How to Save a life

What happens with wounds that never truly heal? and all those scars on top of others that just wont let you breath?
Is it possible to save someone you don´t really understand?


1. How to Save a Life

Chapter 1

"We think he was kidnapped when he was 10, and he hasn't talked since his rescue. We don't know his name, so we can't locate his family; he's all alone Ems" my dad said as we walked through the halls of the horrible, cold and deserted social services building in Michigan. Many good things happened in this building, don't get me wrong. But for some reason there was always a creepy feeling to it that I just couldn't shake off.

"How old is he again?" I asked dad.

"Your age. He was abused for 6 years until one day he found the courage to run away, I wish we could find the bastard who hurt him but he won´t speak to anyone" dad said frustrated.

He was very passionate about his job and helping people. Apparently he had been the one to rescue the boy, so he seemed somehow attached to him.

"There he is" dad said quietly gesturing towards a window with his head. For a moment I was confused, the room seemed inhabited, but after running a second scan I was able to spot a person crawled in a ball pressed towards one corner of the room.

Unsure of what to do next, I looked at my dad. He thought that what this boy needed was to interact with a person his age and so here I was trying to help somehow. The only problem was that I had no experience in treating people with problems, compared with this boy's life, mine had been pathetically easy, how could I comfort him and help him if I didn't understand?

"Just be yourself" dad said giving me a little push on my back.

As soon as I entered the room the boy tensed up, not even bothering to see who had come in but he was already scared to death.

"Okay, be yourself Emma", I thought while taking a deep breath.


"Hello!" I said as cheerfully as I could but he didn't look up. He kept that same awkward position with his head hidden behind his knees and his arms securely wrapped around his legs.

"So, what are you doing?" I asked slowly sitting down in front of him crossing my legs.

He raised his head a little bit and stared at me curiously.

"I'll just sit here with you is that okay?", I asked smiling softly so I wouldn't scare him.

He didn't nod or said anything, just continued to stare at me with a questioning gaze, almost as if trying to figure out what I was.

The state of this boy was horrible, his hair was long and dirty, he was wearing the same cloth he had been rescued with and his skin was muddy and rough. According to my dad he wouldn't let anyone near him so there wasn't much they could do about it.

We stayed sitting in the same positions for two hours, he would stare at me, then look out at the window, then looking at his hands and after that he would start the cycle all over again.

"My name is Emma" I said eventually. He raised his head a little higher and looked at me up and down but again didn't say a word.

I would come to visit him every day at two o'clock and each time it was the same. I started to wonder if he would ever speak at all, and if he did, what would his voice sound like?

In an attempt to encourage him to talk I started filling up the usual silence with my daily experiences. I would tell him about school and my teachers, I would tell him stories about my friends and stuff on TV, eventually his usual guarded state started losing up. Now, every time I came in he would greet me with those curious black eyes and as I kept telling him about my boring day his legs would spread and mirror my sitting positions.

I found myself slowly caring for him, and truly looking forward to my visits, even though he didn't speak at all I knew he was listening and catching every single word I said.

"So the other day I wen't to this amazing pizza place, God it was amazing. It had the perfect amount of cheese! Have you ever tried pizza?" I asked

And to my surprise, this time he didn't just stared at me curiously like all the other times. This time he moved his head from side to side to gesture a "no", I got so exited but at the same time I didn't want to discourage him or scare him off so instead of jumping back and forth I said,

"Well, tomorrow I'll bring a big box so that you can try it out", I stated giving him a big smile, and this time he nodded in response.


The next day I showed up with a big pizza box and as soon as he saw it he smiled for the first time.

"Holly $>%*{+ " I thought as I took my usual spot on the floor and put the box between us.

"Are you ready?" I asked in a loud squeaky voice which seemed to excite him more.

And then I opened the box and took a slice of pizza into my month. But he didn't grab a piece, he just looked at it with his hands wrapped around his body. So, I took a slice and offered it to him, "Come on, I know you want one!" I said moving the pizza from side to side in the air until eventually he took it.

"Thank you" he said in a deep but soft voice. He spoke so quietly I almost didn't hear him, and this time I couldn't contain my excitement. "Oh my God you spoke!" I said happily putting my hands around his face. Forgetting completely that he didn't liked to be touched, but to my surprise he didn't pull away or snapped at me. He just held the same surprised expression I wore on my face. Slowly, he took the slice of pizza and stuffed it in his mouth which made his face bloat because my hands were still on his face.

I rapidly took my hands away and looked at him curiously as he ate. He seemed relaxed for the first time since we'd met, staring at the pizza box in contentment.

