Kaden Maxwell's life was going well, he was the schools most popular guy, He had a scholarship in line for track and swimming, not that he needed it with his mom being the top therapist and surgeon in the US.

Everything was going good, until the death of his Girlfriend.

He is thrown into guilt and stranded in the feelings he has and the emotions that he lives with . can he make it?

Kaden Maxwell was the talented one of his family, but then again he was the only child in his family. Kaden was a track star and best high school swimmer in the USA, with big promises in his future. At only 16 he stood at 6’3 with a six pack weighing in at 140, he had the body of an active swimmer and runner. His blonde hair was once short and styled into a fohawk of perfection when he wasn’t in the pool. Now his hair was shoulder length and his hazel eyes, that showed so much kindness and life in them, were now hidden behind his hair to mask the pain he felt.

He was the sweet, out going guy with straight A’s, and everyone liked him, he was friends with all types of students. But that all changed a month ago, when his true love Madison Marie Kingston died in a tragic water skiing accident. He felt to blame, he was the champion swimmer, and he was the one driving that day why couldn’t I save her!Was constantly playing in his mind.No matter how hard he tried he couldn’t get to her, he couldn’t save her, by the time he got her out and to his mom, she had no chance. He watched his whole life come crashing down as she died in his arms on his couch.
Renne Maxwell was voted USA’s best surgeon and therapist for three years in a row. Kaden and His mother used to be really close, he always talked to her about everything, nothing was off limits. But not that night, that night he threw everything in her face, and took his anger out on her, when she couldn’t save her. _Pg1
Every thing seemed perfect about that day, the weather was right, the water temperature was warm. What could have gone wrong? Kaden walked with Madison down the dock hand in hand, the whole time they laughed and joked. They stopped at the boat; Kaden lifted Madison onto the skis and helped her into them, and then turned and started undocking the boat. He jumped in the drivers seat and turned on the ignition
”Ill try to go slow baby, wouldn’t want you to get hurt”he smiled brilliantly at her the smile that brought her so much happiness and peace. Madison chuckled “Alright love, I‘ll try to keep up I’m not so sure though.” She teased”I wouldn’t want to break your skis”
Kaden laughed”Don’t worry love, those are unbreakable.”How he wished he knew just how breakable they were before hand. Kaden pulled out slowly and started out towards the bridge allowing Madison to get used to the current conditions, how choppy the water was, how much to lean and when to straighten, all those things.
“Baby, why don’t you speed up some, I think I got it now.” Madison called over the roar of the engine. Kaden looked back at her and nodded speeding up, he could hear her laughing and having fun so he gently fish tailed the boat which caused Madison to squeal in laughter.
“KADEN!, don’t!”She laughed. He smiled and drove straight again, he glanced back ever so often to check that she was still there.  He smiled and rounded an obstacle; he didn’t know it had ramps. But Madison took them like a pro.“Do you really think I would have come out here if I didn’t know how to water ski?” She giggled_ Pg 2 
“OH!, you little trickster!” Kaden laughed and turned the boat so she got splashed. They docked and ate lunch. He chased her around a tree trying to get his sandwich back and ended up tackling her softly to get it. They went back in the water; the day went so right, they were going for one more run to end the perfect day.
They never saw the faulty ramp that had metal and broken wood on it, or the cement pillar holding it in place. When he finally snapped out of it and got to her she had lost a lot of blood, he picked her up and got to the boat. He raced to shore, and didn’t even think twice about running with her after all they had walked. He ran all the way to his house.
Kaden slid into the kitchen and slammed into things “MOM!” he screamed in tears, Renne Ran down the stairs “Kaden what’s the……. Oh My God.” She said “Get Her on the couch!” she ran to get her stuff and a lot of blood packets and started hooking them up to her” Kaden I have to stop the bleeding before we can take her to the hospital” 
Kaden held her close and watched as his mom worked on her. Madison Was so cold in his arms, he remembered trying to wrap her up in blankets as his mom worked on her chest and leg. “Kaden I love you” Madison said “call my parents.”
