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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Doctor/Nurse (11/02/06)

TITLE: Night Calls
By David Story


Tommy was shaken out of sleep by the sound of the bell, or at least, what he thought was the bell. He waited for the sound again, and it came…and it was the bell.

He looked at the alarm clock beside the bed: 4 a.m.

He climbed out of bed and, rubbing his eyes, entered the hallway that led to the other rooms in the house.

All was dark as he made his way to his parent’s bedroom. He stepped in, just in time to hear the bell for a third ring.

He turned on the lamp that had been set on a table close to the door of the bedroom. The lamp had been placed there for convenience.

He whispered. “Mom?”

The still figure in the bed opened her eyes. She did her best to smile, but the fading use of her muscles caused her smile to somehow look…disfigured.

The smile broke Tommy’s heart.

“I’m sorry I woke you.”

Tommy leaned over and kissed his mother on the cheek. “It’s no problem, really.”

She smiled again. “I was wondering if you could give me some water.” Her voice was slurred, again, the result of fading muscle use.

“You bet.”

Tommy reached over and turned on the lamp next to his mom. A pitcher of water was sitting on the nightstand table next to the bell, as was an empty glass. Tommy carefully poured a small bit of the water into the glass.

He set the glass down.

“You think you can sit up?”

Tommy’s mother nodded her head, for the muscles that were needed to do so were still very much functional. It was the muscles in her mouth that were quickly diminishing, as were the ones in her legs, and her arms, and her chest…

Doing her best to sit up on her own, Tommy helped her when needed. Once she was up, he placed his hand under her chin as he tipped the glass of water into her mouth.

She closed her eyes as she drank, and for a moment Tommy knew what quenched thirst looked like.

After she had finished what was barely a normal drink of water, Tommy set the glass back down on the small table.

“Is there anything else I can get you, anything else that you need?”

She shook her head.

“Maybe a trip to the bathroom?”

Again she shook her head.

“I’m okay,” she managed to say.

Tommy wondered if she was telling him the truth, or if she would remain uncomfortable until Tommy’s dad woke up and helped her in ‘that’ area. She sometimes seemed ashamed to ask for Tommy’s help.

“Alright, then. I guess I’ll go on back to bed.”

She smiled. “Thank you, Son.”

Tommy leaned over and kissed his mom again. “You’re welcome.”

He turned out the light by the bed and then did the same thing at the lamp by the bedroom door.

He looked into the room. “I love you, Mom.”

He heard the faint voice through the darkness. “I love you too, Tommy.”

Tommy went back to his room and crawled back into his bed. As he fell asleep, he dreamed of days past…


…Tommy woke up from his dream, his mind finally made up. He quickly turned on his computer. While he waited for it to load, he went out to the hallway and to his parent’s bedroom. He looked in on his father, who seemed to be sleeping. He stared at the empty space next to his dad.

Wiping the tears from his eyes, he made his way back to his own bedroom and sat down in front of the computer.

After another moment of reflection, and a few more tears, he concentrated on the business at hand.

He slowly began to type two words into the computer's Internet search engine.

The first word he typed was nursing, and the second word he typed, was school.

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This article has been read 1003 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sharlyn Guthrie11/12/06
I love the interaction between mother and son and the tenderness revealed through the son's thoughts and actions. I think I know what happened in the end, but a few more clues would have helped. First, more information about the age/life stage of the son, and second, some sense of when his mother died would bring it all together. Thanks for sharing the story.
Jan Ackerson 11/13/06
Excellent! I love that you made him decide to be a nurse--many times they do more actual caregiving than the doctors, and Tommy is obviously gifted in that area.
Joanne Sher 11/13/06
This story was so tender, and Tommy will be a wonderful nurse. You did a great job of characterization, and your storyline was very compelling.
Amy Michelle Wiley 11/13/06
Very sweet and powerful story. The ending clinched it all. I found a few spots to be just a little awkward in the flow, but otherwise wonderful story!
Donna Powers 11/15/06
This was lovely. It touched my heart. Thanks so much for sharing it.
Betty Castleberry11/15/06
You characterized a devoted son very well. I, too, would have liked to have known his age. This was a very touching story. Nicely done.
Trina Courtenay11/15/06
I have to be honest here. I've just lost my grandpaw and when you wrote how the bed was empty beside Tommy's dad the tears started to flow and I was reminded how often I grabbed a glass of water put the oxygen drops into it and placed the glass into my grandpaw's hands. Thank-you for writing this and for bringing out much needed emotions. I strongly believe we write for the reader and you've captured that for me this week. May the Lord continue to guide your quill. Blessings.