.
   “Ran off? Ran off where?”
   “I don't know.”
   “We have to find him,” Emily said firmly. She then took Nigel's hand and led him to the exit, dropping the basket back where it came from as she left.


   Also cursing himself was Patrick. He'd managed to run as far as the park before he stopped, hyperventilating and shaking with tears. It took him a while to catch his breath, and when he did he walked slowly over to the water fountain in the centre surrounded by a gravel path. Each one was either north, south, east or west and led off to a separate area of the community area. The north one guided people to the children's play area whereas the south led to the grass. Taking the eastern path took you to the car park, and finally the west direction to the toilets and the family areas with the outside chessboards and football pitches. The gravel also extended towards the very outside edge of the park, following the boundary like a border.
   After he'd drunk some of the fresh cool water from the fountain, Patrick went south. Beneath his feet he could feel the grass cushioning his footsteps, he didn't look up once though. Instead letting his eyes guide himself to the trees near the edge of the park. Once he'd chosen one to sit under, he turned around, stopped and sat.
   Before he knew it, he was crying once more. They shrouded his eyesight so he couldn't see anything, not even his hands.
   Patrick had suffered in silence, the tumour had been growing slowly for four months before he realised he wasn't feeling 'normal’. Unfortunately by that time the cancerous tumour had grown to a rather large size. It had started growing in May. In early July Patrick couldn't stand the headaches in the mornings any longer. During that time they had grown steadily worse. After which, he saw his local doctors surgery, where he got referred to see Dr Redhorn.
   Now all he kept thinking about was what this doctor had told him. The doctor's words and his own played around like flies around dead animals, and bees hovering over flowers.


  Patrick, I have to warn you now that this may be bad, or it may be nothing at all,” Dr Redhorn sighed.
   “Yes I figured that much out already,” Patrick had muttered to himself.
   “If it is a brain tumour or anything else we can treat it, and after that you'll be able to live a normal life. However, if it's in it's late stages and there's nothing we can do medically we can advise you to see some counsellors to help you through it.”
   “You mean help me to come to the terms that I'm going to die?”
   “If it comes to that, yes.”
   “If-” Patrick paused. He was trying to word his next question carefully. “If it is too far gone, how will I die?”
   “Some die peacefully in their homes, others feel that they can't take the pain and overdose on drugs. It's because of that reason that, as I've said, if it comes to that, we'll help you through it.”
   “Pain? What pain?”
   “Are you asking these questions because you're curious or because you feel your time is already up?”
   “Curious,” Patrick answered. Dr Redhorn nodded and answered,
   “The headaches getting worse in the mornings, seizures, dizziness, memory loss and difficulty walking are a few of the worse symptoms.”
   “A few?”
   “Patrick, it's not advisable to be worrying about the side effects of this. As I've said many times now, it may only be a slight headache which can be cured with a few pain killers.”


   Now Patrick couldn't help but think how Dr Redhorn was as right as he was wrong; it wasn't just a headache. He knew something was wrong after he'd woke up feeling like an axe was splitting his brain in two, then found himself rushing to the toilets to throw up the little amounts of food he had left in his stomach. Shakily, he had drunk water. His mum, Zoe, had thrown her arms around him, only to find tears freely falling from his eyes from the amount of sheer pain flowing through him.
   From there, he found no ordinary pain killers had worked. Prescriptions were passed to him, all of which lay in the bathroom cabinet. He had so many he had empty cases and half used ones, hoping to one day find the strength to look up the true extent of the side effects of each drug he had to take.

   Dr Redhorn had advised Patrick to see another doctor, which had led him to Dr Kenny. Together they did tests, each of which they double and triple checked for accuracy. Mostly because they wanted the tests to come back negative, but each one was more of a disappointment then the last.
   He often needed sleep, but all too often the headaches roused him from it. Patrick was eventually so exhausted finding out the news he soon stopped hearing the positives, and he managed to block everything out. Zoe was Patrick's rock, through the bad times she could be seen standing right beside her son with no sign of moving.


