If you want to read chapter 1, click here.
I saw faces all around me. Some laughed, some wept, but all had their eyes fixed on me. They called out my name, their voices distorted. I wanted to run away, but I couldn’t move. They would taunt me forever.
It took a while for the faces to become more distinct and when I looked closer I saw faces I recognised. Mom. Dad. They were calling me.
My body started moving then. I was so happy to see them that I could not stay in one place any longer. Their voices disappeared into the distance, but I chased them. I had no choice.
All was bright again then.
I saw white walls and bright lights. I heard the beeps of a machine. A terrible headache had taken hold of me and I tried my best not to throw up as I endured the pain.
“Thomas. She’s awake!” a voice yelled.
The faces of my mother and father appeared again. Mum had tears in her eyes and dad looked worried. Why were they worried? I was here, there was nothing to be worried about.
It only dawned on me then where I had to be. Hospital. But why?
I couldn’t think straight as the pain throbbing in my head had taken my thoughts hostage. I raised my hand and my mother took it in hers.
“We’re so happy you are alive,” she sobbed.
I blinked a few times and tried to form a coherent sentence, but nothing even remotely intelligent left my lips.
“You had an accident,” my dad said when he noticed my struggle.
I frowned as I tried to recollect my memories but none came. Except a face. There was a face I didn’t know. It looked so blurry.
“You were out on the street and a car hit you hard. They say you were dead for about a minute, but managed to come back alive without any help. The doctors say that’s a miracle,” he continued, his voice breaking as he spoke.
The information did not quite register. My thoughts were clogged with the image of that face. A boy. It was a boy. But who was it?
“Why did you go out without telling me? I could have helped you,” my mother cried.
I tried to speak again, but my ribs hurt and I was unable to do anything but whimper. My parents started talking to each other now, while I was struggling. The boy. Who was the boy?
“Boy,” I whispered.
My parents turned their heads to stare at me. “What did you say, darling?” Dad asked.
“There was boy,” I struggled to say, “where is boy?”
They exchanged glances, probably thinking I wouldn’t notice. It only made me more frustrated. “BOY,” I shouted, instantly regretting it as pain seared through me.
“There was no boy there,” Mum said, her eyes moving from me to my father, “it was a woman who hit you and she stayed with you until help came. There was no boy.”
“Black hair. Pale face,” I muttered.
My mother shook her head. “No such boy.”
Had I imagined him then? Had he just been part of my imagination when I was dead? It was hard for me to wrap my head around it. Maybe I was losing my mind.
“Where were you going anyway?” My father said, his voice stern all of a sudden.
I shrugged and pain shot through my body again. This was not how I felt when I saw the boy. He had taken the pain away. Such a lie.
“Party,” I managed to utter at last.
Dad shook his head and wanted to say something, but my mother rested her hand on his arm. “We should let her rest,” she said.
I was grateful for this as I was not in the mood or condition to argue. Dad nodded and walked out of my line of vision. Mum turned to me with a sad smile on her face.
“Just get better soon, okay? Promise not to scare us anymore.”
She did not wait for my response but left the room. I was alone again. The fact that I had been in an accident wasn’t really of any importance to me. The only thing I could think about was the boy. He seemed so real, but if I remembered him correctly, he was also too handsome to be real. For a brief moment I wondered if the accident had messed up my brains. I just couldn’t think too much about it, as the exhaustion cradled me into a deep sleep.
I think I was in hospital for about 2 weeks. Time was such an alien concept to me. Days became nights and nights became days until they all just blended together. It was all the same to me. Most of the time I just slept. My sleep was dreamless, which was a blessing in some ways.
When I was awake, I couldn’t stop thinking. Most of the time I thought about the boy I met, but there was also quite a lot of worrying involved. After the accident, my hair had lost all pigment and so my hair went from brown to white. Doctors couldn’t explain why, but there were many things they could not explain. At least once a day, a doctor would come in and grill me about my near-death-experience as they called it. They wanted to know what I saw and how I came back. Whenever I told them of the boy, they just told me it was a hallucination. I got so annoyed by this that at some point I just stopped replying.
One of the doctors, Doctor Shaw, even went as far as telling me exactly what I was supposed to have experienced. He kept pressing on about a light. When I told him that yes, there were bright lights, he pressed on and asked me if I had seen any relatives or family members who were there to guide me to the afterlife.
“I only saw the boy,” I said once again.
Doctor Shaw nodded and looked at me with pity. “Okay, but was this boy a relative of yours?”
“No, I had never seen him before, as I told you a million times by now,” I said through gritted teeth.
Dr. Shaw nodded again and got up from his chair. He kept nodding, urging me to punch him in the guts if I had the strength.
“Why does nobody here believe me?” I called after him as he was about to leave the room.
Dr. Shaw stopped in his tracks but did not answer. “I mean, I am the one who experienced it all. Have you been dead before, Dr. Shaw?” I shouted.
Dr. Shaw trembled for a moment before he sighed and looked over his shoulder. His expression was quite strange. A twisted grin played on his face. “Certainly,” he answered before he left the room.
I never saw him again.
The doctors weren’t the only ones pressing me about my adventure on the other side. My parents wanted to know every single detail. To my horror, they also invited all my friends to come over. Or at least the people who I thought were my friends.
They weren’t there to celebrate the happy occasion that was my birthday, but all fifteen of them showed up to watch me lying in my bed. Anna and Mikey visited every other day. It always ended up with Anna crying because she was so sorry about what happened. Mikey just sat in the corner in silence. They felt guilty, which was good. I wasn’t going to let them off the hook that easily.
The others just visited once, said they were sorry they hadn’t shown up to my party and that they would make it up once I was better. Great. Such a relief.
I was happy when it was my last night. I was going to go home in the morning and just move on with life. I knew that I was going to be a novelty at school for the first two days and then I would just become invisible again. I was looking forward to that.
The nurses had just checked up on me and left my room. I brushed my teeth and combed my hair. I could do all these things relatively painfree now, but the doctors had insisted on keeping me around. Probably to ask me one last time about my experiences.That was probably also the only reason I had a room all for myself.
I was about to go to sleep, when a soft knock on the door startled me. I looked over at the alarm clock which told me it was ten pm. Way past visiting hours. Perhaps it was a nurse who just wanted to check up on me one last time.
“Come in,” I said.
The door opened slowly and for a moment nobody entered. The light on my nightstand suddenly went out, as did the other lights in the hallway. I held my breath, trying hard not to make a sound. A tall figure entered the room. I backed against the wall, kicking the sheets away from my legs to make sure I could run if necessary.
The figure drew closer and I instantly recognised the sharp features of the face. It was the boy who saved me.