A Thoughtful Decision

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic
Lucy was having a quiet night to herself when a knock at the door interrupts her evening plans.

Note- this is a very rough draft, but I just wanted to get some feedback on it before I do anything else with this story.

Submitted: October 23, 2018

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Submitted: October 23, 2018

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Lucy sat at the edge of her bed staring at her feet. She looked for so long that her vision blurred, and time had no sense of meaning. The bag and receipt from her trip to the grocery store were still clutched in her hand even though it had been at least an hour since she returned home. In moments like these, Lucy is usually deep in thought. She would usually be stuck in an internal dialogue with herself that was captivating enough to make her reality unimportant to focus on. This time, there was no conversation. There was only silence. The bleak quiet rang through her room and through her mind. There was no need to think at this time, pretending to not exist was what Lucy needed to do. After an immeasurable amount of time, Lucy finally snapped back to existence. Thoughts slowly poured back into her mind her vision cleared up and it was time to move on. She exited her room with shopping bag and receipt still in hand and made her way to the kitchen. She shuffled through the hallway and descending the stairs and. Once she arrived at her kitchen, Lucy reached for a bottled water when all the sudden there was a knock at her door. Lucy canceled her movement and turned towards the door. Her initial reaction was not to open the door. She felt confused. Lucy has never had visitors aside from her mother visited every now and then. She did know who could be knocking on her door so late at night. She decided to ignore the knock. And began to extend her arm to grab her water, but the visitor knocked again this time quicker. Lucy stared at the door for a brief second before the culprit knocked again. They knocked more and more each one more frantic than the last. Lucy aggressively sighed and quickly paced to the door. She extended her arm with slight hesitation to reach for the doorknob but ultimately opened the door anyway. Her plans for the evening could wait a few more minutes. As Lucy opened the door, the culprit who interrupted her night became visible. There at Lucy’s front door stood a young woman who couldn’t be more than a few years older than Lucy herself. She looked tired, with large purple bags under her eyes that could have almost been mistaken for bruises. Her clothes were wrinkled and looked like that and been bought from the vintage rack at a thrift store. Seconds passed as Lucy stared at the stranger, neither Lucy or the unknown woman spoke. Eventually, Lucy became too anxious to continue to remain quiet and broke the silence. “Hello…” she meekly trailed off. The woman still did not speak she only stared at Lucy. It seemed like she was examining Lucy. Her eyes scanned her up and down and then moved to observe the background. Lucy became nervous. A strange woman showing up at her house late at night and not saying anything seemed like a reasonable cause for concern. However, she didn’t slam the door in the woman’s face quite yet. “Hello?” She repeated, only this time as a question, “Do you need something Ms.?”. Still silence. Still a strange woman’s eyes studying the person in front of her. Lucy began to quietly panic and tried to inconspicuously move her hand to close the door. Before she could restore the barrier between the increasing threat and the safety of her home, the unknown woman shifted her eyes to meet Lucy’s. “I’m sorry. I zoned out just a bit.” The stranger spoke with a small smile. This did not comfort Lucy nor eased her suspicion for the woman. “Do you need something?” Lucy repeated, this time with more firmness. “Oh yes. Again, I’m sorry” The woman said. It sounded sincere which eased Lucy’s tension only just a little. “I was just wondering if I could use your phone? I’m a bit lost a need to call a friend to pick me up.” The stranger pleaded with Lucy. Lucy was taken slightly aback. This wasn’t exactly a unique request, things like this happened all time, she thought. However, the fact that the numerous times she’s heard of events like this transpiring was only during horror films, where the unsuspecting victim was about to be slaughtered. Lucy took a small step backward and smiled nervously at the woman. She grabbed the door and closes it slightly to where she would be able to slam it quickly if the stranger attempted anything. “I’m sorry Ms., but it’s getting late. I was just about to head off to bed.” She nervously stated. “Oh it’s okay, I promise I won’t take long.” She calmly told Lucy. “Like I said, I’m lost. I really need help. No one else has let me use their phone, I could even give you some money if you let me. Please, I’m desperate.” The woman almost began to beg. Lucy looked at her, hand still ready to slam the door shut. But then she looked back into the woman’s eyes. She felt less nervous. The woman appeared sincere. She really looked like she was in distress. Lucy’s sympathy finally broke through, but more importantly, her rationalization broke through. She realized nothing bad was going to happen, nothing that would change her plans for the evening. “Okay. Sure, come on in” Lucy told the woman quietly. The woman smiled brightly, “Thank you so much!” she exclaimed. Lucy stepped aside and motioned with her hand for the woman to walk in. The woman waltzed into