(Not-So) (Not so Real) Perfect Birthday

Written in response to: Write a story about a character who believes their dreams predict the future.... view prompt

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(This was for the last prompt- about a character standing in the rain. But I never quite got to finish it in time and I never got around to writing the character standing in the in the rain so whatever.)

Poor kid. I mean, his whole family. Both parents, his sister… if the screen is a baby indicator they were close. It’s all so-

Yeah. Definitely, 

I don’t even know if he was lucky or terribly un-so. I mean, he’s alive. But also-

And he’s so young.

It was actually the poor kid’s birthday-

Not to even mention that he’s the only one who survived-

Survivors Guilt?

Survivors Guilt.




“Who are you?” 

Jordan turned around to face the voice. It was a girl, she was hanging upside down from the monkey bars and her hair was down and dark.  Her eyes were wide and curious.

“Jordan. You?”

Her smile was wide and stained with blue candy. “I’m Amy.”

“Hiya, Amy.”




He meets her again at the park. This time she had crawled out of the tunnel. Strands of her straight hair were sticking up, and when she reached to smooth it down she yelped. 

“Oh!” her dark eyes lit up with excitement, “I’ve been waiting for you.”

Jordan felt embarrassment curl throughout his 8 year old body. And a warm fuzzy pleasant feeling under his cheeks. And also...strangely, a heavy sadness. Like the happiness was a little too good to be true. (Like there was another dominating feeling that he wasn’t treating.) 

“Really?” he asked eagerly, reaching out to help her out of the tunnel instinctively. She smiles happily and takes his hand. She was wearing overall shorts and had a cut on her knee. He must have been staring at it blatantly because her eyes tear. “Oh, don’t cry!”

“I scratched myself when I was- it hurts, and and. And mommy’s not home so she can’t help me. And and, I don’t know what to do. The wind hurts too so I hid in the tunnel- and and I waited for you so you can help me, but can you actually help me? It hurts a lot!” She didn’t stop blubbering but he stopped listening, examining the cut analytically. 

It looked like a surface scratch. 

Jordan fumbled around his pockets, not expecting to find anything but surprised to find not only a bandaid but a disinfectant wipe. He patted the playground equipment and had her stick out her knee. 

He pushed down his panic and anxiety at hearing her whine, and grabbed her ankle so that she couldn’t kick away and infect herself again. “We’re almost done,'' he murmured. Wincing at her pitiful cries. 

After fastening the bandaid over the long scratch he sat next to her, then, after a moment’s hesitation, secured an arm around her. Pulling the little girl close.

“I’m sorry it hurt.” She was still sniffling so he asked, “Does it still hurt?”

“No, and it wasn’t your fault. You did what you had to do.”

He rubbed her arm, it was chilly out. Autumn was looming close. And she was wearing a t-shirt that said, ‘I love my big brother!’ and overall shorts.

“You need to dress warmer.”

“I wanted to show you my shirt,” she said, popping her chest up. Showing off the bright hot pink print. 

“It’s a very nice shirt,” he acknowledged. “Pink suits you-”

“No!” she whines, “Read it!”

“I love my big brother.” He read out loud, then raised his eyes to the seemingly five year old. “That’s very cool, Amy.”

“Ughh,” she groaned, sounding annoyed that he didn’t get it. “That’s you. You are my big brother!”

Sudden warmth shot through him and so did a flare of absolute feeling. Warmth. Anguish. Happiness. Grief. And pride. It was so overwhelming that for a second the sky flashed white and he saw two things towering over him. 

Did you see that?

He opened his eyes-




It took Jordan a moment to recognize where he was. In bed. His bed? It must’ve been ? It felt like it was his room. He didn’t move. He couldn’t move. Something felt fundamentally wrong. 

But then the door swung open and Amy came barreling in. 

“Jordan! You're finally awake! Mom said not to wake you up and to let you sleep in for your birthday but you’ve been asleep forever-”



Jordan tried to jump out of bed but the tightly tucked in covers only held him back. He wiggled out and grabbed Amy’s hand and dashed for the kitchen. 

She wasn’t there.


Something felt wrong.


