My boyfriend, Eren Jaeger, disappeared ten days before his seventeenth birthday.
It wasn't just him either. Lot's of other teenage kids had been disappearing before that, but the police where sitting on their lazy asses until the FBI got involved, I suppose.
Eren was athletic, playing basketball and baseball, and had decided to walk home with his friend and fellow teammate, Marco, and his girlfriend, Mina, before they all three disappeared. Before that, it had been Thomas Wagner, some kid named Daz, another named Franz, and a teacher, Miss. Langer.
It unsettled the parents of Shiganshina, but after three kids where taken, there was a city-wide curfew, police were working extra hours, and nobody traveled alone. My own mother was sure to text me every half hour just to make sure I was alright. It might have been annoying if my boyfriend hadn't been taken, but I understood.
The only people who were just as upset about Eren's disappearance where probably his parents, his adopted sister and my sort of cousin, Mikasa, and his friend Armin. Armin was scarily level headed about Eren's disappearance, while Mikasa and I would have tore the entire town apart if it weren't for Armin diffusing us with just a few words.
It was frustrating, waiting for the cops and the FBI to do their jobs. We knew that after a certain amount of time, missing people were pronounced dead. But we all refused to believe him to be dead. Eren Jaeger couldn't die. He was way to determined and spirited for that.
It weighed heavily on me that I might never see those brilliant green eyes that held such fire in them or feel his body against mine. The last thing I ever said to him was something about him taking a shit. I thought about this every night as a week turned into a month, then into three.
Nobody had any leads. The last person who had seen them was Eren and Marco's baseball coach, who had offered them a ride, but they had refused. They guy had looked pretty torn up about it, saying that he wished he had insisted. At the time, I wished that too.
Mikasa's kind-of boyfriend, Jean Kirstein, was best friends with Marco and was pretty torn up about his best friend and his girlfriend's brother going missing, even if he didn't always get along with Eren.
Being a year older than Eren, I graduated at the end of May, but I felt a giant hole in my heart, knowing that Eren couldn't see it. It was painful living every day without him.
At the end of June, I decided against going to college to stay at home and work. I suppose that I was depressed and holding on the hope that Eren would come back.
Six months passed and pretty much any hope of finding the missing people was lost. Nobody had been kidnapped since March, so the FBI was going to declare it a cold case.
That is, they were until Krista Lenz, a small, blonde girl with a sweet disposition, was almost kidnapped. Somehow, her girlfriend had stopped the bastard, who ran, but not before the two girls saw who it was and reported him immediately to the police.
That opened a whole can of worms. It was apparently the fucking coach. The police didn't find a trace of him at first, getting a warrant to search his house and found a hidden basement after some searching.
They don't tell you this shit in the newspapers or on the news. What they found made some of the most seasoned officers vomit, apparently.
All the people that had been kidnapped were down there. Some of them were mangled and ripped apart. Franz was missing his legs, Mina, her head, Marco part of his right side. It was gory, it was disgusting, and they said the smell just about knocked them out.
They were all decaying and they all had scars on their throats. At least, from what they could tell from the corpses.
They found Eren and pronounced him dead at the scene until he bolted upright and scuttled away from the police, his mouth open the entire time, seemingly screaming, but no sound came out.
The reports said he was completely naked, starved, dehydrated, but there were no marks on him except for surgical scars at his throat.
That wasn't all they found either. The bastard coach had been trying to make some sort of artificial human and had been collecting body parts. The next thing on his list had been labeled “Hair”.
His “surgery” room was separated from the room by a soundproof window. Not much about what really happened would be explained until much, much later.
I was fucking glad that the son of a bitch turned up days later, dead, apparently by suicide.
Eren was sedated and taken immediately to the hospital. I still remember getting a call from Mikasa at the beginning of October in the middle of the day, sobbing. My heart fell, fearing the worst, but then she managed to get out that he was alive and that he was at the hospital.
I left work early that day, not even explaining to my boss as I raced to the hospital. I found Eren's family there already. They wouldn't let any of us in yet, but as we waited, they dropped the bomb on us.
Eren would never be able to speak ever again. His vocal chords had been removed and due to the unskilled hands that had taken it from him, damaged the muscles and tissues and his throat had healed wrong. There was nothing that they could do.
It was a lot better than finding him dead, that was certain, but we all knew that the injury to Eren's throat would be nothing compared to the mental scars he had.
