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Chapter 13 – Closer

Tuesday, October 4th, 2016

I can’t recollect having any dreams for the first part of the night. I shortly woke up around three a.m. because I had to pee – I was too scared to actually go and eventually asked Annika to walk with me.

It somewhat weirded her out, but she knows me well enough to know it’s not a pervert kind of thing. It’s because I’m scared to be alone at night.

So, she waited while I peed and then we went back to bed. I think I fell asleep before she did, but there’s really no way of telling.

The point is, I fell asleep almost instantly, and I dreamed.

I had a freaking nightmare, that scared me to shit. I wasn’t aware, I’m sure of that, that I was in fact in a dream. And for the entire dream, I was being chased by the dark mass, trying to get to Annika, who was always on the other side of it.

I had to pass through it, but I couldn’t. I was too afraid, so I kept on running.

It’s Annika who woke me up when the mass cornered me, and I thought it would get to me. It sucked me in like it did when Angie shortly left me.

There were no sounds anymore, no lights, just darkness and anger.

I felt a lot of anger, hatred, I wanted to bash something in.

And then Annika woke me up, desperately shaking me while she was on the verge of crying.

I’m trying to catch my breath while she sits back and takes in a couple of deep and collective breaths of her own, her hand on her heaving chest, eyes wide while staring at me.

“What the hell…” She cries out. “I thought you were going to choke yourself!”

“What?” I stare at her confused, noticing I’m all sweaty, with a sore throat and still out of breath.

“You were choking yourself, Sid,” She whispers with a shudder in her voice. “Like, really badly… and I couldn’t wake you up…”

“I was… choking… myself?” I try to press out the words in between breathing, finally starting to regain control over it.

“Yes! Sid!” She slaps my shoulder. “What was that!?”

I stare at her, and then I see some movement in the far corner of the room and I scramble backwards away, as the shadow-like figure didn’t vanish as I focused on it. “I need… Angie…” My voice trembles and my whole body starts to shake, as the mass moves forwards. “Now.” I jump up from the bed, but then Annika pulls me back and in her arms.

“Calm down, Sid.” She whispers, grabbing my face to force me to look at her. “Calm down, I’m here. There’s nothing here, okay?”

Oh, there damn well is something present in this room. But that very thing stopped moving as soon as Annika pulled me towards her.

I scoot closer to her and let her hug me entirely, and when I dare to look behind me again, there’s nothing there, and I’m not just relieved, I’m confused too.

So, Annika really functions as a shield?

She keeps me safe as long as she’s with me?

But then I instantly get worried about Davy and I just need to go and look in his room to make sure that the mass isn’t aiming for him now. I know Angie is there, communicating with Davy in his sleep, but I’m still not at ease.

“I need to check on Davy, right now.” I whisper, cupping Annika’s face with one hand. “Please, walk with me.”

“Okay, yes, sure.” She nods, and together, we walk to Davy’s room, finding him sprawled on his bed, deep in a peaceful sleep.

Angie is right next to him, seemingly asleep too. Which is a weird imagery, since I didn’t think ghosts would ever sleep. But then I figure this is just her way to get into our dreams. She might just be in some sort of deep trance, as she always takes a meditation pose right before I fall asleep.

“He seems fine.” Annika pulls me closer to the bed. “So, she’s talking to him right now? Just like she does with you too?”

“Uhu.” I nod. “She’s with him right now.” I chuckle, knowing this is the weirdest topic to talk about, ever.

“So, how come you’re okay when you’re with me, or with her, but not anywhere else?”

“I don’t know how she does it, or how you do it. But you’re like a shield, according to Angie. When I didn’t acknowledge her presence, tried to run from her, so when I wasn’t open to communicating with her, she couldn’t get to me whenever you were around.”

“I’m a shield?” Annika frowns for a bit, looking down towards Davy again. “Then how is she communicating with Davy right now? I’m right here?”

“He’s open to it now, right? He invited her into his dreams. I think it’s a matter of time until he will see her during the day too.”

“Can I open myself up to her?” Annika wonders out loud. “Like, let her in so that we can have a conversation with the four of us?”

“She can only attach to people she meets in the woods. I think it might have to do with the place her body is right now. She told me so herself.”

