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There was a faint cold steady rain. The drops danced around me as some targeted my hair and eyes and arms. There wasn’t enough time to grab a sweatshirt and now I sit here, alone. No one would come looking for me; no one cares enough to notice. There are seven in the house; not a single one cares enough to call.
I pulled away from my friends. I never told them what happened. The truth would be that they were great; they loved me and welcomed me; they were partners with me on every project and team; they always invited me everywhere they went.
The rain beats a rhythm that my heart matches and my eyes slowly close. Memories start to come back. I have to escape the memories. I have to escape all the pain. I have to flee the place where I lost the other parts of my soul.
My body is freezing through and my limbs burn as I force myself vertical and lean against the tree for a moment. It’s been years since I ran. I revel in the heat of my lungs and burn of my legs as my feet pound the earth angrily. I resent them all. I resent that they can forget so easily the family that we once had. I resent that I was left behind by the three most important people I ever had.
The athleticism that I always had comes back as easy as breathing; I jump fences and dodge houses. The stones line the ground as I race down the paths. Flower are scattered at different places and tall stone structures accompany a few names. By the time that I land on my stomach in front of the three graves the water on my face has mixed with salt. There is no escape any longer. There is no denying that the only people I lived for are gone and I want to be with them.
My breathing is ragged and the rhythm of my heart does not match the fall of rain any longer. My fingers encircle the handle in my pocket. Slowly with shaking limbs I open the switchblade. My eyes burn and I bow my head to the stones before me. The grass beneath my legs feels like comfort and the only connection I have to my loved ones.
Moment upon moment the blade is in my hand without action. The irony of my intentions dawns on me as I recall when I received it:
“Here sis,” he grins at me with his big green eyes that are shifting and changing green as the light touches them, “I won’t always be there to protect you.” His easy smile lingers as he hugs me tight to his side and I hug him back shaking my head, “We all know you can kick a**, but it’s a precaution.”
“Of course,” I tease him, “you’re not overprotective at all.”
“It’s what we’re here for,” his best friend looks at me with bright golden eyes contrasting his dark complexion of raven hair and caramel skin. “We’ll always be here,” Gabriel lifts me off my feet and I can’t help but hug him back.
My brother never knew that I loved his best friend more than any other person, except my best friend. Gabriel was amazing and tall and strong and the best guy besides my brother. The cool blade rests against my wrist and caresses my skin with the rain. I sigh as the heat rushes up my arm. The rain pounds against me, angry at my actions, yet I repeat my self annihilation.
No one cared.
No one wanted me.
No one stayed with me.
Each phrase brings another surge of fire up my arm until the blade falls from my hand onto the ground. Why? I try to pick up the knife.
They can’t hear me.
They can’t see me.
They won’t come back.
My fingers miss the blade and curl around the glass. There are three knives on the ground and I can’t figure out which one is mine. They jump and dance around, out of my grasp. “Come back!” I try but somehow I they have gotten away from me. They won’t stay still. The rain causes faster rivers down my arms that mix to crimson.
“COME BACK!” the words burn in my mind. The realization dawns that I haven’t said them! My eyes travel from the knife to the person who is in front of me. Golden piercing eyes drill into my heart as he ties something around my arm. “Stay with me,” his words are clearer. I thought you didn’t care about me? I thought you left me? I thought you hated me? “Stay with me Jordan!” he pulls me into his arms and things pass by but I can’t feel anything, “Nate left… We won’t let you.” His words are full of desperation that he knows I’m going to get what I want.
“Jo!” her voice breaks my heart as the car starts. They were together? I want to yell at them but I realize that won’t happen while I’m trying to die. “Jo… Come back… Stay with me!” her voice is not sympathetic; instead it is laced with ice and fury, “Stay with me!” a force knocks into my face enough that I blink to meet her icy blue eyes. “You can’t die on me!” her face is close to mine and I want to hold onto her and know my best friend again, “I never gave up on you… I won’t let you go! He’s not there!”
“Jo… Don’t push me away! I know how you feel!” Jessica’s voice was full of hate and disbelief, “I lost both my parents as well! You need me!”
“NO! LEAVE ME THE HELL ALONE!” I shoved her and walked away.
“For now,” she called after me, “Eventually I’ll make you see!”
“Is now over?” I manage the soft whisper.
