Full White Moon

By Susan Brown

The doctor had been very clear about her faulty valve.​​ “I strongly recommend immediate surgery,”​​ she told her.​​ “Your heart is operating at​​ 25 per cent and could give out at any time.”

Nyla had frowned, considering the words, and then put the doctor off with the excuse that she had to talk​​ to her daughter and son​​ before she decided on surgery.

The doctor frowned too, seeing the slowness of her thinking process.​​ “Don’t forget,”​​ she cautioned.​​ “Would it help if I called them?”

Nyla refused and took a taxi home.​​ She did not drive now.​​ No one had told her she could not, but with a flash of terrifying clarity, she had recognized the symptoms in herself when she found a poached egg, rotted and forgotten in the microwave.​​ More and more often, memories and fragments of thoughts drifted through her mind like cottonwood on the early summer breeze.​​ Always,​​ she had faced reality, even when it overwhelmed her.​​ Lying in​​ bed, lulled by the soft night, she stared out at the great white moon and forced herself to consider her future.​​ Her mother’s dementia had begun the same way, but she did not have a failing heart.​​ Without taking her heart into consideration, Nyla guessed that she had a few months, maybe a year before the vaguely worried looks on her children’s faces translated into irrevocable action.​​ 

She did nothing about the surgery, said nothing to her children.​​ Told anyone who noticed that the exhaustion was a sleepless night and the gasp of pain, a sudden muscle spasm.

And then the pain staggered her.​​ Flashes of the gravel road by the mailbox spinning into her face.​​ Julie, the next-door neighbor, shaking her shoulder and shouting her name.​​ A few​​ agitated​​ words of meaningless reassurance before the darkness spun over her again.​​ Brief flashes of a young man leaning over her in the screaming red box.​​ She noticed the dots of whiskers in his skin before slipping back into the grey night.

There were many dreams, madly mixed with rousing flashes of strangers and machines.​​ Pain.​​ Slipping into drugged sleep.​​ Rousing as the doctor muttered, “Oh shit!”

“There are better words to express yourself,” she managed clearly.

She heard a startled chuckle followed by his gentle voice as he leaned close to her.​​ “…emergency surgery…” was all she grasped.​​ 

She had a tangled sense of time passing, of voices again before she opened her eyes once more.

“Mom…” her son clasped her hand.​​ Her daughter kissed her forehead.

“You here?”​​ She smiled.​​ “It’s alright.​​ It’s all alright now…love you…”

She​​ sank again into the blue edged-side of darkness.​​ The white moon shone ahead,​​ and with unspeakable relief,​​ she moved toward it.


About The Author

I love to write! And I love to write for teens. Since I was a kid, bored with school, I’ve been making up stories. Eventually I became a journalist, got married, had kids, adopted dogs and started writing books in earnest. Three followed, plus two more co-authored with Anne Stephenson.

I’ll be publishing a half dozen new books in the next year or two, some fantasy and some realistic which I hope will appeal to teen readers – I’ve had quite a few kids read them and gotten a thumbs up! Check out my website at www.susanbrownwrites.com