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Life List⁷ (chapter two)

by archrnln

Warning: This work has been rated 18+ for language.


Every one of the seven friends all cried that night. Nobody slept except Hero, doped up on sleeping pills. After some arguing and only one threat to call security all of the boys were allowed to stay in the hospital with Hero. JiJi laid on his younger brother’s chest quietly weeping. Baby, Tay, Jayce and Gael were sitting on the ground just holding each other. Because not one of them was sure how long they had to be together like this. When seven would become six. Tay vaguely remembered the doctor telling Hero how long he had to live, it could be anywhere from one to five years. Only one to five years left.

Tay’s smooth, velvety voice filled the corners of the bleak hospital room, it floated out the window and curled around the light fittings. Hero still hadn’t woken up from his drugged sleep and Tay was softly singing to him, carding his hand through his best friend’s hair. Ju cleaned his glasses on a tissue dabbing halfheartedly at his red puffy eyes, JiJi was still snuggling against him sniffling slightly.

“We need to get up” all heads bar Hero’s turned to Gael, “It’s no use sitting here crying about what we can’t control” he took a shaky breath “If Hero only has a few years to live his life to the fullest then so be it, let’s make it the best fucking years of his entire life” the second oldest of the group glared at all of them, daring someone to attempt a contradiction, but then someone else spoke up “I’m in” Hero had woken up during the speech and had caught enough information to come to a decision “I’ll make a list of stuff I want to do” Tay handed him a notepad and a pen, Hero spent the next ten minutes filling it out. When he was done he handed it to Tay who read it aloud:

Life List

  1. Travel overseas
  2. Go skydiving
  3. Go to a concert
  4. Karaoke night
  5. Get a tattoo
  6. Beach day
  7. See a desert sunset
  8. Set off fireworks in my backyard
  9. Fall in love
  10. Do it all with my friends

“We can do all that and more” JiJi smiled “Let’s fucking do it then” Gael grinned, Hero beamed at all of us “what should we do first?” Baby jumped to his feet. “Let’s work from the top down,” Hero looked happy again, “hell yeah!” Ju got up as well smiling for the first time since yesterday, the doctors were reluctant to discharge Hero but smiled softly when he showed them his life list. They had seen this too many times before and understood why Hero needed this. Why they all needed this.

They piled into JiJi’s car, Hero’s parents waved their son off with tears in their eyes, he had convinced them to let him complete his life list and all the boys had promised to take good care of Hero.

The first order of business was to decide on where they were going to travel. “Japan!” Hero squealed when the meeting had begun, “I’ve always wanted to go and it will be easier than a lot of other places” he gazed anxiously around the room “but if you guys want to go somewhere else I don’t mind” he was met with a chorus of protests and reassurances. Ju zoned out for a second and they could all see his lips moving quickly, “you good?” Gael raised an eyebrow, Ju poked his cheek with his tongue, “I was figuring out the price of seven return flights to Japan”. Ju’s outburst was met by silence. “That’s excluding accommodation of course” he said hastily blushing slightly. “How are we related?” JiJi broke the quiet and everyone burst out laughing.

Gael started to book flights on his phone for all of them, “Hero will you be ok travelling?” Baby snuggled into the back of Hero’s neck, he nodded and then gave a sniffle. “Hero what’s wrong honey cake?” JiJi knelt down in front of the younger and gave him a kiss on the forehead while Baby cuddled him closer. “I-I just don’t wanna leave you guys” Hero sobbed “I’m scared to d-die” if you had been listening closely you would have heard the simultaneous sound of six hearts shattering. No one knew what to say. “You still have years Hero, and I promise you we will do everything in our power to help you live this life to the fullest” Gael said quietly “and I can almost guarantee you that we will all meet again in every life after this”. Hero managed to stop crying and smiled through his anguish. “You are all the best,” he sniffed. “Now let’s look at activities to do in Japan!”.

After the money was pooled, the parents were notified, and the flights were caught, the seven sat almost trembling with excitement at the prospect of the adventure. The difficult part was bringing along an oxygen supply for Hero, his doctor had said due to his breathlessness they would need oxygen to counter the low pressure in the cabin. Hero felt very awkward having to set up his little supply while being stared at by the other passengers. Gael sent back some terrifying glares that deterred the worst of the onlookers. They were all sitting in the same block of seats with Ju calling dibs on the seat next to Hero.

“What’re we gonna do in Tokyo?” Baby poked his face through the gap between his and Tay’s seats, Hero pinched his friend’s chubby cheeks with a giggle, “we could go to the Ghibli museum” Ju suggested to the sound of muted cheers from the boys (they had to be quieter in the plane) “or we could go to the Meiji Jingu shrine, there’s so much to do and so little time!” Ju sighed unhappily, Baby laughed “Ju you can come back and live in Japan once you finish school and get a good job-” Baby stopped short. He coughed awkwardly “sorry Hero I didn’t mean to sound, er…” Hero shook his head and laughed as well, ‘you don’t have to stop talking about all of your futures just because mine might be a little bit shorter,” Baby still poked his hand through the gap and clasped Hero’s, transferring an unspoken caring from his body to his best friend’s.

