Magical Earth Defenders Pt. 2

The Flame

The doctor came back into the room and Lennon knew from his face that the news was bad. She wiped at her glasses in an attempt not to cry. She hardened her heart and looked up at the doctor almost defiantly. She felt her mom squeeze her hand and the tears almost came again but she held on tightly instead. She had to be strong.

“Lennon, Ms. Clarke,” The doctor said. “I’m afraid I have some bad news for you.”

At that, Lennon’s mom did start crying. Lennon kept it together even though she felt the words tear her apart inside. She found herself focusing on being strong for her mother and trying to comfort her, reaching to stroke her mother’s shoulder and back. This illness had been a long journey for both of them. It seemed the journey was far from over.

Over five years ago, Lennon had lost her father. He had been hit by a taxi on his way to his car after a late shift at work. She still missed waiting up for him so they could eat cookies and talk about their day. She missed Sunday breakfast where all three of them could laugh and have a leisurely meal together even though her father was still usually dog tired from the night before. She knew her mom felt the same. Now, Lennon stayed up alone with only her books to comfort her while mom was off working to cover the bills. Cookies had lost their taste.

Two years ago, Lennon had fallen during gym class. She had thought it was just a fluke and chalked it up to being an awkwardly clumsy nerd. Things went downhill from there. She had thought that her legs were just bruised and injured from the fall but they started refusing to work right. They were weak and she could not stand right. Soon, her legs shook too much with the strain of her weight and she could not stand at all. The school had chipped in for a wheelchair. It made her cheeks burn with embarrassment.

There had been so many tests and nobody had any answers. Lennon felt that she had become an expert on the subject by now. Not only was she living the experience, she was also spending all the time she was not doing her homework studying medical books. She was looking for some clue the doctors were missing that would lead her to walk again. She never wanted anything more. She had found nothing in those books. Nothing useful.

“The tests show what we feared,” The doctor said. “Your legs show no signs of improvement and may only get worse from here. With some work, you may be able to stand briefly in the leg braces but you will most likely never walk again.”

“Never?” Lennon asked. She had always been a bookworm but even bookworms like to walk and play with the other kids.

“I’m sorry,” The doctor said. Her mother hugged her and Lennon allowed a single tear as emotions swirled inside of her. There was a lot of sadness but there was also a lot of anger.

“Can I be alone for a little while?” Lennon asked. The question surprised her mother but not the doctor.

“Of course, honey,” Her mom said. “I want to go over the charts with the doctor if that’s alright?”

Lennon nodded and wheeled herself toward the door. The doctor pressed a button and the door opened, letting Lennon out. She wheeled past the receptionist’s desk, a dark cloud hanging over her head.

She tried to think of all the people she knew who still made a difference while confined to a wheelchair.  There was Dr. Hawkins, Mr. Reeves, Frida Kahlo, and so many more. Still, she pictured having to cross the room for a book and now that simple task was so much harder. She would probably have normally spent her career sitting anyway but not her whole life. It was not fair.

She did not look forward to all the awkward smiles and pitying looks from her friends. Lennon did not want to be pitied. She just wanted to live her life. Everybody kept saying that things would get better but that sounded hollow to Lennon. It was hard to have faith sitting in a wheelchair with no hope of ever getting out. The lobby felt so cold and empty.

That was when she heard the weird purring noise. It was almost like a mechanical rhythm which made it even weirder. It instantly distracted Lennon from her troubles, pushing them aside for the moment to solve a mystery. She rolled toward the noise and found nothing at its source. Which is when a weird cat thing jumped out and startled Lennon.

“Aah!” She yelled. “Stupid cat!”

“I’m not a cat!” The thing shot back. “I’m not stupid either. Though I admit that I am not as smart as you are, Lennon.”

“You can talk?” Lennon asked. She felt that she may have disproved her intelligence by asking that question. “I mean, how do you know my name? What do you want with me?”

“You are strong enough to exist in that chair, Lennon,” The thing said. “We, however, may not be strong enough without your intelligence and heart. We need you.”

“Who is we?” Lennon asked.

The thing produced a charm from somewhere and placed it within reach of Lennon. It started to back away.

“Take this charm to the meeting on the note and you will find out all the answers to your questions and more.” Then the thing was gone. Lennon picked up the charm which went from white to red. She puzzled over it but pulled out the note.

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