Excerpts from Twenty One: A NaNoWriMo Novel

by Bridgette Jameson 

Screaming. That’s how I woke up this morning, well over three hours before I actually had to be up. In reality that meant I had probably only slept about an hour and would have to be ready to go on stage despite my lack of sleep. As I looked at the clock next to me and noticed it was only just three in the morning I sighed. Endless essays for French and Latin had kept me up until it was nearly two, and even then I had trouble getting myself to dream land.

Blinking the sleep out of my eyes was easier said than done considering I had just reached that perfect point on the scale – at least according to the app on my phone. Another sigh escaped me as I pulled myself from satin sheets and into the connecting bathroom. My face appeared to have gotten at least five shades lighter; almost like I had seen a ghost. And I had. The nightmare that had woken me was about Thomas. Again. My dear, dear friend.

– – –

Trying to smile back at him did more harm than good. Through his now shadowy figure and to the mirror I could see my lips pull into a frown. “I miss you still.” Four words were all I could muster, and they were nothing in comparison to his. “Do you think it’s possible to manifest into a human form, if enough energy were to flow through you?” A million ideas were swirling in my mind. All of them were about how to bring him back. All of them were probably impossible.

His ghostly form made its way to my bed, and he plopped down. There was a slight shift of the sheets, but nothing noticeable to those not watching closely. “What do you mean ‘manifest?'” Thomas always had a curious soul. That was one of my favorite things about him. When he motioned to the other side of my bed I quickly crawled in, making sure to wrap a blanket around my body before I sat closer to him. His once glowing skin was now a pale color drowned out by transparency, but he was just as beautiful as he was in life.

That beautiful smile of his that everyone loved so much vanished as soon as I made the mistake of trying to place my hand over his. My dainty fingers snaked right through his in the literal sense that my hand was inside of his. Looking down all I could feel was shame as I slowly retracted my hand, letting it rest against my leg. “I’m sorry,” my voice was barely a whisper; scratchy and devoid of emotion. “I have just taken notice to strange surges in energy.” When I looked up at him there was a flicker in his eyes that made them look almost real, so I continued. “I’ve been learning a lot about energy and healing. About souls and stuff. For whatever reason you haven’t gone to the astral plane, but you also haven’t reincarnated or whatever is supposed to happen. Your soul, which somehow I knew, was stuck in this form.”

– – –

Immediately after becoming comfortable I felt myself consumed by the same emptiness that was previously there. A void that had come when Thomas had left. He should be here with me, joking and writing songs with me. If there was any glass near me it would have shattered at the scream that burst out of me. Anger washed over me as tears stung my eyes; pillows, cassettes, everything in my reach was thrown across the room in an attempt to calm myself. Except the calm didn’t seem to come back.

Terrible outbursts continued on for at least an hour before I collapsed to my knees and sobbed into the pink sheets of my bed, eyeliner and mascara running down my face and into the threads. No one had seen me act like this and thankfully no one would. Somehow I just couldn’t stop. I hadn’t been able to stop falling, spiraling downward, for three weeks now. Despite being exhausted I just couldn’t stop crying. At this point I wondered if I ever would, because I didn’t just lose my best friend. I lost my future. We had so many things planned out: trips, adventures, projects. Now there was no prospect of that in sight. Being an artist meant I could do these things on my own, or find other friends to do them with. But that didn’t feel right. Nothing felt right these days. I was so happy with my life and so happy with my friendship while my friend was falling apart.

– – –

Somehow there was no way for me to control my emotions, which wasn’t fair to him at all. My words made the crease in his forehead appear. A shaky hand reached out towards his face, tracing the diagonal line that stopped just parallel to the bottom of his eyebrow. If he wasn’t breathing before I didn’t notice until a staggering inhale was taken. His eyes closed as I continued to lightly trace the strong features that made up his face. Even in knowing each other for so many years, I had never stopped to appreciate the outward beauty he held until he was gone. The statement that you never know what you have until you lose it is an extreme understatement.

– – –

Mid-sentence I felt him sit up, so I stopped and sat up too. “Did you feel that, just now?” He looked perplexed but his eyes were as bright as ever. After noticing my raised brows he sat cross-legged across from me. “It was like I could feel your movement in my whole body just now.” He was definitely reading my mind. He had to be. There was no way he could have known such important thoughts of mine twice within such a short time. Sure, we were best friends, but we weren’t telepathy type close until now somehow. Our eyes even widened at the same time.

Somehow it felt like minutes had passed but in reality it was only seconds. Seconds without any breath or movement. My heart was completely stopped, or beating slow and shallow enough that I couldn’t feel it. Twin flames?

– – –

Words floated from phone line to phone line between my sad sobs while I explained that I didn’t want to kill myself. One of the hardest parts of my day was giving in to the number on the pamphlet I had been given just a few hours earlier. That empty feeling inside of me swelled until it felt almost impossible to ignore when I thought of calling; it made the events of my day feel real when I so desperately wanted them to be anything but. Before I knew it my small fingers were pressing the even smaller buttons in the order that appeared before my eyes.

“I just don’t know what to do anymore,” I breathed. “And I feel like I have no one to talk to.” Worse is that feeling of being alone has been with me for a long time now. Some would say having such a strong feeling for so long was a foreshadowing of everything that was happening, but my life wasn’t some lame adaptation of a famous book and I wasn’t a strong character that could overcome something like this. Not alone. All through my life I had never expected every single person who cared about me to leave. At least not at a time like this. Not after losing him. Wasn’t this the time friends were supposed to be crawling out of the woodwork with sudden love for us, vying for the position of most helpful or sweetest friend? That’s how it had always seemed in the media, but I guess that just isn’t how the real world got on. After five minutes the only words I was able to express were about how I didn’t know what to do. With everything swirling in my mind, how was that all I had to say?

“Breathe,” said the calming voice of the hotline worker. “Then tell me what’s on your mind.” But I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t even gather my thoughts properly. If I could, I certainly wouldn’t be calling this number.

The events of the day replayed in my head at least a dozen times since I had pressed the call button yet a full sentence had not passed my lips. “He’s gone,” my voice was nearly a wail. “Called me to say that I had always been his greatest friend before he drove over the cliff.” I knew that the person I was talking to couldn’t hear it, but I could. The sound of the crash – the sickening crunching and screeching. It was so loud. “And I didn’t even get to say goodbye.” Before I knew it the tears were flowing again, silent and almost undetectable.

Bridgette Jameson (Bridgette Annalyse) is a young Choctaw living in sunny Love Angeles. As an interdisciplinary artist Bridgette has had her fair share of acting, writing, photography, and other disciplines without formal training. She’s currently an editor of and contributor to The Pulp Zine. For collaborations, social media links, and any other inquiries you may contact her at her personal email:bridgetteannalyse@gmail.com

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