'Wake up.' A loud voice yelled into Thomas' ear, shocking him into consciousness. His heart beat so loud from the fright that he could hear it pumping in his ears.
'What the Hell?!' Thomas swung his fist blindly, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes as he sat up; expecting to meet the eyes of his younger brother. But he did not. In fact, he met the eyes of someone he was expecting never to see again.
'I swear to God, I've been sat here all morning shouting at you and I didn't get any reaction! You need to stop going to bed so late! Woah, look at those bags under your eyes!' He understood what was being said, but he didn't understand why they were being said, how they were being said.
Thomas rubbed his eyes again, hoping that might give his eyes a little more clarity, or that it might wipe away the vision in front of him. His mouth was agape as the face in front of him did not disappear.
'Your mum went out shopping with Joey about ten minutes ago, she shouted at you too but you still didn't wake up. I was starting to worry you had died or something!'
'WHAT THE HELL?!'
The girl in front of him jumped in shock, and her mouth made a small ''o''.
'What?' She muttered, shifting uncomfortably on the end of his bed.
'Oh my God I'm going crazy,' Thomas moaned, grabbing the sides of his head, 'I've gone mad.'
She moved towards him, placing a pair of icy cold hands just above his; they weren't quite touching but he could feel the cool of her skin nonetheless.
'You're not mad, Thomas. I'm back.' She smiled weakly, staring into his eyes earnestly.
'Annabelle...?' He whispered, his voice broke at the end of her name and he lunged towards her, his arms outstretched. But he found himself falling onto his bedding. Thomas whirled around, staring at her in horror, 'you're a ghost?'
'Seems like it,' she shrugged, hovering a few inches above the headboard with her legs crossed. 'I tried talking to Mum and Dad and Christine but they couldn't hear me, no matter how loud I shouted.' Annabelle explained, 'so I came here, and you were asleep. I was yelling at you for so long and I thought you might not be able to hear me and I freaking out.'
'Well I can.' Thomas offered. He wanted to say it was a hallucination, but it felt so real. She was there, right in front of him and he just knew it was real. The initial shock of seeing her in front of him again had caught up to Thomas, and he once again found himself shaking with sobs.
'No, no, no, Thomas! I'm sorry! I'm here,' Annabelle panicked, her hands breezed through his hair, lifting it as though a draft had blown through his room.
'I know,' Thomas replied shakily, 'but... you're here. Oh God, I'm so sorry, Annabelle, it was all my fault. If I hadn't-'
'It wasn't your fault!' Said Annabelle sharply, 'I did something stupid and convinced you to let me do it.'
'I should have stopped you, I should have done something to make sure...' He said quietly, knotting his fingers together, 'Christ, I missed you so much. I... I didn't want to believe any of it...'
'Neither did I,' Annabelle agreed with him, 'I woke up like this yesterday, I was in the creek where, y'know, and I thought I was alive...'
Thomas looked at his fingers sadly, tears still spilling down his cheeks, 'I'm so glad you're here. I think I would have died without you.'
'Don't say things like that, please. You dying would be the worst thing ever.' Said Annabelle, her brows furrowed.
'Sorry...' Mumbled Thomas, 'you're just my best friend and I didn't think... I was so scared...'
'I'm sorry, Thomas. But I'm back now.' Annabelle reassured him softly.