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A Side of Suicide (Shiloh's Fate, Idea One)

A Side of Suicide (Shiloh's Fate, Idea One)

By IlliterateCat007 - 1 Review

**TW//CW**

“Really, he’ll be—”

“But m—be-”

“There isn’t anything we can—”

“THERE HAS— SOM—ING”

“Sir, I’m going to—ask you to—sit—”

“DON’T TELL—DOWN—”

“…I assure you—”

“Fucking—may—then—weeks—”

“Sir, please calm—”

* * *

I woke up in a room I found strangely familiar. The sunlight fit through the cracks in the blinds and hit the soft blue blankets of the—hospital room?

I widened my eyes. I gasped, but quickly clutched my throat and rubbed it trying to soothe the stinging sensation. It smelled like hand sanitizer. I rubbed my head and calmed down a bit when my eyes got used to the light. A weight lifted from the bed.

I looked over to see it was Kody. He widened his eyes. “You’re awake!!!” He squeezed my hand. I squeezed my eyes shut. Augh, my head. “Are you feeling alright??” I looked at him and pointed to my throat. “Oh… Yeah, it was… Um… I can get you some water if you’d like?” I nodded and he got up to go.

The only noise I was left with was the heart monitor beeping next to me and nurses chattering outside in the halls.

The door shut. “So… they had tea too, and so I grabbed both. Hope you don’t mind.” He came over and set the beverages down on the stand next to me. I smiled at him and he nodded.

My hand trembled over to the stand and I tried to pick up the water cup. I did, but my hand shook it so much it fell, spilling water everywhere. I bang my fist on my head, frustrated. “Hey!!” He said, taking my hands from my face. “Quit!! It’s okay!!” My eyes stung. Am I seriously so weak I can’t pick up a water cup? My eyes stung and tears threatened to fall. Kody went to bend down beside me and take a napkin to the spilled water.

He stood back up and looked at me. He looked at me like a worried mother. “Shy… it's not that big of a deal, okay??” He reached over to hold my face in his hands, but I pulled away. This is just embarrassing. “Shiloh…” I looked at the floor. “Look at me.”

This is so fucking stupid.

“Watch it!!”

So what?! I can’t pick up a damn cup, Kodes!! What am I supposed to do?!

“…I don’t know.” He said, seeming distant. I suddenly got a flash of white light and remembered Kody and someone else talking. My ear rung. I covered them and he looked at me, confused. I looked back to him and double-tapped my ears. He tilted his head. The ringing got worse.

If I could let out any sound, I would be screaming right now. I rubbed my head to soothe it’s aching and cried. He stood up suddenly and called the nurse in.

He ran in and I banged my fist against my head.

Please… the ringing… I banged my head against the back of the bed, hard. STOP IT!!!

He tried to get me to stop hitting my head. “SHILOH CUT IT OUT!!” He screamed.

GET IT TO STOP!!!!

My head began to bleed, and Kody hugged me to restrain me. The nurse called someone in. I squirmed and cried against Kody, banging my fists on his chest, but he didn’t budge. The ringing shut out their yells and I slowly drifted out of consciousness.

* * *

I woke up to Kody and the nurse guy talking. I didn’t do anything to get their attention, and they didn’t seem to notice I was awake. I just looked out the window. “So… what happened?”

The doctor blabbed. The sky looked pretty. It smelled like Kody’s cologne. I don’t know, I was hungry.

He shook his head. “Is he going to be okay then?”

“Yes. We can add some meds to his regular ones to treat this, too.”

“Okay… how much?”

I looked out the window at the skyline, fogged up and cold. Matched my mood. It was rainy and the gray clouds covered up the sun. Kody sighed and rubbed his head. I ignored what they were saying and looked at the IV in my arm and rolled my eyes.

I wonder… what would happen if—

I reached for it and took the tape off. Kody turned to me after hearing it and widened his eyes. He ran over and grabbed my wrist. “Cut it out, Shiloh!!” I tried to free my hands, but he tightened his grip. The doctor looked at my heart monitor and wrote things down on the paper attached to the clipboard. He finished and put more tape on the needle, keeping it there. I rolled my eyes.

Kody looked at me like a disappointed mother. He gave me a lot of looks that reminded me of my mom. “Why are you being like that?!”

Time to leave!! I kicked at the nurse to tell him I want to go home.

The nurse smiled at Kody and left. When he was gone, Kody sighed and looked at me. “Really, Shiloh?”

I rolled onto my side and squeezed my eyes shut. Damn.

I felt Kody’s eyes on me and then a weight was added to the bed. Kody snuggled up next to me and wrapped his arms around me, careful of the cords. He nuzzled his head into my neck, and I looked out the window, feeling his heartbeat against my chest.

I relaxed and took a deep breath.

I want to go home.

* * *

I woke up before Kody did. He hadn’t moved, but I had squirmed to where I was laying on my back. He rested on my chest.

The nurse walked in and I immediately shushed him. He tilted his head and I gestured to Kody, sleeping on my chest. He smiled and quietly filled in his paper. I looked at the edge of the bed to avoid making eye contact.

I sighed and looked at him. He looked back. I’m sorry.

The nurse smiled and left. He didn’t understand sign language.

I was left in silence with Kody sleeping peacefully on my chest. I kissed his forehead and put my head back on the pillow.

* * *

A few hours later, Kody woke up. He looked up at me, smiled, and then lied back down on my chest. “It’s nice now that you’re not trying to eat me alive.” I smiled and rolled my eyes. He stopped smiling and sighed. “…I wanna go home, too, Shy. But we can’t leave until you’re better. Your throat is fucked up again.” He shook his head. “Actually, I’ll leave to go find that son of a bitch if—” I smacked him on the head. “Ow!! What was that for??”

Quit being a jackass.

“I’m not!!”

I ruffled his hair.

You should see him with everyone else. He doesn’t even let Ben lean on his shoulder unless he’s sad.

Kody has had it rough. He hates being touched.

So I handle with care.

* * *

It was midnight when I woke up. The moon dimly lit the dull walls of the hospital. I looked at Kody. His eyes were shut and swollen. Had he been crying? I brushed hair behind his ears and sighed. We wouldn’t even have to be here if I had kept to myself like a normal person.