the house and resumed her inspection. She looked around the small living room eyeing every little detail. Lucy noticed her wandering eyes but chose not to say anything. It was strange though, Lucy noted, it was almost like the woman was looking for something. “My cell is in my room. Give me a second to go grab it. Feel free to have a seat while I grab it.” Lucy told the woman and pointed towards the couch. She waited for the woman to move towards the couch and take a seat. As the woman placed herself upon Lucy’s rugged leather couch, she observed her slight fidgeting and that she sat on the edge of her seat. It was understandable Lucy surmised. She never felt comfortable in a stranger’s house either. This made her doubt that the woman was a murderer even more. Lucy made her way upstairs, glancing out of the corner of her eye back to the woman. The woman was already staring at Lucy though causing the two to make eye contact. Lucy awkwardly smiled, then scurried up the stairs. She approached her bedroom door and walked through its threshold, scanning the scene for her phone. Her eyes landed on it quickly. There it was lying on her nightstand hooked up to the charger. She walked over to grab and upon grasping it in her hands she felt the urge to sit down on her bed once more. Perhaps she needed more time to reflect. Earlier she needed the silence, she needed to play the part of nonexistence. But now, she felt like she needed to think about her decision once again. She wasn’t feeling doubt, not in the slightest. She just felt off, and when Lucy felt off, she needed time to contemplate the feeling. This woman showing up interrupted the flow of her plans. Lucy always had a problem coping with last minute change of plans. Even though she knew her plans weren’t really changing, just being pushed back a few minutes, she still felt that twinge of anxiety that fills her when situations like this arise. She gave herself only a minute, then forced her legs to raise her body from the bed and to move her back to her unexpected guest. Lucy made her way back down the stairs into the living room. As she descended the stairs the couch where the stranger sat upon was the first item in her field of vision. But to Lucy’s surprise, the woman was not sitting there anymore. This caused confusion and Lucy rushed down the rest of the steps. She approached the couch and turned around looking for the woman. She turned until she faced the kitchen and paused because there she saw the woman. Her back was to Lucy, so she hadn’t noticed that she had just been caught snooping in the kitchen. Just as Lucy noticed her, the woman began reaching for the shopping bag that Lucy had been clutching earlier. She grabbed it and looked inside. A faint gasp could be heard escaping the woman’s mouth followed by an excitedly whispered “Found it!”. “What are you doing?” Lucy shouted at the woman. The women suddenly lifted her head from the bag and spun around to face Lucy. Normally, if a person was just caught red-handed peeking into another person’s belongings, there would be a sign of shame or even fear upon their faces. The woman didn’t show any form of emotion that showed regret for her action. She simply looked up at Lucy, with the bag still in her hands, and almost emotionless said “Oh. I didn’t hear you come downstairs”. Lucy stomped over towards the woman and snatched the bag out of her hand. “Seriously.” She stated through clenched teeth. “What are you doing?”. “I was looking for something. And I believe I just found it.” The woman said. “Looking for what? I thought you were lost and only needed to make a phone call?” Lucy stated and little more calmly, but with quiet anger still lingering in her voice. “Well…” the woman trailed off. “I suppose I am a bit lost. But I don’t think a phone call is going to help me find my way”. The statement only filled Lucy’s mind with confusion. Her words didn’t make any sense to her, but this confusion did not replace her dwindling fury. She was at a loss for words and only glared at the woman until she would explain further. The woman sighed in what seemed like frustration, but at what Lucy did not know. “Let’s start over. My name is Andrea.” The woman said with a small smile, “and you are?”. Fury mixed with confusion now welcomed shock. Lucy couldn’t believe the way this woman… the way Andrea was acting. She played a victim, and now showed signs of being suspicious culprit yet again, only this time with a pompous attitude. Lucy did not understand how she could be so happy all the sudden when she had just been caught as a phony. “I think it’s time for you to leave,” Lucy told Andrea. “No” Andrea responded. “No?” “That’s right no.” With that, Andrea attempted to walk past Andrea but was interrupted by Lucy. Lucy grabbed her by the arm and told her, “I mean it. Leave”. “I told you, no”, Andrea retorted with just as much ferocity as Lucy had towards her. “Look I’m sorry, I should have approached this better”, Andrea softened and looked into Lucy’s eyes apologetically. “I came here to talk to you Lucy, I just wasn’t sure how to go about it”. Lucy loosened her grip on Andrea’s arm. “What do you mean you came here to talk? I don’t even know you”. “I know you don’t, but still…” Andrea wasn’t sure how to continue. “I don’t why you’re here, I need you to leave. Now go, or I will call the cops”. “Just hear me out Lucy—” “Do not talk to me like you know me. Now I said go!” Lucy was becoming increasingly frustrated. Events were not transpiring like she wanted them to tonight. She had no intention of calling the cops. If she did that she would be up all night having to