It was three years ago when we had met.
It was a cold, early November. My mother, who had survived my father, had once again fought with my grandmother. Telling her that we wouldn’t be attending Thanksgiving dinner, again.
This fact crushed me.
Thanksgiving had been my favorite of the holidays, for many years. Halloweeen I found myself too terrified or too lonely to go out on my own. After that, Christmas was just a mess every year. Thanksgiving I would get my grandmother and I plates filled with food, so heavy I’d have to tip-toe to not drop them. We’d sneak away into Grandad’s den and watch taped soaps she’d had for years. We’d eat and she’d tell me I’d fall in love someday. Find someone just perfect. Mom would find us and tell me we had to go, due to one of her siblings or her father patronizing her for something. I would give my grandmother a sad smile and then hug her, taking up my half eaten plate and follow my mother to the car.
I couldn't blame my mother though. We are what we are risen to be. She had her moments of redeeming qualities. She could make anything taste good. She was also an amazing pianist. We had a grand piano, a gift from my father before his death. With the promise of a piano, she took lessons that were all but thrust upon her as a child.
But I am rambling..
We weren’t going that year and no matter how much I argued with her about it, how much I wanted to see my grandmother. I found myself storming through the front door and out into the street. It was 9:53pm at night, the light rain began to slide along my scalp and down the back of my neck. Soon enough my hair began to cling to my face as the downpour started.
It was at that time I decided to kill myself.
My mother kept me away from people, always told me no at any chance I'd muster up the courage to ask her for anything. Including seeing people who had chosen me to be friends with, or to enjoy any kind of social activity. The lack of freedom turned into a fear of even going outside. It was amazing how far I got that night.
We lived two miles from the Pacific seashore. It would have taken me twenty minutes to run due to the crossing and curving of many streets. There was a small wooded area just a ways before the ocean, but the worry of bears, snakes, or spiders kept me away. Even if it was faster.
The rain died some when I stepped out onto the beach.
I stared out over the ocean, hoping that if I was going to do this I wouldn't be found. I hoped that sharks would come and devour me after I slipped into death. Or I could get caught in a boats rudder, anything to identify me destroyed. Then I remember that if I had my clothes on my mom would know.
So despite all this anxiety, and the fact that it was less than 40 degrees out, I started to strip, wanting to be an unknown body.
I was shivering, frightened of getting caught, but I knew I had to be alone right?
Rain started to fall again in sheets. I loved it, yet it brought along with it more cold. I was shaking so violently I coaxed my mind further towards the water. Telling myself it'd be warm in there, warm in death.
Death wasn’t going to be warm at all. A shiver ran up my spine as the first wave hit my feet. It drew me in like a weak tiny shell. It was dark, and the entire ocean was black as ink.
Fear and anxiety weren’t going to win me over, I moved along, my feet moving further in the water.
If I could get my entire body wet I wont be as cold.
Justification after justification came, I wanted to be dead, and my will was stronger than my fear. I could only remember all the horrible things my mother would say, all the picking and prodding from my cousins or aunts and uncles.
I was waist deep when a large wave crashed down on me, pushing me over into the water. Its powerful body dragging me down under the current.
It was then I felt something much stronger than a small wave grasp me.
I felt yanked through the air, and the air stolen from my lungs. I could feel the water filling my chest as I tried to fight back. The saltwater stung my eyes as I tried to close them.
My skin raked along coral as I passed and the sand along the ocean floor. The current pulled at all parts of me. I was like a petal in a wind storm. Weak and tossed around like I wasn't even there.
No one knew I was out there, no one knew that I was more than a thousand feet away from shore. The rip currents were always bad around this time of year.
When I finally broke the surface of the water I tried coughing out the water, expelling it from my lungs. But I couldn’t even get more than an inch above it while fighting to breathe. I had no footing, and I knew that this was what even God above wanted. I was drowning because I never learned how to swim.
I needed to die.
I was spat out of the water a little after ten. I was always a good judge of time as I would constantly count minutes alone. My eyes burned from the sand and salt water that slid past my eyelids. Everything was blurred for several moments. There was something, an outline of a person, something above me staring down.
Its eyes were illuminated in the darkness, even though they were so dark in their blue color, they stood out. Like a black light almost. Not bright, but not unseen in the dark. The person looked down at me, their eyes boring down on me. They didn't ask if I was ok, they didn’t say anything. They just stood there, soaked in a black hoody and dark pants, no shoes on their long, thin feet.
After expelling some saltwater, and a mouthful of sand and something gross I came to the realization that I was naked. The feel of the icy November rain and wind stung at my bare skin. I got up, wordless as I went to try to find my clothes, and run away. Another situation where I just want to disappear or drop dead. I nearly tripped over my shoes and started to sob as I pulled on the clothes. Sniffling and holding back screams of resentment for myself as I tried to wipe away the memory that someone saved me, someone cared enough to save me.
I went to my knees and just screamed. I would get home, my mother would have found me gone and screamed at me. I would become ill and draw out my further unemployment. Which would hinder my having to pay my mother for rent and utilities. She would kick me out and I would have to go to a homeless shelter. It would become a cycle of not having the money to get to the job, but not having a job to collect the money. I was barely out of high school, I couldn’t handle all this responsibility yet. My mind wound around and around and I had forgotten about my savior for a moment. Left standing there after my attempt to run away from another situation that was too big for me.
A hand grazed over my back, it was cool and firm. I cried louder, not wanting, but needing the security of assurance. I heard knees hit the sand as the pair of arms wrapped around my shoulders. A stranger, a person, possibly the one who saved me was holding me. They had been the one to save me. The cold and damp feel of material against my sore back felt nice, promising.