And now Kody was crying. Kody never cries, but he was crying. And it was my fault.

He didn’t go home. I asked him about it, since it didn’t look comfortable when he was sleeping in that chair. His eyes always had dark circles under them, but these days they were a lot heavier. His neck was tilted awkwardly, and his body was bent, but he refused to leave.

The heart monitor beeped sadly. Everything seemed to be doing the things they usually did sadly. Birds sang songs of sorrow outside, cicadas cried, and the moon watched over the world with a face of disappointment. And before I knew it, the pillow was soaked.

Kody’s eyes opened slightly, and I quickly wiped my face so he wouldn’t see. He looked up at me sleepily and smiled. Then he rested his head back on my chest. His chin started to hurt. I ruffled his hair. Get up.

“Whyyy?” He whined.

You just hate making your wonderful hubby upset, don’t you?

“Shiloh you ass—”

I shoved him off, and he landed back first on the cold hard floor. He yelped. “Ow, Shiloh!!! I was getting off!!!” I stuck my tongue out at him. “Why you little—”

Not sorry.

“Seriously?!”

The nurse walked in. He smiled at us and then checked his clipboard. He turned to Kody, who was looking at him with an expression I couldn’t read on his face. The nurse gestured for him to follow and Kody got up off the floor. I watched them leave. Kody and the nurse both turned around to smile at me reassuringly.

What were they hiding??

* * *

I had already been sitting alone in the hospital room when Kody came in. He wore a small smile, and his eyes were puffy and red.

I frowned. “Tch.” I clicked my tongue and turned the other way to look out the window.

“What?”

I ignored him and stared at the foggy skyline. I could see the moon now. “Shiloh.” I rolled on my side. “Hey!!” I buried my face in my pillow. He came around to the other side of the bed. “What’s wrong?”

I looked at him. Why are you sad?

“I’m not!” He said defensively. I frowned.

Liar.

“What? Why?!”

Your eyes, Kody. I can tell. What are you hiding?

“Nothing!!” I shook my head at him and rolled back on my side. “What’s wrong with you?! I didn’t do anything!!” I turned back around suddenly and glared at him. He gulped but kept an angry face. My heart fell. Why is he keeping secrets all of a sudden?! I gave him a disappointed look and turned back on my side.

He walked over slowly.

Guess it’s time to resort to Operation Toddler.

* * *

“Hi, Shiloh!!! I brought you some tea!! Do you—” He bent down to hand it to me and I slapped it out of his hand, spilling it all over the floor. He widened his eyes and looked at it for a second, then turned to me for my expected lecture. “What the hell has gotten into you?!?” I looked away from him and crossed my arms, making my best whiny baby impression. He clenched his fists and ran to the bathroom to get some paper towels. He ran back to start cleaning up the mess.

I sat upright in my bed.

The nurse, who had written out his name as Tomi on the whiteboard, came in and smiled at me. “Shiloh. Good evening.” I crossed my arms and looked the opposite direction, out the window. “Hmm.” He wrote down stuff on his clipboard like usual and looked at the tape on my IV in my arm, about to fall off. “Looks like this is about to come off.” He bent over and tried to grab it. “Here, let me—” I bit his finger. He yelped and recoiled.

Kody stood up and ran to the Tomi’s side of the bed. He checked on his finger, which was bleeding and swollen. He faced me and frowned. “Shiloh!!” He shouted. “Wh—"

“Now, now… it’s okay. I’ll be right back. I’m gonna go get some bandages.” Tomi sighed and left.

Once he shut the door, Kody glared at me. “Look, Shy.” I looked away. “I don’t know what the hell your issue is, but you better knock it off. It’s getting old—” I turned to him.

Just tell me!! Tears streamed down my face. What is happening?! There is no way we’d be here this long for a sore throat!! What’s going on?! What are you and that bastard doctor hiding from me?!

He flinched at my sudden outburst and gulped. It’s weird how much hand movements can tell him about how I’m feeling. He sighed. “Not—”

If you say nothing I will hurt you. Spit it out.

All he could manage was to look away and say ‘nothing.’ One last time.

I felt empty, yet so full of emotion.

Like the smallest thing could push me over the edge.

* * *

“Why are you so mad?!”

I couldn’t answer. How do you explain something you don’t even understand yourself?

* * *

The chatter in the hospital always died down around this hour. In the quiet, Kody sat in a chair beside me and read to me. He foot was kicked up on my leg and he was slumping down in his chair. He always scolded me for doing that.

“Shoot all the blue jays you want if you can hit ‘em,” He read, “But remember…” I looked at my feet, which poked out from under the blanket in front of me. “It’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”

* * *

“’Atticus, he was real nice...’ His hands were under my chin, pulling up the cover, tucking it around me. ‘Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them.’” I looked out the window and listened to Kody read. The fog wasn’t covering up the skyline anymore. I looked at the lights sprinkled in the darkness. “He turned out the light and went into Jem’s room. He would be there all night, and he would be there when Jem waked up in the morning.”

Would Kody be here in the morning? After my behavior, I’d excuse him if he never came back. He should leave. He looked at me and tugged the string on the lamp, making the room pitch black.

Except for the moon, which smiled in happily through the window.

* * *

The room didn’t seem so dull anymore. I don’t know if that’s because I got used to it, or because I’ve finally accepted that these greens and blue and purples of the hospital are the colors that heal.

Kody was sleeping on a chair, slumped over. God, he looked so uncomfortable. He didn’t want to sleep in the bed anymore. I understand, though. Nobody in their right mind is gonna lay next to me when I’m acting like this. I’m happy he stayed.

Kody used to say I was really good at showing him what he loves. I can’t talk, but he said I could explain how I was feeling. He left nana messages when I was stuck in the hospital for my weekly injuries after fights. They always found one more thing when I was in there. First, it was a tumor. Then, it was something in my brain. Kody said I shouldn’t worry about it.

He laughed when I was worried about my head being tilted to the right. I said I was weird looking. He said it’s just another thing that was special about me.

I feel bad. I’m only a burden to him. What does he get out of all of this? Me biting and kicking.

* * *

I’ve been throwing up a lot recently. I threw up in Kody’s lap the other day. He gulped and cringed, then gagged, but he just patted my back and told me to ‘let it all out.’ I threw up a whole bunch more. It felt like an organ or two was gonna come out.