She coughs a laugh and hugs me closer, “Don’t leave me… I won’t survive you betraying me!” her voice breaks as I can see the shifting green eyes. The dark spiked hair is the same as he was four years ago. His hand is stretched toward me.
“Nate!” I want to go to my brother. I need to be with my twin. I won’t let this world that betrayed me keep me. I will never give in to them. I was always the rebel child. I will go to my mother and my father. I will go to my brother. They can’t keep me here!
“He’s here Jo!” her voice is desperate and she shakes my numb body, “He came back!”
“But he’s dead… He can’t come back… I have to go to him…”
“No!” the hysteria brings back feelings of goose bumps on my skin, “NATE DIDN’T DIE!”I cringe from the yelling as my head is already pounding, “WHEN THE HELL ARE YOU GOING TO LISTEN TO US?!”
“Do I ever?”
I get another force that makes my head ring, “I’m dying and you’re going to abuse me?”
“You’re dying on me. You crazy girl!” warmth surrounds me as her arms enfold me, “I tried to tell you. Nate is not dead. You think he died. You stopped taking your medicine. He is here. He was driving and the accident was his fault. They put him away for four years. He’s home now!”
“I was at his grave!” I saw his grave?
“It’s only your parents Jo. If Nate had died, I would never have said I understood your loss.” The ache of loss and realization dawn through my mind causing a rebirth of energy and life, my head turns from side to side and she holds me tighter, “I know… I know… We all know. I’m not letting you die. Nate will be at the hospital!”
I have to hold on. I have to stay awake. I have to stay with Jess and Gabe. I have to see him. I have to see the half of me that has been missing. The open hole in my heart leaves me breathless as hope floats through me. Can he really be there? The world fades; Jessica’s arms disappear; Gabe’s presence vanishes…
“Good morning,” my eyes flutter and I squint through my lashes. The doctor holds a clipboard and a woman is injecting something in the IV. “We almost lost you back there,” his even voice only annoys me. “After some tests I have to ask you; did you stop taking your meds?”
“I thought so. We got you back under control when the paramedics brought you in.”
“What about Jess and Gabe?”
“Who?” his frowns breaks my heart.
“My friends… they drove me here,” I whisper fearfully.
“I have to explain to you. You were off your medication. You got out of your room last night and went to a cemetery. You used a rock to try to kill yourself by cutting your wrists. The groundskeeper of the cemetery found you. He called the paramedics. The paramedics brought you here in the ambulance.”
“But… but Jessica said that Nate was alive?!”
He places his hand on my shoulder, “Jessica Warrior died in the accident… as well as Gabriel Fury… and the others.” He sighs, “You’ve been suffering from paranoid schizophrenia for the past years.”
“Kill me!” I grab at the IV’s and plugs and tubes, “KILL ME!” I scream and punch the doctor. The orderlies run into my room and the nurses try to inject me with some sort of liquid. I land a nice punch to one and she falls cold. The male orderly get’s a nice kick to the crotch. Something pinches my arm…
“Hey,” the honey sweet voice matches the color of her hair as it falls onto my collarbone. Her chin rests on my shoulder. Her sky shaded eyes pierce through me. “Hey girlie… I told you I wouldn’t let you die,” her victorious smile only succeeds to break me further.
“Go,” hurt fills her eyes; “Go away,” I gasp through the tightness in my throat.
“You don’t mean that,” she chastises, “You’ve always needed me. I promised you I would be here,” she takes my hand and her warmth seeps into me. She fills me with hope and a false sense of reality that I can’t believe in.
“You’re not real… you died.”
“Don’t say things like that! You know that I’m real. You can feel me here as honestly as anything else!” she was always so good at arguing, “I’m not one of your hallucinations Jordan. You know that I’m real. I’m right here with you. I sat through the night to make sure you were coming back.”
“Where is Nate?”
“He hasn’t gotten here yet.”
“He had transportation problems.”
“He’s dead Jessica.”
“No I’m not!”
“That’s why you’re here right now!”
“You can’t honestly believe what you’re saying!”
“How else am I supposed to live?!”
