Ring. Riiing. Riiing.
A groan escaped the girl’s lips at the insistent ringing of her phone. She attempted to bury herself farther into her nest of pillows and blankets. Her hand snaked out when the phone did not stop ringing after a minute, her eyes cracked open to stare blearily at the flashing ‘unknown number’ on the screen.
“Hello?” she answered as she swiped her thumb across the accept call number and pressed the device against the side of her face.
“Ah, I’m sorry did I wake you?” The voice on the other end of the line sounded small, almost scared. “I guess I did, I’m sorry, I just didn’t know who else to call. All my friends are gone and I just needed to talk to someone…”
She sat up in bed, some instinct telling her that the voice on the other end of the line was close to doing something drastic and that perhaps she could help them. “No, no, you didn’t wake me, I was up,” she lied, glancing at her alarm clock to check the time. 6.00 am. Yeah, she definitely figured something was up, who calls a stranger at six in the morning. “Uh, what’s up?”
The stranger was silent for a moment. “I just…I don’t think I can handle all this anymore…I wanted someone to know about me…I don’t want to be forgotten….but…I’m just so in the way. All the time…” They broke off with a choked sob. “I’m so alone, I don’t know what to do.”
“Hey, hey, you aren’t alone.” She vaulted up from her bed and across the room in a flash, the words striking a chord with her as she moved swiftly across her house. “You are never alone.”
“I am alone, I’m always alone!” Their voice cut off again in a choked sob and she could practically see them curling up on themselves. “What’s the point if I’m just gonna stay alone?” The voice was small and broken now.
Concern weighed deeply on her soul as she ran swiftly. Something telling her where to go. “You won’t stay alone,” she promised. Her bare feet pounded across the pavement as she headed towards the old bridge at the end of the road. She ignored the pain in favor of pushing herself farther and faster. “I promise I won’t let anything bad happen to you.”
“It’s too late for that. I’m so alone….”
She dropped her phone when she reached the bridge, pumping her arms in time with her running. heading towards a lone figure standing on the edge over the water. “Please!” she pleaded with the figure, pushing herself through the burning pain of her feet and muscles. Her hand reached out to the person as they turned and leaned backward. Her fingers closed around the front of their shirt as they fell, pulling her down with them. “You aren’t alone,” She whispered, pulling the person towards her and turning so that she would take the force of the impact on the water below. Her vision went dark and she knew no more.
The next day the local paper spoke of the unconscious body of a young boy they had found on the banks of the river. They tried to interview him about what had happened, but he would not speak. He only told the social worker that came to talk to him that his sister had saved him, saved him from doing the same thing she had done. And always the words “I won’t let anything bad happen to you” were whispered in his mind when he passed the bridge. Always the words “You aren’t alone” were said when he fell. And he could see the ghostly hand and smiling face of his sister when he fell. She would always support him, even if she could not support herself.
“You aren’t alone, baby brother,” was whispered on the wind as he stared out over the waters that had claimed his sister and that had almost claimed him. “I’ll always be here for you.”