When I was done, Kody went to go get a change of clothes. I felt real bad.

I vomit about 3 times a day now, but now we keep the weird green baggies next to me at all times. It makes a nasty noise and Kody gags every time he hears it. It’s disgusting, but I can’t stop. I feel constantly dizzy.

My stomach aches and turns, I lose my appetite, I get real dizzy, and then I vomit. This horrible and painfully repetitive cycle began just last week, but I’ve already grown used to it.

I feel sick.

* * *

Kody: one new voicemail

Hey, just got done with tests and shit for the day, I’m currently in the bathroom talking… not anywhere else to get any privacy, with all the nurses coming in and out… now they think that maybe he’s throwing up all the time because of the medication? They gave me some different meds, and we can give it to Shy, and they said we have to give it a few days, but that if he’s still throwing up after that we can come back. I dunno. I’ll tell you more about it when you get here. Call me back soon. Bye.”

* * *

“Okay… there’s 1984, Little Women, Moby dick…”

I’m calling my English teacher. You two would get along well, with these suggestions.

“Sorry!! Um… I mean, we could read The Bridge to Terabithia again, but—" I nodded. He tilted his head at me. “Really?! Again?!” I nodded once more. “…Fine.” He walked over and sat next to me. He opened up to a random page. Reading the beginning didn’t really matter, seeing as we had already read the book a bajillion times. He sighed and began reading. “She had tricked him. She had made him leave his old self behind and come into her world, and then before he was really at home in it but too late to go back, she had left him stranded there—” he read soothingly. “like an astronaut wandering about on the moon…” I looked out at the moon and sighed as he read.

…Alone.

* * *

I woke up to the slow and steady beeping of the heart monitor and no will to live.

I felt very drowsy and empty, and my eyes felt like they could close at any second. I just wasn’t in it today, I guess.

I bit Tomi again today. He got too close to my neck. I didn’t like his hand being by my neck. I don’t like anyone touching my neck.

Kody didn’t scold me this time. He calmly turned to Tomi and explained that I don’t like people touching my neck. Tomi shouted at me. He said that he needed to see how my scars were coming along. I ignored him. I crossed my arms and looked at the skyline as he shouted.

I don’t like when people around me are cross with me. It scares me. I get anxious.

Kody told Tomi to back off. Another nurse lady named Beth came in and shouted at Kody for trying to start an argument. Kody was real mad, and so he continued shouting at both of them.

There was a fight in the hospital room today. I don’t like it when Kody is upset. It saddens me. I get anxious.

* * *

I looked at the foggy skyline and sad moon. The hospital wasn’t fun anymore. I looked at the wall in front of me and frowned.

I wonder why they choose blues and greens.

They.

The ones who choose the colors that heal.

Green for… life. Blue… for comfort? Purple stripes…

…to hide the stains.

* * *

Tomi used to be friendly. Today he came in and took Kody outside to scold him. I heard them outside the door.

“No!! I’ll talk to him!!!! He’ll calm down!! Just steer clear of his neck!! He just wants to leave. Give him some—”

“2 days. I’ll give you two days—”

I wonder how Kody is doing through all this. A tear rolled down my cheek.

* * *

Kody says I have to calm down when I’m crying these days. He doesn’t hold me much anymore. He eventually gives in when I beg, but he used to hold me with no hesitation. Is he finally recognizing that I am nothing but a burden to him? I knew he’d figure it out eventually.

I knew, but why does it hurt so bad??

* * *

Go home, Kody.

“No.”

Why?

“Because it feels so empty. I go home and all I can see is that you’re not there.”

* * *

This room gives me more illness than I already had. It smells of hand sanitizer and lies and is too bright for such a boring and dull room.

I have a headache.

Not that is matters, because there are already so many terrible emotions I’m feeling right now… and the headache is the least of my worries.

* * *

They said, “If you’re still breathing, you’re the lucky one.”

These days, I’m not so sure that’s true. No, not true at all.

* * *

I was alone in the hospital room, wanting to hum but not being able to. I wonder when Kody is going to come back.

The door opened. I sat up eagerly but fell back down when I realized it was just Tomi.

He felt my leg. I wanted to kick him. Stop touching me, please. He drifted his hand up along my thigh. My heart fell. Kody said I have to be good, or else they’ll let me die.

Further up.

Kody will be cross with me if he finds out I kicked Tomi again.

Further up…

No.

No!!

Please don’t…

* * *

I did not kick Tomi. I would be regretful if I kicked Tomi. I just let it happen. Kody came in. The blanket was on the floor. He looked at the mess. He sighed. “What happened?” My face grew hot and I looked out the window, ashamed.

Tomi should not come back in this room. He told me he’d leave me alone if I didn’t tell anyone. I didn’t tell Kody. Or Beth. He should leave me alone.

But the door opened. I trembled. Kody turned to me and saw my hands shaking. He looked back at Tomi and then looked at the ground. Please put it together. You’re smart. Please.

Tomi looked at me and grinned. I felt sick. Why is he in here?? I pulled the blanket onto the bed and hid under it. Kody rubbed my back from outside. “Hey, Shy. You have to do your check-up now.” I took a deep breath and took the covers off of me.

I looked at Kody with pleading eyes as Tomi took my temperature.

I want him to take me away from this.

I want to go home.

* * *

Shiloh was shivering when that bastard nurse touched him. I brought him his stuffed rabbit this time. He squeezed it in his fear. Tomi grinned at him when he was done. He did something to him. I’m going to kill him.

* * *

Kody hasn’t yelled at me in a while. I wonder if he pities me. He hasn’t even scolded me for opening my legs with nothing but this gown on. He just turned away. I wonder if he doesn’t want to care for me anymore, like he always had.

When we were little, long before nana found me on the side of the road, Kody’s mom made us lunch. Kody brought it to me and smiled. He was kind of like a guardian angel for me. I lost everything, but I still had Kody.

I always had Kody.

He would make me clean up my mess when I visited his house. Kind of like my mom. He even covered my ears when his dad got home.

When his dad came in the room, Kody made sure I was hidden. Either in the closet or under his bed. Either way, he made sure I wasn’t the one beaten. His father took one look around the room and then stumbled over to Kody for a drunken slap. For “being messy,” though really, he wasn’t.

