The Cure

Dr Granger looked at this confused, frightened sixteen-year-old slumped over in her chair in front of him. Normally he would take this opportunity to say some words of strength, something hopeful, even if the real hope was miniscule. But not for Bianca, she was going to die. She had to die.

“I will need to talk with your father.” Dr Granger stated. Fear shot through Bianca’s big black eyes, pain and regret followed the fear. Dr Granger knew Bianca wasn’t strong enough no matter what she said.

“I want to be here.” She said in a monotone voice barely louder than a whisper.

“No.  No you don’t.” Dr Granger had seen parents react to this kind of news before, it was not something Bianca needed to witness. Her father, Miguel, would be expecting some diagnosis after all the medical tests he’d paid for. It was time for him to know. “I promised you I would take care of things. You need to trust me.”

After exiting the office, Bianca sat waiting while Dr Granger explained her diagnosis with her father. She expected to hear shouting, crying, maybe even gunshots, but all she heard was the bubbling of the fish tank and Dr Granger’s assistant shuffling papers on her desk. Bianca wondered what it would be like working as an assistant, she’d never find out. Her father and Dr Granger talked for a very long time.

A brief bumping sound announced there was life in the office. Dr Granger opened the door with a troubled look on his face but Bianca’s father appeared quietly confident, like he always did. Her mind went haywire. What did this mean? Didn’t he care? Why wasn’t he upset?

“When Dr Lynam arrives, have him contact the office, I will be able to discuss Bianca’s diagnosis with him. We’ll begin the traditional treatment tomorrow.” Dr Granger flashed a look at Bianca. He desperately wanted to fill her in but Miguel was intimidatingly determined to be in charge. The best he could do would be to make Bianca’s appointment quickly.  “Maria,” Dr Granger called to his assistant, “can we squeeze Bianca in at 9 am tomorrow for her first treatment?”

“Doctor, you are completely booked for the next three days. The soonest would be Monday at 3 pm.” Maria stated emphatically.

“Maria,” Dr Granger was speaking in his authoritative tone, “please make an appointment for Bianca for 9 am tomorrow. I will make it work.” He glared at Maria to get the point across.

“How long will the appointment be for, Dr Granger?” Maria asked.

“As long as it takes.” With that Dr Granger silently dismissed Maria by turning his back to her.  “Miguel, as long as 9 am is okay with you, I would like Bianca here then to begin treatment.”

“Marcos can drive me Dad.” Bianca offered.

“Very well then.” Agreed Miguel.

Bianca fidgeted and listened to some dietary advice Dr Granger was imparting to Miguel. She wondered if it was going to be necessary, after all she wouldn’t survive. She was angry about her father’s composure. Did he even care?  As they were leaving, Dr Granger barked instructions at Maria as to what she needed to have ready for the morning’s appointment.

The ride home was lonely for Bianca, her father had just been told she was dying and all he could do was talk on the phone. Her contempt for him grew. The journey felt much longer than normal. She stared at nothing out the window trying to block her father from her thoughts.

“We’re going to beat this.” Miguel offered in an unusually soft tone as the limousine pulled into their compound. Bianca didn’t even know he’d gotten off the phone. “Bianca,” Miguel had never sounded as soft and caring as he did in that moment, “we’re going to beat this. I promise you.” He put his hand on her knee and squeezed it like he would when she was 6 years old, back when her mother was still alive. Back when Bianca still loved her father.

As soon as the car stopped, Miguel switched roles from caring father to boss. He leapt out of the sleek black limo and started barking orders. Apparently they would be having a guest, or guests. Bianca wasn’t sure why he needed the stables ready, there were dozens of spare rooms in the house.  Without spending too much energy thinking about it, Bianca went to her room to be able to process all that had happened that day. She didn’t bother doing her homework, after all, she was dying, what would be the point?

11 thoughts on “The Cure

  1. Jennifer Eller-Kirkham says:

    This reads as a bit too melodramatic to be believable. I think it could be improved by focusing on simple details like you did with the fish tanks and secretary shuffling papers. You are dealing with dramatic subject matter, so it needs simple writing to bring over the drama. If the writing is full of drama, the effect is melodrama. Because of this it read to me more as being written for YA or younger than for adults.
    In the first line ‘this frightened..’ would be better ‘the frightened…’.
    She was going to die. She had to die is over done and jarred.
    The point of view is also confused – one minute we are in the Doctor’s head, the next in Bianca’s.
    The idea is interesting, but it needs work.
    The character and work of the father is interesting and I would like to know more about that and Bianca’s relationship with him.

