Crazies Crazies

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic
All I knew was that we had to run and that I couldn't let him go. How could I when he was all that I had left? Run, run, run.

Submitted: November 01, 2011

A A A | A A A

Submitted: November 01, 2011

A A A

A A A


 

Earth. The cellar smelled like earth and being inside it felt very much like staying in a tomb. The space was cramped, and it was very dark. I don’t know what they stored in here, but it’s obvious the place hasn’t been used for years.

My thoughts fly to the possibility of spiders hiding in the dark, getting ready to jump on me and I tensed at once—just thinking of eight tiny hairy legs made my skin crawl. Then, he must have sensed my fear; Arias took my hands in his to warm them. It was reassuring. But it did nothing about the cold.

Arias already died. He died just three days ago as we were trying to enjoy a short vacation by a secluded beach. He died in a freak accident. He was the best swimmer I know, and he drowned. So the presence holding my hand was merely his ghost.

His ghost came to me almost as soon as I pulled his body to the shore, and as soon as I saw the apparition, I knew instantly that he was dead. Gone where none of this can hurt him. His ghost wasn’t like the translucent examples on TV. On the contrary, he was very tangible. Only I could see him though. And the ghost can’t talk. He could only answer me with sad eyes.

Now. Why were we in a cellar?

We’re on the run. Now we’re in hiding.

I didn’t believe the world could still go on when Arias died, but night still came as I sat on the sand, cradling Arias’s head, his ghost staring solemnly at my face. The waves crashed on the shore like they were oblivious someone I love just died. Or maybe they didn’t care.

And that’s when they came.

Reapers, wrote Arias on the sand hastily as if that explained everything. I coaxed him to help me push the body into the sea. It was the best thing I could think of doing, I couldn’t just leave his body lying openly on the sand. I felt it’s what Arias would have wanted. To be free. Out in the sea, in the waters he loved very much, he was more or less free. I read acceptance in his ghost’s eyes, beautiful green orbs I’ve known and loved for years.

We ran. For some reason, I knew the Reapers had come for his ghost. For Arias. I didn’t exactly know what they would do, only that they would take Arias some place I wouldn’t be able to reach him anymore. I wasn’t going to let that happen. I planned to cling to the last piece of him for as long as I could. He already left me once; I was not going to let him do it again.

So I ran with him, with his ghost, whatever.

He didn’t seem eager to leave my side as well, because he followed me everywhere I went and hid wherever I chose without comment or question. Of course he wouldn’t say anything. He can’t.

I think our mutual goal was to reach home so without any means of transportation, we headed to the general direction we came from. We skulked inside forests, holed up inside abandoned buildings, half-mad with desperation to get away.

The Reapers always came dangerously close, their numbers confusing me. Sometimes they were innumerable, other times there was only a handful of them. It gave me nightmares every time I closed my eyes. They were clad in long cloak-like garments, their heads covered with a hood or their faces with a mask. Each Reaper wielded a different kind of blade splattered with dried dark liquid which I presumed was blood. I’m not sure and I didn’t stay and chat.

I haven’t eaten since the day before yesterday. I’ve had drops of water, which, of course, was not nearly enough. The cuts and bruises on every exposed part of my body made me want to scratch my skin raw. But I was so, so tired I couldn’t even raise my arms without grimacing. All my strength was reserved for running, running, running. I can’t help feeling that if we stop unguarded for one tiny moment, the Reapers would catch up and take Arias away.

I was famished, dehydrated, cut and bruised, near fainting and almost on the brink of insanity. Heck, maybe I am already insane. Maybe all of these are just hallucinations.

We just sat in that abysmal hole for a long while, and listened to whatever sound was present. I tried not to dwell on the fact that the only breathing we could hear was mine.

Arias took my face into his hands all of a sudden and our eyes met for a fraction of a heartbeat before I looked away. It just hurt too much to look at him and realize how quickly he’d been taken from me. One moment he was waving at me to join him in the water, and then a huge wave swallows him whole. I expected him to resurface, coughing seawater but laughing at the same time. And then he didn’t. His body floated eerily, the image boring a hole into my being.

No goodbyes, no kisses, no words of affection. Not even a warning that my life was about to become a living hell. Nothing.

I squeezed my eyes shut, forcing the tears to stay back, forcing the sleepiness to go away. Come again another day, when we’re safe.

Then we felt them.

The Reapers don’t make any noise when they come—they practically just glide in the air—but the aura they cast from even a distance is unmistakeable. You feel it in your gut—the dread, misery, unhappiness. Every broken promise, shattered dream, crushed temperament, emerges from deep inside you and chokes you until you’re ruined. I know that’s what happened to me.

I was so tired. Surely it would be easier, much less difficult, if we just stayed here. Maybe they wouldn’t find us and move on to chasing some other ghost. The idea was tempting. And I was so tired

Arias stood up all of a sudden, holding out his hand, signalling we should leave while there was still time. Even a slim chance is better than no chance at all, he used to say when he was still alive. I took his hand and we made our way outside.

We didn’t run anymore. We didn’t even look back at the abandoned house, didn’t look behind us to check if the Reapers were already at our heels.

There was a kind of solid resolve in the way we walked through the woods with our hands so tightly entwined. Everything was quiet. And we were going to stay together for as long as we could. Dead or alive.

Just a little up ahead, a clearing came to view. It could be home or it could be someplace else entirely. My heart raced in anticipation.

And then things went bad to worst.

The Reapers, at least five of them, caught up and swarmed at Arias, enclosing his body in an iron embrace. There was no horror in his eyes, only fortitude, as he pushed me to the clearing. The moment that would haunt me for the rest of my life was when he squeezed my hand tightly just before he let go and his face became a portrait of pain.

How could I have thought we’d stand a chance? How could I have possibly imagined we could stay together, given that he already died? That kind of thinking leads to nothing good. I think I’ve always known in the back of my mind that the attempt to run away was vain, but I still tried anyway. I shut my ears from the small voice inside my head telling me I should just let him go.

I only wanted a few more moments, a few more days. And look where it got me.

The Reapers, Arias, everything I cared about, disappeared as I fell to the grass.

No goodbyes. No kisses. No words of affection. Not even a warning that life as I knew it would end. Nothing.

I don’t know how long I stayed there. It must be quite a while though, because next thing I knew, the stars were out. Millions of them.

“Orion,” I rasped, my first word in about seventy-two hours. It was his favourite constellation.

Taking all the time in the world, I crawled under a bush to conceal myself from wild animals.

Tomorrow I would continue searching for home. But tonight I mourn for my brother.


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