Kody was bruised, trembling, shaken up and bloody, but he smiled at me when he opened that closet door or looked under the bed. He smiled.

He yelled at me when I deserved it but always stopped quickly. Long before my father had broken my voice, I wanted to tell him something that made him trust me.

Kody used to get sad when he was mad at me. He cried after shouting. He said he didn’t want me to leave. He said he didn’t want me to be scared of him.

I just placed my hand to his cheek and smiled at him.

“Just breathe.” I said, “It’ll be okay.”

* * *

Kody brought me Squid today. I cuddled them closely to me all day long.

I lied on my side all day today. When Tomi came in for the check-up, I didn’t move. He felt my heartbeat on my back. I didn’t like him touching my spine like he did. Kody tapped his foot anxiously across the room. He watched Tomi closely. Did he figure it out??

Kody looked pale today. I wonder if he’s eating enough. He always brought back a sandwich from the vending machines, but he never ate anything himself. I’m worried. He says I worry too much, but I think I worry just enough.

Who else is going to worry for him?

* * *

Kody says it’s something in my head. A tumor, I think. I overheard him and Tomi talking outside. I’ll probably die very soon.

Good.

* * *

I have decided I am going to take this IV out of my arm. The heart monitor has to shut up before I am driven mad. When Kody left to go get food and before Tomi came in while I was alone, I reached for it.

I wrapped my fingers around it and yanked the tape off. When I threw the tape on the floor, I ripped the IV out. It took skin with it, and blood gathered to form a single bead of crimson. I stood up.

The cold floor felt good on my toes. I picked up Squid from my bed and hugged them tightly to my chest. It felt good to get up. The only time I ever got up was to go to the bathroom. Until now. I’m getting out of this place. Nurses chattered outside.

I felt…

…relieved.

Like a huge weight was lifted from my chest.

I locked the door. Nurses realized what was going on and tried to open it. The doorknob jiggled and the door shook as they banged on the door. “Open up!!”

A familiar voice was added to the crowd.

Tomi.

Nope, not this time. I smiled when they couldn’t open the door. I’m safe. I sat on the floor. Kody always scolded me when I tried to sit on the floor. He said it was disgusting. It probably is, but right now I don’t care.

“Shy!?” Kody. “Hey!! Open up!!” I dropped Squid by accident. They sat on the floor, staring at me. Mocking me.

No… I’m not strong enough… “Shy!! Please!!” No…

I sighed and stood up. I dragged my feet as I walked to the door and turned the key to lock it. Kody burst through and looked at me, disappointed. The rest of the nurses sighed and went back to the desk. Tomi tried to walk past Kody to get to me, but Kody blocked him with his arm.

Thank god.

“What’re you doing, Shy?”

I don’t know.

* * *

They put me in restraints. I can’t cuddle Squid anymore. Tomi can touch me any way he wants now.

* * *

I nipped at Tomi again today. Kody smacked my wrist and I bit at him like a feral animal. He said that this tumor in my brain has misguided my way of thinking.

I can’t tell him what Tomi did now. My hands are tied to the bed.

* * *

Today I wondered about Nicholas. I had forgotten about him until Tomi touched my neck. I don’t like my neck being touched. I squirmed, but he smacked me.

Kody was out to get lunch. Tomi says I can leave after surgery, but I’d have to come back regularly.

I don’t want to come back. I wish they’d just let me die. Being with Tomi alone in this room is way worse than a chance at an afterlife.

And a visit with Death himself would be so much better than years of treatment and nausea.

* * *

I had a dream where Death took my hand and tugged me into a bright light. It was pleasant. When I get my hands free of these restraints, I can sign to Kody all about my dream and all about what Tomi did. He’d take me far away from this place. He would probably try to hurt Tomi, but I wouldn’t let him. I’ll tug on his sleeve and beg him to just take me and leave.

You know, it wasn’t a bad dream. No, not at all.

* * *

Kody wasn’t here this morning.

* * *

Kody didn’t come today, either.

* * *

He’s gone. He’s not coming back. He’s gone. He finally understands everything I’ve done. Nothing. That’s what I’ve done. Nothing. I am useless.

I wonder if this has been coming for a long, long time, and I haven’t noticed. Like… “He gave me the divorce papers, but I couldn’t read.” Should I have seen this coming? Why didn’t he tell me? I’m so confused…

I’m scared. Is he really gone? No, he can’t be. He promised he’d stay. Tomi walked in. He grinned at me. “Time for your daily check-up!!” Where is he?? Kody, please, if you’re out there…

Come back.

* * *

For the first time ever, not having a voice bothered me. Before it meant nothing. I was quiet anyways. But now, I want to tell people what happened.

I can’t tell anyone. Kody is gone, and I am left with Tomi. In this hospital.

I don’t want to be here. I wouldn’t mind, but not here.

Not in this hospital.

I want to tell someone.

But I am muted.

* * *

Nana says I can’t go back to the hospital. She is making me stay here so Shiloh learns to take care of himself. She says he’s “weak.” She says he “would die without her.” She says I should just leave.

What does she mean “you should just leave?!” Stop acting like it’s so easy. I won’t leave him.

I want to go see him. I can’t leave him. I promised I wouldn’t.

He is not weak. He would be fine without her. He’d live without me, too. But he wouldn’t want to. I don’t want him to.

This is so fucked.

Shiloh is expected to sit alone in that stupid hospital with just a dumb old rabbit to keep close?! Hell no.

I’m not going to stay in this godamn cramped house with some old hag. I’m leaving. She’s going to work at her flower shop, and I’m going to leave.

And I’m taking Shiloh away from this place.

* * *

As Tomi touched me today, I looked out the window and hoped Kody would come back. I feel empty. I feel alone.

Why would he just leave?

I feel…

…hurt.

* * *

Ahh… Not again…

The trembling won’t stop.

It feels like I’ll lose my mind at any moment.

Someone! Anyone! I don’t care who it is! Just stay with me!!

Just stay with me!!

* * *

Tomi said he might be able to help my throat. He said it’s a risky surgery, but he could fix me. He said the same about the thing in my head. He could have their head of neurosurgeon come and fix me. I might live. Or I might die in surgery. I die either way. Win-win. Why not.