“Hang in there Sweetie, Just hang in there.”“Maddie, stay with us” he said in tears and looked at his mom  “WHY ARE YOU STOPPING!” he yelled Renne looked up in tears her self both her and Kaden were covered in Madison blood“Son….”“NO!” he yelled” BEST SURGEON?!?!? MORE LIKE BEST GRIM REAPER! AND YOU CALL YOURSELF A DOCTOR!” He screamed at her trying to wake Madison._Pg 3
”Maddie, please Wake up MADDIE I NEED YOU!” He slapped at her face and shook her lifeless body. Renne stood up and grabbed her son by the waist and pulled him into a tight hold and hugged him kissing his cheek
”Shh , Kaden there’s nothing We can do son, Even if you would of taken her to the hospital , she would of died , she lost to much blood ,I went through half my supply for her, her body was pumping it out as fast as I could put it in she’s gone , Kaden.”
He kicked at the air and finally got free and clung to Madison’s body” WHY COULDN’T I SAVE HER? , I SHOULD HAVE SEEN IT COMING! I SHOULD HAVE BEEN ABLE TO SAVE HER!”He yelled.
Kaden shook his head and rubbed the tears out of his eyes, He was so not going there! He couldn’t, not right now he had homework. He was sitting at his desk going over his homework; his eyes had been growing heavy and tired. He cursed himself for letting himself go back to that day in his head, if only for a few minutes.
He still hated being vulnerable like that. Kaden was never really afraid of anything, but now just the mention of sleep made him go insane and paranoid with fear and pain. He dreaded sleep itself. 
Something that used to be so peaceful now turned into an unmerciful monster, with two wants and two wants only, pain and destruction. Consumed by greed and power, nothing got in its way. No super hero could save Kaden, once he was in the monsters world again._ Pg 4
 
 
Every time he closed his eyes, he was forced to relive the day Madison died. The only way of escaping was when someone woke him up; usually when he woke up he was soaked with water and Madison’s blood. His mother towered over him frantically searching for the blood source, Alarmed by his screams and pleas for someone to hang in there, he was coming, Although he never talked about it, she knew it was about Madison. As to the blood, she was convinced it was the cat bringing mice and gophers in again.
His dream world was the worst of all, of that he was certain. He felt trapped in his dreams running from room to room opening door after door, each room filled with what he hated most. Spiders; always lots and lots of spiders and snakes. He thought it was so stupid, but he couldn’t stop it, he had to go through all these only to fall into a boat, and be forced to save Madison again and again, without any hope of ever being with her again. Not only was he trapped in his dreams, he felt the pain and everything he did, as If he was awake, and this always confused him.  He couldn’t help but wonder if God was punishing him for her death.
He sat up, walked over to his computer desk, and sat at it turning on the monitor. He had read something about ghosts. And thought maybe that would give him the escape that he wanted, if you’re a ghost, you don’t dream. But then also he would be dead. He bit his lip wondering if he should just talk about it but he couldn’t. He needed an escape, if death was it, then he was taking it. Kaden sat browsing the internet for the proof of ghosts, something he could do to bring her back, or relieve his own pain, something to bring him freedom and peace._ Pg 5
 
Anything he was desperate and then he found it, an out of body experience, to say your last goodbyes to your love one that had passed. As he read this memories of his father swarmed through his head.
Jesse had been dead for three years now. Once a decorated Police officer, the best in the field, some would say. Was now sitting up on the mantle in a vase, all thanks to his partner who betrayed him in a shootout and got him killed.He hissed as he scanned over the article “I don’t want to say goodbye to Madison, I want to be with her!” he yelled and pushed his finger on the on/off switch, and jabbed at it with fury and the screen went black. He didn’t even bother shutting off the tower.
He stood walking over to his bed and stood on it. He leaned up on the shelf above his bed, grabbing a book he plopped down and opened it. As he was reading his latest poem, Jaden his mother’s second husband and best friend pulled up in the driveway, immediately Kaden tensed. Sure his mother thought that Jaden was so sweet and loving, but in reality when she wasn’t around that is. He was just a mean and abusive doctor, that had a habit of hit now ask later, which Kaden hid well from his mother.
