HelpingHave you ever wondered if our universe is the only one? Where do we go when we die? When will we go to Heaven? Life is a mystery. Only some people are so lucky as to truly understand what life is. My life was almost lost in early October 2009. If iwasn't’t for my younger sister, Felicity, I would not be here. This of course came with consequences. What would you do if you lived with a burden of death? Would you take your second chance at life? Or let it crumble at your feet, knowing you can’t make it through life without a little push…
The night was ordinary, like any other night. A light mist coated the dark sky seen through the window, creating a picture perfect scene to fall asleep to.
Almost fall asleep to.
“Jump with me, Jesse!” Felicity exclaimed, twirling and whirling on the rickety canopy bed.
I shook my head with in laughter, turning the next page of the book, watching the eight year old ball of energy just across the room. There was only a seven year distance between Felicity and I. Many teenagers would describe their younger siblings as simply obnoxious. Thinking otherwise, I believe it is safe to say that Felicity is my best friend.
“You’re a downer.” Her pout was evident on her face as she stumbled from her feet to settle on the soft mattress.
“Am not,” I protested, shutting my book with a yawn. “It’s late and I’m tired. You should be too, Fizz,” I chuckled, laying the novel on my white bedside table. My yawn traveled the distance of my room to infect Felicity. Her hopelessly tangled blonde hair hung in her eyes, parting slightly to the side as she let out a long yawn. “See?” I laughed, pulling the covers up. “Go to bed, Fizzy. You can play in the morning.”
“I love you, Jesse.” Felicity bundled up in her puppy paw print blanket and shut her eyes, drifting to sleep without another word. The three tiny words she said caused a smile to blossom across my face, knowing I could sleep peacefully knowing my little angel was safe.
“I love you too,” I murmured, squeezing eyelidds shut. Every night was like this. Why wouldn’t it be with a ray of sunshine lying in the bed across from you? My cheeks burned coming in contact with the blanket pulled over my face. For an odd reason, since I was young, I would pull up the comforter above my face to block out the “monsters”. Nowadays, it was more or less for warmth… or safety.
A light creak awoke me from my sleep. Felicity’s breathing was clearly heard across the room. I wanted to get up and tell her it was alright, but something tied me to my bed.
Footstep. Footstep. Footstep.
Hide? Or get up? Choosing the latter of my options, I tore the blankets from my face, only to come in contact with the bitterly cold air. Straight in front of me was a tall man with a bold figure. He lay next to Felicity’s bed, staring directly into her open eyes. Spotting me, she broadened her expression.
“Run, Jesse!” Fizzy yelled, causing a hand to smack upon her lips, making me cry out. Stifled whimpers came from her mouth as she lay helpless, blood surrounding her. He stuck her! The bloody man is killing her!
“Mom! Dad!” I exclaimed in hysterics, pacing down the seemingly endless hallway. They emerged from the room with alarmed expressions.
“Wait,” The man said softly. He stared at the mess he made below him. “I killed her. I killed her,” He repeated, the repetition echoing in my ears like nails on a chalkboard. The tall figure made his way through the window and left without another sound, like a cat in an alleyway.
Dropping to my knees, my walls broke. My tears dripped down my face and tears brimmed my eyes. “Felicity,” I groaned, picking myself up. As fast as my feet allowed, I began running to the room Felicity and I had been in moments before. Mom and Dad ran behind me, staring at the mess blankly. Mom was the first to sob, leaning her weight onto my father’s shoulder.
I was seeing red.
Red. Red. Red; everywhere…
“Fizzy, baby, wake up.” My mother weakly leaned on the edge of her bed, stroking the bloodstained curls. “Come morning light you and I’ll be safe… and…” Mother paused her singing for a moment, letting it soak in. Felicity had already gone, and never again would this lullaby be sang.
“My little girl,” Dad croaked, biting down on his lip. Sirens blared outside the walls and soon enough men were rushing into the house. Sympathetic looks were traded. I, however, lay in the corner rocking back and forth. The whole room became light, and then came the darkness.
The next week was absolutely dreadful. So was the next one, and the next. A year had passed, yet still I wouldn’t walk; I sulked. I wouldn’t smile; I frowned. I wouldn’t laugh; I sobbed. I wouldn’t have fun, or the life I used to have; I would mourn. Friends benefitted me. Mom and Dad were just as crushed as I was. That’s when she came along.
