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Out of the Dust (Part Seven)

I was born and raised as a country boy in the rural Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania. I love the art of writing..


Stranger had spent five months in town. He had met just about everyone. Stranger solved problems, healed the sick, changed peoples lives and felt that he has made a much better town than when he arrived. He was giving some thought about leaving town and returning to where he came from.

Stranger spent every night sleeping on the park bench in a way that had become his home. The little bird that used to sleep in the nest in the tree had become Stranger's best friend. Stranger would watch as the little bird would fly down to him and curl up in his lap where he would spend the night. Stranger thought that the little bird thought of him as a protector. The little bird was right, Stranger would let nothing hurt his little feathered friend.

The bird would tweet at him many times during the day and Stranger would tweet back. Often it would go on for many minutes. No one would probably believe it but they did understand each other. Stranger said to it one day, "I am thinking about leaving town. What do you think?"

The bird tweeted back, "Please don't go, I love you so much."

Stranger stroked his hand over the bird's head and back. Stranger had a little tear come from his one eye and roll down his cheek. As long as he had been in town that had never happened.

A few days went by and funny as it may have seemed, he did not want to leave that little bird. Stranger loved it as much as it loved him. It was on a Friday night, just as the sun was setting in the west, that Stranger saw someone sitting on his bench. As he got closer, he saw that it was Janet, Alice's mother. Janet was sitting there with her hands in her lap, Her cheeks were wet with tears. It appeared like she had been crying for quite some time.

Stranger sat down next to her. "What is wrong?" he said.

"My little girl is dying and there is nothing they can do for her. I noticed a couple of months ago that her balance was off, she had trouble walking, her eyesight was getting bad and she started to vomit. Stranger, I am so scared that I may loose her any day."

Stranger put his arms around, Janet and said, "Tell me about it. What is wrong with her?"

Janet said, "She has what is known as Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma. It is a tumor that starts in the brain stem, the part of the brain just above the back of the neck and connected to the spine. The brain stem controls breathing, heart rate and the nerves and muscles that helps us to see, heal, walk, talk, and eat."

"It is very serious then," said Stranger. "What is the cure?"

"There is none," replied Janet. "She has the most aggressive stage. She has been on chemotherapy and now radiation treatments. They feel that she will not last another week."

"So she is in the hospital now?"

Janet replied, "Yes, she is. Please go to her Stranger and cure her. I have seen what you can do."

Stranger looked down at the ground and finally said, "I don't know if I can, Janet. It sounds like the cancer is very advanced. I want to be honest with you, I don't know if I can."

"Please go and see her, please!"

Stranger said, "Of course I will see her. Lets go to the hospital"

They got to the hospital and the doctor was just coming out of Alice's room. Alice introduced the doctor to Stranger. Stranger said, "Doctor is surgery possible to remove the tumor."

The doctor shook his head, "surgery is very rare because of where the tumor is located. We typically use chemotherapy and radiation to prolong the life, but that is all we can do. If you can do a miracle Stranger, now is the time."

Stranger nodded his head as the doctor walked away.

Stranger walked into the room and looked down at Alice. She looked so pale and weak. Stranger shook his head wondering if this was impossible for him to cure. He rubbed his hand over Alice's head. Her eyes opened. She said, "I knew you would come." She cracked a little smile. "I love you, Stranger."

Stranger looked over at Janet as much as to say, I have to try, I just have to try.

Stranger pulled a chair up close to the bed. He pulled back the covers that were over Alice. He lifted her out and sat down in the chair holding her in his arms. Stranger stroked his hands over her hair. Stranger knew that his power would be put to the test. Stranger pulled her close to him, closed his eyes and started to speak to himself.

In about two minutes a light blue color came over Stranger and radiated toward, Alice. It kept getting brighter and brighter. Soon several flashes of light sparked between Stranger and Alice.

The doctor came to the doorway. When he saw the flashes of light the doctor tried to enter the room. Janet held her hand out across his chest. She said, "Let them be. Do not interrupt."

They both stood there and watched. The blue light turned to yellow, then red, back to blue and kept changing colors for the next ten minutes. Stranger was still speaking to himself, but his face was becoming distorted. It was obvious that this was really taking it out of him. Janet looked at her watch, it had been fifteen minutes and it was still going on. Two more violent flashes of light flew between Stranger and Alice. Twenty minutes and the colors were fading away. Stranger looked up at Alice. She opened her eyes and threw them around Stranger's neck. "I love you," she said.

Alice ran to her mother and the doctor. Alice looked so normal, she felt great, and was talking a mile a minute. The doctor said, "Alice, why don't we take a walk and look at that tumor. What do you say?"

"OK," said Alice.

Stranger and Janet sat in the room until they came back. Alice ran to her mom and the doctor came to sit on the bed. He said, "I have been a doctor a long time and I have never seen anything like it. The tumor is gone, there is no evidence that she ever had a tumor."

The doctor, Janet, and Alice all walked to the front door of the hospital. It was apparent that Stranger was exhausted. This had really taken it out of him. Janet said, "Please come and have dinner with us tomorrow, please?"

Stranger said, "I would love to." Dinner the following night was superb and Stranger looked at Janet and Alice as he was eating. He thought to himself that he wished he could stay here forever, but he knew that was not possible.


This story is a work of fiction. However, this tumor in children is very real. The survival rate is very low. It is most common in children between the ages of 5 to 10. Go to the link at St. Jude's to read more about this terrible disease.