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Dying young

by Dfchristian 2003


It all started about two years ago. My brother and I lived in the southern part of Allica a region that is known for building the Asuja the tower that honours the god Asu. In Imela there are four regions each dedicated to one of the four Imelian Gods. Asu the god of the south. Baroc the god of the North. Cando the god of the east and Darco the god of the west. We live in general peace with each other. However two years ago everything changed with me and my brother when he was diagnosed with Lirkman's disease a progressive muscle and brain disease. Basically what this meant was that my brother Mica was going to die. My name is Jamon by the way. This is our story.

Chapter 1 Background

It all started like I said two years ago. At the time My brother was five years old and I was eighteen. A year prior to this our parents died in a car crash. Unfortunately our grandparents died when I was a baby and we have no known relatives as our parents were only children. However since I was seventeen and I would "age out" of the orphanage system in a year it was decided that I would be given what is called Exleparary Gurardianship. What this means is that I would gain legal guardianship of my four year old brother with a social worker checking in on us every week randomly. This is to make sure that I'm taking good care of my brother and feeding and clothing him etc. This went on for exactly one year. My parents ironically enough died the day after my seventeenth birthday so it was exactly one year. We then went to court with our social worker Mickel who advocated to the judge that I was a suitable guardian for Mica and that I would take good care of him. When the judge reviewed what had happened the previous year he said he saw no reason why I shouldn't be given guardianship. Therefore I became the legal guardian of my brother. We were very happy about this development. "Does this mean I don't have to live in a orphanage Jamon?" Mica asked me. "Yes Mica. This means that I am your legal parent and that you are my brother and ward." "Does that mean I have to call you Dad?" I laughed "No buddy. Im still your brother but because I am an legal adult I am also able to take care of you." Now some of you may be asking why are my brother and I so far apart age wise? Well lets just say that Mica was unplanned to say the least. Anyway we went home that night and slept for the first night as officially independent family. Then the disease started six months later.

Chapter 2 The first signs

The first signs started around August. We were at our family cottage that our parents had bought. It was a one storey cabin with three bedrooms. Ironically the one bedroom where my parents had slept was now mostly unused. We were sitting at the table that night having supper. It was spaghetti Mica's and mione's favorite. All of a sudden Mica got a distant look in his eyes. "Mica?" I asked "Are you alright?" He didn't reply. I went over to him. "Mica? Mica can you hear me?" All of a sudden he started laughing. At this point I got annoyed. "Mica this isn't funny. Stop laughing." Then I remembered something I had seen online. Some people who have seizures have what are called absent seizures. Sometimes one of the tics are laughing for no reason. I looked at my watch. The seizure had been going on for about five minutes. If it went longer than ten I was to call 911. Just like that he came out of it. "Mica are you alright?" "Yeah I'm fine." "Mica who am I?" He looked at me funny. 'You're Jamon my brother." Then all of a sudden he fell face first into his spaghetti and started shaking. I knew that this is what they called a grand mal seizure. I rushed to the phone and calluoed 911. The operator told me to lie Mica on the floor with a pillow underneath his head and all objects cleared from him. I picked him up and did just that. By the time the ambulance got to our cottage (which is in the country) the seizure had stopped. However since this was Mica's first grand mal seizure they admitted him to see what was wrong. After about three days of testing they diagnosed Mica with Epilepsy and prescribed some seizure control meds. However that was only the start. In September I noticed that Mica seemed to be limping and that he was falling more often. I decided to take caution and took Mica to the doctor. We did some more tests and a muscle biopsy. The results were terrifying. 

Chapter Three.

"Jamon do you know what Lirkman's Disease is?" the doctor asked me. "No I don't" I told him. The next half hour was a nightmare that I will never forget.  "Lirkman's disease is a muscular and neurodegenerative disease. Basically over a period of three to five years the body starts to degenerate the muscles and brain tissue. What happens is the patient experiences seizures muscle loss and eventually loses the five senses. Death usually occurs due to either heart failure or pneumonia. Basically your little brother will become a vegetable." "Is there anything we can do?" I asked the doctor. The doctor looked at me with sad eyes. "No. There's nothing we can do. Ther disease is rapidly progressive and Mica will eventually need a ventilator and a feeding tube just to survive. "How long does he have?" "No more than two years." 

