Sirens blared as the emergency vehicles raced down the highway. Civilians gathered around, inspecting the twisted metal of the two cars, the smoke that rose into the late night sky, and the shards of glass on the pitch-black pavement. But most of all, they stared, wide eyed at the flames that claimed the hoods of both cars as its home.

While the police questioned the drunken men of one car, the firefighters attempted to put out the fire and pull the unconscious couple from the other.

People's hands clasped their mouths as they were removed; other's turned away.


I was first aware of the pain—an irritating stinging in my stomach, an unbearable ache in my left leg. I was moving, too, despite the straps I felt tight on my body. That's when I heard the all-too-familiar sound, a terrifying wail of warning.

I pulled back my heavy lids to see a metal roof. Why was I in so much pain? Where was Christopher?

Glancing around the small metal confinement of the ambulance, I caught the eyes of Christopher's older siblings, Melody and Eric. Their faces, so twisted with pain, so terrifying. I felt my body tense and let out a small whimper when I felt a wave of pain run from the crown of my head right down to my toes.

"It's best if you try not to move," a methodical voice murmured from somewhere near my head.

"Chris…" I managed to get out. "Where's…Christopher?"

Melody. Sweet Melody. She didn't move. She sat there, still as stone. In the darkness, as we passed the streetlamps at a dangerous pace, I could see the tears. Brief flashes of them. Her cheeks were drenched.

"Madison," was all she said. My name. Over and over.

I tensed up again, only wincing.

"Sweetie, you're going to need to not move until we can get you examined," the voice urged. I ignored her.

"Eric," I said, my voice pitifully frail even though I was trying to sound demanding. "Where's—"

"Madison," he said, surprisingly calm. "We don't know."

"You…don't know…?"

"He's in a separate ambulance," he said, his voice cracking once or twice. His façade was crumbling. Fast.

But I didn't get to hear anything else. I started crying. I felt my body protest to the hard breaths I was taking. The voice around me began to blur.

"We're going to need to sedate her…"I heard a male mutter. I could also hear Melody's cries blur into the siren and the medical workers' voices. The colors began to fade, and soon, I was engulfed in a medicated sleep.


With a groan, I sat up. My eyebrows furrowed as my eyes skimmed over the sight before me. The pale blue walls adorned with colorful fish, a small television set in a corner next to a window that overlooked the parking lot. My twin, Matt, was asleep on the couch underneath said window, his jet-black hair falling over his eyes. And then I saw the heart monitor…

I was in the hospital.

That's when I remembered. Christopher and I were on a date. We were hit by someone. I remembered smelling the smoke before I actually saw the bright red flames shooting from the hood of our car. Christopher had shifted the car…at the last second, I thought sadly. He took most of the blow.

I looked at myself and screamed. I was sitting on top of myself. I jumped up and took a few steps away from the bed, glaring at it, wondering if I was still dreaming. I was standing at the foot of my bed staring at a sleeping version of myself. I stifled a gasp. Half my face was bruised and cuts adorned pieces of my cheeks and forehead. One eye was a deep purple and visibly very swollen while my mouth and nose were occupied by plastic tubes. I feared what other injuries the body in the bed had sustained, hidden by cloth and blankets.

"How is this possible?" I wondered aloud, my voice shaky with fear. I was there. I was asleep in that bed. No. I was unconscious.

I shifted my gaze to the identical boy sleeping under the window. "Matt," I called. No answer. "Matthew!" I called louder. I called him repeatedly, until I was screaming. Nothing. Not even a twitch of his muscle. I stood my ground feet away from him, afraid to touch him. Something was terribly wrong with me if I was in two places at once. Who knows what would happen if I touched Matt or even myself.

I ran down the hall, my bare feet slapping the cold tiles as I searched. No one could see me. It was like I was like a ghost. No one could see me, no one could hear me, and no one could feel me, a fact I'd discovered after turning a corner and accidentally bumping into someone. I'd found myself on my back sprawled on the floor, but the nurse kept on walking like nothing happened.

I heard a long buzz coming from the room beside me. Glancing around at the nurses and doctors racing into it, I caught sight of a sign that hung overhead. ICU. I was in the intensive car unit. I followed the nurses into the room, only to feel my heart drop.


Christopher's heart had stopped. They couldn't bring him back. They tried. I stood next to him, my hand cupping his cheek, as they shocked him, my new ghostly form not feeling a thing. I couldn't feel the tears falling from my face, but I saw them land on the sheet next to his arm and disappear in milliseconds.

Christopher was gone. He left me here to die.

I ran from the room, infuriated with myself for even thinking such a thing. I kept running, sniffling down the halls, until I reached a lobby and I sat down, pulling my knees up to my chest. It was my fault, all my fault. He had killed himself in an attempt to save me.

That's why I had fallen in love with Christopher. He was so kind hearted. And chivalrous. Old fashioned. Most guys, including my twin brother, had longer hair; flopping over their eyes and ears. Most girls found it adorable. I found it messy. Christopher kept his hair short. Most guys slapped girls' asses as they passed and laughed. Christopher held the door and smiled. Most guys called girls' hot, Christopher called me pretty.

He was gone though. But I needed to find a way to get back to my body. I needed to be there for his family. And mine. I need to keep living, I kept telling myself on the slow journey back to where I was located.

But I wasn't fooling myself.

I might have only been 18, and I may have not known what true love was, but I knew that I really cared for Christopher and I also knew that life would change for the worst.

I lost a best friend. I lost a boyfriend. I just lost.

"Madison…" a voice echoed down the halls. I stopped and looked at the ceiling as if my answer was in the tiles. "…Madison…you need to live."

I blinked uselessly and then sprinted down the hall. The voice got stronger, clearer as I neared my own room.

"Madison," the voice murmured again. A male voice. Strong, soft, sweet. He was talking to me. But it wasn't Matt. Matt was still oblivious, apparently, snoring softly on the couch. "Please don't go."

I took a breath and stood in front of the doorway. That breath left me in a rush, a wild gasp that caught his attention.

His hazel eyes met my green ones, and he smiled.

I couldn't help myself. My legs pushed the ground behind me and I sprang forward, into his arms, crying irrationally. He was here. He could see me. But he wasn't alive. He would never live again.

"Madison," he murmured into my hair. I just kept my face buried into the polo shirt he was wearing. The same one he was wearing on the date. A simple sign that he was dead.

"I'm going to miss you," I said, pulling my head away from him and looking up at his gorgeous face.

"I'll be here."

"Promise me something," I said, placing my cheek against his chest. My heart lurched when I realized there was no heartbeat. Angels don't have heartbeats? I wondered to myself.

"What?" the same old skepticism entered his voice, as it did anytime I asked him to promise me anything.

"Promise me, that if I live—"

"There's no 'if'," he told me flatly, his deep voice vibrating against my cheek.

"Promise," I said, ignoring his interruption, "That you'll be my guardian angel. Don't ever leave me." Was I selfish? To ask him to stay with me instead of moving on? "No." I let out a shuddered sigh. "I can't do that. Just…"

Fingers slid under my chin and lifted my face so that I was looking at a pair of the bluest eyes. "Just what?" he asked softly.

"Be around when I need you?"

"Anytime. I promise." His voice echoed in my head as his kissed me and I opened my eyes to a pale white ceiling.

"Madison," I heard my mother sigh in relief.

It was a long and slow recovery. But little things reminded me that I now had a guardian angel. I was constantly having conversations with him in my dreams. They felt so real. I told Matt about him, he told me that once I was off the medication, I'd 'sober up'.

But I believed. I had Christopher watching over me.

I had a guardian angel.