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It’s said that as we die, our whole life flashes by us. Well, it’s true. The images swirled around me as I fell through the infinite abyss, feeling both terrified and at ease, if that was possible. Wisps of memories floated through me and I dipped my hand through them, distorting the translucent streams as they liquefied and melted away, drawing myself into the scenes that fluttered in this darkness. They were attached to me by shimmering cords that illuminated my path until they faded into the dark nothingness of space as I plummeted down, my speed slowing as I fell.
Starting from the beginning, I was rewound back to my life as a baby-a cute little girl fidgeting in my mother’s arms, crying softly into the silence as she looked down at me in adoring wonder, clueless to the troubling nights and headaches I would soon cause. That memory slowly faded to black and another replaced it, one of a toothless toddler running around the house in just a diaper, ringlets of blond hair starting to grow on my tiny head, my blue twinkling eyes sparkling in excitement as my father chased me around the house. Slowly, I saw my whole life as a movie, with that small little two-year-old growing older and bigger as time passed, and memories of school and summer flickered through my eyes.
And then I froze when one particular person came up into the movie-him, Lucas. The first time I met him was in kindergarten, a little boy who came up to me on the first day of school and helped me write my name, holding my hand in his as he wrote my name on the huge dotted sheet of paper. He became my best friend, and we were inseparable. We grew up together, there for each other when we needed it: him standing up to a bully who pushed me to the ground, me taking care of his bruise when he got hit by that same bully. In high school, we decided to risk our friendship and take it to the next level-dating. It was awkward since we knew everything there was to know about each other, including our most embarrassing secrets.
And now I was here-back in this miserable nothingness as the last of my memory dissolved into the air, my last bit of sanity gone forever. I accused myself of being so stupid as to trust that stranger and follow him home, in a desperate attempt to cure myself from heartbreak, and I blamed myself for my state now as the last bit of life was draining away from me. It was one moment too late when I realized what he was doing. In a flash I remembered the pain that seemed to light the insides of my body on fire, and then as I seemed to spiral out of my body and float above him as he ran, and the last thing I remembered seeing was the sky, bright and deep like a lapis lazuli, and the white spread sheet of clouds that slid through the air. His taunting face, with a crazed smile of triumph and amusement flickered through my eyes, as I recalled the fear that registered in my mind, never once thinking that somebody that calm and friendly could be capable of killing. So shocked that I didn’t even feel the pain until several seconds after his blade pierced through my skin and my blood trickled down his hand, the sharp intake of my breath the only indication of my suffering. I foolishly mistook him for a harmless guy who could help me get over Lucas, when he was really a maniac killer who preyed on teenage girls. Looks are deceiving, I know that now, but it’s too late now to fix it.
At least the pain stopped. My memory was fading, and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t remember the pain, or anything else. How did I get here? What happened? Where am I? I began to panic, looking around me to find some kind of reminder when I finally stopped falling, suspended in this blackness by an invisible strand –nothing. Helplessly, I called out for someone, anyone-but it was useless. I yelled out in the void, but my own voice echoed through the silence, ringing out through the space, and then coming back to me. My thoughts were slipping away from me with each second that passed, and I desperately hung on to my only lingering memory of him, whispering his name continuously, my mouth shaping into those familiar syllables that have escaped through my voice a countless number of times: Lucas.
I was detached from the world-couldn’t hear or see anything, haunted by my regrets and horrible mistake. But nothing could save me now except a miracle, and I closed my eyes, succumbing to the darkness. If only I had followed my heart and not my mind. If it weren’t for me, this would never have happened.
And then his voice surrounded my world, slicing through me as if I was nothing but a ghost. “Chloe! Chloe! Please wake up!” The memories flooded back into me upon hearing him, and I opened my eyes, frantic and wide-struggling frantically at the deep, musical sound of him worrying over me. But I couldn’t feel him, tears sprouting from my eyes as I made a last attempt to escape, then letting go as I gave up, frustrated. I opened my mouth, trying to say something, anything to reply, wanting to comfort him, but again, nothing came out. I must be hallucinating.
“Chloe! Chloe! Please! Just open your eyes!”
I closed my eyes tightly at the sound of his voice, trying hard to ignore it, refusing to give in to my figments of imagination, but I eventually surrendered, a part of me hoping that Lucas really was there, waiting for me. I lifted my eyelids slowly, expecting nothing else except the solid dark space, but instead finding myself on a field of green, the lavender blue sky the only thing in my view, blinking rapidly at the color contrast from the black darkness I was surrounded with just seconds ago. And leaning over me was Lucas, his familiar emerald irises glistening from his tears, and his face a mask of shock and amazement when I turned to look at him from where I was lying, my hands enveloped in the warmth of his own as he held on to them in his own little prayer.
He took me into his arms, embracing me, brushing my hair away from my face as a means of comforting me when I flinched as the searing pain came back, his fingers returning stained with blood. Wiping them on his jeans, he took out his cell phone and dialed 911, speaking quickly to the operator for an ambulance. Then, as he snapped the phone shut, he gave me a smile of strength and of love.
“It’s gonna be all right," he said. “Trust me, it’s going to be all right.”
And despite the pain, I leaned into his hug, resting my head on his chest, trusting him, as I inhaled his scent of aftershave I was so accustomed to, trusting him on his word that everything would be okay.