Chapter four Losing strength

I can honestly say I was devastated by Mica's diagnosis. I knew that Mica wouldn't survive to ten most likely but I wanted to make the most out of the time. I asked Mica what he wanted to do and if he wanted to be a vegetable or not. "Honestly I think I shouldn't be a vegetable. I mean if it's going to get so bad that I won't feel or know what is going on I don't think I would want to be kept alive." "Hold on Mica. Are you saying that when you get to the absolute worse point you want me to basically murder you?" He looked me straight in the eyes. "Yes." This shocked me. However I had to accept what he wanted as I don't believe in keeping someone alive who wasn't going to get better. Over the next six months his health continued to deteriorate. I had to watch my brother just start losing energy and muscle. At Christmas he lost his ability to walk. I still remember when it happened to. "Mica time for dinner!" "Coming!" he yelled back. At the time he had started using crutches to get around. CLANG! "OW!" "Mica are you alright?" I Asked running out to him. "Yeah I just fell." 'Can you suit up?" "I think so." I noticed how slow he was getting up. "Are you ready to stand?" He nodded breathing heavily. I got behind him and lifted him up under his arms. That's when I noticed his legs were shaking. I put him on his feet and let go. He collapsed on the floor and then had a seizure. After the seizure was done we tried to get him to stand for about ten minutes. Finally Mica said "Jamon stop. It's over. I can no longer walk." I hugged him as we both started to cry. Finally I just picked him up and carried him to the table. Unfortunately since it was Christmas Day the wheelchair shop was closed for a week for the holidays. 

Chapter Five Senses lost

The following six months Mica had severe and rapid muscle loss. By June Mica could no longer lift his arms and in fact he couldn't even stand. The doctors had started talking about getting a nurse to help. I adamantly refused. "Mica is MY responsibility. I will learn how to take care of him myself." I attended a course every night for three months. Finally I was able to look after Mica by myself with a nurse on duty when I went out for my job or groceries. I would help Mica eat by having to feed him by hand and yes that includes bathroom trips as well. Then he started losing his ability to smell and taste at the same time. By August he couldn't taste or smell anything. At this point we discussed a feeding tube. "Mica what do you think about a feeding tube?" "I think I have to at this point." "Well no actually you don't. See you can still swallow so you don't have to have a feeding tube." He looked at me angrily. "WHAT'S THE POINT IN BEING ABLE TO SWALLOW IF YOU CANT TASTE THE FOOD!" With this he burst into tears and I went over to him and picked him up and held him. Eventually he calmed and we agreed to have him have a small surgery to implement a permanent feeding tube. Luckily I learned all about the feeding tube beforehand.  After having a feeding tube installed in his stomach he continued to lost both muscle strength and mental strength. In September he started forgetting certain things such as what he was doing or repeating what he said. Finally that Christmas Mica lose his sight suddenly. It was the day after Christmas.

Chapter Six Lost of the most important Senses

"Jamon! Jamon help me!" I ran to Mica's room terrified at the tone of his voice. I stormed into his room crying "Mica what's wrong!" "Jamon where are you?" "I'm right here buddy. Can't you see me?" He stuttered "No I can't see anything." All of a sudden I realized he was blind. It was terrifying for both of us. Also Mica now needed me to help him with directing his wheelchair. Then two months later in February he lost his hearing. Luckily We prepared for this moment. We had studied finger sign language so that we could communicate with each other. At this point the doctors figured Mica didn't have long left. Then one day Mica said something that terrified me to my core. "Jamon I can't do this anymore." "What do you mean buddy?" "I'm tired of this useless body. I want to go home." I was terrified but I agreed this was no life for him. I leaned over him and asked if he was sure. "Yes" came the faint reply. So rather than wait for death I Picked up his head and removed the pillow. Then I used it to cover his mouth. It was about two minutes before he had a seizure due to lack of air. Finally he was still.  


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10 Reviews

Points: 399
Reviews: 10

Wed Sep 18, 2019 11:52 pm
JacyBuschman wrote a review...

Hello Dfchristian and good afternoon! :D

Just somethings I would like to review on with you is your prologue. Most prologues aren't the first-person style. Of course, there aren't any rules against it, but it would be better for things like backgrounds and what not to be put here. This helps with the information dumping side of things, and you are able to tell us more without taking blocks out of the storyline.

"It all started about two years ago."
The time startle opener is good, but just not here. I think this line would have been a better opener to hook the reader into wanting to know more.

"Mica was going to die. Two years ago everything changed. My brother was diagnosed with Lirkman's disease a progressive muscle and brain disease."

^This is just edited versions of what you said but how I would personally do to clean up the opener and hook.

"Chapter 1 Background

It all started like I said two years ago."

Not good to start with the same sentence you used for a prologue as your chapter one. Makes it feel redundant and overexplained?

There are grammar errors and mis-capitalizations etc. Just take a moment to spell check and do a basic grammar check with whatever program/app you are using, then we can give even greater more advanced grammar checks.

Be careful when writing about the "system". Research A LOT about the rules that come into place, UNLESS your world isn't the typical Earth we live on. Otherwise, misinformation will reallllllyy stick out and confuse us, the reader. At 17, it wouldn't make sense for them to be a guardian. I personally at 24 wanted to be the guardian of my siblings, but there was much more to it than just being old enough.