Hero spent most of the flight watching the sky outside the window, he wanted to touch the solid looking clouds so badly. He felt so trapped within his fate, like he would never truly live again. That wild hope when you’re young that everyone you love will live forever, including yourself, had died along with his dreams for his future. Of course, many people died prematurely without a terminal illness but the diagnosis just seemed so final. Truth be told, Hero couldn’t escape his fear of dying, of being alone until his friends joined him in the afterlife once they had lived out their long lives together. Without him. He would become a memory, the day he died would become a marker of the moment he left the world and his friends behind. Hero swallowed the lump in his throat. No more crying, enjoy the time you have left.

Two hours of flying later, the plane touched down in Haneda airport. The group buzzed with anticipation, jokes were being thrown around and JiJi’s obnoxiously loud laugh echoed throughout the airport much to the embarrassment of his fellow travellers. “Alright, Jayce, can you and Baby go collect our bags?” Ju tapped away at his phone, checking that their accommodation was in order. “Race you” Baby sprung away like a gazelle before Jayce had time to react, “hey not fair! You’re almost an olympic level sprinter! Come back!” he complained, trying in vain to catch up with Baby. Tay chuckled.

Hero skipped over to him. “I’m so happy” he bubbled climbing onto Tay’s back, “watch it,” Tay caught him before he slipped off. Hero tickled the back of his neck with a giggle, “feeling ok honey cake?” JiJi placed a gentle hand on the small of Hero’s back, “yeah but I do need to take my meds” he pouted “I don’t like them, they make me feel gross” JiJi rummaged through Hero’s carry on backpack and found his numerous bottles of cancer drugs, he found the piece of paper that had the dosages on it and handed Hero a water bottle while he counted out the handful of pills that would stop most of the worst symptoms for a time. He tipped the handful into Hero’s outstretched palm, “I can take them without you eyeballing me JiJi” Hero huffed. Tay shifted Hero higher up his back. He grudgingly gulped down every one of the multi coloured pills with a ton of water to follow.

The boys all groggily made their way through the vast metropolis of Tokyo; the vibrant city radiated liveliness, paying no heed to the lateness of the hour. Groups of friends and adoring couples filled the streets, flocking to the numerous nightclubs and restaurants that adorned the streets. Hero wished he had several more pairs of eyes to take in the dazzling mixture of ancient and modern architecture, neon signs and the lights of the skyscrapers crowding his vision with blurs of every colour. They finally spotted the sign that pointed to their hotel with a sigh of relief from Tay who had been piggybacking Hero the whole time.

Gael had splurged a little and booked a big room that would fit all of them, not wanting to be away from any of his friends. There were two queen beds, a single, and a pullout couch. Sleeping arrangements were decided by an unnecessarily aggressive game of paper scissors rock.The last spot on one of the queen beds was being viciously fought over. “I WIN! MY MOUTH IS FILLED WITH THE SWEET TASTE OF VICTORY!” Jayce yelled at a grumpy looking JiJi “oh shut up, I wasn’t paying attention” he grouched while the others ridiculed his failure because that’s what friends are for. “Now it’s just me and you Hero” JiJi morphed his features into a ‘game face’. “Nuh uh, I get the queen bed with Jayce” JiJi’s eyes narrowed, “on what grounds?” Hero flashed an ear splitting grin, “call it dying boy privilege” he cackled, leaping onto the bed before JiJi could tackle him to the floor.

Not wanting to be exhausted in the morning,and feeling a little wiped out by his meds, Hero turned in before the others but dragged Jayce with him. “I’ll miss you when I’m gone” Hero whispered, smiling at the sound of their other friends playing (and arguing) over a game of cards, “don’t talk that way,” Jayce pulled him close “I’m busy pretending that if I will it enough then you’ll be cured and live as long as the rest of us” Hero’s lips quirked up the tiniest bit at the younger’s confession. “I wish things were different yet I’m so joyful right now” Hero touched his nose to Jayce’s, “I couldn’t have a better family than you guys” Jayce squeezed him tighter. “You’re going to make a beautiful angel,” he murmured, “I’ll look for you every night in the stars.” Hero snickered “I’m not dead yet calm down” Jayce feigned offence and mock punched Hero in the face. “Hey! No punching the invalid!” Jayce couldn't stop his giggles, “stop making cancer jokes it’s not funny” he pouted. “Says the one who has years to make dark jokes” Hero was on a roll. “Oh shush” Jayce smiled and buried his face in Hero’s hair with a muffled half laugh half sob. “You’re so annoying, Hero, I won’t ever let you go, you’re too precious. More precious than anything” he mumbled. Hero could feel his tears leaking onto him.

“And I won’t ever stop holding on to you”

Until my hands fail me and can’t hold on any longer, I won’t let go.

Is this a review?



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1080 Reviews

Points: 344
Reviews: 1080

Fri Feb 23, 2024 7:07 pm
vampricone6783 wrote a review...

Hello there, human! I'm reviewing using the YWS S'more Method today!

