The Sound of Truth pt. 1- W[h]itch is Hope

The Sound of Truth pt. 1- W[h]itch is Hope

A Story by Emily Lynn

A story about a family dealing with the hardships of cancer


“Why mom? What harm will it do to him, huh?”

“Nora, I don’t want to get into this right now.” She sighed and squeezed the bridge of her nose between two fingers.


These arguments were becoming more frequent, Nora developing a sense of persistence that was eve growing more difficult to defeat and always on the same touchy issue.

“Well too damn bad. You make these... irrational rules that just,” Nora shrugged trying to find the right words, “that are just irrational!”

Marianne looked to her fourteen year old daughter with exasperation. “Sweetie, I know you’re just trying to help but I have these rules for a reason.” She shook her head, “I’m looking out for your brother’s best interests.”

Nora laughed in disbelief, “His best interests? Not letting him be a kid is in his best interest? Really mom?”


Marianne closed her House vs. Home magazine and folded her hands together on the table top, Nora’s eyebrows were arched high, demanding a reasonable explanation and she could see the tissue around her eyes beginning to swell, the blue spheres moist with the tears she knew her daughter was struggling to withhold.

“Look. If I let him play on a team he’ll get hurt.”

“Soccer? How do you figure that?” Her words seethed with defiance and Marianne felt saddened to be placed in the oversized shoes of the ‘bad guy’ to her children.

She clenched her teeth, “Tone of voice.” She warned. “It’s not the sport I’m worried about, it’s the other kids. I don’t want him being treated differently.” She chewed her lip, “you know as well as I do how cruel some kids can be.”

You’re treating him differently! And if those kids ever said a single thing...” She balled her hands into tight fists at her sides before softening her tone. “Look. Mom. I’ve protected him before; I’ll make sure he doesn’t get hurt, I promise.”

Marianne narrowed her eyes with pursed lips, “No more fighting Nora.”

Her eyes widened, “But they were-“

“No.” She said more sternly and Nora rolled her eyes, crossing her arms across her chest.

“It’s not fair.” She grumbled under her breath.

“I know it’s not, nothing’s fair.” She turned her gaze from her daughter, “I want him to be happy just as much as you do Nora.”

“Yeah right.” She grumbled, turning her watery eyes to the tiled floor of the mid-sized kitchen.


Marianne knew her daughter didn’t believe her, she knew that she and her husband were both pinned as the bad guys to their children when it came to their seven year old son and she often wondered if they would ever be removed from that unflattering title. She knew Noah wanted nothing more than to be looked at as a normal child, to be a normal child but she couldn’t bear to see him get hurt- emotionally or physically. Perhaps she was being a little unfair, but she would rather have her children angry with her than be pained by teasing kids. She knew they would eventually forgive her.


She looked over at Norah who was sulking by the doorway, leaning against the doorframe while twisting her foot back and forth across the ceramic. Her light bangs fell into her eyes as she glared at the floor, each time she blinked the strands of hair bounced up then fell back in place. Her freckled cheeks were pink with emotion, her lips drawn into a tight line. She was a pretty child, taking most of her classic looks from her father, thank God. The only resemblance to herself that either of the children possessed were a few of her facial expressions.


“Nora I don’t want you just standing there pouting all day. Go find something to do.”

Nora flashed an appalled look, “Oh, so now I’m not allowed standing here? What’s next mother, no talking after six?”

Marianne sighed, “Don’t be so dramatic honey. I just don’t want you moping around all day.” She glanced over at her daughter, if looks could kill, Marianne was sure she would be a corpse by now.


“Nora!” The both of them turned their attention to the source of the sudden exclamation where Noah was leaping from stair to stair before hopping from the last step. He wore his navy-blue and green-apple striped ‘cape’ around his shoulders which was really just his old baby blanket. His face was pale, physic frail and slightly yellow tinted eyes encased by dark circles, but there was a gleam in those eyes which brightened the blue and a sincere smile on his sickly face.


“Hey booger.” Nora rubbed his hairless head before wrapping her arm around him, “off to save the world again?” She said pulling on his cape.

Noah grinned up at her, “well I haven’t seen any bad guys yet.” He paused admiring his cape, “but I’ll be ready for them when I do!”

“What would we ever do without you?”