I told him we should do it.

* * *

I took a deep breath when they told me to count backwards from 10. I started counting slowly, praying Kody would come in and give me a thumbs up. Just a nod. Something to show me he cares.

Whatever. This is my chance at a suicide made look like an accident. This is a huge chance for me.

10…

9…

8…

7…

* * *

When I woke up, my eyes were covered. Tomi said it was to bandage my head so it wouldn’t fall. That made me anxious. I don’t like not seeing.

When he came to touch me, Tomi hit me today.

He said someone had to teach me to not misbehave. My legs hurt. The shivering has made them sore, and the beating has made them ache when touched.

But Tomi kept touching.

* * *

I finally made it to the hospital. I broke my phone when I was at nana’s. She isn’t going to find me. I’m taking Shiloh and we’re going to… California. I don’t know yet… but somewhere with a better doctor.

One that wasn’t a piece of shit.

* * *

When I was little, my mother was always beaten black and blue by my father. Screaming matches, broken plates, tears in her morning coffee. The thick, powerful arms…

…and the thin, weak arms that could do nothing to oppose them.

That was my everyday life. I thought that was everything. My father, who had lost his mind. My mom wasn’t any better. She called to me to save her. Why did she use those words to move me? Stop.

Please stop.

I wasn’t father’s violence that troubled me, it was her screams.

Mother was no better than him. She’d slap me across the face and tell me how worthless and useless I was every night before bed. I woke up to her screwing another man in my father’s bed most nights.

And then she’d hug me and say “Sorry, so sorry… mother is sick, you see…” Manipulating me.

Still, I loved her, and it hurt to watch her be beaten by my father.

I asked her why she stayed with him a whole bunch. Even when I was so young I understood that bastard was bad news.

“Love,” she replied.

That sent a shiver down my spine. Taking a look at my manipulative and abusive mother verses my father that beat me blue when I looked at him funny… it was scary.

Woah, I thought… if this is love…

...I don’t want any part of it.

* * *

When Kody comes back, I am going to ask him a question I read before somewhere.

“How do you kill someone without killing them?”

Maybe he will understand that each day he is gone I cannot breathe. I am dying. He needs to come back right now.

How do you kill someone without killing them??

You lie.

* * *

The next morning, I opened my eyes. I wondered why it was still so dark when the moon was out, but then I remembered.

I can’t see the moon anymore. I always look at the moon to make sure she doesn’t feel alone, but I can’t see her. I hope she knows I’m still here.

It was almost time for Tomi to come in for his ‘check-ins.’ I felt around for Squid but couldn’t find them.

When did this become my routine??

Wake up, say hi to the moon, let Tomi touch me, and go back to sleep. And then it repeats.

This dreadful routine. The painfully repetitive life I live here.

The door opened. Was Tomi early?? I tried to roll on my side, but the cords stopped me. The IV stung when it moved. I stayed still but kicked my legs. Not today. I’m really not in the mood. I’m never in the mood, but today I’m not going to put up with it.

He put his hands on my legs to stop them from kicking and I cried. I sobbed and shook my head. I squeezed my legs shut to keep him away.

“Jesus, Shiloh… what’d he do to you?” Kody?! I widened my eyes, the skin rubbing on the rough bandage. I sat up quickly, excitedly. I reached around for Kody. I couldn’t see him, but he grabbed my hand.

He pulled me into a hug. I grabbed some of his shirt and balled it in my fist to check and see if he was real. Once I accepted that he was, I hugged him tightly. “We’re leaving, Shy.” I tilted my head at him. “Oh, god… what’s that bandage for??”

I went into surgery. They fixed my head. They said they can fix my throat and make it so I can talk again.

“Oh, Shiloh…” He took a deep breath. I want to see him.

Would you mind…

“Oh!! Yeah. Let me—” He gently lifted the bandage from over my eye. The sudden brightness overwhelmed me, but I blinked my way into calmness and looked at Kody.

And then I cried.

I cried and he wrapped his arms around me. “Shhh…” He nuzzled his head into my shoulder. “It’s okay.”

We stayed like that for a moment, but after we parted he examined the bandage. He rubbed his neck. “Do… do you want them to fix this and then we run??” I nodded without hesitation. He sighed. “…okay.” He looked at my legs, which were bruised and swollen from when Tomi had hit me for misbehaving during his check-ins. He trembled “Did…” He took a deep breath to compose himself. “Did Tomi do this to you?”

I squeezed my eyes shut and lied flat on my back. I looked around for Squid, and grabbed them, to hold close when I found them. He closed his eyes and sighed. He looked at me and crawled next to me. He curled up so his legs were against my sides and his head was on my chest. He snuggled up close and closed his eyes. “I’m sorry.”

I rested my chin on his head.

* * *

Kody was asleep on my chest when Tomi came in. He smiled at me and I rolled my eyes. I wrapped my arms around Kody and felt safe. Somehow, even sleeping he protected me. I think he and Squid worked together to be my guardian angels.

Tomi recorded some stuff onto the paper attached to the clipboard and then explained the surgery for my throat.

I nodded along, not paying attention. He said we’d do it later today. That’s fine by me. He left and I sighed.

* * *

I counted back from 10 and everything went black.

* * *

Tomi said the surgery went well. He said I should wait a week and then I could try to talk.

I think maybe Tomi isn’t excited.

I think…

…he is scared of what I will say.

* * *

I have been really sleepy these last few days. These last few days have been foggy, but I have new bruises on my legs. I’m sure Tomi did this. Kody was probably out for lunch and didn’t notice because there’s so many anyways. It’s okay.

I’m used to it.

* * *

Today is the day I can try to talk. Kody has been tapping his foot a lot. I wonder if he’s going to like it more. He had to learn to read sign language. I felt real bad.

I’ve learned to have Kody cuddle close to me and fall asleep before Tomi comes in. He doesn’t touch me while Kody is on me, and Kody doesn’t even know he’s here. Win-win.

I wonder how Nicholas is doing today.

Tomi came in and smiled at me, like he does every other day. This time, though, it felt genuine. And I smiled, too. What if I could finally talk!? This is a big deal.

Tomi took a deep breath and walked over to my side of the bed. Today I didn’t mind. I know he wouldn’t touch me this time. He gripped the edge of the bed and smiled.