“So, I can’t meet her?” Annika seems genuinely disappointed over that fact.

“Anni, promise me you will never go into those woods. There’s so much bad that happened in there.”

“But… aren’t we going to find Angie’s body?” She frowns surprised. “How would that work if we’re not going into the woods?”

“What?” I pull her out of Davy’s room and back to her own. “Anni, you’re not going in there with us, okay?”

“Why not?”

“Because it’s not safe.” I roll my eyes since that must be pretty obvious.

“So? It’s not safe for you either! But you and my twin brother are planning on going back in there. I’m not leaving you two on you own. You need someone who’s a bit smart.”

“Annika… please don’t do this. I don’t want you there, I don’t want you to get in trouble because of us and our stupid obsession.”

“I’m not getting in trouble because of that.” She chuckles, pulling me towards the bed and laying down. “I’m want to go in there to help the guy I love.”

Davy yawns while he enters the kitchen, stretching his stiff muscles with one arm raised above his head, the other in front of his mouth.

“Morning, fools,” he mumbles as he slides onto the chair next to me, his mom instantly placing a plate with food in front of him.

“Morning, Dave.” His mom leans over to peck a kiss on top of his head and he scowls.

“Mom! I’m not a kid. Sid’s mom doesn’t kiss him either.”

I smirk, Annika rolls her eyes and their mother shakes her head with a small smile. “I know for a fact she does, and Sid knows perfectly well I do too.”

“In fact, she nearly wanted to do the same to me not even a minute ago,” I tell him while leaning in his direction. “I’m like a son to her, and I don’t mind.”

“You don’t?” Davy huffs in disbelieve. “Yeah, right. Mom, Sid wants a motherly kiss.”

“Oh, sure.” Mrs. Bray chuckles, and walks around the table to peck a kiss on top of my head and caress my hair in a motherly way. “Morning Sid. Did you sleep well again?”

“Could be worse.” I shrug. “But better then I did in a while.” I’m lying, I sleep perfectly fine while Angie is there.

Talk about her, she suddenly is seated in the empty chair in front of me, happily humming a tune, and I instantly notice Davy shortly sends her a look, before looking back towards his food.

“I’m not the only one anymore, huh?” I whisper to him, leaning in his direction.

“Nope.” He answers plainly. “You could’ve warned me about the hyperactivity, though.”

“Oh, you’re in for something.” I chuckle, leaning back to the middle and smirk indirectly towards Angie, pretending to have some sort of inside joke with Davy.

But at least I’m no longer the only one who sees her.

Now I’m definitely sure I’m not going crazy, seeing the ghost of a little girl.

“Well, eat your breakfast, all three of you. You need to go to school in ten minutes.” Mrs. Bray claps her hands while walking back to the kitchen.

“We have an hour in between classes, wanna go to the park, with Cory and Edward, and talk this over?” Davy suggests, poking his food around on the plate. He normally has a huge apatite, but I don’t think he’s hungry today.

“I’m not sure if Cory wants to be a part of this,” I mutter unsurely. I know he doesn’t want to go back into the woods and he thinks I’m crazy for allowing Angie in the way I did. “And I don’t think Edward is up for it either.”

“Why not? We always did everything with the three of us.”

“Edward isn’t carved from the right wood,” Angie tells him while shaking her head. “I make him cry and pee his pants…”

Davy’s eyes widen and as he snorts, milk comes out of his nose, causing Annika to look back and forth between us, soon realizing it must be Angie who said something funny. “What did I miss?” She asks with a frown. “What did…”

Mrs. Bray walks back into the dinning area, sending Davy a displeased look since his shirt is covered in milk, and so is his face. “No playing with food.”

“Sid made me laugh.” He points towards me and Mrs. Bray sends me a disapproving look of my own. I want to protest, but how am I going to explain it wasn’t me? She knows Annika doesn’t fool around with us enough to make Davy snort out his milk.

“Yeah, sure… blame it on me,” I grumble with a small smile on my face. “Can’t handle a little childlike humour.”

Angie laughs out, Davy sends me an amused look and Mrs. Bray looks confused, but lets it go since we have inside jokes more often. She gave up in trying to understand our conversations long time ago and I guess it comes in handy now that we’re trying to hide the fact Angie is partly having conversations with us.