   Exhausted, Patrick looked to the children playing tag not far away from him.
   “What do you want from me?” he sighed weakly to himself. “I'm not strong anymore. I never was to start with.”
   Pausing, he heard voices coming nearer to him and sighed wiping the tears with the back of his hands, peace never lasted long in his world. He was hardly ever alone.
   Putting his best 'normal' face on, he listened tentatively to what the people were saying. At the same time he managed to get his breathing back under control from the most recent outburst of tears and uncrossed his legs slightly.
   “What'd you think he's doing here?” one teenager asked.
   “Hey like I know, all I know is I swear I saw him an hour ago in the toilets,” a guy shrugged. Patrick sighed; they were talking about him.
   “Shall we go over and say hello?” a female asked. Patrick tensed to be on his guard.
   “Girl, you just read my mind.”

   A few minutes of silence followed, but that was only because the group of five had moved onto the grass. Before Patrick had time to stand up and walk away he felt the coolness of shadows surrounding him.
   He looked up slowly, hoping they wouldn't see the bloodshot eyes or the fear that was slowly spreading throughout his body.
   “Me and my friends wanted to say hi,” the only girl smiled.
   “Hi,” Patrick said weakly.
   “What's up? Why you crying?”
   “Cindy, he doesn't want to tell you,” a guy rolled his eyes. “Excuse me, pardon my manners. I'm Jerry,” he indicated to himself.
   Patrick nodded as he took Jerry in, typical athlete. Airy shoes, light blue branded shorts and tank top. Muscles could be seen all over his body, most notably his arms. Jerry smiled too, showing a hint of his pearly white teeth. Short light blonde hair covered his head and light brown eyes sparkled in the light.
   “These are my mates Marcos, Fred and Charles.” Jerry then pointed to each in turn. Marcos was a small guy with frazzled brown hair and beady brown eyes. He was wearing dark jeans with holes in various places down the leg and a white t-shirt. His shoes couldn't be seen at all. His past had made him secretive, and hard to get close to. But at the same time a loyal friend. He let his emotions out on paper and was rarely seen without his hands in his pockets.

   Fred was in a t-shirt and jeans. He wasn't wearing his shoes though; he'd presumably taken them off shortly after walking on the grass. He had really dark brown hair and blue eyes, and was roughly the same height as Jerry. Him and his brother were outgoing in nature, nearly always on the hyperactive side of the scale then normal. They were also the two that could put a smile on anyone’s face, though within the group they would do anything to avoid it.
   Charles looked the same as Fred, except instead of jeans he was also wearing shorts, and he still had his shoes on.
   “And of course me,” Cindy tilted her head slightly. This allowed her long blonde hair to seep over her shoulders and away from her bright blue eyes. She smiled again, showing small dimples either side of her cheeks. “I'm Cindy,” she said.
   She was dressed in a green strap top and light yellow skirt that came halfway between her hips and knees, showing off her legs perfectly. Completing her outfit was a pair of green slip on shoes with yellow stars. Her appearance showed her sensitive and girly side, but also a hidden hope that someone would compliment her on how ‘nice’ she looked. She was welcoming and friendly, but like Marcos, was incredibly shy.
   “So what's your name?” Fred asked. Patrick looked to his hands hopelessly, hoping for some kind of truth to magically be shown in them. Cindy knelt down beside him,
   “Whatever the matter is, it can't be that bad surely,” she said soothingly.
   “You have no idea,” Patrick whispered. “My name's Patrick.”
   “What's up Patrick?” Cindy asked, motioning for the others to kneel down too.
   They did this quietly, spacing out on the floor slightly as they did. Jerry then moved closer to Cindy, placing his right arm gently on her shoulder.
   “You can tell us,” Charles said thoughtfully. “Sometimes it's easier to tell strangers.”
   “So what is wrong?” Jerry asked.
   “Why are you trying to help me?” Patrick sighed weakly; this wasn't the first time he'd been used.
   “Because I saw you in the toilets, and because I felt for you.” Jerry shrugged. “I hate seeing good people upset, and I try to help them when I can.”
   “Yeah, he's a real Samaritan,” Fred agreed.
   Patrick looked up then, and instantly he regretted doing so. Not only had he managed to receive whiplash, making his neck ache, but he'd seen people walking towards him, and they weren't Emily or Nigel either.
   “I have to go,” Patrick said quickly. Jerry turned to see where Patrick was looking and rolled his eyes,
   “Yeah, us too.”
   “This is my probl-” Patrick began.
   “No, it's ours. They hate us too,” Cindy sighed. She held her arm out to pull Patrick up, which she managed to, shakily. Once he was standing she pulled Jerry so he was standing. It was only when the six of them were upright that the people walking towards them finally noticed though. Before they were talking amongst themselves and pushing each other around.
   “Hey!” the leader, Danny, shouted over to them. Patrick turned away and started walking.
   “Patrick, where d'you think you're going?” another called. Jerry noticed Patrick walking and motioned for the others to follow which they did all to happily. Before the other five had realised, however, he was running further and further ahead.
   “Wait up!” Fred called out. Jerry, Fred, Cindy and Charles looked to each other then, only Marcos was watching Patrick.
   “Jerry look!” Charles cried out. All four of them then turned back to Patrick far up ahead, but he wasn't running any more, he'd collapsed on the gravel path. Marcos had already started running towards him when the others started, but even with the five of them running, they still took their time reaching him.