I knew what to do.

I smiled eagerly and inhaled. I whispered. “Hi.” My voice cracked and ached, but I said a word.

And before I knew it, a tear rolled down my cheek.

Finally.

* * *

Kody sat in the chair across the room with Squid on his lap and a smile on his face while I sang. I sang. No more ‘singing in my head.’ I could sing. “Ooooooh, what should we do with a drunken sailor, what should we do with a drunken sailor,” I sang horribly, but it made Kody laugh, so I didn’t mind. My voice cracked and went out every once in a while, so it sounded more like, “Wh— shou—we do with—drunk—sail—”

It was high, and if I had known it longer I’m sure I would’ve grown insecure about it.

“Okay, okay!!!” He looked at the skyline. I leaned the bed back and sighed. And I felt…

…Almost happy.

* * *

Kody called me squeaker today. It made me smile.

* * *

I should have known happy endings don’t last forever.

I’m going back into surgery today. It’s back.

* * *

Kody and I got into our first fight with my voice today. He yelled because he got told the risks of the surgery.

He didn’t want me to have it.

But I’m going to.

“It’s not a big deal, Kody. I’m sure they will be very careful—” I wasn’t as intimidating with my voice high and squeaky and scratchy.

“IT’S NOT ABOUT THAT, SHILOH!!!!!!!!” I flinched. “Do you not care?!? You could die!!!”

“But I might not!!!!!”

“BUT YOU MIGHT!!!!!!” I looked at my feet. “You’re not having the surgery, Shiloh.”

“You don’t get to control me!! What makes you think you can tell me if I can or cannot do this?!?” I looked at him. He had tears streaming down his face. “Why is it such a big deal--!?”

“BECAUSE I LOVE YOU!!!!” I widened my eyes and backed up. I clenched my fist and looked at the floor, trembling. I furrowed my eyebrows. “You cannot do this to me, Shiloh.” I looked up at him, but realized he was right in front of me. He covered my mouth with his palm. “You cannot leave me.”

He put his hand down and I shut up. I lied back down on the bed.

I’m doing this surgery.

But I’d have to do it in secret.

* * *

When I was about to leave, Kody looked at me, disappointed. Sad. Hurt. Betrayed.

I feel horrible, but I have to do this. I have to. Tears fell from his eyes.

I gave him a thumbs up, and then I was wheeled away.

* * *

Close your eyes and count to seven.

When you wake, you’ll be in heaven.

I counted backwards.

10…

9…

8…

7…

* * *

“Oh, shit—”

“Somebody get—"

Oh, god… this is… loud. And bright. And overwhelming. What is this beeping noise? It hurts. Oh, my head…

“We’re losing—”

* * *

Kody: one new voicemail

Nov. 12

“We’re so sorry.”

So that’s it, then. They’re ‘sorry.’

It’s not their fault, I know that. But still, I can’t help but feel angry.

Everything was about to change, but at least they’re ‘sorry.’

* * *

Kody: one new voicemail

Haha!! I’ve been laughing for hours after I realized something!! And I wanted to say something to you, so you can laugh too!! Shiloh is where this story started, and fittingly enough, where it ended!!

BAHAHAHA!!!!!

AHAHA!!!

Aha!

Ha...

* * *

Kody: one new voicemail

Nov. 13

I was pissed at the doctors. I’m angry at everything right now, but more than anything, I’m mad at him.

How dare he.

He broke so many promises yesterday. He promised he would stay here. He LIED to me!!! He said he wouldn’t do that godamn surgery!! He LIED!!!!

GODAMMIT!!!!!!!!

GODAMMIT, GODAMMIT, GODAMMIT!!!!!

…We, uh… we had the um… funeral. For Shiloh. I just… No one… I was the only one there. Nana didn’t even come. What the hell?

Nobody shows up to your birthday, fine… but really? It’s a funeral!!

But… Somehow, I’m not surprised… because…

…The Peacock Effect: Who cares if you exist?

* * *

Kody: one new voicemail

Nov. 14

They showed me his body today. In fairytales, I would shut his eyes gently and say how peaceful he looked. But we all know this is not a fairytale.

He looked awful. Bruises were everywhere, his eyes had dark circles under them, he looked blueish and gray… he looked like his last moments were spent in pain.

I just hope Heaven can wipe his memories of all that pain. I wish Heaven could wipe my memories of him, while they’re at it.

Then maybe it wouldn’t hurt so bad.

* * *

Kody: one new voicemail

Nov. 15

I beat that bastard doctor to the ground today. I should have killed him. I wouldn’t even mind the blood on my hands. No, not one bit.

But Shiloh would be upset with me. I hated it when Shiloh was upset. When dad came home, Shiloh looked like he was about to cry. He was trembling. I hid him in the closet so he wouldn’t be beaten with me.

And then I’d smile at him to try and make the fear go away. But then one day, he smiled to me instead. He held my face in his palm and tilted his head. He took a deep breath…

…and he smiled.

“Just breathe.” He told me. “It’ll be okay.”

I remembered that when I was beating the doctor. I remembered Shiloh’s smile.

And I remember his tears, and shaking hands, and dark circles under his eyes.

Why. Why do I have to use ‘-ed’ in every sentence I say that has the word Shiloh in it?

Why do I have to use past tense now? I want to go back to using present tense. I want Shiloh back. He can’t be gone. There is no way he’s gone. Even this cruel God I keep hearing about wouldn’t do that!!

…right?

…An eye for an eye, and the world goes blind. I’m no better. I’m not a hero.

I’m just me.

* * *

Kody: one new voicemail

Today I went out on the balcony. I needed a breath. It’s been so long since I needed a breath. A breath without smoke coming from my mouth when I exhaled.

Just a breath.

I just needed a breath.

A breath.

Breathe.

Breathe.

It hurts to breathe. It hurts. My heart hurts, my head hurts, my everything hurts.

It hurts.

Just breathe.

It’ll be okay.

I miss him so much and it hurts.

* * *

Kody: one new voicemail

I decided to write a letter to Shiloh. I read online that writing a letter to someone you’ve lost is helpful in getting through grief.

* * *

Shiloh,

You can’t love someone until you love yourself.

Bullshit.

I have never loved myself, but YOU, oh god.