Shalt we commence with the mutated S’more?

Top Graham Cracker - Hero makes a list of his things he would like to do in his last moments of living, so like the good friends they are, they go out in the world to complete the list.

Slightly Burnt Marshmallow - I think that in the last paragraph, the comma after morning could be spaced before the word “and”, but if you like it the way it is, then ignore this.

Chocolate Bar - I love how much all of the boys care about Hero. It’s rare to see friendships like this, but sweet. Everyone deserves to feel all forms of love if they so wish to. They are the truest of all friends.

Closing Graham Cracker - They’re ready to go through Hero’s list, ready to give him a life that he’ll never forget, and I’m all here for it. Hopefully they will do all the things he asked for and he can live the life that he deserves.

I wish you a beautiful day/night!

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151 Reviews

Points: 39462
Reviews: 151

Tue Jan 09, 2024 10:46 pm
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PKMichelle wrote a review...

Hello friend!
I saw your work in the Green Room and figured I’d check it out.

Per my interpretation, this was a fun second chapter to your novel! It showed a lot about how the different characters think and act and what's most important to them in their lives.

Hero, still recoiling from his cancer diagnosis, decides to make a list of things he wants to do before he dies. And quickly, he and the other boys jump on this idea, convincing the doctors to let them do it. And the doctors do. So in no time flat, they're on a plane headed for Tokyo. And when they get there, they head to their hotel room before Jayce and Hero have a heart-to-heart.

This was a very interesting plot that showed the devotion all of the boys have to keeping Hero happy.

If I could offer any sort of advice, it would be to separate paragraphs when a new speaker comes in. It makes the reading easier to follow and helps the reader distinguish between other characters and who's speaking. You also should use commas in dialogue when you add a speech tag.

So something like this...

“We can do all that and more” JiJi smiled “Let’s fucking do it then” Gael grinned, Hero beamed at all of us “what should we do first?” Baby jumped to his feet. “Let’s work from the top down,” Hero looked happy again, “hell yeah!” Ju got up as well smiling for the first time since yesterday, the doctors were reluctant to discharge Hero but smiled softly when he showed them his life list. They had seen this too many times before and understood why Hero needed this. Why they all needed this.

...would look a little more like this:

“We can do all that and more,” JiJi smiled.

“Let’s fucking do it then,” Gael grinned.

Hero beamed at all of us and asked, “What should we do first?”

Baby jumped to his feet. “Let’s work from the top down."

Hero looked happy again and exclaimed, “Hell yeah!”

Ju got up as well, smiling for the first time since yesterday. The doctors were reluctant to discharge Hero, but they smiled softly when he showed them his life list. They had seen this too many times before and understood why Hero needed this. Why they all needed this.

This is a common problem throughout your writing, so maybe, instead of a giant leap from what you're used to, you could write it the way you normally do, then separate it the way I did here.

But, obviously, this is just a suggestion, and it's always up to the writer, so please take this criticism lightly and know that I mean nothing negative by it—only trying to provide a somewhat useful critique.

If I had to pick my favorite part, there would be a few! There were a lot of really great things happening in this chapter that I want to take some time to mention!

The first thing about this writing that really caught my eye was the very well-written sibling relationship. One example in particular that I want to point out was when Gael was talking about how expensive the flight would be and JiJi chipped in. You said,

“That’s excluding accommodation, of course,” he said hastily, blushing slightly. “How are we related?” JiJi broke the silence, and everyone burst out laughing.

Relationships like these can be a very hard thing for writers to capture, especially if they're only children. But you caught the essence of a sibling relationship really well, and I quite enjoyed their interactions, so kudos to you for that!

The next thing in this chapter that I really liked was the way you described how Hero felt. You showed all of his raw emotions and fear insanely well, especially when you said,

He felt so trapped within his fate, like he would never truly live again.

This is an absolutely beautiful quote on your end! You can almost feel the existential dread emmitting from this single sentence. It basically encapsulates everything Hero is feeling, and it does it in a very poetic way! I thought this was amazing, so good job with that!

The final thing about this awesome chapter that I really enjoyed was the ending. The final sentence truly highlights how much everyone cares about Hero, and it's wonderfully beautiful!

Until my hands fail me and I can’t hold on any longer, I won’t let go.

This was a really elegant ending to the chapter! All of the emotions and all of the feelings coming from all of the boys can easily be summed up in this one simple, yet poetic, sentence! I loved the ending and thought it evoked the perfect feelings for the type of story this is, which means you did a great job there!

A lot of outstanding things happened in this chapter, and you truly revealed yourself as a great emotional writer!

Overall, this was a great read! While there are some things that still need some work done, there were so many other things that were fantastic! I'm looking forward to the next chapter, and I can't wait to see what's happening next!

Thank you for taking the time to write and post this, and I hope this review is of some use to you!

Goodbye for now! I hope you have a magnificent day (or night) wherever you are!

You must never give into despair. Allow yourself to slip down that road, and you surrender to your lowest instincts. In the darkest times, hope is something you give yourself. That is the meaning of inner strength.
— Uncle Iroh