deal with the police and her plans would have to be postponed. She wasn’t going to wait another day. She couldn’t wait another day. Andrea looked into her eyes as if she was searching for a way to convince Lucy to let her stay. “A conversation with me isn’t going to ruin your evening, I promise. Just let me talk and after you’ve listened to me, I’ll leave, and you can do as you wish”, Andrea bargained. Lucy didn’t know how to respond. She knew this woman was not sane but didn’t know how to handle the situation. She let go of Andrea’s arm but continued to stare intently into her eyes. Andrea chose not to speak until Lucy responded to her. Lucy continued her contemplation. Her night really wouldn’t be ruined by this stranger with a small adjustment. That wasn’t the true problem with this situation, the problem was that Lucy did not want to waste this time with Andrea. She wasn’t exactly the most social person, so this was not an ideal night for Lucy. However, she was not willing to wait any longer. Lucy made up her mind. “Go sit on the couch”, Lucy demanded, to which Andrea complied. Andrea took her seat on the couch, this time looking more relaxed than earlier. She still had a tense aura around her, but its intensity died down. “Thank you, Lucy” She graciously said a half smile. Lucy ignored the gratitude and said, “Wait there. I have to run to the bathroom. When I come back, you better be in this same spot. No snooping”. “You aren’t going to call the police, or anything are you?” Andrea questioned suspiciously. Lucy was appalled by her question. She asked in a manner that seemed like she was insulted that Lucy might commit such a heinous act like Lucy was the one acting immoral. “No. I just need to use the bathroom before I indulge in your strange request”. Andrea tensed up again and gave a look of disbelief. “I don’t feel like spending all night at the police station, Andrea. So, I’ll hear what you have to say if you leave me alone for the rest of my night”. “Big plans I guess…” Andrea said, more to herself than to Lucy. Lucy still had the bag she took back from Andrea in one hand and her phone she retrieved to let her borrow in the other. She tossed her cell phone on the couch. It lightly bounced onto the cushion next to Andrea. This action seemed to appease her skeptical looks and attitude. “I will just be a few minutes” Lucy spoke as she walked upstairs and to her bathroom. Andrea remained in her seat this time. She no longer felt the need to inspect the house. Minutes passed, and Lucy had not yet returned. This caused Andrea to worry slightly. She began to bounce her right leg up and down as a nervous tick. As she waited she heard the sound of the faucet running from the bathroom upstairs. Time stretched on, and she almost rose from her seat to move to the staircase. She knew Lucy was taking too long and wanted to check on her. As soon as she made up her mind that she would check on Lucy, the running water was cut off by the sound of the knob squeaking and then silence. Andrea quickly regained her composure and stared at the ceiling as she awaited the sound of Lucy’s footsteps approaching. Lucy appeared in front on Andrea and then moved to take a seat in the chair near the couch. She looked at Andrea until they made eye contact. “So…” Lucy wasn’t sure what to say, “What exactly do you want to talk to me about? Do we somehow know each other?”. “No, like I said, we don’t know each other. I just…” Andrea paused trying to find the right words to say, “I noticed you”. “You noticed me? What exactly does that mean?” Lucy wasn’t sure what she meant. Was Andrea stalking her she thought? “I’m sorry, that came out weirder than it really is. What I mean is that…” Andrea decided to stop talking. The room was still for a few seconds. The world felt still, and the air began to feel heavy on Lucy’s body. “Before I explain what I mean, let’s get to know each other a little”, Andrea enthusiastically stated. “I’m not really looking to make a friend right now. Especially with you”. “Right, I understand. I’m not trying to become friends. I just think if I tell you about myself and you tell me about yourself, this conversation will be a lot easier”. Lucy began to regret this decision. She could have kicked her out and locked the door. She could be sitting in her comfortable silence right now instead of listening to a stranger, who is probably waiting for the right moment to rob her or maybe even kill her, try to develop a friendship. Andrea noticed the lack of response to her statement and continued to say, “How about I tell you about myself, and then you can just answer a few questions for me. No need to give a lecture on your life. They’ll be simple questions. Will that help you talk to me?”. It was like Andrea was trying to make some kind of business deal with Lucy. In her mind, Lucy decided she would listen to what Andrea has to say, but she would make no guarantee to reciprocate any information. At this point, she was simply biding time. “Go ahead then. Tell me about yourself”. Andrea smiled victoriously, but it fell quickly as she tried to think of where to start. “Well like I told you earlier, my name is Andrea. When I was younger I went by Andy but decided to use Andrea later in life to seem more serious”, Andrea stopped for a moment. This felt silly to Lucy, and it was apparent to Andrea. “I had a pretty good life up until my sophomore year of college”, Andrea decided to change direction with her story. “I had a happy childhood. My parents were supportive and kind. I had loyal friends who I could trust. Life was good.” Andrea began to smile as she reminisced