“Sid?” Annika leans closer. “I really, really want to figure out a way to… get in on your inside jokes.”

“I’m not sure how…”

“She wants in?” Angie perks up. “Ooh, I would love to have another girl to talk to. One that doesn’t scream hysterically just because I show up in her dreams every so often…” Angie frowns and I smirk, knowing she’s talking about Kim. “Ooh, can we please take Annika to the woods?”

“Davy?” I look at him shortly. “Do you think we could let Annika in?”

“No, most definitely not.” Davy shakes her head. “She’s my sister, and I love her, even if she’s annoying sometimes. But no.”

“Dave!” Annika cries out. “This is really annoying and unfair and I don’t know if you realize it but I could really be an addition to the little club.”

“Boys, Annika.” Mrs. Bray taps the watch on her left wrist. “Time to go to school.” She gestures for us to move and we reluctantly do so. We grab our backpacks, put on shoes, and take out the bikes to go to school.

At least we get to speak freely for the next ten minutes.

Angie, who is capable of floating along with us, decides to pretend to sit down on the back of Annika’s bike, causing Davy and me to chuckle, while Annika shudders a bit.

“She’s close to me, isn’t she?” Annika asks as she gets on her bike.

“You’re giving her a lift.” Davy smirks.

“Angie, I know you can hear me. I want to hear you too, and I want to see you. So please, persuade the boys to let me in.”

“It’s too dangerous.” Davy and I tell her in unison.

“It’s really not.” Angie smiles at me. “She’s a shield, remember? I think it’s safe to assume if she’s there, you won’t have much trouble in the woods.”

“In all honesty?” I shortly look towards Angie. “Annika was right next to me this night, and Mr. dark shadow still visited me.”

“He did?” Angie shoots up, deciding on floating in front of me. “Did he hurt you?”

“See, this is really annoying. What is Angie saying?” Annika asks, looking towards Davy annoyed.

“Something about you being a shield and how it might come in handy for you to be there once we go back in that damned forest.”

“And Sid doesn’t believe it’s true, because he saw the black mass last night.” Annika looks at me with a worried look. “It made you choke yourself, didn’t it? It’s because of that… thing, right?”

“Choke himself?” Davy frowns at me, and Angie stares at me with wide, scared eyes.

“Sid, is that true?”

“I’m afraid so.”

“But… Annika was there.” Angie is now confused and decided to circle around Annika as if trying to find something. “It never showed up whenever you’re around her.”

“It left when she touched me.” I explain, sighing deeply. “But otherwise, I don’t think she’s a protection to me.”

“And it touched you?”

“It touched me in my dream, yes.” I’m now solely answering Angie, not having an idea what Davy and Annika are talking about.

“It’s getting closer, Sid.” Angie cries out, floating towards Davy. “We need to rush things.”

“I’m sure Sid will be fine as long as he sleeps with Annika or you in the same room. He can go towards Annika and touch her if that helps, right?”

“Wake me up…” Annika suggests, not entirely sure what the conversation is about. And I’m starting to understand why this must be frustrating to her. Half of the conversation passes her without her knowledge.

“Angie says it’s getting closer and we need to rush things.” I explain to her. “It’s getting closer despite you being around me. So I’m not sure if you really are that much of a shield to us.”

“I really need someone to explain what it means that I’m a shield.”

“You’re pure, innocent, strong… and up until last night, that thing never got close whenever I was with you.” I steer my bike onto the bike path leading to the sheds behind school. “That’s what she meant when she called you a shield. She says you’re an angel. I obviously already knew that…” I send her a smirk and she sticks out her tongue, but I notice the blush that crept onto her face right before she turns her face away from me.

“Cheesy, Sid.” Davy pats my shoulder while laughing out a bit.

“Okay, but, we’re going to talk about this in between classes. After fourth hour we have more then an hour to sit.” Annika puts her bike in the shed, walking over to me to link our hands together. “We’re going to solve this and get back to our normal lives.”

“Yeah…” But that thought doesn’t sit well with me at all as I look how Angie is swaying around, waiting for us to put our bikes away.

“And Angie will get her well-deserved rest,” Annika whispers right before she pecks a kiss on my cheek.

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