  2. calgal says:

    This is a little confusing. What’s Bianca dying from? Something unknown and exotic? Is that why she HAS to die, because there’s no known treatment? I need more help understanding what’s going on. Also, the point-of-view is garbled. At first I thought the MC was Dr. Granger, then it shifted to Bianca. Maybe if you picked one character and told the story only from their perspective, it might clear up some of the confusion and strengthen your novel.

    Finally, the comment about the stables was weird – if they’re getting stables ready, I assume horses are going to show up with the guests, yes? Anyway, keep going, and good luck!

    • Leah McKinnon says:

      Part of the mystery in the novel surrounds why she’s dying but I do see your point. It could be better introduced. I agree with your comments on the POV – that’s something needing work and maybe it will reduce the confusion. The stables comment could be extended a little to avoid confusion too.

  3. Anonymous says:

    You know how you have only one chance to make a first impression? Mine was made as soon as I read your first line. “Dr. Granger looked at this confused, frightened sixteen-year-old slumped over in her chair in front of him.” The fact you used ‘THIS CONFUSED’ instead of ‘THE CONFUSED’ in your very first sentence, immediately made me assume I might not like your writing.

    By the fifth paragraph, I stopped reading because I was editing your work while I was reading.

    I think you could really benefit from a hard edit,as there are words in your story that don’t add to your story.

    Finally, check your grammar when using quotations.

    Edit Examples:

    Instead of: Fear shot through Bianca’s big black eyes, pain and regret followed the fear.
    Consider: Fear shot through Bianca’s big black eyes, followed by pain and regret. (Although to be honest, I’m not sure I would even keep the second part of that sentence).

    Instead of: “I want to be here.” She said in a monotone voice barely louder than a whisper.
    Consider: “I want to be here,” she said quietly. OR “I want to be here,” she whispered.

    Grammar Examples:

    Instead of: “Marcos can drive me Dad.” Bianca offered.
    Consider: “Marcos can drive me Dad,” Bianca offered. (replace the period with a comma).

    Good luck to you!

    • Anonymous says:

      p.s. I meant to also add that I included examples only because I find examples extremely helpful. Please note, I wasn’t trying to rewrite your work! I was only giving you my perspective.

  4. Jim says:

    I stopped abruptly on “She had to die.” My thoughts went to she and the doctor having been sexually involved or something like that. I see in your comments to feedback above that it’s actually some disease that has set her on this course.

    I thought you did a good job of portraying her disappointment in her father’s lack of involvement in her life. I liked the way you described her setting–the limousine, the compound, the many rooms, etc. I felt I had a feel for her background based on it.

    I think you’ve got a good hook–it just needs to be expressed, as someone said, in simpler ways.

    Good luck.

  5. chickinwhite says:

    I´ve read it through, but I feel a little twisted about it:
    I think, if Bianca has just received a diagnosis that means her death in the near future, she should be more agitated, desperate or scared.
    Instead she is numb and has enough focus on her father´s reaction, that her near death loses importance.
    This doesn´t ring true. Even if she´s young, and perhaps she is under shock, I would try to focus a bit more on her emotions. I mean: imagine you´re told you gonna die, soon… How would you feel?
    I like your writing, in general, though I agree with teh anon commenter above, you can tighten it with a strong edit…
    Good luck for you!

  6. cbowers911 says:

    Your opening sentence caught my attention. The beginning is very tense and suspenseful which I am assuming is the goal. However, I am not sure where the story would go from here. How long would you be able to hold the reader’s attention about what is going on with the daughter? I think that this is a good start and I could see myself reading a few chapters to see where the story goes.
    The book seems as if it would be a better fit for YA also.

  7. allisonnewchurch says:

    The point of view keeps shifting which makes it hard to read. I found I was starting to skim by about the time the doctor is getting antsy with his secretary.

    Lots of words, could do with tightening. For example, the very first paragraph could simply say “Dr Granger looked at the confused, frightened girl in front of him. Sixteen year old Bianca was going to die.”

    Dialogue punctuation needs correcting.

    Bianca’s whole demeanour seems wrong. If she’s just been told she’s going to die (and I’m not really clear that she HAS been told), she’s just sitting there, quietly accepting. She’s sixteen! Teenage girls are (in my experience) wildly dramatic. Surely she’d be at least bawling her eyes out.

    I agree with CBOWERS911 that it sounds more like a YA novel which is a genre I never read and if that’s the case then everything I’ve said could be completely null and void.

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