He stood up, slammed the door shut, and pushed his dresser in front of the door. He grumbled “I already have enough bruises, no thanks” he hated being alone with Jaden Hallowell. He turned and jumped back on his bed, turning on his mp3 player. In hopes of escaping his step fathers yells. “KADEN GET DOWN HERE AND DO THE DISHES OR ILL COME UP THERE WITH MY BELT!” Jaden yelled from the bottom of the stairs. He turned up the volume and slipped into his nightmare world._ Pg 6
Kaden tossed and turned whimpering lightly. He didn’t want to go back to the horrid dream realm, but sleep soon took over and the torture started. Kaden landed with a hard thud, onto that most hated checker board floor. In this world, he felt like a helpless pawn, in the chessboard of the nightmare king. A helpless puppet forced to his masters will. A loud silence filled the room, it seemed peaceful. But Kaden knew all too well from experience. The nightmare had only just begun.
He looked around and bent his legs watching the floor carefully, ready for it to give out, waiting for the running to start. A Strange filling rippling the floor, Kaden felt like he was standing on waves, this was strange even here. Push! Pull! Launch! Bump! The movement went making Kaden slam forward, back, sideways, and then up. He groaned landing on his back, He jumped up, his breath was quite but his heart pounded against his chest.
One by one, row by row the checker board squares began to fall. He ran shifting his weight from foot to foot. He ran jumping from square to square each square he jumped on sent him further down, making him fill like he would fall. He looked up and jumped at a door, grabbing the handle he flung it open and fell forward landing on his face.
He put his hands out and felt something hairy and round, his eyes went wide, it was moving. “AH!!!!!” He yelled and jumped up “SPPPIDERS!!” They were huge, hairy and evil looking and they were crawling all over him, as if he was their next meal.He started shaking them off and slamming them into walls, the ones that hit the floor he started stomping on “I HATE SPIDERS!” He would scream with each stomp. He kept this up, until a path was clear to the next door, which he knew if spiders were in this room, Snakes awaited him in the next. _ Pg7
Kaden opened the door and turned on the switch. He groaned “great it’s back to the monkey bars, ropes and snake pits” He looked around, he hated it when it was like this. There were monkey bars and ropes in front of him. He would have to climb across the monkey bars and then up a rope to the top platform where he would have to climb and swing a 200 foot long monkey bar to get to the next door. “God why do I have to love challenges” He muttered looking down at the snakes under the monkey bars and the ones on the monkey bars.
He groaned and took off his shirt and jumped up grabbing the monkey bars. His grip tightened as he got use to it and he started to swing across it keeping his legs tucks so he wouldn’t piss off any snakes, if he happened to accidently kick one. He looked down there were thousands of snakes all different species. “Maybe this fits, if I fall in to the pit, I know I die. But is it a harsh enough punishment... no Maddie drowned. I won’t wimp out and take an easy death, by falling prey to these hungry predators.”
 He kept moving and jumped for the rope but slipped, he grabbed the edge of the monkey bars and swung just in time, to miss getting bit by a rattle snake and wrapped his legs around the rope, and groaned “spiders better not be at the top again or I will freak.”He said and moved his hands up and started the climb, he held his breath as the rope swung back and forth from the movements he was making. ”oh god please don’t snap” He prayed. As he reached the top, he looked around for any spiders that may be hidden, he set his hands down and pushed up and slid up onto the platform. He walked cautiously towards the last set of the monkey bars; he was not looking forward to this at all. He set his hands on the bars, as something wrapped around his foot, it was a king cobra. His heart stopped. “This is it, I’m going to die.” He closed his eyes and looked back down; relief filled him as it slithered away after a mouse. _ Pg8
Kaden groaned and wiped his sweaty palms off on his shorts and jumped gripping the bars. He started to swing from bar to bar, He watched in front of him and under him at all times. “Come on Kaden you can do” he muttered over and over as his arms tired out “only 170 feet to go.” He reminded him self and stopped to rest; he pulled himself up on the bars and for the first time looked up.”EW” He yelled as, he saw spider’s eggs hanging in web cocoons from the ceiling, he looked the whole length “Well at least I won’t have to touch them.” He said under his breath, they were all over the whole length of the ceiling, he wondered where, the mother... or mothers were.
