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Ch. 1[]


My name is Campbell Ryan Quinto. Most kids want a car, or maybe access to their college fund, when they turn eighteen. Not me. There was only one thing I wanted: to make the decision to stop treatment. I had been dying of liver cancer for the majority of my life. In fact, I would be hard-pressed to recall any memory that didn't involve me being in the hospital.

Needless to say, my mother didn't agree with my wishes. She tried to have me declared mentally incompetent, claiming that my cancer had eaten away too much of my brain. She just about succeeded, if not for my father.

An Air Force Master Sergeant and decorated war veteran; he took a leave of absence to go to court and fight for me. When he defeated his own wife, he was forced to take an early retirement to act as my primary caregiver.

The day I was taken off life support I thought the worst was over. I couldn't have been more wrong. Because now I'm stuck. I have roamed the halls of this North Dakota hospital for four years. During that time I witnessed my family suffer through tragedy, pain and abuse, unable to help them or even communicate.

I just want to leave. This world is bullshit and I want out! But I'm not completely without hope. I have my best friend Isabelle. She's stuck too.

"Hey, Cam," Isy said as she walked around my desk, her short blonde hair brushing against her cheeks. "What are you writing?"

"My story, I guess."

"For who?"

"Anyone who can see or hear us."

"Oh! have you met the new paramedic, the goth cowboy with the long hair that falls over his eyes?" She asked in a dreamy tone appropriate for her young age. "We talked for a while. He seems nice."

"I know who you're talking about and he seems like an asshole. What was his name? Raven? Hawk?"

"Phoenix, he told me he's a descendant of gypsies and his grandmother had the gift of sight as well."

"Sounds like a douche-bag..."

"For being a gypsy?"

"For being able to communicate with the dead like it's some kind of hipster superpower."

"So anyone who can communicate with the dead is a douche-bag? Then who are you writing for?"

I shrugged. "Maybe one of those douche-bags knows how to help us cross over."

"Which is why we need to be friendly. You never know who might hold the key. I can introduce you to Phoenix when he gets on shift tonight."

"Sure," I replied, only to appease her. In my heart I already knew who held the key to our salvation; Isy's son. I never met the kid but part of me thinks he is why Isy and I were allowed to meet.

Isy was a pregnant teen (born nearly ten years before me) who died bringing her son into the world. The kid was adopted by a good family. As of this writing, he's 15 years old. The same as my little sister. And they've actually met. Don't ask how I know.

"How do you know?" Isy asked. I looked up to see she had been reading over my shoulder.

"Think about how we met."

"Last year?"

"I had been stuck haunting the ICU while you had been haunting the maternity ward for over a decade."

"I remember," she took a seat next to me, her eyes filled with innocent sadness. "So you think we only got to meet because they did?"

"Considering the f-ed up manner in which they met," I said out loud to myself.

"I take it you're going to write it down?"

"Just the facts."

Isy got up and left, phasing through a wall. I already knew why: the facts were not pleasant. Isy's son suffered from Cystic Fibrosis. And although he was a talented athlete, he was bullied relentlessly.

Freshman year my sister, my little Jenessa, stood up for him. And for her heroism, her jock itch of a boyfriend had her drugged and gang-raped. He and his friends dumped her unconscious body on my parents' lawn. I know because I was allowed to watch, as my father carried her into the emergency room. I sat by her side holding her hand as police and doctors tried to piece together the events.

I watched as she cried out in pain during the rape kit examination. I talked to her, told her I was still here watching over her. But she didn't hear me. Neither did my father.

He left the hospital and came back with a broken hand. I later learned that he beat the living crap out of her boyfriend. He would have gone to jail if not for a plea deal reached by Jen's boyfriend's rich family, and my mother.

For a large lump sum, all charges would be dropped. Both against my father (who beat the son of a bitch's face in so badly he needed surgery to reconstruct his skull) and Jen's boyfriend who would go on to spend the next year in the hospital instead of the next ten years in prison for raping a fourteen-year-old.

"You act like this is all my son's fault!" Isy said with a groan as she reappeared behind me.

"No, I'm not blaming Sean for any..." I paused as I bit my tongue.

"You can say 'Sean.' That is his name. I told you before, it doesn't bother me." Her tone of voice said otherwise.