   When they did, Patrick was only just getting up. They collapsed on the floor carelessly, trying to catch their breath at the same time.
   “What brought that on?” Fred asked.
   “Nothing,” Patrick winced.
   “Patrick, those guys hate us too.” Fred sighed.

   Patrick twisted his leg slightly to check underneath his knee and sighed, blood was seeping through the jeans making a damp patch on the side.
   “Come on, we'll go to that pharmacy on the corner.” Jerry stood up slowly.
   He then helped Patrick stand too, making him place his arm around his shoulder so he could stand properly. After all of them were standing once more, they slowly walked out of the park, making sure as they went that the group wasn't following them.

Offline Angel

Re: Degree of the Human Heart
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2015, 10:53:02 AM »
Seems that he's stumbled upon a nice bunch of people here. :)
Still enjoying it and looking forward to more to come!

Enter Helena's world of light.

Offline Phoenix

.Chapter 3 - War on the Front Line.
« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2015, 03:33:31 PM »
   Emily sighed to herself. Maybe he wasn't as far as the edge of town after all? She'd been stringing a very anxious looking Nigel along, and after a while she started to get sick of his moping.
   “Huh?” Nigel glanced up from his feet.
   “Yeah, I said hey. Can you quit being sorry for yourself and start looking?”
   “I am looking.”
   “Yeah, at your shoes. Which reminds me, you need new ones.” Emily rolled her eyes.
   “They're not worn out you know.” Nigel growled.
   “No? Then how come I can see your socks?”
   “It's a fashion statement.”
   “Fine, but if it starts raining you'll be sorry,” Emily muttered.
   “Yeah, unlikely in this weather I think.”
   “Which brings us back to the point of Patrick.”
   “What about him?” Nigel asked.
   “We still don't know where he is?” Emily raised her left eyebrow.
   “Yeah we do.”
   “We do?”
   “Yup.” Nigel smiled weakly. “We know he's on Earth, we know he's in England and we know he's in the South East.”
   “Fine, we don't.” Nigel's weak smile vanished,  “I get the point. You want me to shut up.”
   “Yeah I want you to shut up, you're being a jerk,” Emily growled.
   “No more then usual then,” Nigel muttered. “Fine, you take back along the high street, I'll take the park.


   Patrick sighed to himself weakly; he wasn't sure if he should tell them or not. On the one hand it probably was easier talking to strangers, but he didn't want them to know before Emily. She'd be hurt if she found out in the wrong hands.
   He limped gingerly, hoping that somehow that each step would be his last and that he wouldn't have to explain everything, the doctors reports would. It still wouldn't cover up the fact that Nigel knew about his condition though, which was move a curse at times than a saviour.
   On one hand he had someone to talk to, however on the other he didn't want his last months or years worried that the people he cared about would find out from the wrong people and not himself. In truth, he wanted to come to terms that this positively tested tumour was cancerous. Before it was a matter of waiting on results, walking on eggshells to hear the news that he'd been dreading to hear.

   He hadn't left enough time for most of the treatments, they'd taken the original tumour out with one single operation in late July, with a few minor glitches of course. However, within only a few months it had started growing to the same size, causing Patrick more severe headaches and dizzy spells.
   To begin with, he wasn't sure why Dr Redhorn had said difficulty walking would be a more severe side effect of the tumour.
   One fatal accident in the Lake District, though, made him see sense.