Marianne realised then that she was smiling watching her two children together and felt grateful that they had each other through such a difficult time. She herself wouldn’t know what to do if she didn’t have her husband there as her support. “My, someone has a lot of energy today.” She noted happily.

Noah beamed, “I feel great mom! Nora put this spell on me last light before bed to make the bugs go to sleep.”


Marianne shot an angry glance to her daughter who returned the look with an icy, unrepentant and challenging stare that said ‘so? what are you gonna’ do about it.’  She thought back to the elaborate fairytale she had overheard Nora fabricate when Noah had first fallen ill to try to make him feel better.


In the story she had said one day their father had taken her to work with him collecting soil samples for what the children had always called, ‘the nature people’ who, in their minds, were the ones that safety proofed the environment.  She told him she wandered off to this vast forest while he was busy analysing the soil and explored the woods by the site, being led by the enchanting whispers of the wind.


 She was brought to this magnificent oak tree with the trunk as wide as a house and leaves that changed colours depending on which way you looked at them. She said that the tree revealed the spirit of an old and very kind witch which remained forever inside the bark whose voice had been the one travelling through the wind to her. The tree told her she had a very special brother who would one day sometimes need her help and that if she promised to use the magic for him and nothing more than she would teach her the power.


She had vowed her secrecy, the knowledge to remain between her and her brother and in return the tree taught her how to keep him safe from harm of all forms. Since that day, whenever Noah was feeling particularly bad, Nora would cast a spell on him that would make what he called the ‘bugs’ go to sleep. The bugs in his mind were the infected cells, the viruses that had ransacked his pancreas and cursed him with terminal cancer. To him, his sister was his hero.


“Noah,” Nora looked to her brother and put a finger to her lips as a signal of secrecy and his eyes widened.

“Oh no! Nora I told-“

She smiled at him and whispered under her breath, “Its okay booger, she doesn’t know.” Nora turned her eyes to her mother expectantly.

Marianne forced a smile; she hated fuelling this notion of magic. One day Nora’s spells wouldn’t work and he would be heartbroken. “Know what?”She asked finally, feigning ignorance.

Noah grinned relieved, “Oh nothing mom.” He giggled, looking up at his sister.




That night, after another one of Nora’s nightmares, she lay in bed with her hands locked behind her head staring up at the low ceiling of her bedroom. The blinking red numbers of her alarm clock flashed tauntingly through the thick darkness; 3:47 A.M. Her dream had been about Noah again, memories from his illness, memories from cycle after cycle of failing chemotherapy.


She recalled the horrible night after his first dose of treatment. The unbearable wailing and shrieking he made as he thrashed around on his bed in pain, the sweat that glued his superman pyjamas to his body. She cringed remembering him throwing up violently even after he emptied all the contents of his stomach into the toilet and bathtub.


She had peeked in through the sliver of a crack in the bathroom door where both her parents had sat the entire night cradling Noah’s trembling body and smoothing his hair with gentle caresses in between painful dry heaves. She had, unknown to her family, sat against the wall just outside the door weeping softly to herself as he screamed in agony. He spent the next few days moaning in bed and Nora sat with him every moment before and after school, sometimes lying snuggled up to him through the night.


Nora had been informed by her parents of what to expect after each session, they told her it would be hard on everyone but not to be afraid because it would eventually take away all his pain for good. They tried to convince her to stay overnight at her grandfathers for the first few times but after an hour of arguing and sobbing her parents hesitantly agreed to let her stay. Nora thought she would be ready, she thought she could handle her brother’s torture but nothing could have prepared her for what had transpired and at first she wished she had listened to her parents and left for the night. She thought about this last thought ashamed. Her brother couldn’t run away so why should she have that luxury?


Nora sighed and rolled onto her side to face the mocking clock, 3:51. Four painful minutes had crawled by.  


Part Two-


© 2010 Emily Lynn

Author's Note

Emily Lynn
So, I stepped outside my usual comfort zone of endless descriptions for this so I WILL be adding some more description in for sure. First draught. Be sure to follow the link to parts two and three.

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Featured Review

and the world kept turning ...

you have travelled quite the path of emotions here , your insight to sibling relationships against the backdrop of dealing with cancer is heart stirring , threads of hope woven into their love inspite of the pain and inevitable outcome .

Posted 11 Years Ago

2 of 2 people found this review constructive.