I wasn’t going to question how or why.
I was just going to cry until all the thoughts stopped being so important. Until they would melt away as trivial things.
"You are alive.." It said, the voice was soft, barely audible. I couldn't place anything about this person, gender, age, or even where they came from.
I doubted that had mattered, but to me at that time my thoughts and anxieties ruled my life. After seven minutes, I stopped finally and the other pulled away. Pulling on the shirt that had been wet from rain and tears I whispered a “thank you” to the other. Turning my head, I was only met by and empty beach.
I could barely remember it’s voice, the soft tone was barely audible and it felt like something you’d hear in a dream.
Christmas the next year had been the second encounter. I had locked myself in my room the entire day. After the meltdown over wanting to see my grandmother. I couldn’t face my mother. I couldn’t take the face she would make, the scorn in her eyes. She would talk about how she felt betrayed by me, that I would take the family's side instead of hers. While they all had a party and exchanged gifts at my grandmother's house I was alone in my room, my stark and empty room staring off out the open window.
I had alternative ways of killing myself. Getting dragged out by a rip tide and drowned accidentally was probably the most obscure. This time however, with it barely 20 degrees outside I had slipped into my bathroom and taken a cold shower. Then laid on my bed and hoped for pneumonia. For my mom, it was normal if I shut myself away for a few days and only came out when she worked. She didn’t bother me, I didn’t bother her. Untreated pneumonia was probably a good way to go, especially if she didn’t check on me.
Naked again, I hoped that this at least would be easy, and virtually painless. Though I knew that with it came fevers and aches right?
What would happen if my mother found my body? Would she cry over me for hours before calling the police? Would my family disown her or support her through her grief and then secretly resent her? Would anyone miss me? I wasn't popular in school, and I had no real friends. So the amount of people who would say "Oh, this is so tragic" were less than the people who would say "No clue who that was.".
I was shaking violently after only an hour, sixty-four minutes into having my window open, sixty-seven minutes from being in the shower. Nausea started to well up in my stomach as I pressed my face into my pillow. It was Christmas night and here I was hoping to get pneumonia. My mom had to work in the morning so she’d leave without saying goodbye, I hoped at least I’d be dead before she got back.
I closed my eyes several minutes later, I knew I wasn’t in any real danger this soon. I woke a couple times, looking at the clock to see barely 50 minutes had passed. Awaking again at an hour and twenty minutes later, however at 11:40pm, I had pulled an errant blanket over me. I tried to kick it off but my foot knocked against something hard.
My body went stiff as my eyes shot open, wide and I could feel the burn of blood as it began to rush. I was shaking for a new reason now.
I lifted my arm a bit and found it pinned, heavier than normal. How come I was finally noticing that there was something, someone in bed with me. Their arm draped over my ribs haphazardly, the pair of legs that were long, toes that peeked over the foot of my bed.
I wanted to move, to see who it was, my mother? She wouldn’t be this soft around me. She’d never cared before. Maybe she saw me, laid here and worried.
I sat up, devoid of care of whether or not it was going to wake up the other.
It wasn’t my mother, not even close. The height alone was a dead give away. It was them, the person who had saved me once before. The same black and gray hoodie, the dark pants and the lack of shoes.
And then the piercing eyes that slowly opened, the indigo black eyes that shone so brightly despite the dark shade.
I jumped back and fell off my bed, spraining my wrist a little. The pain was less intense than the fright I was experiencing.
Their hand reached down, and pulled me up from the floor. I tried to struggle, but my voice wouldn’t come out.
I was shaking, but it wasn’t the absence of heat.
The pair of hands not mine reached down and grabbed my blanket, and draped it over my shoulders and wrapped me up loosely. “Ok now?” the owner asked.
I was still shaking. “How... did you..”
A gesture to the window, now closed.
I was visibly frightened, shaken from the intruder’s easy access.
“I am sorry,”
I shook my head, I had wondered if that night at the shore, seeing them, had been dream. This could as well have been a dream. “Why... are you here?” I asked, hoping to further more reason, more logic into this questionable dream.
“You called out..”
I shook my head, rejecting the implication.
Their hand moved close again, sliding between the folds of the blanket I kept close to the middle of my chest and over my rushing heart. “You were calling out, from here.” The cool skin brought upon more shivers from me.
The hand fell away and back to it’s owners lap. I couldn’t tell right away who this was, the bit of hair that hung out from the hood was longer, darker in color. But in the dim light of my room it could have been any color.
We sat in silence for another minute and twenty-three seconds before I found something to ask. “Who... are you?”
The other seemed really surprised by my sudden question. After a few seconds the word “Abraxial.” came from the other’s lips.
There was no chance I knew anyone by that name.
Abraxial stared at me after a few moments. I took my time in trying to think of something else to say. My words were caught in my throat, too scared to ask or comment.
I just stared at the mostly shadowed person across from me. Even sitting I had to look up, which was still unfair as Abraxial slouched some with one hand on the bed. Even in the cold, still room I couldn’t hear any breathing except mine.
Before I could redact the question a shake of the head was my answer.
“Ghost?” I shivered out, barely able to even consider it a valid suggestion.
Another slow right to left turn from Abraxial’s head.
“W-what?” My throat tightened, this was probably the most invasive conversation I’ve had in a long while.
“Demon.” Then I could see them, shadowed beyond the other that sat on my bed. Two semi-transparent dark wing shapes, like shadows that hung in the air. They spread from Abraxial’s back, taking up most of the room.
Suddenly I was heavy again, my head swam and my skin numb. My cheek hit the bed spread as I lost sight of everything.