I loved you so much…

I forgot what hating myself felt like.

* * *

“Hello!? Is anyone out there?!”

My eyes widened and my mouth fell open. I gulped and turned around. “S-Shiloh?”

“Hello!?”

Holy shit… “I’m right here!!”

He appeared in front of me. Where’d he come from? Is he okay? He’s alive?! They…

“…Hello…”

“Hey…” I raised my hand to touch his face and smiled, but he resisted. I frowned but dropped my hands to my sides. He looked scared and worried. “Why’re you here?” I asked. It came out more rudely than I meant it to.

“Umm… I don’t actually know why I’m here… I just got, like… a feeling, you know?”

My heart dropped. “What??”

He smiled weakly at me. Like he pitied me. “I just…”

“You…” I backed away.

“I’m sorry, I’m—"

“You don’t remember!?!”

“No, but I need help!!” I started to walk away. He grabbed my sleeve, but I yanked my arm back.

“Why do you have to stay here!! I don’t want you here!” I shouted.

“But…” I don’t mean to be so rude… it hurts, and I’m taking it out on him. I need to calm down. I took a deep breath.

My hand trembled and I clenched my fist. Damn. I looked at my feet. “Please just leave.” I turned away. He stayed silent and smiled at me. “SCRAM!!”

He did nothing. He smiled brighter. I couldn’t tell if it was genuine… I widened my eyes and gulped. He reached out to touch my shoulder. I stepped away. Normally, I’d let him… but I was just so angry…

“Just go!!”

He grabbed my sleeve again. I yanked my arm away and turned around. I started marching towards him. He walked backwards to get away, but still held a weak smile. He trembled, like he was afraid of me. How could he be so kind towards someone he couldn’t remember?? I stopped marching.

He stopped, too. He looked up at me and tilted his head. He looked puzzled for a moment. “I have a feeling…” He shook his head. “Never mind. Sorry, sir.” He smiled at me again.

I began to cry. I looked down. “Please…” I looked back up at his smiling face, tears streaming down my cheeks. “Stay with me!” He widened his eyes and flinched. He was probably confused as to why this stranger was asking him to stay by his side. Nevertheless, he wrapped his arms around me. I quickly squeezed him tightly and burrowed my face in his shoulder, squeezing my eyes shut. “It’s not fair!!!” After a few seconds, I opened my eyes. Tears fell onto his shoulder, soaking his shirt. “You’re the only one I have!!” He didn’t say anything. “I’m so sorry!”

He smiled and hugged me closer. “I… I’m sorry, but I have to go home now...”

“Please don’t.” I cried more and he held me in his arms. I hugged even tighter. I let out a cry of agony. “Please!! Don’t leave me!!”

Suddenly, he became almost transparent. I widened my eyes and looked. He hid his face in my neck. He began to disappear, but I held him down by my arms.

Because if you hold them tight enough, nothing can take them.

…right?

He didn’t look scared. He just smiled, looking content being inside his disappearing body. As if there was nothing to be scared if. As if he was going somewhere better.

He let go and looked at me. His face had tears of its own, but he kept smiling. He held my face in his hands.

And he disappeared.

I was left behind once again. I fell to my knees and let out a scream like one I’ve never before. I looked at the ground and sobbed.

He’s really gone.

* * *

Kody: one new voicemail

Nov. 17

Denial… No… Confrontation, forgiveness, and moving on.

Moving on.

I’m skipping town. I’ve got nothing left here. I left nana a note. She’ll be okay without us.

I packed a bag. I put Squid and our copy of To Kill a Mockingbird in it. I’ve got plenty of money, not that I’ll need it.

I’m probably just gonna follow Shiloh, wherever he is. I won’t need this cash. I’ll leave it next to a note if I write one.

Shiloh is…

Whatever. It doesn’t matter now. I’m leaving.

That should fix everything.

…I hope.

* * *

Kody: one new voicemail

Nov. 18

I got a job at a bakery. Shiloh would’ve laughed. “Wow!!” He would say. “I can’t believe it!! Kody Jakobs works here?! Where’s the pro wrestling agency!?”

I wonder… What stage am I in now?? Five steps… hmm… denial… something… something… whatever. It doesn’t matter. I’m probably fine.

I think the only actual long-term effect of Shy’s absence will be my ability to ever love again. Gone. Out the window. This is never going to happen to me again. Never.

Shiloh may have torn down these stupid walls, but this time I will build them stronger and taller. No one will ever break in again.

And this stupid stuffed rabbit doesn’t matter anymore, so why do I still want it close to me?! I don’t know!! This sucks. I don’t understand any of it. Fuck this stupid rabbit. Fuck this town. Fuck love!!!

…damn.

* * *

Kody: one new voicemail

I used to think of love as a terrible beast. Bringing nothing but pain and destruction.

But now when I think of love…

I think of…

Him.

Love, like wildflowers peering through the cracks of pavements, unnoticed by the passerby.

Love is everywhere. Love is all around us.

So pay attention…

Pay attention or you just might miss your…

* * *

Kody: one new voicemail

Hello… You never pick up your phone… I just hope you’re okay.

Call me back soon.

* * *

Kody: one new voicemail

Dec. 25

Today is the day I follow Shiloh. I quit my job at the bakery, and I gave the cash to a charity. I’m done here. I’m finished. There’s no ‘unfinished business.’

I’m ready.

I stand atop this bridge now. Hoping maybe you’ll listen. Understand why I did this. Not that you’ll care. We haven’t talked in years. But I have to tell someone, and you’re the only one I thought of.

I don’t want to be known as ‘selfish’ for this. I want people to understand. I can’t do this without him, you know?

So I won’t. I won’t do anything without him.

I think I need to die now because I know it’ll be better than this purgatory we call home.

Honestly, I don’t want to die.

I think I just don’t want to be alone.

And I sure as hell don’t want Shiloh to be alone, either.

The air is emptier without his laugh, and it is painful to sit here in this new silence and long for the music to start again, and for the disc to spin again, even if it means going round and round for many more years…

…for at least we would be moving, and Shiloh would be laughing here on Earth… And not only in Heaven.

But I am grateful that we loved him well. And that we miss him well.

But now, we grieve in silence. Yet, not without his presence.