   The questions running through Patrick's mind were too much for him to come to terms with. He'd handled a lot more in his lifetime then anyone he could think of and because of this still found it hard to know where to start. After all, it hadn't been easy living with the fact that he could die, though of course everyone else told him he'd live till a ripe old age surrounded by children and grandchildren.
   It hadn't occurred to him to think about what he'd be missing most of the time, although with his pessimistic view that was hard to believe at times.

   Now, all Patrick could think of was the present, the here and now. Even if it meant lying in the public toilets trying to tidy his leg up. His new 'friends' offered to help him, but instantly realised what they'd just said and shuffled out of the doorway silently.
   Luckily, he didn't have to actually take his trousers off to clean his leg off - the jeans, although hot and sticky, were remarkably lose. This meant that Patrick could easily roll them up past his knees and clean the blood off silently. Just as he'd put a small bandage on it, Jerry knocked on the door, entering slowly.
   He relaxed slightly when he saw Patrick was actually decent, as he wasn’t sure how to react if he saw him in his underwear.
   “The guys went into a charity shop and picked out something for you.”
   “But nothing, it was their idea not mine. I was just guarding the door with Cindy when they disappeared.” Jerry shrugged and knelt beside Patrick. After a while he remembered he was holding something behind his back and handed it to his very anxious looking friend.
   Patrick took it gingerly, his right arm still had a nasty cut and bruise forming on the underside, and peered inside. A pair of light blue shorts with a branded surf ware design was neatly folded in half and waiting for Patrick to change into.
   “But why?” Patrick asked.
   “Because they figured you wouldn't want to walk around in blood stained jeans I guess, or maybe they thought jeans in this weather was completely nuts.” Jerry paused, “Are they the right size? They weren't sure.”
   Patrick took the shorts out in response and checked the label: 'S' for 'Small'.
   “Yes, they should be okay,” he replied.
   “Cool, I'll leave you to get changed then and wait outside.” Jerry smiled once more and stood up. After leaving Patrick alone once more, he retold what just happened to Marcos, Fred and Charles. Cindy had parted a few moments before into the ladies' toilets to re-work her hair.


   Patrick exited the toilets in the second hand shorts, which turned out to be just a little too big for him. At first he thought Jerry had actually left him along with the others, but he spotted them not far off at the ice cream van. Every now and again one of the five turned to check on the entrance to the guys' public toilets.
   It was Cindy who spotted Patrick first, and she jogged over quickly followed by Marcos.
   “Are you okay?” she asked, inspecting Patrick's arm.
   “Yeah, I'm better now that I'm out of those trousers.” He smiled a shy, grateful smile at Marcos which was copied in return. “Come on, the others are waiting. We thought we'd treat ourselves to ice creams.”

   Cindy then nudged Patrick towards the ice cream and the other three friends, Marcos shrugged and looked to Jerry. After a while they all started walking towards the van.
   “Ah, there's something you should know about Marcos.” Cindy whispered as they were walking.
   “What's that?” Patrick whispered back. They were now walking slightly slower than Marcos.
   “He hasn't said a word since his sister was separated from him. His dad was looking after him but he buggered off to America six months ago and hasn't been seen since.”
   “I'm...” Patrick paused. “Confused.”
   “After his dad disappeared, he had to take care of his seven year old sister. But he was still at college, they couldn't afford the rent so had to move out and find somewhere else. That's when the social services came knocking. They said he wasn't fit enough to take care of her as a guardian and moved her to a foster home in Wales. That was over five months ago,” Cindy explained sadly.
   “So he hasn't said a word since?”
   “No, not a single one. Granted it causes problems at college, he handed projects in on time but because he got severely bullied throughout it he couldn't hack it any more and dropped out.” Cindy paused. “I just thought I'd warn you.”
   “Yeah, thanks.” Patrick sighed, looking at Marcos with renewed sadness.


   Emily sighed to herself; she still hadn't found him. Deciding to try and retrace her steps she started walking back the way she came. That's when she saw Nigel being led by Danny and his gang. She stared, unable to move, unable to do anything.
   It was one of Danny's friends, Charlotte, who saw her first. Danny grinned from ear to ear when she was pointed out, and Nigel was brought into her view. He couldn't look up, and was hunched over holding his nose. Emily fought the urge to scream, but couldn't fight the look of hatred burning through her eyes. Danny smiled to himself and motioned for Charlotte to grab her. Before she could react, she saw a very smug looking Charlotte speeding towards her.
   Within only a few seconds she was on the floor, screaming with pain and anger.
   “Get off me!” she spat. “Get off  me!”
   “No.” Charlotte laughed. “I'm not going anywhere.”
   Emily hissed with anger, and managed to get one of her arms free. This she used to her advantage by scratching Charlotte's 'precious' face. A scream and blood followed, and for a moment Emily was happy and proud of herself.