The first time, I was walking down the road. The sun was shining into my eyes, but my dark sunglasses shielded the blaring light. A young girl in front of my eyes caught my attention. The blonde curls bounced against her back. Songs escaped her lips and oddly enough: the voice seemed oddly familiar.
“Hello!” I yelled, my words projecting in the wind. Her head whipped around, the hair swinging onto her shoulders. “Felicity!”
Narrowing my eyes to get a better view, I studied the child. Her mind appeared to recognize the name though she ran towards the woods. I decided to feed my curiosity as I followed her. Branches covered the area around me. The tunnel seemed to part for me. Still, I watched the girl in front of me until I could see her no more.
“Hello? Little girl?” I asked, pushing another branch aside. Hopelessness began to consume me. I turned slowly, ready to just give up.
“Jesse!” That voice. Before I had a chance to react, a weight was added to my back. This place was once a world of imagination. Felicity and I would pretend. Dreams were finally our reality. I knew why she brought me here.
“You’re alive, Fizz!” I cried out, wiping my eyes which were now swimming with tears. She seemed so real. She couldn't be. Felicity died a year ago. “W-Where have you been?” I stuttered to a full extent, embracing her small frame, which seemed smaller than it was once before, as if she wasn't eating.
“Heaven,” She replied into my ear, pulling back to reveal shining blue eyes, almost inhuman. “It’s beautiful. I just wish you were there with me. I can’t even write to you!” She pouted the same way she had when she was alive. My mouth stood agape. “I had my birthday too! Can you believe it? They say you haven’t been well. Grandma says so. She thinks it’s ‘cause I’m gone. I told her no, ‘cause Jesse is strong. Aren’t you, Jesse?” She asked smiling, her nose crinkling slightly. I nodded slowly, speechless. “I told her so! Told you so, Grandma! I’m back though, Jesse. I wish you could come back to Heaven with me, but I would rather have you safe. That’s why I came back, Jesse. You need helping.” The tears were pouring uncontrollably now as I shuffled my knees in the pile of leaves to remain her height.
“Can’t you stay forever?” I asked with my lower lip quivering as I spoke.
“I wish,” Her once lit up face became dark with sorrow. “I love you, Jesse,” She giggled, squeezing me tightly, causing more tears to sting my cheeks. “Do you think I could have my old bed back?” Felicity stared at me pleadingly and seriously.
She caused me to laugh for the first time in a whole year, and it felt so good. “Of course you can, Fizzy.” For a moment, everything in the world didn’t matter; not even the lingering question. How long could she stay? Effortlessly, Felicity pushed past me. It was then I noticed she was in the same night gown she had been wearing the night of her death. The ruffles swayed behind her with the breezes. By the look she gave me upon turning around, I could tell she caught me staring.
“Doesn’t look like it was when you last saw it, yeah?” Her voice was soft, almost like she was losing it. “It’s the only piece of home I have last.”
“No blood,” I breathed, running my finger across the hem of the dress. “I can’t wait to tell mom!” The minute I remembered that the impossible was happening, I pounced into the air.
My smile dropped. “What?” I asked, my face becoming cold and pale, though I knew exactly what she meant.
“You can’t tell mom, Jesse,” Felicity sighed, shaking her head at the ground. Before I could say a word, I heard her voice reply, “She doesn’t need helping.”
“But she misses you.”
“Then why can’t you visit her, too?”
“She can’t see me, Jesse!” Noticibly, my expression was replaced with not frustration, but confusion. This is a dream. I am dreaming. “I just wish this was real…” I murmured, bringing her into my arms. She began to cough with the pressure.
“It. Is. Real,” She managed to choke out. How is it that she remained smiling? “See? I’m real, Jesse. I am here to renew yourself; to help you.”
“Because I couldn’t do it without you…” I completed, nodding, catching on to the moment finally. “Thank you, Fizzy.” Felicity grasped my hand, pulling me down the road back to the house. Her tears began flowing and I could practically read her mind. She had missed it. The old house hadn’t been the same without her, and after she leaves, the times would remain the same.
To help you… But how?
“Where are we going?” I tried to keep up with her quick, steady strides.
“Here.” We stopped beside a field. Janie, Lily, Skye, Anne; they were all playing soccer. Now I knew: I had pushed them away. Anyone who tried to care for me… I pushed them out. “Go on,” Felicity grinned, encouraging me forward. Though when I turned to stare at her, she had left. I was alone on this.