Sean was the name given to him by his adoptive parents. She would have named him Jayden, after her brother. "You have to admit, it feels like Sean is the reason we're together. This place, this hospital, it's playing with us like God damn Sims. We can only see what it wants us to see, feel what it wants us to feel."


"The computer game. I know you've heard of it. You're old but not that old."

That made her giggle. "Yes, I've heard of the Sims." Suddenly Isy smiled the most beautiful smile. "I feel him! Sean is here."

"In the hospital?"

She nodded, her lips pursed with an expression of sadness. "Yeah, again..." She sighed. "I'm going to see him. Maybe he'll be able to hear me this time."

"Maybe. You never know." I closed my notebook. The plain line paper notebook disappeared into my arm, like something out of a video game. "Hold on, Babe, I'm coming with you."

Ch 2: The Game of Trust[]

Faith and hope

I had every intention of following Isy. I had never met her son, face to face, I figured this was my chance. But as usual, 'the powers that be' or whoever the fuck is holding us here had other plans.

Ok, fate had other plans.

Was fate preventing me from moving on? I'll get to the point. I was suddenly sucked to the emergency room. Like someone clicked on my undead soul and dragged and dropped it into the examination room where my father was fighting for his life. "Dad?" I said out loud since I was certain no one in the room could hear me.

Doctors and nurses were talking around me. "Hispanic male in his mid-forties. He's a real-estate agent, the wife said he blacked out in the middle of a meeting."

The nurses were cutting off his clothes. I knew what they were about to discover; my father had third degree burns over forty percent of his body, namely his back and shoulders.

The doctor gasped. "Any info on the medical records?"

"No, wife says he's a military veteran, treated at the VA. The scars are a combat injury."

With his suit on the scars were barely visible. But without, it wasn't difficult to read the story of what the improvised explosive did to my father's back. Even After reconstructive surgery, the nerve damage was so severe it was a miracle he relearned how to walk. I knew it was no miracle, it was my father's fighting spirit.

I watched as he flat-lined. His heart was seizing up. The doctor called for the paddles and it took several tries to shock his heart back into rhythm. I stayed by his side for what felt like hours, until he was sent to a room in the ICU.

Isy reappeared. "I've been looking for you."

"Sorry," I said, as I turned to her. "How's Sean?"

"He's good, or as good as someone with cystic fibrosis induced pneumonia can be." She said with a shrug. "He looks so much like my little brother."

"At least he doesn't look like his father." I immediately regretted my choice of words.

Isy swallowed hard. Even in death, she could see the face of the man who raped her all those years ago. "Speaking of fathers I don't think I've met yours." she approached my father's bedside stroking the IV in his arm. "You look so much like him."

"I guess." I took a seat, watching their her interactions.

Her hands were trembling as she touched my father's skin at a place where the scars on his back met the tattoos on his arms. "I always loved tattoos. Growing up I drew little pictures, my dream board for when I turned 18." Her fingers caressed my father's cheek.

That's when I saw her body shudder. "What's wrong?"

"Did the doctors say what happened to your dad?"

I shrugged. "Something about stress, a partial stroke, I think."

"His brain is bleeding."

"You can see his brain?"

"I feel it." She reached her hand to his neck, moving with the rise and fall of his breath. She suddenly recoiled, screaming in terror.

"Isy?" I threw my arms around her, holding her close.

"I-Is your dad on painkillers?" she asked in a meek voice.

"For his back? I guess so."

Isy nodded, it was clear she was trying to calm down. "That's probably it." She pushed away from me. "He probably just took too many pills, it happens."

"What exactly did you feel?"

"Numbness- like a shock of nothingness," there were tears in her eyes and a sense of fear in her voice. "I-I'm not describing it very well. When I touch your father I feel such a sense of hopelessness..."

"Is he sick?"

"No, it like he's being tortured." Isy leaned over my father, her tears falling on his closed eyes. "Someone did this to him."

My father's eyes blinked open. "Are you an angel?" His voice was scratchy and horse. But to hear him speak nearly broke me.

Isy was blushing. "Maybe one day. I'm actually a friend of your son Cam. He's here." My father swallowed hard. "Does he forgive me?"

"Of course, you're his hero."

"No," he said with pursed lips, his face racked with pain. "I deserve this fate."

"You stood up for your son, you allowed him to die with dignity."

"I watched my child die. The little boy I once held in my arms. I just stood by and watched as he took his last breath."

