A few weeks had passed since Ash’s death. The police had taken Oliver in for questioning, along with everyone from the party the night he killed his father. They had done this when Ash had first ran, but now that they had somewhat found him they had more questions. He told them what he said before, that it was an accident. It was out of self defense and he ran because he was scared. Though, there wasn’t really any point in defending Ash now. Oliver hadn’t even come out of his room since then, only to get food or water. He hated this, he just wanted his best friend back. Ash didn’t deserve it, any of it. Constantly running, practically losing everything, and then his own life. How could things go so wrong in just a couple of weeks? Oliver rummaged through his desk, searching for his acrylic paint. He liked to draw whenever he was sad, or upset. It was a way of coping for him. He felt his hand brush something, something pointed and soft. Oliver pulled it out of his drawer. To his surprise, it wasn’t paint, but a polaroid picture. On it was Ash. Oliver remembered when he took this. Ash had gotten him a polaroid camera for his birthday, and he accidentally took a picture. He stared at it. Even if it was accidental, it was a good picture. Ash seemed to be laughing, the dark edges of the polaroid mixed with the brighter middle gave his purple hair a more vibrant color. It was perfect. Suddenly, the door swung open. Oliver whipped around. It was his sister, Leni. “Hey…” she said softly. She was wearing a black dress and heels. “We have to go to the funeral soon, so, get ready okay?” Right, the funeral. Ash’s funeral. Oliver forced a smile and nodded. Leni left the room, shutting the door. He took one last look at the picture before setting it on his desk and opening his closet. He had bought a suit a few days ago for the funeral, and if he was honest he couldn’t bear to look at it. Not because it was ugly, but it just gave him such a sick feeling. Oliver got dressed and looked at himself in his full length mirror. He didn’t know what to think. It reminded him of the suit he wore to Ash’s mothers funeral, that was the first time he had ever seen Ash cry. He didn’t want to do this. Don’t get him wrong, he wanted to go to the funeral, but it was a sense of he felt like he couldn’t. Oliver grabbed his black dress shoes from his closet and slipped them on. Ash’s Aunt would be hosting the funeral since his parents obviously couldn’t. First it was his mom, then his dad, and then Ash. Oliver despised the thought. Taking one last glance in the mirror he walked downstairs, where his family was waiting at the door. His mother smiled at him. She was wearing a black dress, similar to Leni’s. His father wore a black suit. “Are you ready?” His mom asked. Oliver took a deep breath and nodded. They walked out the front door, shutting it behind them and didn’t say another word for the rest of the car ride.
The second Oliver saw the funeral home he felt as though he was going to be sick. People were walking inside, some of which he recognized to be Ash’s family from pictures in his house. Others are who he assumed to be family friends. The second Oliver walked inside he already wanted to fall to the ground and sob. Everything he looked at somehow reminded him of Ash. Everything comes back to him. There were a few drinks and snacks on a nearby table. One of them was a plate of donuts. Ash’s favorite food. Oliver remembered laughing and teasing him about it, he always smiled at the memory. Now he couldn’t even bear to think about it. Oliver stared into the room ahead. Inside were chairs, and a podium facing them. Behind the podium was a screen, which he assumed was for any videos or pictures they would show. That’s when he remembered. He had to speak. He didn’t want to speak, he didn’t want any of this!
A few minutes later a pastor led them into the other room with the podium. The funeral was starting. He walked alongside his family, Leni tried to keep a smile but he could tell she was hurting just as much. They all slid into a chair, Oliver next to Leni. After everyone was seated, the pastor started to speak. Oliver couldn’t pay attention, all he could think about was what he was going to say and how he could keep a straight face while doing so. Should he keep a straight face even? He had to do this, for Ash. After his Aunt and a few others of his family spoke and shared stories about Ash, receiving a few tears from Oliver, it was his time to speak. He got up slowly, his sister gave him a thumbs up. She whispered to him. “It’s gonna be okay…” but her tear stained face said differently. When Oliver was standing at the podium, his mind was blank. Looking out into the crowd he began speaking. “Um, I’m Oliver Smith and uh… I was Ash’s best friend. We spent everyday together and…” He paused. What could he say? “I… I was there when Ash died and I…” Oliver stopped again. He had only been speaking for two minutes but his throat hurt so much. In that moment, memories flashed through his mind. Memories of that horrible day…
Oliver tried to free himself from the officer’s grip, but he wouldn’t budge. He looked back to Ash who was now running towards him. What was he doing? “Ash! No! Go back!” Oliver cried.
