WAG #22 Hero

He was bald.

It was a funny-odd thing to look in the mirror while getting ready to go out in the morning. He still wasn’t accustomed to the round dome, looking like a moon rising from the horizon. The skin was pale and evenly colored except for the white scar just over his ear.

His brother’s fault; a careless fling of the swing on the playset. He remembered falling into the grass and crying as the red blood contrasted on the green blades. And when his mother came running with the towel, he cried even harder. Mom never panicked about anything; this was something different. Maybe he’d get some ice cream from the deal.

It seemed so long ago now. Things had not been normal for a long time.

The collar of his tee shirt was sitting funny. He tugged at the bottom front, stretching the bright white cotton until he felt the band digging into the puffy skin on the nape of his neck. That wouldn’t work. He reached behind and tugged the tail until the front felt choking again. He stuck out his tongue in an exaggerated choking manner and pulled the front again.

No choking. He had enough of that every time he took his pills, the pills he hated because it made his skin puffy and his shirt fit funny and his hair fall out.

It wouldn’t be long now. Everyone said so. Just believe it would be alright and it would be.

Except when he woke up with a headache or had to sit down to rest after only ten minutes or when his favorite foods looked like piles of last week’s leftovers. It was hard to keep the faith when he couldn’t even enjoy macaroni and cheese.

He stuck out his tongue again and stared at it a moment. It felt like it should be covered with fur, but nope, just the blotchy discoloration of a sickly human. He pulled it back into his mouth and grabbed his school bag.

His mother stepped to the door. She was dressed in her Winnie the Pooh tee shirt, a sight he’d grown to hate. It meant needles and tests and antiseptic smells.

“Sorry, sweetie. No school today.”

“Aw, Mom…”

WAG #22: “A Real Hero”. In fiction, often every hero looks like the other, with broad shoulders and a chiselled features, and the heroine always has an oval face and rosebud lips. (Okay, so these are the worst examples!) So for WAG #22, observe a stranger you think would make a good main character, and describe their physical features as accurately as you can (and without cliche) so we can see them as real individuals and not cardboard cut-outs. Feel free to transport those people into your fictional world, or just describe them as you see them in their real environment. No Rules! Now Write!


  1. Excellent job with the details, it painted one sad little boy in my mind. Being sick so long that the boy could anticipate things by merely looking at the shirt his mother was wearing was powerful.

  2. Richly layered, Sue. I didn't jump ahead of the text so his age wasn't obvious until the last. Nice job of making us wait for it. Great pace.

  3. Thanks, Kate. I was trying to be subtle about it, but when it seemed to jump out for Walt, I thought I'd missed it. Thanks for stopping by. :)

  4. Lots of rich details. Loved the mac and cheese and his mother's winnie-the-pooh shirt. Those little things tell us a lot. Looking forward to reading your next WAG. --Rachel

  5. Really powerful piece and touching as well, all the little details and how they now mean different things.

  6. LOved all the detail. Nice piece Sue.

  7. Really liked this. Nice transition from his memory of obtaining the scar to his current pain of not being able to enjoy mac n'cheese.
    -Caroline D.

  8. Not sure how I missed this one. Sorry about that. This was really heart wrenching. The resilience of children amazes me.


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