Joshua watched his mother and sister being escorted to the ambulance and wished he could go to them, to express his joy that they’d been found, to stop the flow of tears, the grief etched in new lines around his mother’s face. But he couldn’t.
He was stuck, living outside his own body, too afraid to move in case he disappeared completely. The paramedics were working on him. He could feel the discomfort in his chest, kind of like a twinge, whenever they sent a shock into his heart. The real shock had been discovering he wasn’t dead. Not yet. Now if he could only find a way back. He might have a chance.
The scene blurred for a moment and then dropped away completely. When his eyes readjusted to the new information he realised he was in the back of a police car beside Sandra. She didn’t appear to see him this time, and he wondered what that meant. Perhaps he was hovering between life and death and she couldn’t detect his presence. But if that were true, then why had she seen him the first time.
It crossed his mind she might be ignoring him. She’d tried so hard the first time, but he’d taken her by surprise then.
She didn’t look very happy. He didn’t know her, but he sensed she didn’t like to share her gift and the officer was bombarding her with questions. When she communicated she did so with every part of her body; expressive face, gesturing hands. It was like an orchestrated dance.
It reminded him of how he’d found her, twirling around her kitchen, lost in the music. He’d been so mesmerised by her, he’d forgotten to be surprised she could actually see him. Nobody else had.
He’d regained consciousness with the memory of being beaten, the pain still fresh in his mind. And then he’d realised he couldn’t feel anything. The moment he opened his eyes he understood why. He was dead.
At first, when he’d looked down at his broken body, he’d experienced an odd kind of detachment. And he was detached, in a way. Incomplete, that’s how it felt, as though he were missing a vital ingredient. The fear had rode in on the coattails of understanding and he’s leapt towards his mother, even knowing she couldn’t see him.
He’d stayed with them for a while, thinking bitter thoughts about his fate and wondering how he could avoid the white light if indeed it existed. Then he’d started to plan. He could help his family. If he could somehow get a message to his father, to the police, anyone who’d listen.
The thought of it had been a catalyst, one which sent him hurtling towards the unknown and injected him into a sunny kitchen with music blaring over the speakers.
A physic. That had been his first thought when he saw her. It could have been programmed into his brain, it was so strong. He knew what and who she was, even though he was surprised by her appearance. She wasn’t what he expected. A stereotype was the only thing he had to go on, because he didn’t really believe in such things. Or he hadn’t before the life of his family depended on it.
She had long, pale blonde hair, dyed candy floss pink at the tips and her pretty, expressive face was devoid of make-up. There was a self-deprecating air about her, and a quirkiness he found compelling.
It was a shame he couldn’t get to know her, because who wouldn’t want to spend time with a woman how made cartoon pants look hot.
But his time was running out. He could feel himself fading. The tingle in his chest was spreading throughout his entire body.
Thanks for your help,” he whispered, but the sound didn’t reach his ears.
A loud blip drowned everything else out as it pulled him into a cold, dark place. Then the pain was so real, all he wanted was to escape it.
“We’ve got a rhythm!” he heard somebody shout, and he wondered if they were talking about Sandra.
The image of her twirling around her kitchen filled his mind again and he clung to it, until he was twirling with her. He felt dizzy, and a little sick, but he liked looking at her so he went with it.
After a while it felt more like floating, and he was so happy he let himself sink into it. He wasn’t even surprised to see SpongeBob join them for a dance.
It took him several days to realise he’d been sedated, and yet he never lost the happy. It wasn’t only the thrill of being alive, of surviving the ordeal. He knew why two weeks later when Sandra walked into his hospital room, partially hidden by a SpongeBob balloon.
She wasn’t wearing pyjamas this time, but he held onto the hope that it was only a matter of time before she wore them for him. He’d never felt more like dancing.
Apologies for the cheesy ending 🙂
Thanks for reading