about her life but stopped before Lucy could notice. She did not want to seem like she was boasting about her life. “Anyway, that isn’t as important as the second part of my life, back to my sophomore year of college. Basically, I started to not do so well in school. I was struggling with classes and my grades dropped drastically. It got bad enough to where I was put on academic probation and eventually lost my scholarships. After that, I couldn’t afford to go to school anymore. My parents were so angry with me.” Andrea took a break to glance at Lucy to see if she was listening. It was important that she listened. “It was heartbreaking to see my loving supportive parents turn so mean towards me.” Big whoop Lucy thought. It's understandable for parents to get upset or disappointed in their children when it comes to school. But then she looked into Andrea’s eyes and saw a glimmer of pain in them. “They weren’t just mean. They were vicious. They had very high hopes for me when I entered college. I had done so well in high school, they expected the greatness to continue… I was going to try to become a doctor, which only heightened their expectations even more. When I first started struggling, I called my dad and told him I was having a hard time with classes. I expected him to tell me that everything was going to be okay and that I would pull through, but that’s not what he told me. Instead, he yelled at me. He screamed. He told me I needed to pull myself together and that he would not accept failure. I didn’t even have time to respond, he hung up on me after his outburst,” Andrea looked down at her hands, trying to think of what happened next. “I sat on my bed in shock for a few minutes, but then decided to call back. This time, my mom answered the phone. All she said was, ‘Andrea if I were you I wouldn’t call again until you bring your grades up’. Well, let’s just say, my grades never went up. They only got worse. And every time I tried to talk to my parents about it they wouldn’t listen. So, when they heard about me losing my scholarships, they told me I needed to figure out how to pay for school myself”. Lucy was becoming slightly interested in this story. She perked her head up as Andrea spoke, but she did not understand why she needed to hear this story. “I couldn’t come up with the money, so I had to drop out. I got a job waitressing tables and tried saving up money to go back to school, but it was never enough. My parents never forgave me, they told me ‘You ruined your life, Andrea. You deal with the aftermath.’ I tried to keep in contact with them. I would call every week, but most of the time my calls were ignored. When my parents did answer, the conversation was short, I could hear the bitter tone in their voices and they always found an excuse to hang up after a few minutes. I eventually stopped calling them”. Lucy felt a twinge of pity in her heart for Andrea but hid it. She still wasn’t sure what to make of this whole situation. She couldn’t help but notice, however, that Andrea didn’t look very sad. She didn’t look like this story made her feel anything in fact. There was no sadness, no anger, there was nothing. Andrea could be reading off her grocery list and display more emotion. With that realization, suspicion loomed in the back of Lucy’s mind once again. “I was basically stuck on my own. I had some friends though, so I wasn’t too lonely. But I never got over what happened with my parents”. Andrea stopped talking. Lucy wasn’t sure what to say, she opened her mouth to try to come up with some words but was cut off by Andrea. “There’s more”, she told Lucy, “after I dropped out of school, I struggled with money for a long time. I was barely making ends meet. It was bad enough to where I couldn’t afford to pay rent at my apartment anymore and was evicted. I stayed with a friend for a while, but it didn’t change the fact that I was at the lowest point in my life.” Lucy’s heart started to pick up, but her eyes began to feel heavy. “And I know there were people out there that were going through worse things than me, but I still felt awful. I felt empty and pointless. My friends tried their best to cheer me up, but it didn’t work, and they eventually gave up, which was probably the worse thing they could have done, though I don’t blame them… but anyway there is more I could say, but I think that covers the main points.” Andrea sighed in relief as if the hardest part was over. Lucy expected Andrea to continue talking, but after moments of silence passed, she realized Andrea was waiting to hear a response from Lucy. “Okay… well, I am really sorry you went a rough time in your life”, Lucy began to say, “I’m happy you were able to overcome it though”. Andrea let out a short, dry laugh. “I didn’t get over it, unfortunately”. “Well, you don’t seem to upset about it now, I’m sorry I didn’t mean to offend you if I did”. “No, it’s fine. But now, let me hear a little about you. How old are you Lucy?” It was surprising how quickly Andrea switched gears from her tragic story to questioning Lucy, but she had a look of determination on her face ready to move on. Lucy still did not feel like sharing information with Andrea, and it was getting harder to talk and compose her thought. “How about we talk some other time? I’ll give you my number, and we can meet up tomorrow. This time without you having to pretend to use my phone”. To Lucy, this was the perfect plan. Andrea was able to talk to her a little tonight, now she could tell her to leave with less push back. “We really need to finish talking tonight though”. “I know, but I’m getting very sleepy and