Isy started to become transparent, her physical form reflecting her fragile, emotional state. "B-But that was what he wanted. Cam wanted to die, he wanted to be free of the pain of living."

"And in doing so he left behind a trail of despair in his wake. But I don't blame him. I gave in. I was weak and now I must pay."

His words caused Isy to run crying through a wall.

My father simply shook his head. "Even the angels turn from me."

I approached my Dad's bed. "I'll be right back." Not that he heard me but I felt better saying it. I phased through the wall, into the crowded hallway.

Doctors and nurses were passing through, all speaking unintelligibly. Their voices were like radio static getting louder and louder.

"Isy?" Where had she gone? As I turned the corner my mouth fell to the floor. She was making out with the emo-cowboy paramedic.

With every touch, Isy's body glowed with a neon radiance. Her skin, her eyes, her hair; she was materializing. Was he pulling her into his world? I felt rage pulsing through my muscles. The burning, electric sensation took hold of my arms, then my hands. So when I punched that douchebag in the back of the head he went down- hard.

All of the sounds in the hallway went back to normal. A few people glanced at the clumsy paramedic who appeared to have tripped over his own feet.

Isy was, of course, glaring. "Cam, how could you? He was only trying to help."

"By putting his tongue down your throat?"

"What? No! He was siphoning my energy, helping me focus, so I could better understand what I felt from your father."

The paramedic pulled himself to his feet and began to walk in the direction of the waiting room. It was clear to me he wanted us to follow so he could speak without looking completely insane.

I watched him duck into the handicapped restroom. It was a single stall and I didn't want to see this guy taking a piss, but since Isy's first instinct was to follow him, I did as well. Thankfully he was waiting for us, with his pants on.

That was when I noticed his name badge. "Johnathan Phoenix Desilva? What kind of name is that?"

"My friends call me Johnny."

"So, who calls you Phoenix?" I had to ask since I had heard that name from multiple sources.

Johnny sighed. "My supervisor noticed my 'extra special' middle name and took it upon herself to make it my nickname- and it stuck... throughout the majority of the emergency room department."

Isy leaned her head on his shoulder. "I think it sounds cool, like a superhero."

"Or a lawyer..." I muttered.

"Oh yeah, Phoenix Wright- right?" Isy's focus was still on Johnny.

"How about we both call you JP?" I suggested if only to move things along.

"Fine by me," he said with a shrug. "Greetings Cam, my name is JP and it's an honor to finally meet you face to face."

"Face to face?" I asked. I was curious as to why he added that last part.

"I've seen you around. In the time I've been here I think I've spotted pretty much all of the trapped spirits but I've only met a few dozen."

"All?" Now I knew he was full of shit.

"There are hundreds, some are people who died here but a few are people who worked here."

"And they show themselves only to you?" I shook my head.

"I don't know if that's entirely true. I mean Isy has seen a few."

Isy remained quiet, but I could have sworn the mouthed the word, "sorry."

I understood what was happening. I was the weak one, the newbie ghost. I would have to follow their lead. "How do I know I can trust you, JP?" I asked, a little crueler then I intended. "I trust Isy because we both died in our teens and her son-"

"Her son knows your sister," JP said calmly.

"Did Isy tell you that?"

"No, I learned a few things working in the emergency room." JP was looking at the floor.

"Do I make you nervous?" The realization hit me like a ton of bricks. "What do you know about my Dad?"

"I know that his loyalty to your mother is going to get him killed."

"My mother is trying to kill him?"

"But on the bright side, your sister is doing a lot better."

"My sister? What do you know about my sister?"

"I was there, in the hospital the night your dad brought her in. I honestly thought she was dead. But she's looking a lot better."

"She's here?" I was a little pissed that I couldn't sense her. Maybe that was fate screwing with me, again. "Take me to her, and you will have earned my trust."

Ch 3.[]

Start a riot by dourdan-dca9pca

JP lead me and Isy to the pediatric ICU. I was not too keen on returning to where I spent the majority of my short life but I technically died in the adult ICU so there was nothing too painful about this ward. We passed by sleeping children wearing oxygen masks each one granted the privacy and dignity of a solo room. The last thing a dying kid wants is an audience. Except for one room near the end of the hall.

"In that room, you'll find what you seek," JP, our human guide said in a whisper as he turned to go back to the elevator.