“Jordan? Why are you yelling?” A raspy voice asked. A smoker's voice. His mom used to smoke- a bad habit, she had told him- and had the scratch voice to prove it. And the occasional coughing fit whenever she climbed too many staircases. She was angular and sharp-limbed; pointy elbows and knobby knees. Jordan adored her. “Is it because you are 8, now?”

“Where’s Dad?” Something was bubbling in his chest. He needed to hold her- oh. His mom was still too thin and tall. He burrowed his head in her stomach. 

She smiled wide, “He went out to get a special birthday surprise-”

“When will he be back?”

“I’M HOME!” The even taller man strided right in the kitchen and opened his long thin arms wide. “How’s the birthday boy feeling?”

Jordan lunged right into his fathers arms. Knocking them both back a bit. Jordan was on the chubbier side of an 8 year old and his father worked at a desk all day. “Good.” 

His dad laughed and ruffled his head, “Wanna go have breakfast at Dee’s Diner-”


Amy startled from where she was lingering in the doorway. “But you love Dee’s-”

“Not anymore,” he insisted desperately. “It’s not my favorite anymore. I like Amy’s pancakes.”

“But it’s from the box-” Amy complained.

“My favorite.” he returned quickly. “I want that for breakfast.”

“I want to go to Dee’s Diner!” Amy whined.

His mom’s eyes were on him, cautious and speculative. Her hands twitch for her pocket the way they did when she wanted a smoke. “Amy, your brother chooses what we have for breakfast. It’s his birthday. And Jordan, we are out of pancake mix.” She strode to the coat rack and shrugged on a jacket, and toeing on her boots. “I’ll go buy some really quick and-”


“Jordan Santiago, I don’t know what’s gotten into you!” His mom looked stressed and upset. “Why do you keep yelling? Are you ok?”

“It’s snowing too much outside! You might get in an accident-”

“What? I won’t, I’m a good driver-”

“I don’t want you to drive! I don’t want you to drive!”   

“Then I’ll drive,” his Dad offered. Looking annoyed and a little wary. “This is a little ridiculous-”

“No,” he insisted. “You can’t drive.”

His dad was already throwing on his winter clothes however. Jordan rushed forward, placing his body against the door. “No, no, no, no, no, no!”

“Why?” his dad snapped. “Why can’t we go? Jordan, just because it's your birthday there is no excuse for you to-”

“You guys will get in an accident and die!”

There was a beat of absolute silence. He took the second to stare at his family. His mom. His dad. His sister. Who’s lip started trembling and then promptly burst into blubbering sobs. 




“Jordan! Why would you say that?”

“I just know-” 

Amy rushed up to him, jumping up grabbing the collar material of his shirt and pulling him down to her eye level. “Shh, it’s a secret.” 

The blood seems to seep out of his face. And her hands were still squishing his cheeks, “W-what?”

“I know that we died.”

He drops to his knees. He stares at his own hands. Then at her too. “A-am I dead too?”

“No Jordy, you're alive.”

Relief and horror ripped clean through him. 

“Then what-”

“Jordy,” she whined, “let me talk!”


“Shhh!” she shushed, spittle flying. He grimaces but doesn’t move away. “It’s a secret. Mom and Dad don’t know. Okay?”

He nods mutely. 

And she beams, wide and happy. “Just have fun, okay? Your birthday was completely ruined because of the dumb rain-”

Thunder sounded and startled them both. Lighting flashes white and blinds him for a second. When he opened his eyes again Amy looked nervous. She looked up at him anxiously. “Something went wrong, or right, I’m not sure.”

“What are you talking about?”

Amy wiped her eyes, “We were supposed to have more time. But your body is ready to wake up and your mind seems happy with what I said...I dunno why though. I didn’t even tell you that we loved you or that we want you to have a long healthy life-” Amy gasped and slapped her hand over her mouth. She let her hand fall to her sides and whispered, looking half sad and half happy. “Uh-oh.”

He blinked again and there was another ugly blinding flash of white. 

Mom and Dad were standing behind Amy, smiling and waving. “We love you!”

Another blink, the blinding white light longer and harsher. 

“Live life well!” “We love you so much, son.” “Bye bye Jordy!”

And then-!!




Ah, looks like he’s coming around. Quick! Get Dr. Reyes!

September 25, 2021 18:10

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1 comment

Michael Regan
19:09 Dec 03, 2021

A great story. I liked the way you built the hospital scene around the story.


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