Your writing is written like a modern young person, which is fine to a point, but there is too much wording. Things need to be trimmed down. It's hard to read sometimes and I'd like more suspense, more build-up to this event. What happened before the two years?
Research how to write dialogue as well, show us who is talking, what they are doing while talking, etc.

""Jamon I can't do this anymore." "What do you mean buddy?" "I'm tired of this useless body. I want to go home." I was terrified but I agreed this was no life for him. I leaned over him and asked if he was sure. "Yes" came the faint reply. So rather than wait for death I Picked up his head and removed the pillow. Then I used it to cover his mouth. It was about two minutes before he had a seizure due to lack of air. Finally he was still. "

This is very hard to read and follow along because I have to constantly remind myself of who is talking when the chapters themselves and characters aren't previously described. You told us a setting and how peaceful it was etc but never mention it again throughout your story, I'd either integrate more of the town/village/city etc in or cut out this information completely.

I do really like the concept and idea of Dying Young, it's really hard to write about the death of someone or death in general. It's painful, has suffering, etc. Show us those types of emotions and describe them as if you were feeling them as your characters and you'll see your story come even more to life and be even that much more impactful!

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Tue Sep 17, 2019 8:33 pm
mellifera wrote a review...

Hey Dfchristian 2003! Hope you're doing well on this fine day :D

It all started about two years ago.

This isn't necessary a weak or bad opening line. It does pose a question - what started two years ago? - but for me, personally, I'm not that hooked by it? I've seen many stories that begin like this, so it's not that... exciting to me. It doesn't provoke a reaction or make me want to read more. Something started two years ago. Okay. Good to know. But right now, I have no ties that make me want to read more (aside from the fact I am reviewing, haha).
Again, this is more of a personal thing. There's no reason you have to change it. For me, it's just not that interesting as an opening.

My brother and I lived in the southern part of Allica a region that is known for building

While you're missing a comma ("...southern part of Allica[,] a region...") There's also a tense change. The story opens in past tense (s/he said, they did this, etc), but then it switches to present tense, and continues like this for some time before it goes back to past tense. As someone who is guilty of this myself, you'll want to be aware of this when you're writing and/or editing, so you don't switch between the two.

The transition from "it all started two years ago" to sudden exposition about the regions and the four Gods didn't flow smoothly. This kind of information is the kind of information you ease into your story gradually. You don't want your worldbuilding to come out all at once. You want to be able to fit it into the story you're telling.
Remember, if you were writing about your life in our world, you aren't going to describe details of the world. You write on the assumption people know what you're talking about because they live in your world as well. The characters aren't going to think that their life/existence/setting is different, because it's their reality. Things that are different to your reader are mundane to your characters.

Basically what this meant was that my brother Mica was going to die.

Instead of telling your readers this information in such a straightforward manner, I would suggest altering it to how Jamon is reacting. "He was going to die." Is much more impactful because it's shorter and more expressive. The original sentence sounds more clinical and detached.

It all started like I said two years ago.

You don't have to repeat yourself here?

Also, I can see now you have multiple chapters in this one work. You listed this as a novel, but if the sections are really that short, I'd nix the chapters altogether and just make them transitions from scene to scene of a short story? This isn't nearly long enough to be a novel, but if you only want to show the progression of Mica's sickness, then a short would probably be the way to go!
(Especially the prologue! Most of it I would even cut and/or merge with "chapter one" and just make that your opening)

At the time My brother

"My" shouldn't be capitalised.

However since I was seventeen and I would "age out" of the orphanage system in a year it was decided that I would be given what is called Exleparary Guardianship.

Is there any reason you didn't want to make Jamon eighteen? I've never heard of guardianship of a minor being given to someone who is a minor themselves, and I can't find any resources that say there's some unwritten rule where some cases as exempt, only that you must be eighteen before you can have legal rights of said minor. I, of course, am not a lawyer, and do not know much about law, so I could be wrong (in which case please ignore me!), but one of the biggest issues would be provisions. How is Jamon able to get enough monetary income to support himself and Mica? I don't know many places that will hire someone under eighteen to work full time (because of child labour laws), and while it seems the illness hasn't begun yet, medical bills are expensive. (Also- Exleparay?)
Also, this could all be different on the basis that this isn't set in our world (at least, I don't... think so???), but it seems to operate on the same foundation, so... I'm confused.

Now some of you may be asking why are my brother and I so far apart age wise?