   The satisfaction was short lived the precise moment pain shot through her legs. As her eyes shrouded with newly formed tears, she saw Danny's legs a few inches from the floor.
   “We're not going anywhere sweetie. You'd better get used to that,” Danny hissed.
   “Get off me,” Emily cried out weakly. Finding new strength she repeated her order louder then before: “Get off me now!”
   “Emily!” Patrick shouted.  He was standing with Jerry, Charles, Fred, Marcos and Cindy. Emily, Charlotte and Danny were now in the middle of a straight line, Danny's gang not far off making the other end.
   “Patrick,” Charles said quietly. “You know the guy they're holding?”
   For a moment Patrick looked to Nigel, he knew it was him instantly but couldn't work out how he got into the state he had. Granted, Danny was a thug, but he was rarely violent.
   “Nigel.” Patrick said quietly. He then changed his attitude from angry to protective and spiteful. “Danny Harwood, you'd better get off my two friends now or you will  pay.”
   “Ooh will you look at that?” Danny laughed. “He's protective now.”
   “I'm always protective if it comes to my friends, if it's a choice to see me hit instead of them I'd chose me every time.”
   “You're a fool,” Charlotte sniggered.
   “And you're a slut,” Patrick growled.
   “You make no sense at times Pat, you really don't.” Danny rolled his beady eyes and whipped his light brown hair away from his left eye.
   “How many times have I told you not to call me Pat? How many times have I told you to just leave me and my friends alone?” Patrick growled.
   “Patri-” Jerry began.
   “No, I'm sick of this!” he cut in, “I'm sick of being the victim here!”
   “So what do you suggest?” Charlotte hissed.
   “I've already told you. Get off my friends.”
   “Then what?” Danny laughed.
   “Then you can come and get me,” Patrick said firmly.
   “No deal, you're brain's worthless in our eyes.” Patrick froze.

   Did he know about the tumour?
   How could he?
   “What is he talking about?” Jerry growled,
   “Hey!” Patrick cut in. “Are you going to step away from my friends or what?” He growled.
   “I'm not sure, are we?” Danny smirked.
   “Don't you dare!” Patrick shouted. “Don't you dare play games with-”
   “Patrick it's okay,” Cindy cut in weakly.
   “No, no it's not. How can it be?”
   “Pat-” Cindy started.
   “Jerry?” A male interrupted. Jerry turned around and sighed with relief.
   “Ed over here!” He shouted in response.
   “Ed? Edward Harrison? Your brother?” Danny laughed at Jerry.
   “Why not? You're scared of him aren't you?” Jerry said smugly.
   Patrick turned his attention from Jerry, to his brother and two friends walking towards them and then back to Danny. And sure enough a hint of fear could be seen glistening behind them.

   Ed reached them a moment later, anger clearly throwing throughout his body. He stared at Danny through his light blue eyes, moving his light brown hair away from his eyes at the same time. They couldn't be seen properly though due to his black jumper. He had the hood up loosely, showing the red t-shirt underneath. Danny was, even two years older then Patrick, a bully. He held the posture of someone who had enough money to buy the whole town two times over, and acted as so.
   “I thought you'd learnt not to bother my little brother and his friends,” he said coldly. Patrick gulped and turned to Emily still pinned on the floor, he turned his head slightly and nodded to Cindy. Daringly, he then took a few steps forward with Danny watching him.
   Ed seemed to notice the shift in gaze and motioned for Cindy to sort Charlotte out and get Emily off the ground. This, she did happily. Charlotte's eyes darted from Ed to Cindy as she walked over, and seeing what could happen, ran.
   “Charlotte!” Danny called after her.
   “She's not coming back you, you may as well get lost too.” Ed shrugged.
   Behind him, his two mates John and Andrew laughed slightly. This only made Danny even more agitated though.
   “All you have to do is let him go,” Jerry pointed out.
   Danny didn't respond in anyway, he only watched Patrick help Emily up then turn to his friends with Nigel still being supported between them.