"It's nice to finally hear your voice", I said softly afraid to say or do something that would ruin this moment.

But he didn't respond or made any gesture to indicate he had heard me, so I kept going, pushing my luck.

"The first time we met I told you my name"-

"Emma" he said slowly looking into my eyes.

"That's right, but I don't have anything to call you. Will you tell me your name?" I asked hesitantly.

"I- hmm" he said frowning trying to remember.

"Jason", he finally said instantly looking up at me and smiling.

"Well it's nice to finally meet you Jace", I said lovingly, it was amazing how much affection I had developed for this boy in just a couple of weeks.

That day, he spoke about how much he liked pizza and how much he hated the food they gave him here, we talked for hours about meaningless things but it was nice to have him reply to my questions, and seeing him smile made my heart swell with happiness.


“He spoke”, I said while dad and I were having dinner.

“What?” He asked loudly, almost choking with his food.

“Yeah, he told me his name is Jason dad” I said smiling a little. Remembering how shy and quiet he was at first.

“Did you ask him about the kidnapper?” he asked urgently while taking out his phone ready to call his colleagues.  

“No, it´s too soon”, I said in a stern voice frowning at his impatience.

“I guess you´re right… Well honey at least we can start looking for his family”, he said returning to his food.

“But how are you going to do that without a last name?”, I asked confused, there must be at least 100 other Jasons his age just in our town.

“Well, as I said before, we think he was kidnapped when he was 10, so we´ll just start looking at the missing children from 6 years ago, and hope to get a match.”, He said.

I just loved dad´s job, every case was like a puzzle, he was so committed into helping people, and the best part was that he was truly making a difference with each passing day; and to me that was very admirable.


The next day I showed up to Jason´s room with a hair brush and a bottle of shampoo.

This time he wasn´t crawled in one corner of the room but sitting quietly on the bed looking at the window. As soon as I came in, he turned his head in my direction and smiled.

“Hey Jace!!”, I said cheerfully jumping on the bed with him.

“So… guess what we´re doing today!”, I said smiling as he shifted his position to face me.

“I´m washing your hair”, I said gesturing to the bottle of shampoo in my hands. Jason made a disgusted face.

“Oh no mister, we are doing this!”, I said grabbing his nose with my hand and pulling it.

“Why?” he pouted.

“Because you look like a homeless person, and I don´t like it”, I said crossing my arms. We looked at each other for two minutes until he finally said,

“Okay…” stood up from the bed and headed into the bathroom.

An empty bottle of shampoo and two hours later, Jason´s long hair was finally clean. Apparently all the dirt made it look shorted but now after being properly groomed it almost reached his shoulders.

In the past weeks, Jace had definitely put on some weight, his face was a little bit rounder and his dark skin seemed to be gaining a little bit of glow.

“Well aren’t you a handsome guy”, I said as he looked curiously into the mirror of the bathroom. As soon as those words came out of my mouth, his stare turned into complete horror, almost as if he was feeling physical pain.

“What´s wrong?” I asked scared, reaching for his shoulder, but as soon as my hand reached his back, he pulled away as if I had burned him.

He got up from the chair he had been sitting on and ran into the other room.

I stood there stunned, “what did I say?”, I thought as I looked at my own reflection on the mirror.

“Jace?”, I called softly.

He had resumed his previous spot in one corner of the room with his head inside his legs just like when I had found him, but this time he was trembling.

"Jace what did I do?", I asked softly standing in front of him, but he wouldn't answer me, not even make a gesture to show he'd head me.



"I stood there for hours dad", I said putting both of my hands to cover my face.

"Was it something you said?", He asked confused.


"It has to be", I mumbled through my hands.

"So you say that as soon as you said that he was a handsome guy he freaked out and ran out of the room", dad said standing up.

"Yeah, and now he's sitting in one corner of the room, refusing to acknowledge my existence." I said following dad to the outside of Jason's room.

From the wide window we could see him lying there immobile.

"Honey if this is too much for you to handle, then I completely understand", dad said putting a supportive hand on my shoulder.

"No, After all he's been through he doesn't deserve to be given up on", I said entering Jason's room.

"Hi", I said quietly. Sitting in front of him.

 As I looked at his thin arms and the small scars on his skin, proof of the torture, he had endured for many years. I wondered about all the things he had to go through to be here. He was once a small kid with a bright future filled with possibilities, and now 6 years later all that innocence of that small child had been extinguished, leaving behind a damaged boy.

And I wanted to help, but the biggest question still remained; how could I fix someone who was already so broken?


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