I felt her fingers dripping wet, and I spun around in her mind, trying to keep focused while her body gave up on her.
“Anni Bay, focus.” I tried to speak, but my voice was still weak. I heard her own thoughts drown me out. I sifted through them, looking for hints on what was going on.
I deserve this. All of it. So do they. No they don’t. Stop thinking, Anni. It’ll be over soon.
I couldn’t believe it. This was going to be it for both of us forever if I couldn’t open her eyes.
“Anni, please, hear me.”
I heard her whimper, he thoughts going quiet. That was either a good thing, or a really, really bad thing.
“Open your eyes, Anni.”
And she did. I’ll keep the bloody scene away from your mind’s eye, but it was worse than you can imagine.
“Okay, go to the bathroom.”
I could feel the blood rushing from her legs, them turning numb and cold. I tried to make her take a step, but she just slumped onto the edge of her bed, letting the copper liquid flow steadily off her lap and onto her flowery sheets. Her tears diluted the blood where it dripped. He was hopeless, and I nearly was too.
When you are dying, you’ll notice that hope is your last thought. I mean, it’s only instinctive to think about what will happen after you, of course.
So you’ll either think about maybe surviving, which is unlikely, unless you’re brought back or something.
Or you’ll think about people you love, that you’re leaving behind. That would be lovely, although it sounds macabre. The great thing about that is you have hope for something that there actually could be hope in.
And fun fact, think of anyone at all, and you should know that hope will come back to them. So this kind of hope is kind of fool-proof.
Or maybe you’ll be hopeless, like Anni Bay was at that second.
Me? I’ve died many times over. This one was hopeless, most of my other ones were the first- “I bet this is temporary”- thing, and my original death was too. Yes, I’ve always been selfish. In fact I’ve only had the second- “what about the others?”- death once, but that’s an anecdote for another time.
But, wait, did I say we just died right then? Because we didn’t.
“Anni, please get up. Just tell me what’s wrong.”
I heard her murmuring to herself outloud, and she just kept saying the same thing, “I tried so hard, I tried so hard.”
“So why stop trying?”
She laughed a little, and shook her head, the tears pumping out at this stage and the blood slowing.
All of a sudden I couldn’t see anything, and I felt her heart slow, although the adrenaline was coursing through her corrupt veins.
“Oh no. Anni, please be safe. Be okay. Be alive. Keep bloody trying, I’m serious.”
She finally listened, and I felt her shakily tuck her hair behind her ears, and her try to rise and stand on weak legs.
Why? Why bother try? She whispered in her mind.
“Because…” I was never good at this answer. Passing on genetics? Mass reproduction? How am I supposed to know? “Because if you’re dead, that’s it. You need to live to prove your worth.”
What if I’m not worth anything?
I mentally bit my lip. This chick was going to bleed me dry, wasn’t she?
“Then make yourself worth it, Anni.”
She thought about that to herself, before nodding and opening her eyes. She let go of herself long enough for me to walk her to the bathroom.
We grunted as I shuffled her down the carpeted hall in search of a toilet somewhere in the two-story house.
It was a struggle, especially holding the weight of her heavy mind when she’d already made me so weak, but I was glad that I had the time to find bandages and alcohol.
I have to admit, I smiled when I saw that they were already laid out on the sink, like she knew this wasn’t the day for her.
Maybe she wasn’t hopeless after all.
I let Anni take back over after I’d mopped her up, and she flopped on the bed, still wearing her blood stained clothes.
“Turn around, let me see you.” Sounding like a mother usually got the job done, and sure enough, she shuffled onto her back and let me look around the room.
I finally saw what all the colour was about.
Pinks, blues, yellows and greens streaked the walls, and there were old raggedy toys lying over every square inch. Pens, papers and books were strewn across the room too, less important school text books on the floor, more important sentimental books on shelves.
I looked down to her dress and she lifted out for me to see. It was covered in yellow flowers and was dripping red.
She sighed to herself and let it drop back down. We shuddered as it clung to her knees.
“You should get up.” I said.
“I should get up.” She said back. She was apparently unaware of me being a separate person.
