"You gotta keep going!"
She ran; he dragged her. She was losing energy fast but she knew she had to do it. He needed her to do it, so she did.
It was dark, all that could be seen were eerie silhouettes of ghastly furniture cast from the light of the full moon. A single window lay behind them, slowly becoming harder to notice. The light from it evaporated fast as she ran further and further into the pits of the un-welcoming hallway. "I know I've gotta keep goin' already, pull me harder!" she groaned, allowing a smirk to trace her features as she felt his protective grip on her wrist tighten. He had let himself become too attached to the little mousy-haired girl across the street, now she was in more trouble than she even recognised.
He began to grow frustrated of her lagging movements and swivelled around, stopping so hard she nearly fell into him. "This is important, you do understand that right?"
She rolled her silver eyes, adjusting her gaze into his darkened navy irises. His blonde locks were messy and fell over his eyes slightly like a crazed puppy. She thought he was adorable.
"Rae, seriously, pay attention!" his voice was fierce but she still didn't mind, instead she folded her arms behind her back and hummed mindlessly, looking further down the halls. "Where we goin' Charlie?"
He narrowed his eyes, taking her by the wrists and pulling her mere inches from his six, three frame. "Rae you need to pay attention, this is serious, don't you know where you are yet?"
Rae frowned, playing with one of her damp locks. She'd danced with him in the stormy rain outside and he'd taken her inside this nice little vacated house to dry off. It smelt of damp wood and moss, but it somehow felt… welcoming. She liked it. It made her feel frisky.
"Charlie, I don't care." She insisted, laughter falling from her lips in a beautiful silky tone. She wrapped an arm around his chest, forcing herself into him. Making her loved for all matters it took. She didn't know why, but she needed the closeness… needed to know he was there for her.
"Christ Rae, you hardly know me at all and you're already trying it on," he pushed her arm from his body, grabbing her forearm. Hard. Rae grinned.
And then they were running again, back down the halls carpeted with dust encrusted scarlet. The walls were made up of thick oak frames, stretching for what felt like miles. Had they been passing doors, Rae wondered? It was hard to keep track. Everything fell around her like a blur, but Charlie still stood, urging her on. She loved the way he didn't mess around with her, how serious he was with her. But at the same time…
God don't you love this weather?
She grinned, thinking back to the moment he held her in his arms as she let the rain fall over them. She felt the mud squelch under her bare feet and envelope her in a world of happiness she refused to repress.
I don't know who you are but you're amazing!
She cringed a second, feeling her heart ache with something she should have known. When had she first met him? Had it been when she was walking home? He'd been standing in the gardens of that old house… yes that was it. His smooth supple features glistening in the heat of the storm. He was beautiful, like a polished marble statue he stood strong with not one single blemish. But it wasn't his beauty that took her in.
Where are you going?
She'd smiled to him, slightly afraid, I'm going-
No you're not.
She'd been shocked but not at all afraid. Where'd you think I should go?
His eyes had widened with humour, a spark of something she'd never seen in a person before. She still didn't know what it was. But she'd let him take her. And they'd danced, and laughed… and…
She could feel her feet against hard oak stairs; her feet pummelled the ground as her toes scraped against the edges of the ancient steps. She choked on the dust that rose from them as the creaks echoed around the room. He still held her tight; he still refused to let her go.
"Charlie, where the Hell are we?" this time she was the one that was frustrated. Minutes before he'd been tugging her little red hood off from her head and been dancing with her… making her feel so welcome…
"You still don't get it do you?" he was still angry, frustrated even. He'd turned to face her again and she could see the tears that were welling in his eyes. He forced them away with one gesture to his face. "I wish I could keep you Rae, really I do."
Rae didn't know whether to thank him or smack him. She went with neither. Though she wasn't a possession, something in his tone seemed so real… like he really meant the words that fled his lips. The honesty was painful.
"How come you can't? You're the one that dragged me into this place, 'get warm' you said, 'we can have more fun' you said!" she'd firmly placed her hands to her hips, her eyes sparkling with the danger of an angered young woman. She was only eighteen, but she felt more powerful in the heat of the moment. Like nothing could harm her, though her heart was breaking.
"No! Rae, stop it!" he was forceful, his hands had clasped around her shoulders, practically shaking her with the force.
Then he let go.
"You gotta go in there."