Slowly at first, I began to walk towards them. “Jessie Bear!” Janie yelled, jumping in the air, flailing her arms to wave me over. The girls sprinted towards me and wrapped me in an embrace. “Glad to see you’re back,” She adds. My friends; they’re right: I am back. Thanks to Felicity. It had only been a few days and my life was already improving
Aimlessly kicking my feet back and forth, I watched as Felicity brushed her fingers around the furniture in the room. Her emotions seemed almost… depressed.
“Is everything alright?” Biting my lip, my eyes wandered to the other side of the room.
“Just remembering,” She stated, looking at her feet, with delicately manicured toes. “About that night…”
Angrily, I gritted my teeth. “I’ll never forgive him. It’s so hard to forget those green eyes. He is a demon.”
“He is confused,” Felicity turned to me. “You can’t hold grudges forever.”
“Fizzy! He killed you! There is no way he can be forgiven…” I choked back tears. When did she have to go? How long could she be with me? Was forever possible?
“Life is about forgiving,” She lay her innocent, fragile hand on my shoulder. “It’s time for you to forgive.” I hid my face in my hands, refusing her words. The man needed to be punished. Though as I began to ponder the topic more, I realized she was right. As I lifted my head to agree, Felicity disappeared, leaving me in the room to question myself. In hushed voices outside my door, my parents discussed my newer behaviors.
“It’s almost as if-“My mother cut off her words.
“Fizzy is home,” My father completed, smiling in a hurt manner. My heart ached to tell them, though now all I could do was murmur ‘You’re right’.
When my mind was in doubt, my feet somehow always carried me to the river. My hand nimbly threw the flat surfaced stone across the water. Water tickled my skin as it ricocheted from its river bed to me. It happened twice. Swiftly, I turned to face a smirking Felicity. Her curls seemed lighter, as if they were rays of the sun, slowly disappearing to the human eye.
“Did you think about it?” She asked. My heart wrenched.
“I did,” I confirmed. “I forgive him.”
“It isn't that easy, Jesse,” Felicity sighed, frowning slightly. “Come with me.” Her voice was mystic, pleading; beckoning me as the sea does sailors. I stepped forward, taking her small hand in mine.
“Where are we going?” I asked, shutting my eyes momentarily. My body seemed lighter for a second, and when I opened my eyes, we were standing in front of an unfamiliar home. “Where are we?”
“Stop asking questions.” Impossibilities; how could a voice be so demanding, yet so soothing at the same time? Felicity led me to the front door, squeezing me tightly. “You’ll do great.” My mind was rushing. I was so confused. Fizzy stepped aside, down the stairs. I knew no one else could see her. I figured she thought I needed space.
Three knocks, steady paced; knock… knock… knock.
A man, tall figured, piercing leaf green eyes, stared back at me. He didn’t mumble a word; neither did I. Even the wind was silent, but I could hear Felicity’s stare. I knew…
“I’m so sorry,” He began in a rushed manner, shaking frantically. “I didn’t mean to kill the little girl. I didn’t want to kill anyone. I was-“
I reached forward, putting my hand on his, feeling the warmth radiate onto my skin. “I forgive you.” A soft smile brushed across his face, but his eyes remained sympathetic, not like the night of the murder. Slowly, I turned. The sun seemed to shine brighter than ever. Felicity wasn’t on the last step.
“Fizzy?” I called, spotting her figure down the road. “Where are you going?”
“I must leave, Jesse,” She hummed, looking at her feet. Her smile was gone.
“Felicity, you can’t! I need you here! I-I need you…”
The light footsteps stopped as she turned to me. “You don’t need me. You want me here, Jesse. I love you so much, but I cannot stay forever. My hourglass is up.”
“But you need to help me…” My lip quivered and my eyes were slightly blinded by the growing light.
“I can’t help people that no longer need helping…”
As her last word was whispered, I let go of my grip on her wrist. Although she could not stay forever, my mind would forever sing in the memories. I owed her a thanks. Thanks for getting my friends back, thanks for getting my grades back up, thanks for being my motivation. Overall though, I believe I owe her a thanks for coming back and helping me learn that life is all about forgiving and forgetting. But I would never forget Felicity. One day, I would revisit her, and we would meet again. For now, I watched bright eyed as she disappeared into the sun.