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Parting Shot



He started, finally hearing his name being called. When he looked around, he was in the woods behind his mom’s house in western Pennsylvania. The last he remembered, he was inside playing Call of Duty on his xBox 360.

Billy began to stand. A searing pain shot through the back of his skull, forcing him back down on the ground. He thought he was going to vomit. He kept having visions and loud, grating noise flash in his mind—like when a television station goes out and its just static on the screen.


“I’m here.” he mustered, barely loud enough for her to hear.

“Billy was that you?”

His mom, Carol crashed through the dense overgrowth, moving the general direction of his voice.

“Oh, thank God, Billy!” she said. “I’ve been looking for you. How did you end up out here?”

“I have no idea.” He groaned.

“What do you mean, you have no idea? And why are you holding your head like that? Did you fall? Let me see…”

“Mom, damn it, stop yelling…”

“Yelling? I’m not, and don’t say damn to me, I don’t like it.”

“Sorry. Gaaaahhhh! My head is killing me!”

Carol inspected the teen’s head, finding nothing.

“I don’t see any cuts or anything, Billy. You seriously don’t remember coming out here?”

“No, mom. I was inside playing xBox a few minutes ago, then I woke up out here.”

“Sweetie, I’ve been looking for you for three hours.”

The pair looked at each other without speaking for a moment.

“Do you think…” Carol began, but her voice broke.

“I don’t know. It feels a lot like it. Let’s hope not though, the last time sucked.”

“For both of us, kiddo. For both of us.” Carol teared up.

”Come on, let’s get you back in. You’re getting cold.”

Carol slowly got Billy up on his feet and walked him back into the house.

The next week was hell on both of them. Waiting for the call from the doctor was agonizing. They both tried to keep their spirits up, but there was no shaking the fear of what the test results would show.

When the call finally came, they drove with heavy hearts to the clinic.

The nurse at the front desk was expecting them, and immediately took them back. No more than a few minutes later Doctor Reighart brought them back to his office and sat them down.

“Well, I don’t know how to explain this.” Dr. Reighart stated.

“It’s not in remission anymore, is it?” Carol dropped her head and began sobbing.

“No, actually, according to these test results, it’s quite the opposite.” He said.

“What?” Carol and Billy both looked at him confused.

“We’ve been monitoring the growth of Billy’s tumor for two years. There has been remission, but it has been slow. Well, hell, you two know this. Anyway, our last test from three months ago still showed at as almost the size of a quarter still. Because it was shrinking, we chose not to increase any of the treatments—you remember.”

“Yes, of course, we didn’t want him to get too sick. Go on.” Carol said.

“Well, we expected another six months to get it mostly knocked out. These results show nothing. Not even elevated white cell count.”

“How is that possible?” Billy asked.

“Like I said, I don’t know how to explain it. As for the blackout you just experienced, I can’t explain that either. It’s almost as if it was the cancer’s parting shot at you—one last stand before dying out completely. I’ve never seen this sort of thing before.”

“So what do we do from here?” Carol asked, half-ecstatic, half in shock at the news still.

“Well, we should run one more battery of tests, just to be on the safe side, but I’ve been doing this a long time. I say you two celebrate.” He said, smiling.

About Brandon

Hey you! Thanks for visiting Go Team Duncan! Let me introduce myself---I'm a dad of 15 years and Brandi's worse half for more than 10. I'm also a US Army Soldier of almost 10 years, a writer, social media addict, blogger (as you can see), and now a podcaster.
As busy as I appear, however, I always have time for you! Comment below, connect with me through any of my social media channels or email me at brandon@brandonpduncan.me and let's talk!

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  1. I enjoyed this story and was happy for the young boy that didn’t have cancer any more. I think I want more… I would love to see this expanded to see if he just blacked out or if it was something magical. Definitely did a great job with the prompt. Do you ever have trouble writing for your own prompts? I have and that is why I ask. Have a wonderful weekend.


    • Hi Morgan. Thanks for reading.

      Yeah, I definitely agree. I could have taken this several ways (and almost did) but I think I could make this much longer. Maybe a side project sometime? :)

      As for having trouble writing to my own prompts? No, not really. We come up with these well in advance, so I tend to forget what is coming up. I was concerned at first that maybe people would think we cheated a little, but i have never seen it as a problem. I tend to write all these prompts in one sitting (and unfortunately, at the last minute, lol.)

      My biggest issue is time and crazy scheduling. I’m military, so I don’t have a set schedule, plus we do this, our general blog, were starting an Etsy store, working on designs for my forthcoming “do-over” of another site, PLUS we have a main site that will be the online version of our store that will be designed within the year.

      Oh, and I’m supposed to be writing my books. I have two WIP that have been severely neglected over the last few months.

      (Way more than you asked for, eh? LOL!)

  2. Thanks for serving. I think I’ve said that before, but thank you all the same.

    This was a delightful story. My only concrit would be that it seemed to jump point of view in places. I think if you tightened the POV the story would flow a little easier.

    loved this story though. Nice and cozy read.

    • Thank you, Shelton, for the comment and reading.

      I appreciate the positive outlook on the story. I would ask, however, where do you see the POV change? Does the narration mess with the story? I’m not seeing what you are.

      • Oh POV. Here it isn’t an upheaval. Your style is strong enough that it carries the narration fine. Just to polish the piece and make it tighter I’d suggest the following: Since we start off in Billy’s head, feeling his confusion and pain, the following lines felt a little out of context:

        Carol inspected the teen’s head, finding nothing. (Billy wouldn’t know that she found nothing upon her inspection until she voices it in the next sentence.)

        “I don’t see any cuts or anything, Billy. You seriously don’t remember coming out here?”

        If you were to edit akin to the following:

        His mom inspected his head, running her fingers across his scalp, “I don’t see any cuts or anything Billy, You seriously don’t remember coming out here?”

        This would take care of the perspective (From Billy’s perspective, he wouldn’t be thinking he was a teen) and it would also cut the reputation between these two sentences.

        Also, the focus of the first part of the story was from Billy (his pain, his thoughts, his confusion). At the doctor’s office we are seeing the focus more from his mother, losing his reactions and gaining hers. We are told she’s half in shock, (which is good as any mother should be there) but Billy’s relief, shock, pain, or lack of pain are completely missing.

        Does that make any sense? It doesn’t effect the style, or your voice, but changes with this in mind can only make it stronger. :)

  3. I’d like to see this expanded. There is a wonderful adventure here, me thinks.
    The emotions at the doctor’s office almost made me cry. But I read fast enough to be happy for them. In a cautious way :-)

    Concrit? This line confused me a bit; “He kept having visions and loud, grating noise flash in his”

    Of course I need to know what kind of visions, too…

    • You’re right that part definitely should be tightened up. I know what I’m seeing, but I didn’t describe it very well.

      I don’t know, maybe this one could be expanded a bit more. Maybe in an anthology of shorter stories? We’ll see.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

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