I miss him so much. So, so much. It hurts. And I can’t hurt this much any longer. I’m sorry, I just can’t. I can’t take it. I wanted a romance, not a tragedy.

I just… Shiloh was so good at telling me what he wanted. He threw fits when he didn’t get the remote for the video game console when I died, he would jump on my shoulders and whine. I’d sigh and give it up.

He wasn’t great at showing me what he loved, though. He’d always hide or try to evade things when we got on the conversation of likes and dislikes.

I wonder… Who was I to him?

Kodes.

I’m Kodes.

He’d laugh with nana when she called me Buggy, though. I’m Kodes, but sometimes I’m Buggy.

As cheesy as it sounds, I really… I really thought I’d be alone for the rest of my life. But then he came along. I was on the ground at a playground when I was seven.

I had been pushed to the floor by a few kids from my school.

But I looked up, and I saw an angel. And he reached his hand out to me, and I took it. And this angel seemed to be the solution to everything. I never expected him to stay as long as he did. He even kept coming back after the first time he saw my dad.

So I kept hiding him in my closet.

And he kept coming back. He always came back.

Once, he tried to run away. I was the first person he ran to when he decided to come back. He ran to me and cried into my shoulder. And I didn’t mind the snot one bit. He always came back.

But he’s not coming back this time.

Umm… Also, just something I’ve been thinking about… Uh, call me crazy, but… I think he did it on purpose. I think he went in there knowing he was probably going to die, and he wanted that… Um... I think he was thinking, “Oh, look, a perfect chance!!” Like, a rescue mission with a side of suicide?? I don’t know, I’m probably overthinking it, it’s just…

I loved him. It was more than love. Beyond love. I went beyond and I lost it all.

I think that angel of mine has decided it’s time for him to go home. And it’s devastating, but I just hope things will be better for him up there. The love of my life. I just hope he finds peace.

I am so happy for him. I am. But I don’t think I’m ready to do this without him. And so, I won’t.

Anyways… you heard about my story. You heard about what I knew about Shiloh’s story. I’m done here.

Goodbye, Jennifer. I just want you to know it wasn’t your fault, okay?? Mom and dad were bad, alright? It’s not your fault. My dying wish is for you to stop blaming yourself to what happened to us. You’re young. You’re my little sister. You weren’t responsible for what they did.

You shouldn’t have felt obligated to care for me. No matter what, I’ll always be with you.

I love you, Jenny. Don’t miss me too much. You’re all grown up now!! You can do it without me, okay?

So… “Goodbye, cruel world,” and everything.

Sayonara, and I hope you might understand.

And I hope I’m not called selfish.

…even though I deserve it.

Oh!! I am donating everything you find that belonged to me, but you can’t take the rabbit. And you better not touch my copy of To Kill a Mockingbird.

Sincerely,

Your Best Big Brother

P.s. Do me a favor.

Don’t hold anything back. Don’t make the same mistake I did.

Moral of the story, and all.

Nana,

It has been several months since Shiloh left town. I’m sorry. I am sure he meant to write a note. Maybe it just slipped his mind. He didn’t tell me he would hop a train and leave either. But I think maybe he just didn’t want to think about it when he wanted to leave. I mean, surely he is going somewhere much better than this wretched town. But I’m not going to forget him. And no matter how much you try to hide it, I know you didn’t hate him. And I know you’ll remember him, too.

To me, he was the shy boy who meant nothing. He sat in the back of the class, and I didn’t mind one bit for a long, long time. But to you… He was a son. You lost a child, while I only lost young love.

Yeesh, I’m making it sound like he’s dead. He’s not, of course.

I’ve been wondering… do you think Shy realizes he brought us together?? Or do you think he thought he was only a burden? Maybe that’s why he left. To ‘not get in our way.’ But you and I both know that’s not true. I just wish he’d recognize that himself.

I’m gonna miss him. I loved him; you know? I think… I think I’ll follow in his footsteps. Leave, that is. Hop a train or whatever.

I’m still trying to figure out what he’d want me to do. I wish I could ask you for help, but unfortunately, I’m not coming back, either. I need some time. And I think the best thing to do is follow Shiloh. I really don’t want him to be alone, even after he abandoned me. He left me with nothing but his stupid rabbit to keep me company.

I suppose it doesn’t matter so much now, though. If I’m going with him.

But hey. With this town… It was a good run. And for a long time… I was content being here. But now I want more. I want to see what else is out there, and when the time comes I’m gonna find him.

I don’t want you to feel like it was your fault, old hag. It’s not. I just don’t want to live stay here in this world town without him. And I don’t want him to be alone, wherever he is.

So yeah.

That’s what’s been going on. The story thus far. And I just wanted to say… Thank you, nana. I don’t think I say that enough. I appreciate all that you’ve done for me. And Shiloh. I love you.

It was fun while it lasted, huh?

Sorry I couldn’t stay longer.

Love,

Buggy.

P.s., do you want our copy of To Kill a Mockingbird?

I made it to a strange gate. It was bright, and clouds were taking over the blue sky.

There he was. He was arguing with a strange ball of light. “No!! You don’t understand! I’m waiting for someone!”

I walked closer, and he turned to me. His eyes widened.

He quickly snapped out of it and smiled excitedly. He ran to me and jumped up. I caught him. I held him up by his thighs and he hugged me tight. He buried his face in my shoulder.

He took his face up to breathe and smiled. “Finally.” He said.

When he hopped down, we walked together, hand in hand, to the bright ball of white light.

A silver gate appeared in front of us, revealed when clouds cleared a path. I took a deep breath and looked at him. He looked back and smiled.

I had all the reassurance I needed.

We began toward the gate. We were absorbed by a white light. With him, I felt excited for this new ‘life’ ahead of me.

I think it just has to be taken as it comes. When I thought about any hardships that would follow walking through the gate, I looked at Shiloh and just thought… we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

I never thought that before. I always stressed about it. But now I’m not.

My head hurts less now, my heart aches less, I don’t feel so empty… And I don’t feel alone.

I’m okay.

One look at Shiloh, and I know I’m okay.

…We’re okay.

Author Notes: CW//TW

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About The Author
IlliterateCat007
IlliterateCat007
About This Story
Audience
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Posted
25 Feb, 2021
Words
10,235
Read Time
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