on the writing & reading trail

Short stories

From time to time will post short stories from myself and members of our Writer’s Group.

My story here, Magic is one of the ten-minute exercises some of us at the Writing Group do at irregular intervals. We will post them unvarnished, just as they emerged from somewhere in our imaginations under a little light pressure. This is a recent one.


I try to take an interest in the father who is distracting the child from his anxiety about the X-Ray ahead of him with the need for an injection first. I see his sleight of hand as the coin disappears and then is pulled out of the child’s ear and then his pocket. The little one is entranced and asks to keep the coin each time. The father agrees.

The dull burden of what lies ahead for my partner cannot be lifted even by a child’s enjoyment. It is worrisome; the GP was not sensitive or careful. He said, ‘It sounds like cancer. Kidney is not the best place to have it.’ I wonder where he trained and want to send him back with a fail report and a recommendation to do a special course in bedside manner and understanding human nature.

I focus on the notices on the wall.  They seem good and proper and say the right things about care and concern and informed consent. I’m wondering what consent may be involved for James. More tests? Surgery? Chemo? Radiation? Pain? Could be any or all of that.

Now the wait – he was called in ages ago. I imagine the dye and the outlining of the organ and the technician making provisional diagnoses. At last James comes out. He looks a bit ragged. From the examination? From recent sleepless nights and anxiety? We wait some more until the radiologist calls us in.

The outcome is good. No disease found. No further treatment needed. Seems it could have been a one-off episode without known cause.

The relief. The boy’s magic seems so low-key now. We’ve experienced the real magic. The work of years for medical qualification, the magic of X-Rays and technology and fast answers.

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