A tall blonde boy laid in bed with a heart monitor attached to his chest and an oxygen tank connected to a trach hole in his throat. I would have guessed he was 18 or 19, but glancing at his chart he was 15 and his name was -Sean. "This is THE Sean?"

Isy knelt by Sean's side. It was clear he couldn't see her. "Cam meet Sean, my son."

Sean's eyes were open, but his focus was on the closed bathroom door. The toilet flushed, someone was inside.

A pretty blonde girl entered the room, passing through Isy. "Hey, Sean. Where did Jen go?"

Sean raised his chin motioning to the restroom.

"Jennessa?" I said out loud. JP had promised me a chance to see my sister, so I knew what to expect. But my heart was in my throat. The last time I saw Jen she was being examined for a rape kit. I could still see my father, falling to his knees as he was told that there were traces of at least ten different male attackers.

The door opened about out stepped a girl with short black hair. She pulled up a chair by Sean's side. "Got to love ICU bathrooms; it's like having our own really shitty studio apartment." She held Sean's hand and smiled a sweet, confident smile.

I stroked her cheek. She had cut off her long wavy latina hair, opting for a pixy cut that was a unique combination of tough and cute.

Sean smiled back at her. His bright blue eyes sparkled with happiness. He had Isy's eyes.

Isy was still holding his hand. "I wish he could hear me."

I kissed Jen's cheek. "Maybe someday." I took a step back and simply watched their interactions. Sean was very sick but Jen's strength and positive energy were contagious.

The other teen girl appeared to be Sean's sister, the biological daughter of his adoptive family. She stayed in the corner watching the muted television with the closed captions turned on.

She made a few comments about how cute Jen and Sean were. Sean looked to be at least six feet in height. Even sick I could see he was muscular and athletic. And Jen, with her long legs kicked up on the bed, looked like something out of a magazine.

Sean sister was giggling, her eyes focus on the door. I assumed it was because the ICU (and pretty much all of the hospital wards) frowned upon flirty long-legged girls crawling into bed with patients. Clearly, Sean's sister was trying to set them up. I made it my goal to try to figure out her name. But Sean was barely able to speak and Jen, well she was laughing and smiling so much I could barely make out when her words. Sophie? Sasha? Sara- the name was Sara.

"Hello, Sara?" I whispered in her ear.

Her body visibly shivered.

"Can you hear me?" I asked.

Sara didn't have a chance to answer. She checked her watch and sprang to the door as the nurse came by to announce the end of visiting hours. She ran interference as Jen moved out of Sean's bed, quickly hiding in the restroom.

Was Jen going to spend the night? I followed her and watched as she sent a text. 'Dad- spending the night with my friends.'

"Like you give a shit," she muttered to her phone as she put it away.

"Dad's in the hospital," I said out loud. How could she not know that? I watched as she snuck back into Sean's bed. I gripped my head in pain, this was not happening.

Isy put her arms around me, resting her head on my shoulder. "That's enough for today."

I allowed her to hold me; her light, her warmth lulling me to "sleep." Ghosts don't sleep, we just lose chunks of time.

When I opened my eyes I was laying by the hospital entrance. The bright light of the morning sun cut through the glass windows like the flames of hell. Flame? I stood up and touched the window. Sure enough, they felt hot.

The automatic sliding doors opened. Hospital employees carrying coffee cups and breakfast items from the cafe across the street. I heard the fire alarm go off. Out of the corner of my eye, through the side window, I see Jen leaving on a red Schwinn bike.

I figured she must have snuck out the fire exit, to make a quick getaway.

Moments later the elevator door opened and my father rolled out in a wheelchair. A nurse was pushing him to the bus stop.

Was that a bus stop? Looking around I realized the last time I saw the ground floor of the hospital was before I died.

My eyes were fixed on the entrance. I could see the outside world- but why? I couldn't touch the glass but as the staff and patients entered I couldn't help but wonder- could I walk out?

I took one step then another, just as I crossed the threshold a blast of fire shoved me backward. As I got to my feet I saw my father was in flames. His body was burning; flesh blistering and bleeding, but he wasn't in pain. He was talking to someone.

"Hello Suzanna," my father's voice was weak and hoarse. Flesh from his mouth was burning off. He smiled. I could see his teeth through holes forming in the side of his face.