don’t think I can stay up much longer. We can even meet first thing in the morning tomorrow. And I promise I’m still not going to call the cops on you”, said Lucy with a fake smile. All she wanted was this woman out of her house. “No Lucy. We need to talk tonight. There won’t be time tomorrow”. Lucy knew she was right, but her face quickly turned red out of frustration. She just wanted to be left alone. She wanted to be at peace, that couldn’t happen with a stranger attempting to play 20 questions with her. This was not how she envisioned her night going. “I need you to leave!” Lucy shouted as she sluggishly leaped out of her chair. Andrea did not respond, so Lucy reached to grab her by the shirt and yanked her up to her feet. At least, that was her plan, but Andrea barely budged when Lucy tugged upward on her shirt. “I am not leaving! Try all you want but I cannot leave until you hear what I have to say!” Andrea shouted back, and for the first time, Lucy saw genuine emotion on her face. She looked worried, about what Lucy was unsure of. “Then tell me quickly what you have to say, or I really will call the cops!” “Oh please, we both know you’re not going to call anyone.”. “Don’t try me,” Lucy spoke through gritted teeth. Her anger kept rising, so much so that Lucy’s throat was becoming sore from holding back her tears that usually flowed when she became furious. “You’re not going to do anything that is going to push you further off schedule!” Lucy let go of Andrea’s shirt and told a quick step backward. It seemed too specific for Andrea to say, Lucy thought, but her anger didn’t allow her time to pry further. She reached for her phone on the cushion next to Andrea, and to her surprise, Andréa didn’t try to stop her. Andrea only looked deeply into Lucy’s eyes. Lucy unlocked her phone dialed numbers in quickly. Before making the actual call, Lucy turned her phone around to show Andrea the number on her phone as if to threaten her with it. “You’re not going to do it”. Andrea said calmly now. The water building up in the ducts of Lucy’s eyes were fighting to pour out. “Why are you so sure I won’t call the police?!” Lucy screeched. “Because I know you plan to kill yourself tonight!” Andrea shouted back into Lucy’s face. Both women remained quiet at this moment. They stared at each other, the silence dancing around the room. Lucy could barely breathe with the weight of what was just spoken. “And I happen to know that you aren’t going to wait much longer to do it”. Andrea said after the long pause while averting eye contact. Lucy opened her mouth to say something, to say anything, but no words came out. She was at a loss for what to say and what to do. Her heart was hammering in her chest, confusion clouded her mind. What exactly is going on, she thought. All she could do was fall back into her seat and stare at the ground. Andrea stood up to go near Lucy in a comforting motion, to which Lucy put her hands up as a barrier. Lucy did not want comfort, she was too busy trying to regain herself. She fought against her heart racing, the tears of frustration, the drowsiness the ensued her being. She finally looked Andrea in the eyes again, looking for an answer without having to speak. Andrea looked back and picked up on her message. “I’m sorry. I just wasn’t sure how to do this. I’ve never confronted one before. Maybe I should have come right out and told you I knew, or I should have told you what I really wanted you to know about me”, Andrea rambled on, more to herself at this point than to Lucy. Lucy was not listening to Andrea’s rant. Everything felt fuzzy and her vision was going out of focus, her mind spiraled. Andrea's voice dolled on and on, but Lucy heard no words. “Lucy?” Andrea asked, with no response, so she waved her hand in front of Lucy’s face to try to catch her attention. Lucy snapped back into focus. “How?”, was all she could mutter out. Andrea expected more but understood the shock all too well. She noticed Lucy was becoming distance and crawling further into her own mind as an escape. “This is why I couldn’t leave yet. There is more to my story. If you just listen, I think you’ll be glad I told you”. Lucy said nothing, she felt like she was no longer in her body. Everything felt overwhelming, she couldn’t handle this, she wanted to get up and leave. To bang her head against the wall until she was longer conscious. But she couldn’t do that, so she remained frozen. Andrea notices the emptiness that poured out of Lucy, and she raised she needed to act there was no time to wait for her to call down. Andrea gently placed her hands on Lucy's shoulders and began talking. “Do you remember when I said I never got over what happened to me?” No response. “Lucy please, I need to know you hear me, no need to talk. Just nod your head”. No response. “Do you remember?” No response. “I was like you Lucy. I was in a bad place and I didn’t want to live anymore”. This caught Lucy's attention. She registered those words, but not because she felt comfortable, because she felt annoyed. She began looking around the room and listing the thongs she saw. Lamp, coffee table, mirror, TV, empty water bottles, coasters, outdated pictures of her family. She went on like this until she could be present once again. Lucy took a deep breath and moved Andrea’s hands off her shoulder. “I don’t who you think you are. But you do not get to come and interrupt my life and pretend like you understand me. You may have been through a rough time, and I am sorry for that, but I am dealing with my own problems that you do not know. I am different from you. You got over what you want