He didn’t want to think about it as he swung back down; He wanted to get out as soon as possible. Kaden started swinging again, when he a heard hissing sound above him. He looked up and went white “OH COME ON!” he yelled as he saw a Huge spider, and cursed himself for watching eight legged freaks this morning. Kaden moved faster but the spider jumped onto the bars, Kaden went wide eyed as he was almost thrown from the impact.
He jumped up and started running across it hoping his feet wouldn’t slip through the holes as he ran, or into the snake pit it would be for him. He knew what the spider wanted, soon her young would hatch, and she would have to feed every single one and he would do just fine. He cursed running faster he wondered if he was even as appetizing as that damn spider thought , the way she was looking at him gave him the impression she hadn’t eaten in awhile. He ran faster but she was gaining on him. God how he wished he would just fall. He grabbed a loose pole as the spider clamped onto his legs and pulled him towards her, he swung it at her and stabbed it in her stomach and almost puked, as her guts spilled over his legs, he kicked her off, and stood up running he jumped and climbed up the rope, he flung open and looked down at Madison “here we go again.”  _Pg 9
“HELP KADEN!” Madison screamed going under from the force of the waves and jumping back up “IT HURTS!!!!! “
Kaden jumped into the water “MADISON HANG ON IM COMING!” He dove into water and swam against the current with fury. He used every once of will power and muscle in his body to get to her. The waves hit him in the face and he swallowed gallons of it as he begged for her to hold in there, “I’m almost there maddie keep fighting!” 
The water was salty but he could taste blood in it, the waves were no longer calming blue, but a terrifying red, blood red. The smell of it hit his nose; it smelled sweet and rusty at the same time. He tried to ignore the blood in the water, his mouth and nose, her blood. He couldn’t let it distract him. He could tell she was already losing a lot of blood.
Madison hung onto the ramp as pain shot through her lower leg all the way up to her stomach “KJ” she whined “its hurts.” “Help me.” Kaden winced he hated hearing the pain in her voice, as she said KJ which was short for Kaden James. , his fathers middle name. He looked at her “I’m coming!” “Don’t worry ill be there.”
“Just hang in there maddie keep holding your head up” Kaden almost didn’t want to do anything , he wanted to swim away, he knew this wasn’t real, He wouldn’t win , she would still die and he would waking up crying like a little baby, and have to listen to Jaden yelling at him for making so much noise.
Kaden swam faster and got a hold of her. Swimming with fury as she clung to his back with what little strength she had left. He reached the shore and started running when something hit him on the head, he fell to his knees, nothing like this had ever happened in his dream world. He froze was it a new obstacle? He wondered and went to stand but was blinded by light._ Pg10
Kaden jumped up out of his dream, soaking wet and rubbed his head. As he did this a picture frame fell and hit him in the head, he cursed grabbing it roughly and looked down at the picture frame that was now lying on his chest. He saw a book on his bed and looked up at his shelf; he must have been kicking and thrashing in his sleep. Well at least now he knew what hit him in the head. Angry tears began to fall the instant he saw whose face was in the frame. He stroked it with his finger and thumb. Anger flooded through him and he got to his knees.
“DAMN IT MADISON I TOLD YOU TO HOLD ON! TO STAY WITH ME!!! WHY DID YOU LEAVE!!! IM NOT LEAVING UNTIL YOU COME BACK TO ME RIGHT NOW!!” He yelled, he sat in silence for several minutes before he broke. He threw the books off his bed which smacked into his wall; he watched his ghost stories fall to the floor “WHY COULD’NT I BE A GHOST!” 
He groaned out loud still yelling, he started punching at his mattress wanting the pain to go away, and push away the idiotic ideas that maybe if he was killed, he would be free, and see her again. He kept it up with a fury until, there was a loud pop that sounded the room , instantly pain flooded through his fingers all the way up to his elbow. He hissed as he looked at the broken hand he now held, and threw the Frame that broke his hand.