Suzanna was my mother.

"Diego, were you honestly going to take the bus?" her voice was not human.

"I-I was waiting on the p-patient shuttle..." every word struggled to escape his dying throat. "I-I was going to check in at the veteran's clinic."

"God," she said with a chuckle, "you're worthless. I don't suppose you've heard from our daughter?" She reached for my father's phone, in his pant pocket.

"With friends," my mother chuckled as she looked at the screen, "of course she is." She placed the phone into my father's shirt pocket, pressing her hand to his chest.

His body was convulsing, as her hand bore a hole into his chest.

"Mom!" I screamed at the figure made of fire. I threw my arms around her; if she was going to destroy someone she could destroy me!

The fire seared my flesh. But as soon as I stepped back my body healed. One of the perks of being a ghost, I guess.

My mother turned and left. But my father's body was still a burnt shell, seemingly clinging to life. He attempted to move his arm, but could not reach the wheel to push his chair.

Suddenly Sara rushed past. She looked at my father then looked at the approaching shuttle. "Do you need help, Sir?"

My father gripped his chest, clenching the charred flesh that struggled to cover his exposed sternum.

"Are you okay, Sir? Did you need to get on the shuttle?"

"Me duele el pecho..."

No shit your chest hurts. I was about ninety percent sure that what I was seeing was some kind of emotion-based augmented reality. Either that or Sara had one hell of a strong stomach.

"Estoy aquí, no te dejaré," she said as she held his hand. Sara screamed in the direction of the emergency room, "I need help!" She helped him out of the wheelchair, laying his body on the floor. With every touch, my father's flesh began to heal.

Medical staff quickly arrived, helping my father on to a gurney. I watched as Sara touched my father's arm, caressing the cross tattoo on his shoulder. "Que la luz de los ángeles te guíe en tu camino," she whispered.

"The angels?" he asked.

Sara nodded. "You're a good man, I can tell." Sara smiled sweetly. Her energy was a pure white light. "You remind me of my father."

"He must be so proud of you."

"I hope so. He died when my brother and I were kids. maybe that's why I like to believe in angels."

"They walk among us," my father said, in English. I took that as a sign that his mind was healing.

Sara visibly blushed. "I-I should go. I have to get to school. But I'll be back this afternoon..."

I noticed she didn't mention WHY she would be back: her sick brother. The way she said it, sounded like she would be back for my dad.

"This is getting creepy." I appreciated her kindness but my dad was in his forties and there was no way Sean's sister was over sixteen.

But maybe, she was the miracle I'd been looking for.

Ch 4: Time After Time[]


It's been a year since my last post. Time flies when you're dead. I often think about the people who commit suicide thinking that it's an exit door.

It's becoming a little ironic that I'm stuck haunting a hospital. My life was like being in a hospital waiting room, waiting for the moment when you name gets called.

I guess technically I didn't wait for my name to be called. I had my Dad help me end my life so I could barge through the door to the great beyond. Turns out that's a smaller more confined waiting room. Let's just say, I've had a lot of time to think.

Isy has been spending more time with JP. Her psychic medium, paramedic BFF is helping her deal with her "guilt and depression."

Guilt?- she refuses to elaborate on that. As far as I know she died in labor, because a teenager giving birth can sometimes end tragically. Was she a drug addict? Did she try to get rid of the baby?

I wish she would tell me. I mean, she has JP to confide in, but she's still my best friend.

The hospital is letting me see less and less of the outside world. I feel like I'm in Silent Hill.

Today something finally happened, he's here. Isy's son Sean is in the hospital and it's really bad- specifically it's driven off the highway headfirst into a semi truck bad. But somehow he was still alive, kinda.

I watched as his disembodied soul walked around the emergency room. He wore the same hospital gown I saw him in last. As someone who was stuck haunting a hospital wearing the gown I died in, I felt a little bad for the kid.

Would he be as stuck as I was? "Sean?"

He looked around like someone in a crowded hallway. He heard me but for whatever reason, he couldn't see me.

I figured, I just needed to get closer.

So I followed him around. the first person he found was Sara. This was how I learned that JP had been part of the team that pulled Sean's body from the wreckage.

"Are you Sara?" the emo paramedic asked. "Sean told me to give his cell phone to his sister Sara- the blonde girl who looks like she's 12."