I mean, I really wasn't. I have a cousin who's eighteen and her youngest brother is five.
This ends up being pretty exposition-y? What does it contribute to the storyline or plot really? You tell us a lot about these details (the regions/Gods, how their parents aren't around and they apparently have no living relatives, the whole guardianship business, etc) in a way that reads like you're recapping something. It doesn't work well in a story because it's so blatantly telling.
I can't get into the story because it's like your style is keeping me from immersing myself. I have nothing to connect to because there's so much plain information you're using here, and not any description of the setting or of the characters and how they're faring/reacting to their situation.
It's dry to read, I guess is the takeaway. In no way is your story bad, it's the delivery and the style of what you've written that, in my opinion, could use work. And this comes with time! I wouldn't be really worried about it right now, but I also wanted to let you know for future reference.

All of a sudden Mica got a distant look in his eyes.

Getting a distant look in your eyes isn't this noticeable or sudden? I space out a lot, I have friends that space out a lot. So, distant looks. I mean, I notice them of course, but not usually right as they happen, and I'm generally not concerned about them (unless you call to them and they don't respond after the first few times, which is THEN concerning). I find it somewhat hard to believe that, for a young boy (heightened by the fact he lost his parents) to never get distant looks on his face.
I'm not saying this isn't plausible, because Jamon asking if he's okay is 100% believable. It just seems like you were trying to deliver it more dramatically than it starts out as.

All your prose is lumped up into huge chunks of text, and it makes it clunky to read! Splitting your sections up would greatly help to avoid this.
A good rule of thumb for this is starting a new line every time there's a new Person, Place, Topic, or Time.
This also applies to your dialogue. Jamon and Mica's dialogue should be on separate lines, rather then being clumped together the way it should be.

all objects cleared from him.

From Mica??

Basically your little brother will become a vegetable.

Wow, deliver it any more professionally, would you?

I can honestly say I was devastated by Mica's diagnosis.

"I can honestly say" implies that it's perfectly reasonably to believe that Jamon wouldn't be devastated by Mica's diagnosis. Actually, it implies that he thinks he wouldn't be, but for some reason is.

in fact he couldn't even stand.

I thought he had lost the ability to stand in the last section?

I attended a course every night for three months.

Okay, I mentioned this earlier, and I didn't say anything about the house, but I'm,, so confused. Where is this kid getting all the money to own a three bedroom house in the country? To pay all of Mica's medical bills and doctor's visits? To pay for a nursing course? And then for basic amenities like clothes and food and regular bills?

Also, I noticed it a few times, but you capitalising words as if for emphasis. Caps doesn't work that way. You can use it for shouting, but when you want to put emphasis on a word or sentence, you're looking for italics.

I'm going to focus more on commenting on your actual writing style rather than the story. First of all, I want to get to description. Here's a really good article on YWS that talks about description. Let me quickly summarise what I'm thinking right now:
Like I've stated, your writing style is very straightforward. You're telling your readers everything, and it's making it very hard for me to really get into the story because it reads less like prose and more like technical writing. I can't connect with the characters right now, because there's not much life in the story. There's a few parts where you tell us what Jamon is feeling, but not how he's experiencing those emotions, which is a big part of telling vs. showing (I don't know if you've heard that expression before or not. This is another good article, and it's about the Telling vs. Showing).

The other thing is setting. You introduce us to a setting that does not sound like our own, but then as I read further, it really just felt contemporary. By the end, I'm not sure where you've set this story, which isn't really a good thing. I know I said the section at the beginning was an info-dump, and it is, but I would have liked to have seen it expanded on. Sprinkled in gently through the story, and then with a little more information about how these regions and Gods affect the story and culture surrounding them. Right now, it has no connection to the story at all. Since this is more of a short story than a novel, if you're not going to expand on what this means, then it's better to cut it to preserve your word count then to include it without serving any purpose.

As far as story goes, I do think you have a heavy, impactful premises here! I'd just like to see it expanded on without the technicalities to drag it down, since it's not at all that I think your story isn't good, it's the structure and how you executed it that I'm having some trouble with. Your story is intriguing, it's emotional. It can be heartwarming to see the brotherly connection (which I'm a huge sucker for!! give me soft brotherly relationships!!), and heartbreaking to see Jamon have to watch as his little brother deteriorates. I just want to see the emotion colour your story, and shape it up to have that impact I can absolutely see it having.

That's all I have for you today! I apologise if I seemed harsh, I'm not trying to tear you down. Your work is good, and it needs improving (just like everyone else's!). If you have any comments or questions about anything I said, please let me know! :)

I hope you have a fantastic rest of your day, and Happy RevMo!


Thxs for the review. Just wanted to clarify one part of your review. The part where I said that he got a distant look in his eyes wasn't meant to be your typical space out moment. I have a friend who has Epilepsy and he "Spaces out" a lot. The problem is that he isn't spacing out but having a petite mal seizure called Absence seizure. That was what this was supposed to reflect.

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Sun Sep 08, 2019 7:36 pm

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