He jumped when his mother slid in through his window, letting out a startled cry as the frame nearly hit her in the head “kaden! Why is there a dresser in front of you door?!?! I’ve been trying to call you for 20 minutes!” Renne said and alarm filled her as she saw him doubled over holding his hand, she rushed to his sons side “what did you do this time “she asked with a sigh and took his hand in hers and he yelped” ow mom don’t!” _ Pg11
She sighed and pulled an ice pack out of her pocket and set it on his arm and handed him a wrap “wrap it ill be right back. DON’T MOVE” she order as she pushed away the desk with her hip and opened the door shutting it she walked down the hall and to her office to get casting supplies and her bag, she wanted to check him out, he had been acting strange for far too long.
Groaning Kaden wrapped his hand and sat on his desk, He looked up and thought at first he was seeing things as “Madison “ Floated through the air towards him , grabbing at his towel and disappearing with it. Was he having another nightmare? He wondered and paused, would he suddenly be thrown into the ocean with out a second glance. This wasn’t right, there was no way this was a dream, he knew his never ending dream far to well, there were no new chapters, this was real.
He shook his head and blinked “WAIT!” He cried running after. He followed the towel to the pool “MADISON! COME BACK! MADISON!!!! PLEASE! I LOVE YOU!” He saw the towel floating above the Diving board and flew at it. He ran down the path but it was wet, slipping and sliding on the smooth marble surface, his feet gave out and he hit his head on the diving board and saw stars. 
It took him several minutes to register what was happening, he blinked and saw the towel in the water and felt something warm flowing down his head and now bare back. Forgetting the warm sensation, he slid into the pool and grabbed the towel. But the feeling was over whelming, he sank lower into the pool letting the coldness of the water take away his pain. He stayed under water not even bothering to swim, closing his eyes the feeling consumed him._ Pg12
Renne walked back down the hall with all her stuff”Kaden , I only have black and green casting material, so I guess it’s a good thing you love green” she pushed open the door and walked over to the window “Where in the world did that boy go…….. KADEN!” she yelled pushing open the window “KADEN!” she yelled “I TOLD YOU TO…..” OH my god” she saw the blood on the diving board and started kicking off everything and slid off the roof running over to her son.
Kadens vision and breathing started to fail, he didn’t hear his mother yell in horror at the scene, nor did he hear her jump in the pool. He felt a tight grip around his waist and felt the franticness in it. But all he felt was peace, He saw nothing but Darkness.
Renne bent in front of him starting CPR , with her skilled hands and stopping the bleeding . He was breathing again but he couldn’t hear her saying his name , or telling him to hang in. “Kaden hang in there son, the ambulance is on the way.” 
He had slipped into a sleep, He didn’t know it yet , but this time, there would be no nightmare, just peace. He laid there out cold as they lifted him onto a stretcher and loaded him into the ambulance fussing around him with an IV and heart monitor patches on his chest. Renne held a tight grip on his hand, hoping and praying for him to hang on.
The nurses fussed around as they reached the hospital and wheeled him away down the hall as renne , hurried after grabbing her cell phone to call Jaden and let him know what was up, he had left shortly after she got home for work._ Pg13
 
A bright light flashed , with an annoying brightness , causing Kaden to groan “Mother, I’m tired five more minutes” he grumbled. “Kaden… open your eyes, stand up.” He grumbled “FIVE MORE MINUTES!” He said and squeezed his eyes shut , the light just got brighter and brighter until it felt like it was coming out of his eyes.”TURN OFF THE LIGHT!”. He growled and sat up going to throw the pillow at the source, but his hand slipped through It., his other still on his chest.
Kaden jumped up and started feeling his body. Was he dreaming again? The checker board floor was there, when was it going to fall? He wondered “IM UP! IM UP!” he yelled with a hiss shielding his face from the light, he looked down and saw his body in the bed, “okay kaden you hit your head a little to hard, and your having a reaction to the medication… yea that’s it.” He muttered to himself . He looked up “What…. Mom?” he asked, she was sitting at his side reading a book to him his favorite “Mom, How hard did I hit my head? When can I go home?”