Her neck snapped to where his hand was lingering. She frowned, playfully biting the edge of her index finger. She shook her head, "No," she grinned.
"God damn it Rae!" His hand whipped out, his fingers wiping against the frame of the door for just one second…
Rae almost jumped back in surprise. A spark had lifted from the wood, hitting his fingertips with such force that he instinctively withdrew himself from contact. She could see the spark in his eyes then… the way it penetrated him, sending the vibrations of pain through his entire system. He breathed through his nose, stopping himself from crying out as he bent over for a brief moment. He was trying to catch his breath, Rae knew that for sure.
"You alright Charlie?" She'd meant to reach out for him, but he instantly straightened under the notion of contact. Though his body still shook slightly, he was determined to be fine, "sure, just a shock, that's all."
Rae frowned, "that was wood Charlie, wood don't make no charge." She'd folded her arms, staring into his navy pools for all that she could gain.
Still he stood strong.
"What's behind the door Charlie?"
The boy had been leaning against the wall by the door, barely noticing Rae until that point. She'd stood still for almost fifteen minutes, contemplating the likeliness of a 'nice surprise' behind the wooden frame. She didn't know what was behind there, but the harder she looked at it, the more she wanted to be a part of it. The more she wanted to touch the doorknob and find the other side. "Answer me Charlie, what is it?"
He gave her a crooked smile, though she could see the hurt behind his façade. "Rae, behind that door is something you'd really wanna see."
She frowned again, "then how come the door shocked you?"
He laughed, "the door doesn't want me Rae, it wants you, I'm just here to show you the way."
Rae bit her lip, still unsure of the boy's intentions. "How come though Charlie? I want you to see it with me, I invite you in!" Her fingers twined around his wrists, pulling him from the ground. He smiled, pressing his cool lips against her forehead, just like he'd done in the rain, just like he wished he could continue doing. "Rae, I can't accept."
Rae traced his smile with her fingers, resting her hands on each side of his face as he mirrored her actions. They both smiled at each other, finding comfort within each other. Like always, like forever.
"If I go in there, will you wait for me?"
She felt his fingers tighten around her face. She could see a flash of something in his eyes. Then it was gone. "Always Rae." She found her lips with his, his tongue slid into her mouth as she revelled in the closeness. Then he pulled away, his hand gesturing towards the door once more. "Always."
Rae took a deep breath, reaching her hand out towards the frame.
"Don't you go away now Charlie, you hear me?" she stammered, feeling her hands heat up with the warmth of the doorknob.
She could hear him chuckle from behind her.
Then a click of a door unlocking.
Then a new world.
She felt her chest tug with that sensation again. The room was bare, so bare. No old furniture like the other rooms, just… nothing.
Except a chair.
One wooden chair in the centre of the room overlooking the beautiful scenery of a green garden from two large open windows. She could feel the wind against her face, the smell of the wet grass from the previous storm. It felt so beautiful, so familiar.
But then her heart tugged again.
Her eyes snapped to the chair once more, feeling her chest tighten with such lust she almost couldn't keep herself calm.
She had to see it… she had to be with it.
A still figure sat on the chair.
Messes of mousy locks fell around the head that lolled lifelessly to one side. She could see scarlet liquid pooling from the child's arms. Little scarlet streaks dotted the lifeless limbs… her fingers… Rae's fingers lay lifeless. "Oh God."
You gotta keep going!
Her head snapped back, "Charlie?"
His face had paled as he stood in the doorway; she wanted to reach back to him before she…
The door closed on the boy. "CHARLIE!"
Rae shook her head, cradling her chest with her arms. She couldn't keep moving forward, to look at the lifeless eyes of her body, to see it's lifeblood running cold.
Not Charlie's voice…
That wasn't Charlie's voice!
Her heart tugged again, forcing her to double over. She screamed, feeling tears pool down her face as she felt her heart pull harder within her chest. Something wanted to get out.
Pain erupted from her body with such force that she fell to her knees. She screamed again, feeling her stomach roil and her head pummel with a thousand pains. She wanted to curl up on the floor and die.
Tears dripped from the bridge of her nose; "d-daddy?" her arms buckled from beneath her, she felt her chest collide with the wooden floors.
"Rae! Oh God Rae stay with me darling!" she could hear her daddy's voice, ringing in her ears like alarm bells. Darkness claimed every inch of her; her chest swelled with overwhelming agony… but then.
