Friday, April 8, 2011

Friday story


“Well, Mr. Parker, to be quite honest, I doubt Peter has more than a month in him.” Dr. Reed Richards spoke quietly, standing outside the Parker home on the porch. The doctor was tall and lanky, the man he spoke with stocky and older.

“Damn it.” Ben Parker clenched his fist. “I told his daddy I'd do all I could to see he grew up to be a fine man, and now he won't even have a chance.”

“There's one thing, I think maybe you can try.” Dr. Richards held his hands out as he spoke. “It's a long shot, and not something I would normally suggest, but I just don't see another alternative.”

“What is it? Tell me, I'll do anything. Thirteen is just too young, and I'll be damned if I give up on him now.”

“Lets go in, have a cup of coffee, let your wife hear this too, see what she thinks. 'Dr. Richards suggested.

The three of them gathered around a small dining table set in the cramped kitchen, steaming tin mugs of coffee sat untouched in front of each. May Parker was Ben's wife, fatter and shorter by a fair share than her husband. She spoke after a moment of silence had crept in. “Well doctor? What is it?

“I can't believe I'm going to suggest this, they should really have my license for this, I really-”

Ben cut him off. “With all due respect, get to it.”

“yes, yes, right.” I know of a man, a former colleague of mine, a Doctor Stephen Strange.” Dr. Richards stammered, he looked as though he had begun to sweat, though from the heat in the kitchen due to the preparation of coffee, or from some other factor, it was unsure.
“he left a normal practice, and went with the savages, and devoted himself to the study of the, well, strange arts.”

“Doctor Strange is strange, is what you're saying? Ben growled.

“Well yes, but I think he may be able to help. I keep a correspondence, and I've heard multiple accounts from him of his having healed many, and overcome much that a normal doctor such as myself could never dream of.”

“So, he would do some damned hocus pocus, and my nephew would be healthy?” Ben asked, his voice rising. “That is the absolute dumbest damned shit I've heard from a learned man, and I'll be damned if I don't want to just knock your ass out my door!”

“Ben!” May stood. “I don't believe you! I'm so sorry Doctor!”

Dr. Richards merely raised a hand.

“You're right May. Doctor, I'm sorry.” Ben leaned forward, clamping a hand on Reed's shoulder. “This has just been more than I can handle. Just last year Peter was fit as a fiddle. And now, he's knocking on heaven's door.”

“I understand, Mr. Parker. I do. I just want to try everything we possibly can.”

“Where is this Doctor Strange?” May asked, sitting back down.

“Two days ride from here. It won't be an easy trip for Peter, but it may just be worth it.”

“Okay.” Ben said. Let's try it.

Three nights later found the Parkers and Doctor Richards in the company of Doctor Strange. Reed had been insistent that he go, both to care for Peter on the journey, and perhaps experience one of Strange's miracles first hand. Strange had agreed to help Peter as soon as he had seen him, and was adamant that he be started right away. The day had been one of oddness for everyone but Strange, with salves and lotions rubbed into Peter's chest, he had been hung from a tree by his ankles for exactly two minutes and eleven seconds at a time, and had had his head wrapped in a blanket made of wool for four hours. The final step was the most important, Strange had explained, and would be done in secrecy. So now, Peter, barely on the verge of consciousness after a trying day, lay naked in a tee-pee, and Doctor Strange chanted with closed eyes as he mixed a motion with ingredients from various stone bowls set before him. Across the dirt ground a spider scurried, making for one of the bowls. It used it's impressive abilities to scale the inverted incline and fall over the lip of the bowl into a mixture of crushed berries just as Dr. Strange reached for it. He lifted the bowl to a stone mug and tipped it's contents, including the spider, in without opening his eyes. Using his fingers, he mixed it with the other ingredients, crushing the spider and contaminating the contents. Strange opened his eyes, which were traced with paint, and lifted Peter's head with one hand. He spoke in English now, at the end.

“Let this bring the strength and vitality to the one who needs it.” The mug was tipped, it's contents pushing past Peters lips and down his throat.

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