“Mom? I’m right here hello?” He asked waving his hand in front of her but nothing happened. “Mom, I’m right here.. Stop playing.” He said and groaned”oh I see it’s because I didn’t listen to you and I left my room. IM sorry!” He leaned to push her lightly to snap her out of it , but fell through her and hit the cold ground with a grunt. “What the?” He said as he sat in awe 
“What’s happening to me? , why can’t she hear me or see me WHY can’t I touch Things?” “AH HA!” He said “”okay, Jaden poisoned my soda and I’m suffering the side effects before death..” A figure came into view “No love, you are not dreaming, and you were not poisoned, you are in the spirit world.” Kaden whipped his head around “Wait…. What …… who is that…… I know that voice MADISON!” he said and jumped up running towards her voice._ Pg 14
Madison stood in a white robe with her brilliant smile and her green eyes looking into his hazel. “Heya love.” She smiled softly at him. “I can’t believe this I must be dreaming!” he said and looked at her “But how.” Madison arched her brow”Love,you read about it on your computer, just hours ago Kaden now come on.”
He looked at her in shock “it was nothing… this cant be” he said ‘I’m a ….. You’re a ghost? WE are ghosts?” he asked “how…… for how long?” he asked again “Until you’re ready to move on.” Madison said softly. And took his hand and they glided through a tunnel , a feeling of peace and safety flowed through him as they passed through the tunnel. They stopped in a meadow, it was so peaceful and beautiful.
They sat and talked for what seemed like hours “Madison I don’t ever want to go back” he whispered into her hair, as he held her close taking in her scent. She chuckled softly “love” she whispered in his ear “You have to let me go love.” “It’s been two months.” He snapped his eyes opened “NO IT HAS NOT. IT’S BEEN FOUR HOURS!” he said pointing at his watch.
She kissed his nose and said “Not up here, each hour is a week love.” She whispered “close your eyes” He hesitated but did at last. “Kaden you have to move on find peace.” She whispered in his ear “It wasn’t your fault or your mom’s fault” “It was an accident. Talk to her again love , be kaden again…. You’re not at fault.”
 She whispered softer into his ear as she stroked his cheek  “Madison I don’t ever want to forget you , I love you you’re the one.” He said in tears but kept his eyes shut. “Its okay love, make someone happy like you did me.” “Fine someone else Kaden, Share the real you.” She whispered. He looked at her as tears poured down his face “Ghosts cry?” “Only when in true pain” She explained. _Pg 15
He pulled her close “Wait, I want to kiss you” He said. She looked at him “then do it “ she whispered, he leaned into her ,kissing her with passion and love , their foreheads touched as her arms wrapped around his neck. He took a deep breath “I love you Madison Marie Kingston” He whispered “And I you Kaden James Maxwell.” He closed her eyes and her lips touched against his once again, for the first time in a long time , he felt warmness fill his heart. “Don’t worry love the nightmares will pass.” He whimpered and didn’t want to ever let go.
She felt further and further away, He opened his eyes and saw himself lowering to the ground. Looking over his shoulder he saw his father and Madison standing there hand and hand.
“Son, I’m proud you and always have been” his father said before floating up towards the sky and disappearing. Madison’s hand found Kaden’s and squeezed it softly and smiled. At last she was free, finally after one long month they would find peace.
 She kissed his lips one last time. He kissed her back and whispered “I will always love you maddie.” “As will I , Find peace love , I’ll always be in your heart.” She said in return and with one final smile and one last goodbye , he stepped back into his body and his eyes fluttered open. 
Renne looked up from her book and it dropped to the ground. “Thank god.” She said Jumping up and lying at her son’s side after, checking all the charts “it’s been a month.” She kissed his forehead , he smiled and closed his eyes and said “I love you mom” For the first time since Madison’s death,
She looked at him with shock but held his hand softly.”I love you to baby.” She whispered stroking his hair. Kaden laid his head back, finally at peace; he slipped into a restful sleep._ Pg 16 The End
Italics are for flash backs, or the nightmares- authors note


Submitted: March 14, 2010

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