“LIVE! That is the point here Jordan. Live. Live a life that is you. If you try to die; you’re stuck with me.” But that is all I really want! “I know you! I don’t care if you’re crazy or not. We’ve always been crazy. I promised you that I would always love you. ALWAYS!” she glances at the door and the machines and my eyes feel like lead and darkness envelopes my mind…
“Jess?” cautiously I reach for her shoulder. Her body is squeezed into the corner of the playground. We came here when we were kids. She was the one who would jump off the swings and convinced me to follow. She gave me courage and strength. My heart aches at the sight of my ruined best friend. “Everyone’s been looking for you.”
There is no response. Her face is to the wall and I can only hear the ragged breaths.
“Danny,” I lower onto my knees and pull her out of the corner. She doesn’t fight. She doesn’t respond at all. Her face is soaked with saltwater and her eyes are forced shut. She won’t look at me. I hear footsteps behind me. Glancing back I am ready to cuss someone out. The person is Gabe. He glances from Jessica to me and I know that he is considering if he should interrupt or not. I hold his golden eyes. I shake my head. Jessica is my best friend. It is my job to hold her up and be by her side. Gabe has no place with us.
He steps back slowly at first and then vanishes. I turn to my best friend; she is gone.
“NO!” I lurch forward and shiver and turn. I’m outside? The trees are blocking the sunlight of the day. The rain broke the heat wave and now the ground is the warmest thing around. I look around again. The cemetery surrounds me. Sitting upright I dig into my pockets; nothing! Around me I look for the switchblade that my brother gave me; I can’t find it!
Where is Jess? I force my frozen legs to work. They slowly and painfully carry me from the cemetery and toward the street. It doesn’t take thinking to find the house. The place is huge. I climb the wall like I always did. The rocks are easy to grab and I stand on the top of the twelve foot wall and look at the house. It’s apparent that no one is home and I keep walking along the top of the fence.
The huge yard is brilliant and well kept. The Warrior’s never let anything be out of place. Mrs. Warrior couldn’t stand if she didn’t have everything perfect. Jessica was always so amazing because of her perfection. She never made anyone else do anything that she could do and she helped me with everything.
The wall ends at the other side of the gate but I stop at the tree that is between the house and the wall. I jump and catch the branch and swing into the tree. The branches creek under my feet and I climb higher to the point that the branches nearly touch the room. The window is only ten feet from where I stand.
“Jessica?!” my voice is not as strong as I wish it was. The trees sway in the wind and I hold on tighter as I strain to see through the window. The crack rings in my ears and I start falling forward. My hands can’t catch the branches around me and I know the imminent ground is going to meet me; “S***,” the word is drowned out by the thud that turns my world black…
I gasp and blink rapidly at the darkness of the room. She is still asleep beside me. Her curls spill onto the pillows and she turns in her sleep as though sensing my mental turmoil. “Jo,” I push my hands through my hair in agony and regret. Why can’t I forget her? I can’t bring myself to fall asleep again; I can’t face my sister’s last moments.
“Nate,” her gentle hands massage my back, “She was your twin… it’s only fair that you can’t forget her.”
“She thought we were dead… that’s why she is gone.”
“We were,” Jessica’s sky blue eyes hold mine, “Gabe and I died in the accident. There was nothing that anyone could do; you had to go.”
“But you’re not dead!” I reach forward and hold a strand of her silky curls, “You’re right here.”
“I told that same thing to Jo... Gabe and I died, Nate… You’ve gone as crazy as Jo,” she places her hand over my own and smiles softly, “Get help… before you have the same fate as your sister. That’s why I came here. Jo wouldn’t listen to me. I tried to tell her. Be the smart one, the reasonable one; don’t let this kill you. Jordan is with Gabe now. I’ll tell her you said hi,” her lips brush my cheek as unnoticeable as a dying snowflake.
She is gone.
I make my way through the maze of stones that vary from old and gray to new and beautiful marble. They all have different names and designs. Then I find the one that calls to me. The green marble is simple. The name resembles my own. Jordan Tonia Shade is engraved in black and the time frame reads July 16, 1993- August 28, 2011. Beside her is the grave that I can’t believe is real even though I can touch the light blue marble reading Jessica Danielle Charlotte Warrior and beside her is the grave Gabriel Jay Fury. Jessica’s birthday is August 28, 1993. Gabe’s birthday is October 23, 1992. The day of death for Jess and Gabe is January 1, 2008.
They were already gone.