Sara smiled sweetly. "I'm 17. Sean and I are the same age. My parents adopted him." she said the last part with a giggle. Did she have a crush on JP?

And just how much time had passed?!

JP lowered his eyes, blushing. “I’m sorry, miss.”

“It’s a running joke between us. When Sean and I were fourteen, we went to a restaurant and I was given the menu for kids aged twelve and younger. I was so pissed, but he couldn’t stop laughing.”

JP licked his lips. His eyes sparkled with a shy innocence. “There can be some perks to eternal youth, especially for a beautiful girl like you.”

WTF? Sara did not look 12. She was on the small side with big eyes and round cheeks, but in no universe did she look 12. Or did JP have a thing for preteen girls?

Sean's ghost walked around the couple. I watched him chuckle. He appeared to find JP amusing.

"Bring him to us..." a voice said. It wasn't a voice I had ever heard before, it sounded old, ancient. I remembered what JP said about the hundreds of ghosts in the hospital.

Did the ghosts want to keep Sean? No. I wouldn't let that happen. Sean needed to get back to his body. I know I was being a hypocrite- I committed suicide, but I knew what lay beyond. Even if he would be even more disabled then the cystic fibrosis already left him, even if he would suffer for the rest of his life, Sean needed to get back to his body.

And back to my sister. What happened to my sister?

I blinked my eyes and all three of them were gone. "Sean?" The emergency room was deserted and decaying. It was as if I'd traveled hundreds of years into the future.

"Bring.... him... to... me....."

"No!" I shouted into the darkness. I ran upstairs to the ICU. That was my place, my domain.

But when I reached the floor, the hallway looked like it had been burned in a fire. Had I crossed into Hell? I'd never believed in hell, I tried to assume that God loved all of us. But no, Hell was the only explanation. I would never see my family again. Or Isy; I would never get to make things right with my best friend.

Then I noticed a faint light coming from one of the rooms. I heard footsteps, like someone was walking beside me. We both stopped at the door, to the sound of Sara's innocent tears.

“...You need to come back to us,” she said while holding her brother's mangled body.

Sean looked dead. His face was a mass of bandages and blood with only his mouth exposed. A breathing tube was down his throat allowing air into his lungs.

But where ever Sara touched his body he began to heal. His hands were free of blood and as she walked her fingers down his broken chest the bruising began to disappear before my eyes.

"Sara?" I reached out to touch her shoulder.

The room lit up in a glow of heavenly light. For a moment I saw my sister standing before me in a hospital gown. She moved her arms as if holding a baby, and then like magic one appeared. A little girl with Jen's tan skin and dark hair, but Sean's blue eyes.

"You fell in love?" I asked, unsure of the image could even answer me.

"I fell in love with him, because he reminded me of you."

I never felt the need to cry before. Not when I died, not when my father brought my sister's unconscious body into the emergency room, not even when I thought I was in Hell. Perhaps it was all those events, culminating in the pure innocent beauty of the baby's eyes that caused me to finally break down.

I covered my face with my hands just as JP entered the room. He walked through my sister's image, causing her and the baby to vanish. "Sara?" He used his fingertip to wipe tears from her cheek.

“I can’t leave him.”

“I’m not asking you to leave him.” JP's voice was grating on my last nerve, but at least his compassion seemed genuine. “I’ll tell you what—during my work week, I’ll meet you here every night at ten. On my days off, I’ll meet you here whenever your school lets out. I’ll be by your side for as long as you need me.”

Sara took notice of JP's wrist tattoo- the emo-hipster had the word mystical on his wrist. "Gypsy trash Douche-bag," I muttered as I left the room.

In the hallway was back to normal, so I started to walk out of the ward. As I reached the exit I felt a rush of cold, something more painful than death.

This was followed by a limping sound. Then a cough.

"Dad?" I knew it my gut it was him but his energy was so dark I couldn't see him.

I needed Sara's help. I went back into the room to see JP giving Sara a lesson in meditation. "Open your mind, let the spirits come to you."

Are you serious? Well, I was about to prove JP right. I shouted as loud as I could, "Go!"

Both Sara and JP froze. "I-I have to go." Sara made a quick excuse, and a promise to meet with him later, then left the room.

I watched as she ran down the hall, turning the corner. “Diego!" Sara said happily. "I haven’t heard from you in weeks! Did you get my email? I got accepted to Texas A&M.”