   He seemed to think it over for a while, and the tension was starting to drive Patrick nuts. Angrily, he took one more step towards Danny, who seemed to think he was better off beating him up with eight other people on his side and surrendered, holding his arms in the air.
   “Let him go,” he sighed to his friends. “Lets just get out of here,” He added, dropping his arms to his sides and walking past Nigel along the high street alone.

   Ed and Jerry helped Nigel stand afterwards. Ed's friends then introduced themselves as John; a 25-year-old in the last year of university studying English language. His blue eyes clearly visible from underneath his light blonde hair had shown happiness when he spoke, he was happy about studying the subject he'd chosen.
   Knowledge flew through his words carefully, radiating his small figure in a way not many could get away with. His outfit was daring - a neon pink long sleeved t-shirt was underneath a pale blue t-shirt. Somehow it took the sharpness of the eyes, even with the white shorts that were in fact jeans cut to a shorter length. Covering his feet and legs was a light pair of shoes and pair of neon blue and green pair of socks.
   And Andrew, a 26-year-old who had dropped out of university after failing the first semester and all the units included in it. He wasn't so lucky in his choice of subjects, and had to chose from mechanical engineering and hairdressing; neither of which he wanted to do. The others on the universities he'd wanted to go to near him had roughly the same courses, and because he'd wanted to stay close to home he decided to just work instead.
   He was wearing a plain white t-shirt and light brown shorts, along with chunky trainers. His appearance was plain, with hazel eyes and brown hair.

   Ed sighed quietly and shifted Nigel slightly with the newly added weight. A small amount of blood was seeping from somewhere, making a slight stain on his blue t-shirt.
   “Come on, we need to sort this guy out before anything else.” Jerry also moved a little.
   “Patrick?” Emily said quietly,
   “Two things, when did you change?” Emily raised her left eyebrow, staring at where Patrick's jeans used to be.
   “I fell over,” Patrick said painfully, realising he had  fact fallen over and was leaning on his weaker leg.
   “And secondly, your mum's over there.” Emily pointed to a nearby shop.
   Patrick followed where her arm was showing and realised that Emily was in fact right. The worst thing was she looked like she was calling him over.

Offline Phoenix

.Chapter 4 – Sleep, Forever Angel sleep.
« Reply #9 on: July 04, 2019, 11:00:20 AM »
   Patrick walked slowly over, limping every now and again as his weight started to irritate his injured leg. As soon as he'd reached her she hugged him tightly, wrapping her arms around him. Silently, he did the same.
   “How is it?” She whispered. Patrick choked on tears that were threatening to fall,
   “It's bad.” He whispered back. Zoe squeezed harder then, sniffing slightly from her now runny nose. “Mum-”
   “-I know, I know. I'm okay, really.” Zoe cut in, releasing her son at the same time. She wiped her eyes with her coat and put on a brave face, “I only called you over because your brothers come back, he wants to see you.”
   “Ian?” Patrick asked, tilting his head slightly.
   “He's the only other son I've had apart from you.” Zoe replied. She turned slightly to wave at Emily, noticing then that the other people who Patrick was with had started to walk off. She had  stayed behind glancing from Nigel, to Patrick and his mum and to the end of the high street.
   Patrick turned and noticed, just as Emily pointed to paramedics jogging their way towards Jerry and the others. For a moment he wanted to go over and check if he was okay, but Emily did it for him. After she stepped into the ambulance, Patrick turned to Jerry and realised he was quickly walking towards him.
   “Don't say anything.” He said quietly to his mum. Only just registering her discrete nod as Jerry reached him.

   He noticed people stopping to see why the ambulance was sitting half parked in the high street and half on the road. Most of them stayed to glance inside but the rest just carried on walking, even though crime wasn't part of everyday life.
   “Cindy phoned them.” Jerry explained,
   “Tell her thanks from me?” Patrick asked.
   “Sure,” his new friend paused, “You heading off?” he said, acknowledging Patrick's mum.
   “Yeah, my brothers in town.” Patrick replied. “Hey, take your mobile out.” he said taking out his own. Jerry did quickly and passed it to Patrick. After a few beeps and button presses he phoned his mobile from it, then passed it back.
   “Your number saved?” Jerry questioned slowly, checking his phone book.
   “Yeah, under one of my many nicknames.”
   “Cool. I'll see you around?”
   “Yeah, definitely.” Patrick answered. He turned back to his mum then, noticing his mum had disappeared into another shop. “I'd better go and find her.” he laughed slightly.
   Jerry nodded and turned back to his friends, calling out to Patrick to expect a call sometime tomorrow. In response, Patrick sniggered and turned to see if she was in the nearest shop.


