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.