Chapter 2

I considered walking to the psychiatric ward of the hospital, because after all, I was already there, and I obviously needed some serious help since I had just had the craziest and most tripping hallucination that morning. I mean, I did have a second cousin who struggled with mental health problems, so it did run in the family. So as I stood there, staring at the parents of the boy who always seemed too handsome and perfect to be true, I did what every other teenager would've have done: I took out my phone and googled it.

A few minutes into my Google search, I had convinced myself I was schizophrenic, hence the hallucinations. So, that walk to the psychiatric ward, didn't seem such a bad idea after all. But as I almost made myself walk there, I realized I couldn't have kept my phone, and boy was I addicted to that thing. So I decided to just go home, take a long nap, and hopefully when I woke up everything would go back to the way it was, and I wouldn't even be able to remember how creepy it was that out of all the things I could've hallucinated about, it had been a poor young man about to die.

By the time I got back to my car, my hands were shaking so much that I had a hard time putting the keys in the ignition. If that wasn't a sign of my impaired state, I didn't know what was, but I had to get myself together and go home, so I turned on the radio and blasted whatever music was on, singing as loud as I could even to songs I didn't know, making up lyrics and tunes, so I would be distracted enough to make it home safely.

As I drove by the spot where I thought I had seen Noah that morning, on the long and straight stretch of road shadowed by trees, a chill ran through my spine. What if I didn't hallucinate it, what if it was his ghost? As soon as the thought entered my brain, I laughed it off, because first of all, ghosts didn't exist, and most importantly, Noah wasn't even dead, so how could have I met his ghost?

The rest of the day was miserable, and I just spent it in the comfort of my bed, binging on Netflix to try and keep my mind occupied. Sarah tried calling me several times, but I just told her I was sick so she'd leave me alone. My mother didn't bother me at all, not even when she found out I had ditched school or when I didn't come downstairs for dinner, which only meant that she and Tom were fighting again. It happened often, too often in my opinion, and I knew to stay away and hide in my room when their voices started raising. They argued about everything and anything, it was as if they tried to get on each other's nerves on purpose. For example, my mother was borderline OCD, she hated everything dirty, and Tom would go out of his way to do things that would trigger her anxiety. On the other hand, Tom loved to relax in front of the TV after working late, but my mother always had some little task she wanted him to do, and wouldn't leave him alone until he did.

I missed the days when it was just me and Mom, but we had grown so much apart that I couldn't even tell her.

The next morning, for the first time in my life, I woke up before the alarm went off. I had slept horribly, having had nightmares about being locked up wearing a straight jacket, and I dreaded having to drive to school, again another first.

I turned off the radio, letting the noise of the wind through the open windows be my only company, and I tried to enjoy the scenery as I drove in my old Toyota, my heart beating faster than usual.

When I reached Whitestone road, and I saw that it was all clear, I finally felt like I could breathe again. There was no sign of Noah, or anything else, and I rejoiced in the emptiness of the street.

The sun was rising, and just like the day before the light coming from it blinded me for a short second, and all of a sudden the road wasn't empty anymore.

I screamed, stomping on the brakes, and when Noah turned around and waved at me from right in front of me, I screamed even louder.

I quickly rolled up my windows and locked the doors, as I watched him walk towards my car. I was petrified, terrified, and my stomach started feeling queasy. I wanted to drive away, but something kept me there, and I just looked at Noah, as flashbacks of him lying on the stretcher kept coming back to me, haunting me.

He walked to the passenger side, and tried to open the door. When he realized it was locked, he looked at me confused, raising his arms.

"Brie? Can you give me a ride?"

His voice was muffled, and I just sat there with my mouth wide open, unable to do or say anything, let alone think.

He knocked on the window, and I jumped in fear.

"Hey, what's going on?" he asked me, with a concerned look on his face.

"Are you all right?"

When again I didn't answer, he walked around the car until he was by my door, and he leaned on the car, with an arm on the roof.

"I'm not trying to state the obvious, but you're acting really weird. You're kinda freaking me out," he said, and I let out a crazy sounding laugh.

"I'm freaking you out?" I yelled out, and he moved away from the car, raising his hands in the air.

"He's just a hallucination, he's just an hallucination..." I started muttering to myself, first quietly, and then louder and louder, in full-on freak out mode.

"I'm not a hallucination, but you definitely might be on drugs," Noah said knocking at my window again, making me jump once more.

"Can you tell me what's going on?"

I looked up to him, and I slightly pressed the window button, opening it by less than an inch.

"Are you afraid of me?" he then asked, and I nodded.


I didn't know how to answer him. I was so baffled by the whole situation, that even if I could have, I wouldn't have known how to explain what was going on.

"Look, Brie, I really need your help. I've been having these weird blackouts and I've been losing chunks of time. I think I might need to see a doctor or something."

Maybe that was my chance, I thought. If I took him to the hospital, and his parents saw him, maybe they could give us an explanation. Maybe he had a long lost twin that took his place, and I could go from schizophrenic to actually saving the day.

"I can take you to the hospital," I told him, unlocking the car.

"Thank you," he said, and then walked in and sat next to me.

The ride was super awkward and freaky, as I kept thinking that I might be sitting next to a real ghost. I knew there was one way to prove it, as I remembered the movie "Casper" and the iconic hand touching scene.

I tried to be as discreet as possible, moving my right hand slowly closer and closer to him, until I touched his arm. When I felt his skin and muscle under my finger, I screamed, as I was sure it would've gone right through him, like in the movie, but when I touched his flesh, for some reason, it scared me more.

"What the heck, dude!" Noah yelled out, and I apologized immensely, feeling completely embarrassed.

So he was real? Or was it part of my hallucination that I could not only see him, but also touch him? The twin theory seemed more and more plausible, and as I tried to accept the fact that he wasn't a ghost or a vision, I felt a little more relaxed.

As we got closer to the hospital, an uneasy feeling started creeping up inside of me, and I felt torn about what was about to happen. I felt almost guilty, so when we arrived at the hospital, I decided to warn him about what he was going to walk into.

"I have you tell you something Noah," I whispered, the motor of the car still running.

"What's up?"

"The reason I was so freaked out by you it's because... Well..."

"Come on, spit it out already!"

Noah looked annoyed and impatient, so I decided to just rip the bandaid.

"Supposedly, you have been in an accident two nights ago, and you're lying in that hospital in critical condition. Your parents are there, or at least they were when I went yesterday, and I saw you."

"You saw me?"

"Yes, in a stretcher, looking pretty banged up."

"That's crazy! You're crazy," he started saying, in a strangely calm voice.

"Look, I appreciate the ride, but if you're trying to be funny to impress me, it's definitely not working."

"What? Why would I joke about something like this? And why would I try and impress you?" I asked him, my voice annoyingly higher than I intended.

Noah scoffed and shook his head, taking a deep breath.

"So what you're telling me is that if I walk into the hospital, I will find myself lying somewhere, injured after a car accident?"

I nodded, and then I suddenly realized something.

"I never said it was a car accident, Noah. How did you know?"

He looked confused, perplexed, shocked even, but his emotions quickly disappeared from his face.

"I guess I just assumed it was."

"Do you remember something?"

"No, of course not! And that's because there has been no accident!"

"Then how do you explain this?" I asked him, and after pulling out my phone, I googled his name with our town's name, and clicked on the first article that popped up.

"This... This isn't right. It's not real, it's not possible," he started mumbling after I handed him the phone.

"I'm just as confused as you are, trust me," I told him in an empathetic tone, feeling sorry for him and what he must have been feeling.

"Then help me fix this," he said, and I could see the anger and determination within his eyes.


"Take me to where you saw my parents yesterday, where you saw me."

I inhaled deeply and agreed to go with him, and once we were out of the car, we walked hastily to the intensive care wing of the hospital.

I was expecting someone, anyone, to recognize Noah as we made our way in the hospital, but nobody seemed to notice us. When we entered the waiting room, I didn't see his parents anywhere, so we walked over to the counter to ask a nurse.

"My name is Noah Adler, and I believe there has been a huge mistake, I need to find my parents," Noah said to the nurse, but she completely ignored him.

"Excuse me? I'm talking to you!" His voice was raised in anger, but still the young woman didn't even raise her eyes to him.

"Hello? Can't anybody see that I'm okay?"

Noah was now full-on yelling, but nobody in the room seemed to hear him, or see him, and my heart broke for him, as we both slowly realized that something was absolutely wrong.

Noah looked like a mad man, running around the room trying to get someone to notice him, jumping in front of random people, trying to touch them and push them, but his hands kept literally going through them. Just like in the movie.

I felt like I couldn't breathe anymore, and I fell to my knees, my eyes full of tears, as I helplessly watched Noah fall apart in desperation.

"Miss, are you okay?"

A male nurse approached me, and I shook my head. It took me a few seconds before I was able to speak, and my voice came out shaky and hoarse as I asked him if he knew where Noah Adler was.

"Are you his family?"

"Yes, tell him you're my sister, Rose!" Noah yelled at me, running towards me.

"Yes, I'm Rose Adler, his sister," I told the nurse, and he nodded.

"Come with me, your parents have been waiting for you," he said, and he offered me his hand and helped me off the floor.

I turned to Noah, but he purposely avoided my stare. I didn't want to deceive the nurse, but me and Noah had to know, we had to see. So we walked quietly behind him, past the glass doors, into a room not far from the entrance. When we entered it, I gasped and covered my mouth with my hands, as I stared at the occupant of the hospital bed.

"Your parents were here a minute ago, they must've gone to get some breakfast, they should be back soon," the nurse told me, but I could barely hear him.

"What is wrong with him?" I asked, unable to keep my eyes off of Noah, the real Noah, who was lying on that bed, pale, almost lifeless.

"He's in a coma, his brain cells aren't functioning anymore."

"Is there a chance he could get better?"

"I'm afraid not. Right now, all that is keeping him alive is that big machine. You and your parents have an important decision to make."

I had no words. I was in complete disbelief, and when I looked around to find ghost Noah, and I couldn't see him anywhere, I wondered if I had imagined it all, once again. But something inside of me knew that it was all real, and that he was somewhere, alone and scared, and that I, somehow, had to help him.