   “Where is he?” Ian screeched happily.
   “What, and there was me thinking you were looking forwards to seeing me.” Zoe faked a frown, making Ian roll his eyes and hug his mother.
   “Of course I want to see you too mum, but I've been worried about the little guy as soon as I left England.”
   “A lot has happened since then.”
   “What'd you mean?” Ian asked slowly, pulling away from the hug at the same time. He still kept his arms on his mum's though, as a sort of comfort.
   “I think it's best coming from him.” Zoe sighed.
   “So where is he?”
   “He's in the car, he fell asleep on the way back.”
   Ian dropped his arms then and waited patiently for his mum to step aside for him to pass and wake his brother up. When she did, he walked out slowly, taking in Patrick's appearance through the window at the same time. After a couple of steps he stopped, looked back to Zoe but found her motioning to continue. He picked up his pace then, reaching Patrick's side of the car he carefully opened the door, which roused him from the light sleep he'd been in.
   “Hey little bro'” Ian whispered, “Coming in to sleep or are you staying in the car all night?” he continued I the same hushed tone. The car door was now open, allowing Ian to kneel beside Patrick.
   “Ian?” Patrick asked sleepily,
   “Who else would it be?” Ian laughed slightly, Patrick slowly lifted his head and smiled. “There we go, looks like you're finally waking up.” He watched as his brother unclipped his seatbelt and rubbed his eyes.
   “Shut up you.” Patrick growled lightly. He stopped rubbing his eyes and swung his legs out of the car, then careful not to hit his head he stepped fully out and stood up.
   “You've changed a lot.” Ian said, inspecting Patrick at the same time.
   “I could say the same for you.” Patrick shrugged. He then walked around the car door, locked it then shut it with a dull thud.

   As soon as Patrick had locked the car door, he was fully awake. The little amount of sleep that had managed to build up was completely gone, and he was standing there staring at his brother who was four years older then he was.
   He took Ian's appearance in slowly, but at the same time thoroughly.
   He'd always been taller then Patrick, just a head above him. Standing before him today though, he could see the faint outlines of sleep depression and slightly redder cheeks. Although Ian's eyes showed tiredness, they were also brighter then before. Showing off the blue with the same effect as Patrick's although Ian's were darker in colour. His hair was about the same, with faint highlights from where the last rays of light was seeping in through the trees reaching random pieces of hair as the result.
   Dressed semi-casually, Ian looked smart but at the same time could easily go down to the park without looking out of place. He was dressed in black trousers, a white t-shirt and chequered blue short sleeved shirt on top which was also undone. The trousers were long, but weren't long enough to cover the tips of his trainers that were just about on show.
   “Compared to you I look like a complete mess.” Patrick sighed.
   “No you don't. Now come on, I have something for you inside.” Ian smiled and lightly put his right arm over Patrick's shoulder.

   Patrick walked in first, grateful for the colder air circulating the house because of the many fans in place. He stepped quietly, kicking his shoes off beside the front door he trod silently to the sitting room where he sunk into his favourite arm chair.
   Ian followed suite, copying the same as what Patrick had done. He took the sofa opposite Patrick, but next to Zoe, and together they just stared at each other.