“I’ve been out of the state, traveling for work.” He appeared visibly shaken, but managed a smile for her. “Congratulations, of course. I’m very proud of you.”

“Diego, what’s wrong?”

Through their conversation I learned just why Sean's sister and my father were on a first name basis. They had kept in touch, with him mentoring her towards her aspirations in science.

I almost forgot my dad had an advanced degree, it's probably sitting in a box in the attic along with his dignity, masculinity, and what remained of his soul.

They talked for a while about what had been going on. My father had been forced to send my sister away, for her own protection. My mother was psychotically angry at the world, so he needed to be a good man, and a good husband and try to make things right.

Sean appeared next to me. "Is it a little twisted that part of me hopes my sister can save him?"

I turned to see JP leaving down the stairs. He glanced in Sara's direction but seemed apprehensive about approaching.

I looked at Sean. I couldn't tell if he could actually see me or if he was talking to himself. "Hope is a beautiful thing. But I believe Sara would be better off falling in love with someone closer to her own age. Anyway, she’s not your concern, right now.”

I grabbed his arm, suddenly a portal opened behind us.

"Yes... bring.... him... to... us...."

I had no idea what to do. “You have to go—you have to fight! Sean, you have to make it back to your body!”

The gravity of the wormhole was too strong and suddenly we were both pulled into the darkness.

Ch 5: Visions of Truth[]

Say your prayers by dourdan-d9bi78z

I never thought I would actually miss haunting the hospital.

Any of you nineties kids remember the saying 'I've fallen and I can't get up'? I never got to experience that in my life but now, as I lay in a pile of dirty laundry (and who knows what else), in this alternate dimension Silent Hill-version of the hospital I died in the phrase seems adequate.

I knew I had to get up. I had to figure out where the hell I landed and I need to find Sean. The air is thick with fog, I can barely see the door.

I exit the room the see Sean's ghost (are you a ghost if your body is technically still alive?) passing by. "Sean?"

He doesn't hear me but we both hear the echoes in the fog. "Left."

I followed Sean as close as I could but I suddenly realized where we were. This was the maternity ward. Isy's haunting grounds. Was she here? There was someone here, an elderly nurse with a name badge that read "Lynn."

I took a few steps back, hiding in the shadows. That was when I finally bumped into Isy.

"Are you hiding too?" she asked with a shy voice while looking at a glimmer of light coming from a broken window.

"Is there a reason to hide? Who is that nurse? Is Sean in danger?"

"No," she said, walking towards the light. "it's just been a while since I've seen my grandma."

"Isy wait! What are you not telling me?"

There were tears in her eyes. "Does it matter? Life is meaningless, you know. If there were not humans the world would still turn. God would just watch over those who were truly worthy of his love."

"Life does matter. the marks we leave upon this world matter, everything happens for a reason. that's why time travel will never be invented."

the last part got her to smile. "I didn't die here, in the hospital. The way I died was well, embarrassing, shameful- I don't know how to feel. All I want is to forget it but I can't because..."

"Why? You can tell me anything. I committed suicide, and it tore my family apart-"

"Well, the truth is, we're not so different. I told you that I died in labor because that sounded heroic. I should have died in labor, but instead, I downed a bottle of expired prescription pain pills and cut open my wrists."

"Wow," I muttered, unsure what to say.

"Yeah, wow indeed especially when my brother Jayden- who had begged and pleaded with my parents to come to visit his banished whore of a sister- he found my body. And why? Because me and my stupid hormonal brain decided to kill myself on the one day we were supposed to hang out. Talk about being a screw-up."

All I could think to do was hold her as she cried out the rest of her story.

"He called my grandma. Granny Lynn was a nurse and she worked nights so she had been out at the grocery store at the time. Grandma Lynn came home and Jayden called 911." She paused for a moment. "I'm not sure when I died. because I don't remember feeling pain, but I do remember watching as Grandma Lynn took a kitchen knife and cut out my baby, just as the paramedics arrived." Isy paused as tears sparkled in her eyes. "I'm the reason he's sick."

"That's not how cystic fibrosis works."

At least that got a laugh. "You know what I mean. If I had been there for him: if I had tried to be the mother he needed me to be... Maybe that's why he can't see me? I don't deserve to speak to him."

