The Death Of Me

I Have The Best Girlfriend EVER

Somehow, I recall being able to hear Annabeth's horrified scream as the creature chomped down and took off my head.

She must have been watching me this whole time, I somehow managed to still think during all of this. But of course she was. She'd told me not to go. She'd said something about this wasn't right. But I ignored her. I can't believe I actually ignored her. Note to self, I thought, never ever ever doubt Annabeth again. Next time I'll-

Then that train of thought was cut, but by me this time, not the hellhound. How was I still thinking? I was definitely dead now. That was clearly my head being masticated (another Annabeth vocabulary term; not the gross word it sounds like: yeah, you know the one I mean) in the hellhound's mouth. There was no mistaking that jet black mop of hair that I'd seen nearly every day of my life.

But that didn't explain what was going on here. I was dead. But at the same time, I wasn't. I looked down at myself. Yep, my body was still there, just as intact as ever. My hands were still mine, my clothes were still on me, this was my body.

But how could it be? My body couldn't be here. My body, my poor mangled body, was lying right over there on the sidewalk. And there was a girl running towards it. A blond girl, her entire face contorted into one of terror. Her curly hair flew behind her as she raced down the sidewalk, her grey eyes holding more fear than I'd ever known.

My Annabeth.

She lept over a fallen trash can lying at the end of the driveway, and swooped down on the immobile hellhound, who hadn't moved one limb since decapitating me. Instead, it just stood there, a blank expression on its face. It seemed to be listening to or for someone/something, because it's bulbous head was cocked slightly to the right, and its eyes were unfocused on the scene before him, even when a furious blonde seemingly swooped down out of the sky, a deadly dagger in her hand, and began to hack at the creature with all her might.

My eyes- that is, my eyes on my ghostly form, not my decapitated form- widened in surprise. I'd seen Annabeth go ninja before. Heck, she'd taken down some scary monsters over the years, and there was no doubt in my mind that she was brave. And she could even be a bit of a badass sometimes, if she really wanted to.

But typically, demigods, even insanely courageous ones like her- didn't charge straight at a monster with their weapon raised, hollering at their top of their lungs and screaming bloody murder.

But maybe Annabeth was an exception, because there she was: screaming and shouting and yelling and slicing and cutting and hacking and just not caring what else was going on.

The oddest thing about the whole thing though (besides the obvious fact that I was dead, but at the same time not dead) was that the hellhound didn't do anything. It didn't retaliate against Annabeth's attacks. It didn't pounce on her, like it had on me, and start ripping her apart. It just stood there, that same intent gaze, set on something far away that our human eyes couldn't process.

Whatever it was seeing or listening to, it must have been important, because no matter how much my kick-butt ninja girlfriend went nuclear on it, it just stood there with the same slightly stupefied look on its face.

And it. Didn't. Budge. One. Inch.

Suddenly, almost as if it had been shocked by electricity with a metal rod, the oddly bright red hellhound leaped into the air It soared over Annabeth and I's heads, jumping impossibly high, possibly eight or ten feet into the air. It seemed to stay suspended in the air for a moment before giving one final growl. The sound hurt my ears, making them vibrate. It began to shimmer slightly, the effect growing more and more noticeable until the entire hellhound seemed to be so sparkly that it looked like one of the vampires out of the Twilight movies.

And- although I can't be sure about this part, since a lot was obviously happening at that moment and I think my brain was a little fried- I'm pretty sure that the hellhound turned its head slightly to the side, so that it made eye contact with me and his black-hole eyes met my sea green ones, and then (again, this will sound crazy) smiled, and winked at me.

And then it disappeared.

I know, I know. Take me to the insane asylum as soon as you can. I'll even offer to drive.

But really, it freaked me out. I mean, this giant monster- a hellhound, of all things- gives me this creepy grin, winks at me, and then suddenly is gone. It sounds like some lame stalker guy trying to pick up a hot girl at a party: grin, wink, disappear, repeat.

I stared, gaping up at the space in the air, several feet above my head, where only a moment ago there had been a huge hellhound the color of a tomato, and now...there was nothing.

I guess I shouldn't have been so surprised at this. Really, when compared to the rest of my crazy, insane, and now very short, life, a hellhound the color of a cheap party balloon that could also do disappearing magic tricks wasn't the biggest thing that had ever happened. Still, I was for some reason very shaken up about this. Maybe dying makes you really emotional and impressionable. Or something.