The repetition of the phrase "bad guy(s)" so close together in the beginning could be remedied simply with a change at the second occurrence.
"She looked over at Norah..." It was Nora until this point... lol.
"His face was pale, physic frail and slightly yellow tinted eyes encased by dark circles..." Did you mean physique? If so, I might rephrase this: "His face was pale, his physique frail, and his yellow-tinted eyes were encased by dark circles..."
"She thought about this last thought ashamed." I might rephrase this as well. Maybe, "She remembered this last thought ashamed."
This is so sad. You're onto something, though. On to read the second part!

Posted 9 Years Ago

I believe it is a little bit winded and long and obviosly didn't keep my attention as I wanted to stop reading two-thirds of the way down. I felt that the two names Nora and Noah were too close and a little unbelievable that the parents names them so close. I was glad I kept reading because I felt that the bottom was easier to relate with than the top. I know you probably purposely put those typical mum sentances in but there is a few two many. Every mum has there own set of special sentances as well as those typical ones. Now please don't take my critism the wrong way. I find it hard to critise so you are lucky actually. Now for the positive side. I noted you didn't use said but a couple of times you used words like she shrugged, he beamed, she noted, he whispered. Although these aren't so good in writing you seemed to have made them work very well. It is great how you have made a nickname for Noah it makes it easier to realise that he is still family and not some person with cancer. The emotions are great too, although I don't connect so well with her mother because it isn't clear her side of the battle. This just makes me go futher onto Nora side of the arguement which I suspect was the point. It is a very good piece.

Posted 10 Years Ago

The horror of life and death...........

Posted 11 Years Ago

***************************************************************** All Stars *************************
I think your writing style is very articulate, could probably write for TV or Movies. I was really impressed, with your natural flow of dialogue... (wish I had it) always a struggle and fight for me. Whatever, it is dealing with a terribley hard topic. For any family to deal with. Normally, I don't drop many of your own lines back on anyone. Unless I find them exceptional... as this is.
[ Her words seethed with defiance and Marianne felt saddened to be placed in the oversized shoes of the ‘bad guy’ to her children.]
Not that it is overtly brilliant, it is a natural phrasing with an impact, not only within the context of the paragraph. In the overall texture, of this piece. It's stricking in its believability and very human flow of emotion, particular. To the chosin topic matter... Honestly, I read half.
And knew the rest, was a good as I was reading.
Yet will be back, I've spent all day writing and wearing down now, rather quickly. Great piece and will share an idea on this, tomorrow maybe...
Romon in Review... peace.

Posted 11 Years Ago

This was very, very sad, what a strong touching story...good work..

Posted 11 Years Ago

You really did a nice job of fleshing out the scenes and making it all very
easy to imagine. The relationships you've given us are realistic and they
seemed to morph in a realistic way. Sweet job!

Posted 11 Years Ago

What a touching and sensitive story. It's hard to believe that its your first draft. The dialogue was very natural and believable. The subject matter is something all have to deal with, death, but the death of an innocent child is heart wrenching. You made me tear up, but that's a good thing.

Posted 11 Years Ago

ya, indeed it was long, but it was a really enjoyable read.... with lots of descriptions which obviously contributed to the length... and dealing with such a topic like 'cancer' is a really tough job...
In real life, i would say that I have somewhere met many mothers like Marianne, many like Noah....
The ending line was really gud...
At the beginning i liked the way u used human body to convey emotions like- eyebrows, teeth, eyes..
Good job.... A wonderful write...

Posted 11 Years Ago

You are right there was lots of description in this story but for the most part I think you did a great job using it. It was very sad but I think people thrive on that from time to time. Cancer is always hard to write about especially when it deal with family member.

Over all I would say you have a pretty good story here. I would like to read more.

Thanks for sharing.


Posted 11 Years Ago

and the world kept turning ...

you have travelled quite the path of emotions here , your insight to sibling relationships against the backdrop of dealing with cancer is heart stirring , threads of hope woven into their love inspite of the pain and inevitable outcome .

Posted 11 Years Ago

2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

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10 Reviews
Shelved in 1 Library
Added on September 25, 2010
Last Updated on October 11, 2010


Emily Lynn
Emily Lynn


Well. . . it's now 2020. I used to be an extremely active member here on Writerscafe before 3 University degrees, a kid and life happened. I haven't been active on this site in eight years but am now.. more..


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