She cringed, turning her head, feeling what could only be described as tiny pins pricking at the back of her eyes. She wasn't lying on the floor anymore. She was sitting down…
"She's lost a lot of blood,"
A voice she didn't recognise, but she knew the voice would keep her safe.
Strong arms wrapped around her shoulders, "put pressure on the wounds, stop the bleeding, put her on the gurney, we can't waste time!" someone was snapping orders. She didn't care who; she just listened to their voices and revelled in the noise that overcame the darkness.
"Her pulse is slow, but she's got one."
She smiled, feeling her body defy gravity for one heart stopping moment before she felt the comfort of the gurney.
"Honey, Rae, you're gonna be fine Honey, I swear to God you'll be fine!" she could feel warm hands enveloping around her fingers.
Daddy, I love you; the though flowed through her mind clearly. She smiled through the fresh tears that slipped from her closed eyes.
"Rae… I'm so sorry."
Her eyes snapped open, just for a second.
"No, let her rest, she needs it."
She didn't care about the voices of the doctors or even her father. No…
Charlie stood behind them.
Her vision was clouded and although she saw little from the many faces that were aiding the gurney out the door she saw him… standing in the hallway. His hair was sopping wet… just like she'd seen him. Just like she'd danced with him. "Ch-Cha" her voice burned in her throat, forcing her to cough. It felt as if acid was writhing in her throat.
His shirt stuck to his chest, his face was so pale… sorrow built in his eyes; his hand rose from his side and with the smallest smile he waved to her. Waved her goodbye.
No… Charlie! I want to stay with you, don't let them take me Charlie, stay with me… you're the most important thing that happened to me. Charlie… CHARLIE!
Everything stopped for a second.
The gurney halted as Rae felt the almighty scream rip from her throat. It burned like Hell and she could feel the tears pouring down her eyes but God… she needed to say it. She looked for him again, trying to get up from the gurney but finding no energy to do so. Hands gripped at her limbs, forcing her into the uncomfortable device. She wanted to fight them off… to get to Charlie. But he was gone.
And so was she… her head felt light once more. Nothing could stop her from falling into inevitable darkness…
"Why'd you do it Rae?"
Three days had passed. Rae was regaining her colour and thanks to the quick reactions to the Doctors at the hospital she was told to be making a quick recovery.
But Rae didn't feel as happy as the doctors around her did.
"Rae, you listening? Why'd you do it? Were you being bullied? God, you've gotta tell me. I'll have to get a psychiatrist, the Doctors say they can get you one. They said that the ordeal must've been pretty-"
"No." Rae cut her babbling father off. He'd not left her bedside for the three days she'd been falling in and out of consciousness. But now she felt restored. Now she could think about what she'd done.
It wasn't unusual. Life had become too much. People always made fun of her, made fun of her for liking her space, for wearing unfashionable clothes… for being herself. She'd been a loner and she'd liked it. But they'd pushed her and hit her and… she just couldn't take it. She'd always wondered what happened in the great beyond… so she'd run to a place that no one could find her. The vacated house that didn't seem to sell.
Razors to the wrists… but it wasn't enough to kill her. Not
really. Horizontal slits; at first it had just been self harm.
But she'd started to feel dizzy… so sick. She'd leant
back in the only chair in the room and then…
She'd been walking in the rain… and… he'd been there,
She'd found something that could truly help her.
"Daddy, what happened to Charlie?"
Her father stiffened, "Charlie?"
Rae nodded, "blonde hair, six foot something, around eighteen I think… he was in the house, he… I dunno what he did, he helped me." She could feel a smile prick at her face.
Her father shrugged, "I'm not sure honey, I didn't see any kids there, it was pretty crazy. I mean you were bleeding all over the place." Rae bit her lip.
"Can you get me a glass of water?"
Her father nodded, kissing her cheek before leaving, "get well darling."
She smiled gratefully at her father before leaning back in the cushions.
Was Charlie even there? She'd been dreaming when she'd seen him… hadn't she?
She stiffened when she heard a knock at her hospital room door.
She cringed, croaking a 'come in' before the door opened and a dark haired nurse walked in.
She smiled wistfully at Rae, "morning miss, just here to change your bandages, doctors say they can discharge you at four."
