I didn’t talk to anyone for days. I didn’t even leave my room. Eventually the feeling of hunger faded but the thirst was always there. I didn’t care, not anymore.
Mum had even stopped coming to my door, to check whether I was alright or to see if I wanted anything. I never answered. At night I heard the pack’s howls. In the day I heard the silence of the house. But all the time I was haunted by the same thought. It was you.
I knew it wasn’t true, it couldn’t be. But what other reason would there be? Sometimes the pack would send me mental images of her sat up in a hospital bed, asking for me. They were teasing me. I wanted to believe she was alive, I really did, but I couldn’t. It was false hope. I was just waiting to die.
At night when I changed into a wolf, I built a barrier against the pack’s thoughts. David was trying to get me to come out. During the day, I was bombarded with calls from virtually everyone I knew. I eventually just threw the phone against the wall. I hadn’t picked up the broken pieces. I didn’t plan to.
I thought my mum had forgotten about me. I never made a sound, night or day. I tried to sleep as little as possible. When I was awake I could at least control my thoughts a little bit but when I was asleep, she was there, waiting for me. Always waiting.
Several times I’d tried to lose myself in fiction but whenever it mentioned a beautiful girl, she was in my mind again. So I gave up reading and just sat on the floor with my back against a wall.
I’d thought about just getting it over with; I had a sheet of tablets on the desk. But whenever I thought of that - overdosing - I reminded myself that I had to suffer for what I’d done. It was my fault.
She could have been sat next to me, laughing, if I’d just stayed quiet. Or even waited until she really was asleep. I could have waited until she was well and out of hospital. We could have been out in the forest together, kissing. We could have been married in five years time, child on the way. We could have... There were so many thoughts of what could have been.
What if I had stayed quiet? Would it have happened anyway? Things happen for a reason, that was what she used to say. If that was true, what was the reason behind that?
I felt my eyes drift to the tablets, then to the fabric scissors in their pot. It would have been so easy. But I couldn’t bring myself to do it.
I heard the doorbell ring and the door open and close. I heard whispering. I heard my name in those whispers. I slid the lock on my door and opened the door. I stood up and walked out. Mum was standing in the hall, talking to someone I couldn’t see. I heard her say my name again. A doctor? A counsellor?
“Mum?” I said, my voice hoarse from not speaking for days.
She looked around and smiled. “Spike, at last.”
She stepped aside to reveal Ingrid stood there. A sweet smile spread across her face. Her yellow eyes glittered in the light. She wasn’t real, she was an apparition. I turned around and walked back the way I’d came.
“Spike?” asked Mum. I didn’t respond, I just carried on walking. “Spike, Ingrid’s here.”
I stopped but didn’t turn around. “No she’s not. She died in my arms six days ago.”
“No, she’s here.”
“Don’t lie to me.”
“Spike, I’m really here,” she said, I couldn’t even think her name.
“No you’re not.”
“I am. Please turn around. I’ve missed you.”
I slowly turned around, for some reason trusting the apparition. “You’re not here. You can’t be.”
“Everyone came to visit me but you.”
“Every time you appear you make me feel guilty. It was my fault, that’s what you said last time.”
“The last thing I said to you was that I love you.”
“You said that too.”
She walked towards me and took my hand. She felt so real. She held my wrists and put my hands on her cheeks.
“I’m really here. I’m not a ghost. They managed to bring me back.”
She pressed her lips against mine. Unlike the other times she’d appeared, her lips were warm.
“Are you really here?” I whispered.
She laughed a bit. “Yes, I’m here. I’ve missed you. Why didn’t you come? I told Zev and Nate to tell you, or at least send you an image.”
“Then why didn’t you come?”
“I didn’t believe them. I guess I sort of lost it.”
“Obviously. I still love you. When they told me you’d left, I waited for you to come back. But you never did.”
“And it wasn’t your fault. Stress and salty food led to high blood pressure which caused heart failure.”
“Are you sure it wasn’t my fault?”
“Well, the stress was sort of caused by loving you, so in a way, yes it was your fault.”
I smiled and held her tightly.