through—” “I already told you, I never got over what happened to me”, Andrea interrupted. “Yeah well, you’re here trying to talk me out of a decision I have thought about for a really long time and have come to terms with. You obviously got over it a little bit if you’re telling me you used to be like me”, Lucy retorted. “I promise you, I was where you are right now”. “You’re alive. You can’t be like similar to me.” Lucy truly believed this statement. She made up her mind, it seemed, to her, that Andrea still had something to stop her from making her decision. “I was committed to this choice just like you are now”, Andrea responded. She noticed Lucy open her mouth to give Andrea a piece of her mind but was stopped before she could begin. “I went through with it”. Lucy didn’t understand what Andrea was talking about. Did she have a failed suicide attempt? “I was like you, overwhelmed and ready to give up so I did. I ended my life. that’s why I’m here, to warn you not to do that”. “You what?” Lucy asked in case she misheard. “I’m… not alive. I know it’s impossible to believe but try your best to do so”. As if the night couldn’t get any more confusing for Lucy. She couldn’t believe what was going on. Was Andrea insinuating she was... a ghost? Lucy thought. She wondered if her mind was drifting off and this was the result, a hallucination concocted by her own imagination. “Are you being serious?” Lucy questioned, “How am I supposed to believe something like that?” “I know, I said it’s impossible to believe, but trust me it’s true”. Lucy was done fighting this woman on everything, at this point she knew it didn’t matter. Time was limited for her anyway. “Fine”, Lucy decided. Andrea prematurely felt a sense of small victory, which was immediately crushed by the rest of Lucy’s sentence. “Prove it. I need you to prove to me that you’re a…” she paused at the ridiculousness of this statement, “prove you’re a ghost”. Andrea took a second to think before speaking, “I’m not sure I would call myself a ghost honestly. I mean I am dead, but I’m not exactly haunting anything. I just wander. And as far as proving it… that’s tricky as well. The only way I can prove it would be if your willing to bring another person into all this”. “So, you’re not a ghost? Then what are you claiming to be? And how would involving another person prove anything?” “The only thing I’m claiming to be is dead… and the only way I know I can prove that to you is to show you no one else can see me”. Lucy stared at Andrea in disbelief. “If no one can see you, then how can I see you?” Andrea took a deep and saw the opportunity to finally say what she really wanted to tell Lucy. “You can see me because you were going to kill yourself tonight. It’s the only time I can interact with the living. Minutes before that take their own life”, she hoped Lucy could see her sincerity, “That’s how I knew. I could sense you were going to do it for a few days now. So, I waited, and I watched. I’ve tried speaking to you, knocking on your door, following you around, until finally, you were able to see me tonight”. Lucy’s head continued to spin, and she began to feel nauseous, though she wasn’t sure why. She searched in her mind for the words to say, for arguments to dismantle everything Andrea just said. She knew plenty of reasons why none of what she said was real, but the truth is she didn’t have the will to debate and argue anymore. She looked at Andrea, and something about the look on her face told her to suspend her disbelief in these final moments. “You really killed yourself huh?” Lucy slurred her question. “Yes, I did, and it was a mistake”. “How did you do it?” Andrea squirmed and contemplated telling her the details of her death but chose not to share. “That doesn’t matter. I did what I did, and I shouldn’t have”. “So now you wander the earth warning other poor souls on how suicide is not the answer?” Lucy asked in a mocking tone. Andrea looked annoyed at the pessimism, but continued, “No. This is the first time I’ve done something like this”. “Oh?” “Yes. I’ve tried before but have always been too late”. Lucy didn’t press on for stories of her failed attempts to save lives. “Well, I’m going to have to stop you Andrea. You’re not going to save me either. It’s too late for me”. “No, it’s not. I promise it’s not too late”. “It is… I can’t do this anymore”, Lucy shrugged. “Yes, you can, what your feeling is only temporary”. “You may have killed yourself, but that doesn’t mean you know what I’m feeling”. “I know you feel like whatever has happened to you has made life seem like a burden. That you’re tired of feeling, however, your feeling, that you’ll never feel happy again”. “No. That’s not how I feel”. Andrea didn’t accept defeat, “Tell me how your feeling that”. Lucy normally hated that question. Not because she hated sharing her feelings, but rather because she could never express her feeling in a way that others could understand. Almost as if Andrea could read her mind, she told Lucy, “Just try and tell me. I know it can be hard to explain the way your feeling. I could never really get my friends to understand me when I went to them for help”. “I don’t like existing,” Lucy began, “I just… I haven’t even had that bad of a life, nothing traumatic has happened to me other than my inability to handle life. I have family that I love, I have a job I enjoy, I work friends to socialize with every now and then, but no matter what I always feel empty. It’s exhausting to try and live. The thought of going out to lunch with my coworkers, or of calling my mom to just check in, it’s all exhausting, and yet I force myself