Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2148197-Prayers-for-Kara
Printer Friendly Page Tell A Friend
No ratings.
Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Death · #2148197
A deal with the devil-A Screams!!!Win

This story started off as something entirely different. Even in writings of the imagination, emotions of true life intercede.

Prayers for Kara

There would be hell to pay for this, David had no doubt. The eternal fires were a high price to pay but his options were limited. For now, he chose only to relish the prize that cost him his soul.

"Kara, I missed you. Come climb on Dad's lap, and tell me all that happened while I was gone. Did you take good care of Mommy for me?" David threw away the weight of the world hanging about his shoulders, just to hug his daughter.

The bright-eyed child of four raced to her father's open arms. There were no curls atop her crown and her cheeks were puffed from steroids. David saw only the light of love in the child's heart.

"Daddy, Mama and I missed you so much. Did you bring me anything? Did I tell you that I got to see the clowns? They were so funny when they fell down on their noses. Grandma came to see me and brought me corndogs. I ate them all. I didn't run a fever today, so I might get to go play in the courtyard tomorrow. So mommy and me are decorating our masks with funny faces. We will look like funny clowns. Not scary clowns." The child prattled on all about the life of a normal four year fighting leukemia.

David, who had so recently doubted the existence of heaven, gazed at the girl sitting Indian style in front of him, knowing instantly of heaven's reality. There had to be a God that created such perfection. Anger at a God, who could allow a child to suffer immediately replaced his loyalty to a deity. His tears were held in check for Kara's sake.

"Baby girl, you are a mess. You talk as much as your mama but you outdid her this time! You didn't let her get a word in there," David smiled while bending to kiss his wife of ten years. Behind her eyes, he saw only worry and exhaustion. She squeezed his hand to let him feel her momentary relief of not being alone. The silent code of unity passed between them.

David had just returned from a business trip to New York. It broke his heart to leave his family. He had to work for the insurance and the bills were mounting. Stress under normal conditions wore him down, but now he was acutely aware that none of that mattered. Life's truly important concerns were here in this small hospital room.

They talked and played together as a family, with hospital staff interrupting frequently to perform medical functions for Kara. There were giggles and hugs, too many to count. This room was the only home that they would know over the next few weeks until Kara went into remission again.

David unfolded his cot for the night and tucked his daughter into her bed. He enlisted the staff to sit with Kara while he walked his wife to the car. He was sending Sarah home for rest and recuperation. Their entire conversation revolved around Kara's medical status and upcoming tests. The coupling of matrimony was lost in a sea of misery with the current crisis.

He returned to room 1354 to find Kara sound asleep. The nurse sat in the chair charting on a portable computer. The pair exchanged pleasantries as she scurried from the room. David was struck again by how much he missed his life before illness had invaded the peace.

Thoughts of reading were abandoned, when he became obsessed by the need to review events leading to his deal with the devil. He was worried about Sarah's reaction but knew that she would understand that there was no price too high to pay for the life of their daughter. He had spent so many nights praying for her salvation. He watched in horror while the child grew sicker. Religion had taught him to fear the wrath of God but David was unwilling to sacrifice his daughter in the name of faith. His lapse in grace waged an internal battle between good and evil. Desperation was his devil.

David conjured up thoughts of the man who visited him in New York. The transient that darkened his doorstep was not a person of flesh and blood. If David had been a man of drink, he would have laid blame on the interloper's visits to hallucination. Questions of his sanity loomed, but this agent of the devil offered proof of existence.

Displays of power by the invader of faith terrorized David. Ghastly apparitions haunted his every waking moment. Phantoms of the night assaulted his dreams. The common thread of all the appointments with death was the destruction of his soul. The visitor offered the life of his daughter with the surrender of his essence. David acquiesced in his weakness. He submitted to the power and allure of the devil in his isolated solitude. Self-loathing consumed him at the withdrawal of the sanctity of God from his life. David's deadline instituted by Beelzebub was six months. In that time, full health would be restored to Kara. David resolved himself to enjoying the time he had left with his family. Satan needs only to keep his part of the bargain and David would forfeit his lifeblood.

Chills traveled down his spine at the cognition of his foreboding future. He tried to calm his nerves by watching his daughter in slumber. Kara stirred and his heart was filled with love. Finally, he slept.

The morning brought a round of physicians to rouse the father and daughter. They examined, probed, and reviewed. They consulted, noted, and ordered further testing. Abruptly the room quieted. David felt the devil's breath on his neck.

Doctor Carrico turned to David saying "Is your wife coming in today as well?"

"Yes, why is something wrong?" David spoke trying not to let his panic show.

"No, please don't worry. We just thought it would be a good time to discuss with you both our evaluation of the current treatment. Kara is doing very well. We are excited about her progress."

David had to refocus his eyes to abate the sudden darkness. Sarah entered the room as David steadied himself.

Doctor Carrico continued," Why don't you get yourselves some coffee and meet us in the conference room in about thirty minutes? I think Miss Kara has a date to play in the courtyard. Nurse Simmons is on her way in to get her."

David and Sarah entered the doctor's meeting room holding hands. Aware that their fate would be discussed at the impromptu meeting, the depth of their fear was palpable. Attending the meeting was seven of the leading physicians of the Children's cancer ward. They continually passed Kara's chart around the desk. They mumbled amongst themselves, all nodding in silent agreement of the discussion.

Doctor Carrico, the anointed spokesman said, "I know these meetings are always difficult for the parents so I won't keep you in the dark any longer. Kara's last test results have stunned even us. We repeated them to verify the outcome. At this time we are seeing no signs of Leukemia in Kara. The tests indicate that your daughter is actually beyond remission. We are detecting no leukemic cells in her blood."

David's heart grew cold in apprehension. Sarah uttered in disbelief," Are you saying she is cured?"

"No. That is not exactly what we are saying. We are trying to tell you that we are as surprised and dumbfounded by the results as you are. We will need to proceed with caution and monitor Kara very closely. We concur, however, that you should take her home today. All further testing at this point can be done as an outpatient. Obviously, if any problems arise you are to contact us immediately."

Sarah jumped into David's arms crying tears of joy. David wore a death mask. They finished the meeting thrilled at receiving their marching papers.

Once back in the room, they packed while awaiting Kara's return. They agreed only the news of going home would be celebrated with Kara. The prognosis of her restored health would be withheld temporarily. No need to fill the child with false hope.

Kara burst into the room excitedly. She chattered. "Daddy, we had so much fun. Look what the nice man gave to me." Around her neck was a golden cross. A beam of light emanated from the center. She handed him a piece of paper. It read "Your deal has been cast away. The devil will not win."

"Daddy, I am supposed to tell you something. Hold on, I gotta get it right. Oh yeah, Walk only in faith. I am here and you shall never walk alone. I have heard your prayers."

David fell to his knees and wept in sweet release.

Word count 1493

© Copyright 2018 L.A. Grawitch (lgrawitch at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
Writing.Com, its affiliates and syndicates have been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work.
Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2148197-Prayers-for-Kara