In the Mind

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Chapter 6: Whatever it Takes

Sunday was like the day before, nothing but pain and suffer. Monday came around and Elijah was quite glad, because it could take his mind off of the world around him. The only things during the weekend that allowed him to do so was music and PlayStation. Elijah sighed as he slowly got ready for school. He wore the same black hoodie he had been wearing that whole weekend. It was usually what he wore when he was upset. Because of that, he didn't expect to take it off soon. Elijah sighed and slowly moved down the carpeted staircase and into the kitchen. His mom had already made him some breakfast which Elijah quietly dug into.

"Still not talking?" his mom asked Elijah who was looking down at his bowl of cereal.

"What's the point to?" he asked not looking up from his gaze downward.

"Well you have to eventually. What about school? What will you do if the teacher calls on you to answer the question?" she asked with a tone of confidence, as if Elijah couldn't evade the situation.

"Answer the question and go about my day." he replied leaving his mom irritated.

"You know what? Fine. Don't talk. But people are gonna realize that you're not okay. And when that happens, you're gonna run to me asking for help. And of course I'll help you, but an 'I told you so' will be given." his mom said to Elijah who shrugged at her statement.

"Okay." he replied taking his bowl to the sink and rinsing it out with water. He looked at the oven clock which read '7:02'.

He walked out of the kitchen without another word to his concerned mom and grabbed his bag. He slowly reached the front door creakily opening it.

"Bye Elijah." his mom said to him waving a small hand.

"Bye." Elijah replied without looking back.

The bus had arrived and Elijah shuffled into the bus that was so condensed, it was like he was shoved into a sardine can. He sat in an empty seat towards the back of the bus and rested his head against the window. His body ached and his stomach was burning. He wanted the pain to go away, but it never did.

"This seat taken?" a girl's voice asked from Elijah's side who he looked up at. A shorter girl stared into his eyes. Her eyes were silver and had a tint of hazel in them making it a perfect combination. They were slightly slanted, showing she was of Asian decent. She had long maroon hair that laid on her shoulders. She was wearing a lavender colored sweater that was fuzzy and warm. She had dark blue skinny jeans that her lavender chucks covered at the ankles. Elijah nodded at the girl who sat down next to him. She looked at Elijah who continued to rest his head on the window.

"Hey why so gloomy?" the girl asked Elijah who looked over at her.

"It's nothing." he replied while sitting up in his seat more and looking down.

"It doesn't seem like it? I know people when they get sad, and this is definitely it." she said to Elijah who sighed. He didn't want to tell a girl he just met the things he was going through. He wanted to get to know her first that way he could determine whether she was trustworthy or not. But at the same time, he was terrified to let her into his life. Even as an acquaintance, he couldn't take the risk of the creature killing her. However, maybe it wouldn't be so bad if he had someone that could keep his mind off other things.

"I'll tell you once I know I can trust you." Elijah said truthfully, not completely sure of her reaction. He expected her to roll her eyes and leave his side or yell at him for not trusting her.

"Not one to trust easily huh?" she asked which Elijah looked at her with confusion.

"Uh....I guess you could call it that." Elijah replied to the girl, still refusing to look at her. The girl smiled.

"I'm Natsuki by the way." she said to Elijah who finally looked at her. She released another smile causing him to let out a small smirk.

"Elijah." He replied to the girl named Natsuki who let out her hand in hopes of a handshake. Elijah shook her hand.

"Wow, you have a firm grip." she said after he let go of her hand and she held her hand in her other.

"I didn't hurt you did I?" Elijah asked, his heart race in fear.

"Of course not. Just a firm grasp, which is really cool." Natsuki said to Elijah which caused him to calm down.

"Oh okay. I just didn't want to hurt you." Elijah replied to Natsuki who was playing with a strand of her dark hair. Elijah looked down and messed with the sleeves to his hoodie.

"Aww! That's so sweet. I bet you have a girlfriend." she said to Elijah letting out a big smile.

"Girlfriend? You're like the only girl I've talked to that hasn't called me a dork or made fun of me in some way. There's no way in hell I'd ever get a girlfriend." Elijah said to her. She raised an eyebrow.

"Okay. Two things Elijah. One, you're not a dork and I don't know how anyone could think that. And two, I'm sure if you tried hard enough, you'd get any girl you wanted." Natsuki reassured Elijah who continued to look down.

"I'll try when they come back from the dead." Elijah whispered underneath his breath.

"What?" Natsuki asked causing Elijah to look up at her.

"'s nothing." Elijah stuttered hesitantly. His heart began to race again. "Did she hear me? Oh god what if she starts wondering who they are? Shit shit shit shit!" Elijah started to panic when Natsuki shrugged.

"Okay." she said and she leaned back in her seat.

"'re not curious or anything?" Elijah asked with a confused look on his face. He didn't know why she didn't ask him what he said which caused him to be confused.

"Well I know you muttered something under your breath, but if you didn't want me hearing it then it's none of my business to interrogate you" Natsuki pointed out.

"Oh.....I just kinda assumed that you'd ask know....everyone else does." Elijah said looking away from Natsuki.

"Well I'm not like everyone else. They're all gossipy and pitch perfect. I mean, I'm pretty preppy, but I'm definitely no mean girl." Natsuki replied, which made Elijah feel a little better.