to do those things. If I don’t force myself to do something, the loneliness kicks in and it feels like I’m dying anyway”, Lucy wasn’t sure if she was making any sense, but when she glanced at Andrea she saw she didn’t look confused, so she continued. “It’s not like I don’t have good memories either. I have had some good times, but they aren’t enough. But lately they’ve been so spaced out, they are becoming less and less frequent, and I know it’s my fault. I keep distancing myself from everyone because I’ve been struggling with this decision for a long time, and I haven’t gone through with it because I don’t want to make the others around me sad like I always am. So, I moved away from my family, I slowly dropped my friends, I broke up with the love of my life because it hurts to live, and I don’t want to do it anymore. I’m tired of feeling pointless. I’m tired of trying to make the best of life. I’m tired of living in mediocrity. I’m tired of having to try so hard to be happy. It’s just easier this way” Lucy felt the tears slowly start to pour down her cheeks even though she tried hard to stop them. She had never been so open about how she felt. Andrea looked like she was about to cry too, but tears never fell, instead, she decided to speak. “You were right, I don’t know how you feel”, she admitted, “It was different for me. I had a weak moment and I gave up, but even as I gave up I hoped someone would somehow stop me. I hoped that I would somehow live through it and that maybe my parents would reach out to me and I could go back to my happy life. But I knew it wouldn’t happen. I didn’t have enough hope I guess. And I loved living most of the time, I just had a hard time believing I could continue to love life”. Tears continued to slowly pour down Lucy’s face, and at that moment, she believed Andrea. Her words rang through her mind and she knew this wasn’t smoke cruel joke, she knew it wasn’t a hallucination, this was real. But just because it was real, didn’t mean Lucy was ready to abandon her decision. “I really appreciate you trying to stop me Andrea”, Lucy smiled, “but, I made my decision. This was not a snap judgment. This is what I want, I don’t think I was meant to live”. “Of course, you were meant to be alive!” Andrea exclaimed. “No, I wasn’t. I don’t believe that everyone was put on earth for a reason. I don’t have a purpose, it doesn’t matter if I leave”. Andrea grabbed Lucy’s hand and looked at her warmly, “You are not meant to die yet”. Lucy wished she could believe that, but she truly felt like there was no point in her existence. “There’s more you need to know”, Andrea began, “There’s a reason, I’m kind of like a ghost.” Lucy wasn’t sure where this was going. “See I know you aren’t meant to die yet, because you have a set death date, everyone does”. Lucy thought about that sentiment for a moment. She considered that fact that Andrea could be making that up to give her a sense of false hope. “I don’t know about that Andrea”. “It’s true, and when you commit suicide, you’ve died before your death date”. “And what’s so bad about that?” Lucy asked plainly. Andrea took a moment to try and find the right words to say. “Because if you die before your time is up, then you become like me”, she knew she needed to clarify so she went on, “If you die early, you have to wander until your time is up, which is what I’ve been doing”. Andrea had never actually had this conversation with someone, she never liked to think about it, but she knew she had to tell Lucy. “You mean to tell me… that you’ve just been wandering around waiting until the day you were supposed to die?” “Exactly”. Lucy paused, that thought scared her, “And by wandering you mean?” “It’s hard to explain. I think this is what limbo is”, Andrea was sure that she was in limbo, it was the only thing that made sense, “Since I died, I remained on earth. I never moved on to somewhere else. I just stayed here, except I can’t do anything. I can’t talk to anyone. I can’t even see anyone. It’s just empty. The only time it’s different is when I find people like you, people who are about to do the same thing I did. And even then, like I told you earlier, I can’t talk to them until moments before they do it”. This was a lot of to register, Lucy’s head hurt just thinking about it. “You can’t even see other people who killed themselves?” “No. They wander by themselves too”. “So…”, Lucy knew she had more questions, but it took her several minutes to put the words together to ask another one, “What happens when you reach the day you were supposed to die?” “I don’t know. I’ve heard that you just move on, but I don’t know what comes after this”. “How… How do you… know that though?” “Someone visited me before I killed myself like I’m doing with you. He tried to warn me, but I did it before he could convince me anything he was saying was true”. Lucy laid her head down on the arm of the chair she sat in, it was getting harder to stay awake. Andrea saw her movement but thought nothing of it at the moment, she was too preoccupied with trying to explain why Lucy shouldn’t die. “How much longer do you have left?” “I don’t know that either…” A somber look overcame Andrea’s face. Lucy could sense that was a sore subject. “It could be tomorrow or 20 years from now”. “How long have you been wandering?” “I think about ten years, but time feels slower like this”. “Is it hard?” “Yes”. “Is that the only reason you wished you hadn’t killed yourself?” “It was at first. But I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on my life, and on the decision, I made. And I realized I shouldn’t have given up. There was so