"You do and you will." But first, I had to work on making myself visible to Sean. In my mind, I focused on what we had in common. It wasn't enough that he was the son of my best friend. I needed to focus on the bond we shared; our love for my sister. Did he get her pregnant? Did she leave the state to have his child? I needed to know the truth. And so did Sean. I took a breath, pulling in all of my strength, I uttered a single word. "Look."

Sean turned to face me with a look of terror in his eyes. I quickly realized he wasn't looking at me but at Isy. In this realm, her entire lower body was covered in blood. “Don’t be afraid,” I said, addressing both.

“Are you Cam?” Sean was finally looking at me.

I nodded. “We’re trapped. We know the pain we’ve caused.” That when I realized, Sean wasn't just a kid. There was a reason why he survived being cut from his mother's dying body. I took a deep breath. “Sean, you need to go back. So much depends on you returning to your life.”

Sean sighed. “Like what? I’m going to die anyway. Jen is gone, and Sara can help
your father. Give me one reason why I should go back.”

Was he seriously considering death?

Isy turned to us with her innocent gaze. “I would do anything to be able to go back. I should never have taken my own life. I would have kept you, and
I would have loved you, and grandmother would have taken care of the
rest. But I was too weak.” Isy moved closer. Her blue eyes seemed to glow, matching Sean's eyes. "You look so much like Jayden."

"Jayden?" he repeated.

"My brother..."

Isy launched into a story about the first and last time Sean met Jayden. Apparently years later Jayden had tracked down Sean to this very hospital. He met Sean and Sara before moving to Oregon for medical school. Yet another one of Isy's secrets, I guess. But it seemed she got through to Sean.

“How do I even get back?” he asked.

Izzy took his hand. “That part’s easy.”

I could see a portal of light forming. Could Isy send him back? The question was still fresh in my mind as she grabbed my hand, shoving both Sean and myself through the portal.

"You must guide him, Cam. I trust you with his son's life."

I awoke in Sean's hospital room. He was in a bed with a breathing tube in his throat- and his eyes were open. I watched as he moved his foot, causing his entire body to spasm in pain.

“I’ll bet you won’t be trying that again anytime soon.” My joke was a little inappropriate but I was at a loss for what to do.

Sean's eyes darted around, his panic voice spoke to me telepathically. "Am I dead?"

“Do you feel dead?”

Sean grimaced. "How the fuck do I even know?"

“Ok, that was a little mean of me. I apologize. Just look to your left, carefully. You’ve still got a breathing tube rammed down your throat. Time it was taken out, right?”

To his left was Sara with her head resting on his chest. How his spasm didn't wake her was beyond me. I watched as Sean tried to move his hand, but not wanting him to risk further injury I decided to help out. I floated behind Sara. "Hey Supergirl," I said sleeping beauty, time to wake up."

Sara's eyes opened. She called for a nurse and after some drama the breathing tube was removed, allowing Sean to speak. Sara caught Sean up on the goings on of the last few months. She and JP were a couple. Together they had been checking in on my father to make sure he was getting proper medical care, despite the increasing hostility of my mother. For that I was grateful. 

Over the next few weeks, I stayed by Sean's side through long, painful sessions of physical therapy.

There were ups and downs, Both concerning Sean's health and Sara's new relationship. From where I stood, it was clear Sara was taking Sean with her to college (UCLA, which she was already pre-enrolled), where they would live off campus as roommates. All Sean needed to do was get recovered well enough to walk again.

Then came the first mention of Remy Desilva. Apparently, he was a new age holistic healer and licensed physical therapist who just happened to be JP's cousin.
Under JP and Sara's recommendation, this Remy person had been working with my father to help with his chronic pain. And their plan was for Remy to work with Sean as a home care nurse upon his release. This set up would allow Sean to be discharged from the hospital in a wheelchair, to fully recover in the comfort of his own home. 

I needed to learn more. and I would get my chance, because it appears I am no longer under the control of the spirits of the hospital, but instead I am tethered to Sean, watching over him like a wannabe guardian angel. 

Eventually, the day finally came when Sara pushed Sean in a wheelchair to their mother's waiting minivan. As I followed, stepping into the light of the North Dakota sun, I took one last look at the hospital. I was finally free, but would I ever see my best friend again?

"Goodbye, Isy."

Written by Dourdan
Content is available under CC BY-SA

Taken from here.