Rae smiled back, "thanks,"
The nurse came over to Rae, carefully prodding at the bandages and undoing them before taking out a roll of fresh ones. The nurse paused slightly before beginning with the fresh ones, examining the raised wounds on Rae's arms.
"Sorry to be rude, but it's just so strange to see those wounds."
Rae rose a brow, "how come? I bet loads of kids come here 'cause of cutting."
The woman looked up from the wounds, her eyes clearly unfocused and dazed; "you did it at St Peters street, in that house… didn't you?"
Rae rose a brow but nodded anyway.
The woman let out a deep sigh, "a kid did the same thing as you three years ago, slit the wrists in the very same room as you did. We didn't get to him in time… poor boy."
"Was his name Charlie?" She didn't know why she asked it, but she did. The nurse looked to her, but it wasn't shock in her eyes. It was kindness.
"Charlie Pines yes, poor boy. In fact, there's stories... if you believe in ghost stories that is, that his spirit still walks the house… I've heard many from patients about seeing a face in that window, quite a tourist attraction."
Rae felt a tug at her heart, "h-he…" she breathed in deeply, "he killed himself?"
The nurse nodded, wrapping the last of the bandages.
"Do you know why?"
The nurse straightened, folding her arms, "they say the boy was disturbed. He didn't have a proper family, he'd lost all that was important to him."
Rae felt tears well in her eyes. He'd wanted her to stay with him… she knew he did. But he guided her home… he guided her to life.
The woman took her hand. "You saw him didn't you?"
Rae didn't want to lie, she didn't want to do anything but curl up and cry. She nodded silently, feeling tears slide down her cheeks.
"Spirits stay here for reasons… walk among us just to be known, Charlie was a lost cause, but he didn't stop caring. Up until the day he died."
Rae nodded to the woman but didn't lock gazes with her. How could she? Charlie had shown kindness to her. She'd kissed him. God… he was dead.
She shook her head.
There were people that loved her. Her daddy… her daddy loved her,
cried for her... why hadn't she seen that she was
She wouldn't end up like Charlie.
The next day Rae left her house, gratefully accepting the red coat that her father threw at her.
"It's raining outside, be careful Rae!"
She smiled, rolling her eyes at her father's caring nature. "I'll be fine."
"Where you going anyway?"
Rae grinned again, "flower shop."
A bunch of roses in her hand, Rae jogged carefully down St Peter's road. Her house was only a few doors down… but she'd never heard the stories. She'd just felt attached to the house. It was old and abandoned and unloved. She connected with it instantly.
She shook the thought from her mind, rounding a final corner before her gaze caught with the rusted black gates of the old vacated home.
It was beautiful even in the harsh rain that fell around her. Rae pulled harder on her red coat hood, tracing the gates with her fingers. An electric spark hit her fingers but she didn't mind. It only made her feel closer to the old building.
She finally reached the gates, blown open slightly by the harsh winds, but still standing strong. She smiled, crouching to the floor to pull a piece of string from her pocket. Slowly, she wrapped the string around the flowers, tying them to the gate neatly. Her fingers ached with the rain soaking through them and her body shook from the harsh winds, but she did as she had wanted.
"Charlie," she sighed, looking at the roses, "I might be a bit late, but I want you to know that you're loved. You're loved a whole lot."
The rain spat in her face as a signal to head home. She fisted her hands into her pockets and turned from the house, about to head away.
"Where are you going?"
Rae stopped dead in her tracks, her heart thudding with such lust she nearly burst into laughter. She turned, seeing Charlie's warm navy gaze graze at her face. She beamed.
Charlie's hair was sopping wet, but even she could see the large grin that painted his face as he stood in the gardens of the large house. "You mean it this time?"
Rae rolled her eyes, "Yes Charlie, I promise."
His eyes were warm, she could see that. He was happy.
"I love you Rae."
Rae laughed, "I love you too Charlie, you remember that."
Charlie looked back to the house and then towards Rae again, "I should probably get inside."
Rae paused, biting her lip. "Charlie…"
He turned to face her instantly, "Yes Rae?"
"O-One day it'll be my time and… well," Rae looked at his eyes, filled with love for her and her love for him, "wait for me?"
She shook in joy as his laughter filled her ears.
She just caught his last words before he disappeared into the house. "Always, Rae."
A tear caught her eye as the door closed, leaving her alone once more in the rain.