Chapter 42: Conclusions (Rachel)

It was perhaps two months since I'd last seen Lance. I hadn't really wanted to let Hunter take him home since I didn't think Hunter could be trusted with anything important, but it seemed like I had worried unnecessarily. I was sitting on the couch watching the news with Aeson, which we'd started doing nightly since he'd decided not to go back to school. He seemed to spend a lot of time staring blankly at the TV. This was an older broadcast that he had recorded one night when I had plans, and he said there was something on it that he thought I would want to see. It turned out to be a segment on about a blind boy who had disappeared three years prior and his "joyful reunion with his parents". The picture they had of this boy was definitely Lance, and even the footage they used for the newscast showed him very happy where he was. According to the segment, no one knew what had happened to him or where he had been all that time, and he refused to say anything about it. It was strange that he wouldn't say anything about his absence, but I didn't pry into it too much. I'd decided not to pry into things that didn't concern me, and this was one of those things.

I overheard Matt talking to Zack about Hunter's condition not long after this. It turned out Hunter had calmed down a lot since Lance returned home. He hadn't run away, he seemed to actually try at school, and he'd even started working at a corner grocery as a stocker. Zack said he spent a lot of time at work or at Lance's house, but at least he let his parents or Zack know where he was going and when he planned to be back, so they didn't mind. Other than that, I rarely saw Hunter or Lance, though both came by on occasion to see Aeson.

After his sister's funeral, at least as far as I heard, Isaac returned to live with his parents. I heard that he had therapy to cope with what had happened to his sister. I also heard that during his therapy, the psychiatrist had determined that he had developed hallucinations of his own, but he was imagining feeling things that weren't there. I had no idea how they determined that from a mute, but I assumed that was why they were professionals. I heard he was fine even with this abnormality, so no one tried to medicate him or anything. The last I heard about him was that he was working towards being an online therapist, but since this information came from Hunter during one of his visits to Aeson, I couldn't determine how accurate that was.

Aidan, the homeless-looking girl who had been with Lance the last time I had an actual talk with him, disappeared. She came by a few times shortly after Lance went home to talk to Aeson about something, but after the first month, she stopped coming by at all. I wondered what happened to her, simply because she seemed attached to Aeson and it was rare to find that, especially in a girl. I asked Aeson, but he simply shrugged and said that she had somewhere she thought she needed to go and left. I never saw her again.

As for Aeson, he dropped out of school maybe a week after Hunter took Lance. He had failed that year anyway with all of his running away, so Mom had let him stay home for the remainder of the semester. Instead of starting back the following fall like I'd expected, he somehow convinced Mom to let him drop out. Despite Dad's protests, she did everything necessary to let him officially quit, saying it was surprising that he got as far as he did with his mental state. I always thought it was a shame that he almost earned a high school degree only to throw it away.

I graduated, and the fall that he dropped out was my first semester at college. I stayed nearby, partly to ensure that Aeson wasn't going to get in trouble if I moved into the dorm, and commuted an hour each way to classes. Despite this, he was somehow involved in an accidental death. When he was being charged with it, though, he had some elaborate story about some creature causing it instead. He was admitted to an asylum for a few months, but since none of the therapy or medication affected his hallucinations, they sent him home under the condition that he was always supervised.

He had to live at home, and he no longer really spoke to anyone. However, to my surprise, as soon as he returned, he started drawing nonstop. Every time I saw him, he was sketching something different, and by the time he finally stopped, he had created over a hundred diverse drawings, each incredibly detailed. A few weeks later, Dad saw them, and he encouraged Aeson to sell them. He even asked Aeson to color one of the best ones, which he did, and it was framed and hung in the living room over the television. Aeson's drawings grew to be quite popular among people who were interested in his subject matter, and I was completely amazed by the amount of respect he got simply through his ability to draw. Any time I asked him about how he came up with his ideas, he simply shook his head and said, "You already know."

There is still one thing I wonder, even after everything that happened. Aeson still sees things. No medication or therapy or attempt to change that has worked. So does that mean he is so delusional that there is nothing we can do to change it? Or does he really see things the rest of us don't?

A/N: So how was that? Anything I didn't wrap up or any advice for the rewrite?