Abigail

She is everyone, and no one. She doesn't even have a name, because every day she is in a new life. She doesn't know who she is...or was. All she knows is the pain of these other girls, these living girls, the suffering girls.

She wants to know who she really is...but what will it take to find out?

WARNING: This Movella contains rape, bullying, suicide, abuse, self-harm, and other sensitive elements.

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16. Isabel

The day Isabel Terris found her daughter’s lifeless body was undoubtedly the worst day of her life.

 

It was worse than when she’d been raped by her uncle at six years old.

Worse than when her best friend fell through the lake in the wintertime and didn’t survive.

Worse than when her sister miscarried and nearly died.

 

A mother losing her daughter was the worst thing, and it had happened.

 

“Abi! I’m home, and I picked up some Chinese for us! And a movie!” Isabel placed her grocery bags and her purse on the counter, listening for the familiar sound of her daughter upstairs.

All she heard was the rustling of the bags in front of her.

 

“Abi? You home, hummingbird?” Isabel carefully climbed the steps, wincing at her bad knee. Abi’s door was closed, which had been a common occurrence since Ella’s death. She knocked, listening for the sounds of the girl inside. “Abigail?” She turned the knob, heart beating a bit faster.

 

At first, it just looked like Abi was napping. She was curled up on the bed, face peaceful.

Then Isabel looked closer. There was something else on the bed with the girl, and small white bits scattered along the floor.

 

    Pills.

 

    “Abigail!” Isabel rushed to her daughter’s side. No, no, no! Not Abi, not my sweet Abi! She felt for a pulse, her own heart hammering in her chest.

 

    Please.

 

    Please.

 

    Please!

 

There! A light flutter, just barely noticeable against her fingertips. A heavy sigh of relief. Isabel scrambled to pull her phone from her back pocket and dialed 911 with trembling hands.


 

    

    The days that followed were shaky, blurry, out of focus. Isabel felt like she was sitting on the edge of a cliff, and the wrong gust of wind could send her falling into the raging sea below. Paperwork and theories and questions and predictions swarmed her. The only thing keeping Isabel somewhat stable was the comforting presence of her husband. Tim was equally shaken, but managed to keep himself held together for both of their sakes, and she was so grateful for that.

    

    How could she have been so blind? She knew that Ella’s death had hit Abi hard, but she never thought that her daughter would try to end her life. She almost succeeded, too. The doctors kept telling them that just a few pills and hours more, and Abigail wouldn’t have made it.

    She didn’t want to pressure her daughter through grief. She understood that everyone coped in their own way and their own time. So if Abigail wanted to be left alone, she left her alone. Sometimes she would sit with her daughter and just hold her for a moment, silent. She didn’t barrage her with assurances and grief pamphlets like her own mother had done after Isabel lost her best friend. She just let her grieve.

 

    Was that a mistake? Did Abi feel like her mother didn’t care? Or was the pain just too great no matter what anybody did?


 

    The doctors said that Abi might never wake up. Her body was alive, but her mind had vanished. Her brain wasn’t working. She might as well be dead. They could keep her for another month or so, but eventually...the plug would have to pulled.

 

    No.

    “No. She’s in there, somewhere. I know it.” Isabel felt fury burning through her at the doctor’s words. She felt her husband’s hand on her back, but it did nothing to cool the hot lava in her veins. How dare this man tell her that her daughter was a lost cause!

 

A few weeks passed. The school paper showed up in her inbox, same as every month. The main article was a memorial for Abi.

 

    “Everyone thinks she’s dead.” Isabel said to Tim as they were going to bed. “And...I don’t know if I should correct them. I...don’t want to get everyone’s hopes up.”

 

    “But what if she does wake up?”

 

    “Then I’ll tell them that they were mistaken. But until then, we stay quiet.”

 

    “And if people start asking about a funeral?”

 

    “...I don't know, Tim.”

 

    “Iz...this isn’t a good idea.”

 

    Isabel didn’t answer. She just turned off the light.



 

*  *  *

 

    She was awake! Abi was awake!

“Mom…”

“I’m here, hummingbird. It’s okay, you’re going to be okay. Tim!” Isabel turned and called to her husband, who’d fallen asleep in the corner.

He snorted and jumped awake, eyes wide. “She’s awake?!” He rushed to join his wife by the bed. “Abi?”

Abi’s brown eyes were wide and confused. “I’m...alive?”

“Yes, sweetie, you’re alive, and thank God for that.”

“I...I don’t understand. Everyone...thinks I’m dead…” Abigail closed her eyes, brow furrowing.

Isabel looked at her husband, startled. How could she know that? “Abi, honey…” She stroked her daughter’s hair. Where to start?

“It’s...it’s been a year. Since you overdosed. You went into a coma. Do you remember taking the pills?”

Abi opened her eyes again and nodded. “I...think so. I...I’m sorry.”

 

Isabel felt herself tearing up. “Oh, Abi. Don’t be sorry.”


 

Abi had to be kept at the hospital for a few days for rehab and observation. The doctors told Isabel that they were surprised by how well she was despite being in a self-induced coma for a year. Her mental health was stable, and she easily regained control of her sleepy body. After a week in the hospital, Abigail was released with an order to see a therapist once a week.

Isabel was concerned, though. Abi had nightmares every night, and refused to talk about them. If she told her therapist about the dreams, Isabel had no way of knowing. Sometimes she would find the girl just staring into space, lost in her own thoughts. When Isabel got her attention, Abi would turn and give her mom a small smile.


    What happened to her during that coma? Did she go somewhere?

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