Good, nine times out of ten if you realised they weren’t your original thoughts you ended up in a mental asylum. We only think what we want to, so it made sense that she couldn’t distinguish my voice from hers.
“Are you going to?”
She shrugged, and turned onto her back, burying her face in a pile of cushions.
“Are you always going to be this lazy?”
I felt her throat clamp up when I said that. I thought about comforting her, but I was too tired at that moment, so I decided to let her cry.
After a while it got dark, and she decided to get up. I let her free-roam, and I watched to see what had to be done to keep her alive. I did get a bit of training in how to save lives, but it had been hundreds of years since the last workshop I’d half-assed through, so I tried hard to remember.
She walked over to the lamp on her desk and pushed some toys and books out of the way to get at switch. A bird plushy, to be more specific, beside an open bird watching book and piles of papers with bird-related things on them. She was a strange girl alright.
When the light went on she pulled at the bandages on her wrists, but when we hissed at the pain, she let her cuts be. I didn’t notice many other scars, the other ones being well-faded, which was pretty fortunate for the two of us.
I nearly broke down in joy when I heard her check her vital signs. Not hungry, not thirsty, didn’t need the bathroom. That was a rare thing, to want to die but want to stay safe. Maybe she was going to really be okay. I couldn’t believe it.
She decided she was just tired, and looked at the calendar. It was Saturday, and October, which meant Halloween and, even my birthday.
You always need to remember the date, and important things that happened or will happen. Good to have goals, basically.
She started undoing her dress and pulling it off, which was something you probably have thought about already.
Yes, it is as awkward as you can possibly imagine. I had no idea how old this chick was, and even if it was legal I could be her ten times over great-grandfather. How gross would that be?
So I tried to turn her eyes away, but the weirdest thing happened.
She looked away first.
No mirrors, no peaking- just clothes off, clothes on.
I get body shame and everything, but why stare at your blank roof than yourself?
Not complaining, obviously, but weird all the same.
“Why don’t you look at your own skin, Anni? You’re a teenage girl, I thought kids these days were all about vanity and selfies and whatever.”
She didn’t laugh at my attempt to be wise-cracking, but instead she very quickly pulled on fluffy pajama bottoms, a t-shirt and a cardigan that covered her fingers, and slipped under her duvet, before sighing, standing up again, flipping the blanket so the bloody side was down, and crawling back between the sheets.
Now, let me explain another thing. Sleeping is just a shut off to recover yourself if you didn’t know, so people need to recover themselves, so we all sleep differently. Pretty simple. But since there were two people actually living inside Anni Bay, we usually would, under those circumstances, fall asleep differently.
It’s a good way of making sure us Saviours (or whatever we are) aren’t too spent up while trying to save someone hopeless. For example, this one boy in a war-infested country was so tiring to try and save, I had accidently fallen asleep on him and woken up outside his body. That’s one of my few regrets, actually, but I’ll talk about regrets later.
Sometimes I’ll have to lie awake if they’re too tired to go on. I’ll just have to watch their soul be peaceful as time rolls on.
Sometimes it’s nice. It’s the only way some people find peace, which is sort of an oxymoron, since I’m trying to stop the long sleep, but letting people be happy when they’re more or less brain dead.
But the big difference is their only happy when their asleep because they’re thinking of all the things they could be. Once you're dead, you don’t get to live in that moment again and go find peace, you’re just more lost than anything else.
People find peace when they’re asleep because they love being in their own heads, and they think that’s temporary, when really it’s just the way you should always let yourself be.
But this night I hadn’t slept in a long time, because unless you have a body you’re more or less always up. And it had been emotionally wrecking, so I drifted off. Anni had never done something so bad to herself before. She usually cared so much, about everything and anything. So what had broke her tonight?
She didn’t want to think. Just rest. Just be in her own head.
So we drifted off, letting our minds be alone, but together.
And I heard her thoughts whisper to me lines of poetry,
Tomorrow looks like sunshine,
Tomorrow looks like rain.
I’m far too scared to drift off,
And yet I want to rise again.