Above The Clouds

  This is my Friday Fictioneers submission for 7th August 2015. Thanks to Madison Woods for the prompt. Best wishes to Rochelle, too.

(Nb, this is quite a sombre one for me but I felt like a change. I’ve also checked the word count and it’s way over.  Sadly, there’s no time to edit though Is think I could probably get it down to 100 words)

He’d been a man of science until the doctor gave him the diagnosis. Afterwards, he’d quickly renounced his scepticism. He’d rediscovered his faith, embraced alternative lifestyles, engaged in charitable works; if he was being punished, he thought, he’d do whatever he could to atone for his sins. At one stage, before the illness really took hold, he’d travelled north, to wish on a shooting star, but it had been an overcast night and he’d been forced to return home, wondering what was left for him to do.

Nothing had worked. The tumour continued to nest, ominously, in his rib cage, as immune to surgery as it was to blind hope. 

As he weakened, and fear took hold, he started to wonder if this was a fitting end for a man who’d made his living in the tobacco industry. Karma, perhaps, he’d thought, before he decided that was a leap too far into the kingdom of the faithful.



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47 responses to “Above The Clouds

  1. This is unfortunately very timely for me as a young man who went to school with my eldest child succumbed to cancer yesterdays. Our small community mourns his passing.

  2. Isn’t it amazing how folk lurch towards mumbo-jumbo when medicine lets them down?
    Good piece.

  3. Good story, so sad, hits home with me and I’m sure many others. I’ve lost my father to lung cancer.

  4. desperate measures for desperate times. Nice story.

  5. Loved this line: “as immune to surgery as it was to blind hope. ”

    Well done piece.

  6. justgraham

    Good piece. I really liked “… as immune to surgery as it was to blind hope.” Even if it’s over 100 words have a free pass! 🙂

  7. I’ll echo Ansumani and Justgraham about the “blind hope” line. Well done.

  8. Wonderful last line. Great story of hope and wishing for what will never be.

  9. As a surgeon I’ll tell you that not all hope is blind. The mind has a powerful influence on outcomes whether or not there’s a higher power at work is up for debate.

  10. A man can try to prevent his end, but in the end, he just needs to live.

    A great read, Etienne. Very good job!

  11. This story is excellent although sad. I loved the last line because it put his true faith in perspective.

  12. He mustn’t have been too much a man of science or he would have turned things around before they got to this state.

    Interesting take on the prompt, Etienne. I hope you take the time to go back and whittle it down. This is a good start, but you’re right that it could be honed a bit.

    All my best,

  13. Karma is, most definitely, a bitch 😦 Well told!

  14. Very poignant and thoughtful story, touches close to home.

  15. only when man is sick and dying does he think of Karma.

    Tobacco is a giant killer. very sensitively written.

  16. I’ll double on Priceless Joy. That last line showing that he resists blame until the end makes the story complete.
    Well done, Etienne, Tay.

  17. Evocative images here, and such a true to life character – his certainties have carried him until everything is shown to be less certain than he supposed. Nicely done.

  18. Sad Reality… Good one..

  19. Well, I thought the extra fifty-seven words were worth reading.

  20. Dear Etienne,

    It would seem like Karma or Divine Justice for a man you worked in the tobacco industry to succumb to lung cancer. In any event, a well written story.



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