SHADOW

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CHAPTER 38

NO WAY IN the world was anyone going to believe her story this time; that much she knew already!

That her sleeping bed suddenly decided to become a bird? It sounded very absurd and ridiculous and laughable as well, even to her.

But Jonathan did. It was evident in her eyes that she was telling the truth; what reasons had she to spin such an unlikely tale? However, he didn’t know what to say after listening to her quietly for about thirty minutes straight. It was a really unnerving story. Juxtapose that with the recent dream that he himself had, and you get an idea how unsettled, even tensed, Jonathan was then. His bowels rumbled quietly, and he sat glued to the edge of his seat for a long moment, looking distraught.

Their immediate concern then had shifted from their ailing son to the recent strange evidences developing around them, like Jonathan’s dream and now Samantha’s levitating bed. Then Samantha brought her thought forward; that she was considering checking with a psychiatrist.

“It might be helpful, you know,” she said quietly.

He nodded, said nothing.

“Maybe we should go together?”

He paused, looked at her. Then he clenched his lips. “I’m not sure, Sam,” he said, sighing. “Let’s give it time. There may be other rational explanations to these mysteries.”

She looked at him. “I’m so afraid. I can’t go back to that apartment; that’s for sure.”

“I understand. If you like, you can stay over at my place, for a while, at least,” he offered, kindly.

She smiled subtly, tensed. “You won’t mind, would you?”

“No, it’s okay.”

She pursed her lips. “Thanks, Jonathan.”

“Com’on, Sam; we’re in this together, remember?”

She nodded, looked away forlornly.

“So are you coming?”

She nodded.

He reached out cautiously and took her hand. She didn’t repel him. “I’m sorry, Sam,” he told her, “for everything. I’m so sorry this is happening.”

Samantha sighed deeply. “Yeah, me, too,” she whispered.

A couple of hours later, after going together to check on Alan at the ER and to have a few words with the doctor, Jonathan followed Samantha to her apartment, where she quickly picked a couple of important personal items she would be needing. Then they left the house, she locking the door with jittery fingers.

He noticed all along that she seemed quite tensed, unable to shake the scary thoughts out of her mind. She was even panicky, and jumped at the slightest sound or touch.

As they drove to his apartment, he stared at her briefly. “Don’t worry, Sam,” he said reassuringly. “Everything’s gonna be fine.”

She looked at him, nodded but said nothing.

At that same moment, a few of Alan Prince’s buddies were hanging out together in Doug’s house, talking about him.

The news that Alan had jumped off a bridge in an apparent suicide attempt had been greeted with shock and incredulity by his friends. But the facts pertaining to why Alan would want to take his own life were sketchy, so many had made up outlandish narratives of their own.

He got mental because of the pressures, something in his brain had snapped.

He was depressed.

Alan Prince was heartbroken.

That last bit rang with more probability for a good number of the students, because just about everyone had been privy to the uncharitable manner in which Julie Sanderton broke Alan’s heart and turned down his love advances, preferring the hunky Kamil Parker over him.

Although they were never together as a couple, Julie still felt distressed when she heard what had happened to Alan. But not everyone took her seriously, least of all Alan’s close friends who felt that she had pushed him to do what he did. If not directly, at least she was a major factor for his mental breakdown.

Mike had started off the conversation. “Has anyone heard anything about Alan?”

“Why? Is he out of coma?” asked Doug, with cautious optimism.

“If I knew that,” retorted Mike, eyeing him blandly, “I wouldn’t be asking again, now would I?”

Silence.

“So we’re not sure what’s up with Al’ at the moment?

No one said anything.

“Maybe we could go in and check on him, you know,” suggested Veronica. “Find out how he’s doing?”

“He’s unconscious,” retorted Doug. “And seeing we aren’t members of his immediate family, no way they’re gonna let us in to see him.”

“What about his parents then?” said Mike. “We could pay them a visit and find out about Alan from them.”

Doug was already shaking his head. “Not unless you know where to find them first, Mike,” he said. “They’ve been separated a while now, remember? And they’ve since moved out of their former house.”

There was a moment of tensed silence again.

“So what do we do? Al’ is our friend, guys; we have to know how he’s doing, even if we can’t visit him at the hospital.”

Julie said, with a small sigh, “I know where his dad lives. We could all go over there and speak with him this weekend.”

Mike fixed her with a tight stare. “Not you, Julie,” he said frankly. “You’re not even supposed to be here with us.”

“Why not?” she asked, upset.

“Because,” replied Mike, “it’s because of you Al’ tried to kill himself in the first place, didn’t you know?”

Julie looked aghast. “How dare you?”

“It’s the truth,” rejoined Doug bitterly. “If you cared half as much for Alan as you’re trying to make us believe now, why were you with Kamil instead of him?”

“What!” Julie shrieked, incredulous. Then she sprang to her feet, feeling utterly embarrassed and glaring at the boys around the table furiously. “You know that’s not how it was!”

Everyone looked away, fussing quietly.

“That was cruel,” said Veronica, casting a reproachful stare at Doug.

“But she did that to him,” Dough insisted, unapologetic.

Veronica sighed in exasperation and bowed her head, and Julie stormed off angrily, pulling her bag over her shoulder.

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