It was hard at first; every time he woke up, he started to thrash and his version of screaming would happen. I was there every time it happened, as well as Mikasa and Eren's parents.
His eyes would snap open and his pupils were dilated. His heart rate would go up drastically as he put his hands over his ears and kicked and bit, trying to get away from all the doctor's and nurses. Nobody could figure out what was happening with him and the doctor's had suggested putting Eren in a mental facility, to which Mikasa and I vehemently were against. But in the end, it wasn't really our decision to make.
He was there for two days before he was restrained and separated, being labeled as a danger to himself and to others. However, this didn't change anything as he spent anytime he was awake, crying, thrashing, and trying to scream.
It was then that Armin came up with an answer.
Eren was terrified of silence.
We managed to test this theory, Armin bringing in an iPod with headphones and managed to put them on Eren.
After weeks of fighting and sobbing, Eren calmed down instantly.
And from then on, Eren never took off the headphones. Anytime the doctors tried, Eren would react violently. So on they stayed.
Eren stayed in the hospital for a while longer. Despite his inability to speak, his personality still shown through from time to time. I once tried to help him with a puzzle that he seemed to be struggling with, and he fixed me with a glare that reminded me of the times he got frustrated with me for cleaning his room.
Mikasa once tried to wipe food off his face, and he smacked her hands away and huffed. He probably would have told her to stop acting so motherly towards him if he could have spoken.
He was much the same, but he was also much different.
He had nightmares every night. The doctor's prescribed him anxiety medication for his frequent panic attacks. He hardly ever looked at anyone anymore.
He wouldn't let anyone cut his hair either. His mother had come in one time with scissors, saying that she would cut his hair that was past his shoulder. Once he had seen the scissors, however, Eren had freaked out.
Once he was calmed down, he wouldn't stop giving his mother angry looks as if it was her fault scissors existed.
I could tell he wanted to scream sometimes. Scream with rage, frustration, sadness. But he couldn't. It was times like these where we would find him punching his pillow with an angry look on his face. The doctors had run in, ready to sedate him, but he sat back on his bed and complied with their wishes.
He wasn't being violent, he was just trying to channel his anger. Without his voice, he was having a harder time with that.
Jean had come to visit, as well as Annie, who had been close friends with Mina. Once Eren had seen them, he started sobbing uncontrollably. The whole time, the only thing he mouthed was 'I'm sorry' over and over again.
Eren seemed to blame himself for their brutal deaths, but Jean and Annie sat with Eren for a long time, comforting him and assuring him that they didn't blame him at all.
It was when Annie left that she surprised me.
“We got it easy,” she said quietly to me.
“What do you mean?” I had asked her.
She looked at me with those pale blue eyes that seemed to be emotionless, but I could see sorrow in them.
“I lost one of my best friends,” Annie said, “But Eren...he lost so much more.”
She didn't say anything else, but Jean seemed to be in agreement with her.
Armin started to teach Eren sign language. At first, Eren was stubborn and refused to learn. Since he also refused to write in a notebook to tell us what he wanted to say, there was no way to find out what he was thinking.
But then one day, he sat in front of Armin expectantly, waiting for his blond friend to teach him. I learned along with Eren. I bought sign language books to learn as well and let Eren borrow them. It was as if he had finally realized he was never going to be able to speak again.
As for where Eren and I stood, I had no answer. I knew better to assume that we were still dating, but I wasn't going to leave Eren's side. We still maintained a closeness, but Eren had yet to acknowledge our relationship at all. Granted, our relationship was the least he had to worry about.
The one time I had grasped his hand, he pulled it away, looking at me with a pained expression on his face. I didn't try and touch him again. But there had been one time when I had fallen asleep, arms crossed on the bed and head lying on them, when I was awakened by Eren playing with my hair. I didn't want to disturb the one time he was touching me of his own free will, so I pretended to sleep until he withdrew his hand.
On one of the last days he was at the hospital, he had finally written one thing down in his notebook.
What happened to him?
We instantly knew exactly what he was talking about.
His father, Grisha, answered for us all.
“He killed himself before the police found him,” he said and a taut voice.
Eren looked down for the longest time before looking back up, a familiar look of determination and rage on it.
He deserved a more painful death, he wrote, but he didn't mention it again.
And so, we all started to rebuild from the debris that had been left in the destruction of our lives.