It all happened so fast. Oliver screamed, telling the officers who fired to stop. Blood was dripping from Ash’s shoulder, some had splattered onto his face, but he kept going. Why is he doing this? Ash’s eyes seemed locked on Oliver.
The blood was now pouring from his stomach and thigh. He stopped, legs shaking, tears mixing with blood. Oliver ripped free from the officer, running towards Ash just in time to see him hit the ground. “Ash! No!” Oliver screamed. He dropped to his knees, a pool of blood surrounded Ash’s body. Oliver pulled Ash’s chest to his ear. Nothing. He had no pulse and wasn’t breathing. “No, no no no no…” He whispered as tears dripped from his eyes. This all had to be a dream, just a nightmare. Right? The blood had reached Oliver and stained his jeans with a dark disgusting red. The sounds of sirens were all too real for it to be a dream. Suddenly, he felt someone grip onto his arm. Two police officers yanked him back, making sure he didn’t escape this time. Oliver screamed until his throat was too sore to even speak. That was it. Ash was gone.
Oliver didn’t even notice he was crying. He was still standing at the podium. This is my fault… If I hadn’t begged him to let me go…. Oliver wiped the tears away from his eyes. “I-I’m sorry I can’t do this.” He managed to croak before stepping away from the podium and racing out of the room. He could feel the eyes of everyone behind him, burning his back with their stares. He shut the door behind him as he entered a small corridor lined with doors that lead to dark empty rooms. Pressing his back against the wall he sank down slowly, hugging his knees tightly. What if I was able to save him? What if I hadn’t been so stubborn and dumb. We wouldn’t be here. Oliver’s thoughts were interrupted by the door, creaking open. He looked over to see it was Leni. “Are… you okay?” She asked, her voice was soft and subtle. “Yup, just fine!” He told her, trying to put a somewhat smile on his face but the tears dripping from his cheeks told Leni all she needed to know. She sat next to him, they sat in silence for a few moments. “I am so sorry,” She spoke up. Oliver looked to his sister, her bright blue eyes shining with tears. “It’s my fault, Leni,” Oliver mumbled. Leni stared at him. “It’s my fault he’s dead. If I hadn’t begged him to let me go like that, if I hadn’t agreed to let him stay the night, none of this would have happened! He’s gone because of me.” Oliver’s voice cracked on the last sentence. Leni grabbed his hand and squeezed it tightly “It wasn’t your fault…” She told him. Oliver narrowed his eyes at her before pulling his hand away. “But it was! If I hadn’t been so stupid and ran away like that he would still be alive, and you know it! You know I’m right so don’t deny it!” His voice raised, echoing through the corridor. Leni looked down, fiddling with a bracelet tied to her wrist. “Yeah, you’re right, maybe it would be different, maybe he would still be alive. You were angry and upset so your emotions took over, but how could you have predicted this? No matter what you could have done, no matter what you could have changed, you couldn’t have stopped that bullet, Oliver.” Tears stung Oliver’s eyes, tears he had been holding back for weeks on end. Leni pulled Oliver into a warm embrace, softly wrapping her arms around him in a comforting manner. “It wasn’t anyone’s fault, even if you were able to get to him sooner, that gun still would have fired.” Oliver buried his face into his sister’s shoulder, memories of that horrible day overwhelmed him. Even so, he still wondered, what if he could have changed it?