I turned my attention away from...that... and switched it to my girlfriend, who is slightly psycho (but awesome, as I've been trained by her to say).

Annabeth, who had been busy hacking away at the creature's left leg, had been so immersed in her spiteful task that she'd actually stumbled back when the monster had sprung up, and she'd fallen flat on her butt, landing with a quiet "oomph" that I somehow found impossibly cute. This is not the time or place, Percy, I had to remind myself.

I guess she had stayed down there on the ground. Maybe it was comfortable down there. But more likely she just didn't want to get up, and I didn't blame her. Who wants to move at all after kicking a butt that big? Still, I thought that it might somehow help her to have another person near her. I walked over to her tentatively for some reason, because it's not like she could see me, and sat down.

I registered no recognition in her eyes. Only lifelessness. Fatigue. Ultimate exhaustion. Her usually sparkling grey eyes were dull and drab. The spark that was usually there had suddenly gone out, whiffed out by the cruel hand of death. I expected her to be crying, but nothing, not a single tear, lined the edges of her eyes.

She had not moved her eyes from my lifeless, mangled body.

I could see the other people upstairs finally getting over their initial shock of the extended scene they'd scene unfold below them, and one by one, they climbed out the apartment window, onto the balcony, and clambering down the fire escape. No one even bothered using the stairs in the apartment building.

As the people reached the ground, I saw everyone I knew: my girlfriend, my friends and my family, almost everyone that really matters to me in the world. And all of a sudden, I had the weirdest sense of embarrassment. For some really strange reason, I was absolutely mortified that they had seen me die. I have no idea why. That's probably a pretty stupid thing to think, right? Like, I'm dead. Who the heck cares? But then again, I certainly wasn't dead.

There was definitely no doubt in my mind though that I had died a mortifying death: I ran right up to this huge monster, screaming at it and taunting it, and then it just swaggered over and chomped off my head. Nobody would look back on me and think "Oh, it's such a shame that he died. He was so young, and there was so much potential and possibility in him. But at least he died nobly, like a hero should." Instead, they'll be thinking "Right, that's the kid who was stupid enough to charge a freakishly large hellhound and expect to win. What was his name again?"

And still, something about death seemed like it was meant to be...private. Maybe not all the time leading up to it, like saying your goodbyes and stuff, but just the actual part where you pass away, and your spirit detaches from your body.

At least, that's what I used to think that's what's supposed to happen. Now I have no idea what to think.

I saw my mom, Sally Jackson (or Blofis, now that she's married; whatever you want to call her) running towards me, Annabeth, and three-fourths of the other me: the dead me. She finally reached our sad little company, and she fell to her knees in disbelief. She seemed to be mouthing something, over and over again; the words looked like "no no no no", but then again I could have been wrong, because no sound was coming out. Tears were streaming down her face, wet and sticky, it looked like, but like her words of despair, the tears were silent too.

I almost broke.

My mom, my mom, the one person who probably loved me most in the entire world, even more than Annabeth, was too hurt, too pained, too broken to form words over my death. She couldn't even find the strength to cry real tears. She was that broken.

It hurt. It hurt really, really bad.

But the fun didn't stop there. Oh no, it just got better. My mom's silent sobs seemed to have a contagious effect, because the throng of people crowded around my mom, Annabeth, me, and Dead Me began to openly allow tears to fall. Then there were stifled sobs. Then whimpers of sadness. And finally, the restraints fell, and everyone was sobbing and moaning and screaming about how it wasn't fair and nearly making their throats raw. Everyone cried. Everyone except my mom, who was still silently forming the word "no" over and over again, and Annabeth, who sat still as a statue, set there to guard my dead body.

She still hadn't moved her eyes from my dead body.

That was the final straw. I couldn't deal with this anymore right now. Even though I knew none of the people could see me, I needed to go off and be alone. Mourn my own death. Plus, I knew staying here with this broken people wouldn't do me any good. I looked back at all of my friends, my family, my mom, and my girlfriend.

It physically pained me to see her this way. So sad and weak. This wasn't her. This wasn't the real Annabeth. I didn't know who this new, even if only temporary, Annabeth was, but I didn't want her. I didn't want to see her like this. So I wouldn't. I turned away from the scene.

And I ran in the opposite direction.

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