"If you were, you'd already have thrown lipstick at me or something." Elijah said looking at Natsuki who let out a toothy grin.

"Lipstick? Wow I can actually imagine that." Natsuki let out a small laugh which caused Elijah to unknowingly smile. "You're pretty funny." Natsuki said to Elijah who looked down and suddenly became red.

"I....uh.....wouldn't go as far to say that." Elijah said to Natsuki who smiled again at Elijah.

"You're so red right now." she laughed while Elijah turned his head in the other direction so she couldn't see his blushing face.

"Um....uh...." Elijah stuttered unable to find any words. He felt this tingle inside his stomach that fought against the burning. The pain he normally felt wasn't as bad as before, but still there. The endless loop of things he was stopped playing in his head. He felt an emotion that he hadn't felt since before Noah died. Happiness.

"It's okay Elijah. I'm just messing with you." Natsuki said to Elijah who was even more red out of both blushing and embarrassment. She messed up his hair with her hand causing it to stick out in all different directions. Elijah looked up at Natsuki who smiled when she saw his hair.

"You look beautiful now." Natsuki said to Elijah about the mop on his head. He shook his head around and brushed his hair back in place with the tips of his fingers. Natsuki frowned.

"Oh come on. It looked amazing!" Natsuki whined looking at Elijah's neat hair.

"Well if I were to keep it like that, I don't think I'd make it out of school without at least a wedgie." Elijah said to Natsuki who rolled her eyes.

"Well you have me to protect you." Natsuki said lifting up her fists.

"Natsuki, don't take this as me being against women or anything, but you're a girl and I wouldn't let you protect me. If anything it'd be the other way around." Elijah said to Natsuki who's eyes lit up.

"You'd do that? Even though we only met like twenty minutes ago?" Natsuki asked Elijah who nodded. "You're so sweet!" Natsuki said hugging Elijah.

The warmth against his body sent pains shooting through him again. The playlist of things he was began again, and the burning in his stomach grew larger, along with the tingly feeling he had when Natsuki complemented his humor. Elijah didn't know what to do. Hug her back, or back away. He decided to hug her back, which made him hurt even more. Now inside his head was a piercing scream that overrode all other thoughts in his head. Natsuki ended the embrace and Elijah's mind was still screaming, but it was becoming fainter. "Why hurt more when people care? Why hurt at all?" Elijah thought to himself and Natsuki looked at him with confusion.

"Is something wrong? You look like you did when you were leaning against the window." Natsuki asked Elijah worryingly.

" I'm fine" Elijah said to Natsuki who frowned at his evasion to her question. The bus came to a halt as it appeared in front of the school.

"Well I guess this is it. Hey, what grade are you in? Maybe we'll have the same classes." Natsuki said eagerly as Elijah looked down.

"I'm in 9th." he said to her as her eyes lit up even more.

"Me too!" Natsuki exclaimed as she pulled out a piece of paper from her backpack. She handed it over to Elijah for him to inspect. "These are all my classes." Elijah looked through the schedule and heeded the classes he had with her.

"We have English and Science together." Elijah said handing back the schedule.

"Maybe we can be study partners or something." Natsuki said, bouncing in her seat from excitement.

"Yeah. We could" Elijah replied to the happy girl, as everyone got up from their seat to leave the bus.

"Guess I'll see you at English and Math. Lunch too maybe?" Natsuki asked Elijah who smiled at her idea.

"Yeah." Elijah said, his heart felt as if it was being compressed between to pieces of metal. He acted as if everything was fine.

"Alright. See you then!" Natsuki said getting up from the seat they were both in, slowly making it to the front. The two got off the bus and they waved at each other as they departed.

"Why? Why did you have to let her in Elijah? Now she's gonna be close to you, so then she's going to die. You're going to kill her. It's all going to be your fault. Push her away. Save her from you torment." his mind went off as he walked through the school halls.

He knew he'd hate himself for befriending Natsuki, but he needed someone to talk to. Someone who thought of him as a friend, and not a dork. Elijah shook his head, hoping Natsuki would be safe. He knew that if that thing came near her, he'd do whatever it takes to save her. Even though he failed to save Noah, he felt as if he could have redemption. A second chance. He just hoped that this second chance he has he wouldn't fail her. The thought of losing someone else made him hurt even more. His stomach felt as if someone put a flaming rock inside of him. Burning and sinking. His heart never ceased to stop squeezing, neither did his mind stop the screaming. He took a deep breath, and tried to calm himself down. He focused on determination, and that he's do whatever it takes to take down the thing that's tearing his life apart. Whatever it takes to save the people he had left to care about. He grabbed his things from his locker and slowly walked to the beginning class of the day, in hopes that eventually this pain will go away. He focused more on his determination. Spacing out into a realm where his life was all together, but his mind showed him small frames of his broken life. He sat at his desk and and laid his head down as he waited for the teacher. The screaming continued, his body aching from the hurt. But this pain, although it felt as if it were all real, was just the hurt his mind played. Replaying his pain on his body over and over, creating Hell in his body. Hell in his mind. He knew that was all it was. A living nightmare. But he forced himself to not focus on the pain. To focus on his fixed realm. To focus on another reality. It worked, until the teacher came in and he had to snap out of his trance. He looked up at the teacher, and began the nightmare of a school day.

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