   It took a while for someone to say something, and that was only Patrick asking if someone could put the television on. After a few moments Zoe stood up and knelt beside Patrick, gently, she placed a hand on his knee and looked directly at him.
   “Tell him, he deserves to know.” she said quietly.
   “But-” Patrick began,
   “-What's going on?” Ian asked quietly. Patrick sighed and bit his lip slightly,turning slowly to his brother at the same time.
   “There's-” Patrick paused. Unable to look at his mum he focused his attention fully on Ian. He could see in the corner of his eye that Zoe was trying her hardest not to cry. “-Something I need to tell you.” He sighed weakly. Ian tilted his head slightly but let him continue. “You remember our Granddad?”
   “Ben? From our dad's side?” Ian asked,
   “Very vaguely, you were closer to him then I was. Why? What's he got to do with you?” Ian replied.
   “He had a brain tumour.” Patrick sighed. He took a deep breath then continued. “It skipped dad and you, but not me.”
   Ian froze with the last three words his little brother had said, unable to speak all he could do was mouth the words 'No' before blinking and holding his breath.
   “We've been trying to contact you and tell you but I didn't want to tell you over the phone-”
   “-Patrick,” Ian cut in, “all you have to say is 'Come home.' and I would have dropped everything to be here with you.”
   “But I didn't want to feel that your life revolved around me, I wanted you to-”
   “-Look, are you sure it's a tumour?” Ian cut in once more. Patrick only sighed and nodded. “Well there are things they can do-”
   “-No, there aren't.” Patrick cut in then, “I've been seeing two doctors, they've both done tests. So many I lost count, with all of them they've checked at least three times because they didn't want the answers to be what they really were.”
   “But there's Chemother-” Ian began,
   “That's hell, so's the operation and radiotherapy. Trust me Ian, there is nothing more they can do. I've had the pills to ease the headaches but none of the conventional ones seem to work, the ones that give the slightest bit of ease gradually fade out so I'm living through the same pain as before. I'm sick practically every morning, get woken up at stupid hours because of the axe splitting migraines and that's not including the best bits.”
   “Patrick-” Zoe sighed weakly. Patrick bit his lip once more and closed his eyes trying to hold back the tears, angered with himself when he failed he wiped them away and turned to look at his mum.
   “This better not be a joke you know.” Ian said quietly. Patrick turned to him again and shook his head, not saying anything but at the same time not actually needing to. The look of desperation, of hope for a long way off miracle that he would be better, shone through Patrick's eyes. Each one glistened with frayed hopes, of dreams that he would never be able to fulfil.
   Ian tried to hold his composure as he stood up and walked to Patrick, but as soon as he knelt beside him he broke down completely. This in turn caused Zoe and her youngest son to copy his act.

   There was only one thing on Patrick's mind though, now that his brother knew, just how many days did he hope to live in peace?


   The three of them managed to pull away after the last tear fell, though they still stayed close together. None of them wanted to be anywhere but in that moment, surrounded by the people that loved them for who they were.
   However, as soon as the front door was rung, Zoe grudgingly answered it. Although it was only a sales woman, the mood somehow lifted throughout the house. The tension had managed to ease with one person from outside their family just doing her job.

   As soon as Zoe stepped inside the sitting room once more, she smiled to see Patrick sitting beside Ian on the two seater watching cartoons silently. Both of them had their feet curled next to them, which used to be her pet hate when it came to sofa's but lately she found she didn't mind.
   After a few seconds staring at them and wondering what they were watching, she joined them on the three seater sofa and lay with her legs outstretched welcoming the cushions which she hid her feet under.


   Once the cartoons had finished, Ian turned it to another channel where a comedy film was on. A few laughs escaped their lips as they watched, but Patrick's was surprisingly weaker each time. The reason why was clear when his mum turned to check if he was okay, Ian then did the same.
   “Should I wake him?” Ian asked quietly. He turned to his mum and found her shaking her head in response,
   “Leave him, he needs the sleep.”
   Zoe stood up then and walked upstairs into her airy bedroom, picked out a pair of slippers and bed socks then crept back down. Once she'd put them on, she took the cushion that had been warming her feet slightly and slid it carefully under her son's head and covered him with the blanket which draped behind the sofa she'd been lying on. Smiling slightly at the sight, she turned once more and continued watching the film on the television.
   She did find faults with a few of the things that happened, but mostly she just wished for the film to be real. For the two son's to live full lives unafraid of anything life would throw at them. Sighing, she realised that although the film was fictional, she related to most of the stuff that happened. If only she could switch the characters lives with her own.

Offline Phoenix

Re: Degree of the Human Heart
« Reply #10 on: July 04, 2019, 11:05:18 AM »
I was waiting for such a long time for someone to leave some kind of feedback -sniffs- To be honest, in the end I completely forgot that this thread even existed.
This story complete but is now several years old. It's not my best to date any more, which is a shame.

I'll be updating this now, around once a week or so. Can guarantee that it'll go through an edit at some point, but for now be kind. I wrote this eight years ago, and I won't be editing this draft as I'm posting them up-apart from adding in the italics ect that is in the document I have.
This is a purely copy/paste from the file I have. Comments would be greatly appreciated all the same though. :thumb: