Chapter Six

Neyan smiles at Aliya, a wildish boyish grin that makes her heart flutter a bit.

'Why, do I not seem real to you?' Aliya couldn't help the blush that spreads across her cheeks.

'N-no… That's not what I- '

'I know, I know. Sorry, I couldn't help it… But I think the real question is more, Aliya Patterson, are YOU real? He props his head on his knuckles and stares at her with twinkling blue eyes. He lowers his voice. 'Because to be honest, I don't quite believe you are,'

'To be honest, I don't believe I am anymore either, but I know I once was,' Aliya grimly smiles back.

'Tell me everything,' Neyan seems intrigued, so Aliya tells him the entire story, leaving out the part where she got close to Kylan though.

'Right…' Neyan looks a bit startled.

'Sorry, I know it seems unbelievable. I was surprised that you could see me though,'

'I was too, I only figured it out when you tried to get the librarian's attention when she was helping me and you literally walked right through her,'

'Oh… Oops.' Aliya scratches her head. 'So, I don't suppose you have some hidden remedy for all this mess?'

'I'm afraid I don't, but I have myself and I'm willing to help you,' Neyan winks at her, and Aliya's cheeks heat once again.

'You don't have to, there's no point involving you. I'm sure you've got better things to do,'

'I think you'll find I don't, why do you think I hang out in a library every day? Besides, it doesn't seem like that other guy is gonna help you,'

'…I guess.' And with that, the newfound friends began reading and studying anything that seems remotely related to their situation. After spending hours with no results, Neyan yawns.

'I want to meet this Kylan,'

'Why? He's not exactly pleasant,' Aliya frowns and highlights a sentence in the book she's reading.

'He's the only one that can see you other than me, right? Maybe if all three of us are together, something will happen like it did with the two of you,'

'Is that a good thing though?'

'It's better than tugging at dead-ends,' Neyan gathers their books and extends a hand to Aliya. She takes it and stands up, stretching out her aching bones. Neyan doesn't let go though and instead leads her out of the library, hand-in-hand. After getting directions from Aliya, he leads her to the school, where Kylan is just finishing up his last class for the day.

Kylan doesn't notice the pair as he rolls out his neck. He had just finished an exhausting science lesson and all he wants to do is take a hot shower. He starts the walk to his house and Neyan and Aliya follow him. After they walk down street after street, Kylan turns.

'What do you want, and who are you?' He says, frowning at Neyan. Neyan drops Aliya's hand and extends it to Kylan.

'I'm Neyan, I'm helping Aliya with her little, ah, problem.' Kylan turns on his heel and walks double the speed he was before, leaving Neyan with his hand hanging in the air.

'Well, then. He's pleasant.' Neyan says sarcastically, turning to Aliya with a grim smile.

'I told you.' Aliya nudges Neyan. 'Let's follow him, he can't ignore us forever.' They smile at each other and trail Kylan, remaining just behind enough that he doesn't see them.

When they get to Kylan's house, Aliya's breath catches. It's a magnificent two-story modern villa. It's surrounded by other expensive-looking homes but this one stands out a lot. Kylan walks through the front door and doesn't lock it. Aliya and Neyan glance at each other before walking up to the front door and opening it to the beautiful furniture.

'Looks like a display home.' Aliya comments, twirling in a circle. Neyan looks a bit confused.

'Ah, yeah sure,' He points up the twirling staircase. 'He went up there.' Aliya nods and they both walk up the stairs, to the door labeled with Kylan. They step inside and Kylan is laying on his bed, hands on his eyes. He sighs and sits up to look at them.

'Isn't this breaking and entering? I don't remember saying you could come here.' He huffs.

'Are you that selfish? Aliya is in real trouble and you don't even care when you could help her?' Neyan growls back. Aliya glows at Neyan's comment.

'And? How is that my fault she's like this? We all have our own lives; we all have things going on. I don't need to deal with her troubles too, just leave me alone!' Kylan snaps. Neyan is about to yell something back when a knock sounds at Kylan's bedroom door. Kylan's eyes widen.

'Get in the closet.' He hisses quietly and pushes them to his open closet. Aliya and Neyan struggle to fit but as soon as they're in, Kylan slams the door shut and runs to his door, opening it. Aliya and Neyan peer through the slits in the door to see an older man and a younger-looking version of Kylan walk in. His father and brother, Aliya thinks, they all look so similar.

'What were you doing in here boy?' His father sneers at him, looking incredibly nasty.

'I-I was just on my phone with one of my friends, sorry.' Kylan bows his head and Aliya can't believe how weak he sounds. His father raises his hand and slaps Kylan across the face. Aliya yelps and Neyan quickly covers her mouth to stop anymore sound but it's too late. Kylan's father looks to the closet and back at Kylan, who looks like he wants to sink into the ground. Kylan's father points his chin to the closet and Kylan's younger brother goes over and wretches the door open. Neyan and Aliya stare wide-eyed back and the younger sibling yells out loud.

'There's a boy in here!' with childish glee. Kylan's father pales and yells at the sibling to 'Get out now!' before shutting the door. Kylan, who looks extremely sickly, stares back and forth between Neyan and his Father. Aliya, remembering that no one can see her, can't help the relief that floods her but feels sick as she hopes that Kylan's father won't be too mad.

'Is there something you're not telling me?' He says with barely restrained aggression.

'N-no, it's not that, it's-' His father doesn't wait for him to finish before he hits him across the face again. Again, and again, his father strikes him until he's bleeding from both his nose and mouth. Kylan is on his knees, face on the ground when his father stops. Aliya has tears sliding down her cheeks and her voice is hoarse from screaming, not realising that she can't be heard. She… can't… be heard. Right? Aliya shakes as the realisation strikes her. If she can't be heard, then how did Kylan's father hear her yelp? And why wasn't Neyan doing anything, he could help Kylan. Aliya turns to Neyan, who notices her and looks extremely shocked. Aliya could have sworn, though, that he was smiling before that. A chill slides down her spine but she soon forgets as Kylan's father turns to Neyan and goes to hit him. But he never does, as the room turns pitch black and all anyone can hear is shrill screams of pure panic.