The Storylet Experiment: Part 7

It was her mother and step-father that had kept Lily optimistic for so many years. Her mother had died first, having finally decided to go with voluntary anesthesia after years of dealing with lung rot. She had explained to Lily at great lengths how it was the one choice she could make given the circumstances, and how it would allow her to die quietly and with dignity while surrounded by family.

Her step-father’s strain was far more deadly and he was bedridden within a couple weeks of diagnosis. But throughout it, he had always told her that she needed to be hopeful and strong for both herself and Oren, since she would have to watch over him now. Besides, the papers were always saying how close they were to a cure. Surely lung rot would be a thing of the past before either of them was infected. He couldn’t have known that Oren would become sick less than a year later when he was only 15.

Lily had managed to keep up her spirits for Oren so far, if only to counter his fatalism. Not knowing now if she would live to see the next season…that made something in her snap. The delusion was shattered, falling down at her feet like so much broken glass. She did not want to die at 29 and leave her brother with no one to care for him. She did not want him to die before his 18th birthday. To hell with dignity. She was going to struggle and writhe until this disease left them both alone. She was going to find a way to live.

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