much more I could have done. I wish I hadn’t given up, that’s why you shouldn’t make the same mistake I did”. “Wandering around, the world being empty, trapped with only your thoughts… sounds like how I am now. So what difference does it make?” Lucy pointed out, more to herself than to Andrea. Andrea wasn’t sure how to convince Lucy it wasn’t worth it. “You’re telling me there’s nothing in your life worth living for? Nothing that makes living in limbo for an undetermined amount of time seem less desirable?” Lucy didn’t respond, she was trying too hard to keep her eyes open, but they fought against her. “Life may be exhausting, and it definitely feels pointless a lot, I understand”, Andrea began, “But you even said there were good times in your life. They may not be as frequent as you liked, but they existed. You don’t have to force yourself to interact, but you need to allow yourself to be happy and you can’t expect meaning to find you. You need to make meaning in your life instead of giving up. If your life, was truly pointless, then you wouldn’t be here right now. You wouldn’t have already passed your date. But you’re alive, you may not feel like, but you are. It’s not going to be easy to change how you feel, and you may always have lingering thoughts like these, but please don’t give up. Try to reconnect with those you pushed away, tell them something is wrong, ask them for help, all you can do is try”. Lucy tried to pick her head up to look at Andrea, but it felt too heavy. “Life really does suck sometimes, but for every bad thought, you have to try to think of the opposite. Instead of wallowing on the small number of happy moments in your life, look forward to the next one. Think about what you can do to make yourself happy, and when something happy happens to know that there will be a bad moment to follow eventually. But do not let this discourage, life is nothing but a pattern of good and bad things happening. Do not make the choice to end badly, and hope you end happily”. Lucy could barely focus on the words Andrea was saying, but she felt something. She had spent months working up to this decision she had contemplated for so much of her life. she didn’t all the sudden feel a new lease on life. She knew if she continued on after tonight, that she would not be happy tomorrow. She probably wouldn’t be happy for a while, but maybe she would be happy eventually. She thought of asking her mom for help, and she imagined the tears that would flow through her eyes and knew she would do everything to help her, it made her feel guilty to put that burden on her family, but it made her happy to think that she would have people to look out for her. She thought of how she ended things with her boyfriend because she relied too much on him to make her happy, she knew it was wrong and that’s why she ended things. But she could reach out to him and apologize, explain why she did it. Maybe they could get back together, and she could focus on making each other happy while not being so dependent. She thought about all the friends she had throughout her life and how she pushed them all away and slowly stopped talking to them because it was so hard for her to go out and socialize with them. She could apologize and be more honest with them. There was so much she could do to improve her life, to make those happy moments closer together. The idea exhausted her, but maybe if she put the work in to try and fix herself bit by bit, it wouldn’t be so tiring anymore. Her thoughts were interrupted by a sudden shaking. She opened her eyes and saw Andrea’s hand on her shoulders moving her. “Lucy open your eyes”, she said told her with slight worry in her voice. Lucy struggled to keep them open, the room was fading, but before she closed her eyes again she said a frantic look come across Andrea’s face. Andrea let go of Lucy and rushed to the kitchen. “Where’s the bag, Lucy?” She asked. “Hmmm?” Lucy was barely able to make out. “The bag? The shopping bag from earlier!” Andrea was trying to remain calm, but she couldn’t hide it very well. “Oh”, was all Lucy could say. Andrea thought back to when she found the bag in Lucy’s kitchen. She was so happy when she found it. She remembered she never grabbed it back from Lucy and that Lucy had taken it upstairs when she went the bathroom earlier. Andrea sprinted up the stairs and quickly found the bathroom. She swung the door open and scanned the room until she saw the crumbled bag on the floor, she checked it, but it was empty. She looked around again until her eyes laid on the sink. There in the sink was an empty bottle of sleeping pills. The same pills Andrea found in the bag earlier when she searched for the way Lucy would kill herself. There was one thing Andrea left out in her story, she could only see people who were about to kill themselves in the same way she did. She flew back down the stairs and saw Lucy now laying on her side on the floor with her eyes barely open. She was sluggishly shoving her fingers down her throat. Andrea ran to her side ripped Lucy’s hands out of her mouth and used hers instead. She tried so hard to purge the pills, she felt hopeful when Lucy gagged a few times, but after trying for several seconds Lucy stopped. Silence filled the room once again. Lucy’s eyes were no longer open. Andrea placed her ear on Lucy’s chest to listen for a heartbeat. She heard a faint thumping and felt a small amount of hope as she went to try and induce vomiting again, but before she could even try Lucy disappeared. Lucy was gone, and Andrea was left to wander once again.


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