The Best Friend I Never Had

The Best Friend I Never Had

7 mins 17.2K 7 mins 17.2K


Hipston Avenue. The by- lane next to Al’s Hardware Store.

It was a small kid, approximately ten years old, being slaughtered. That’s when Shane woke up, gasping. Groaning, he touched his head to feel a bump on it. He looked to his right and saw his painting, that was hung above his bed, on the floor. He reached for his phone to call his friend, best friend, Drew.

He went through the contact list on his phone but ,for some strange reason, was unable to find the contact. He picked up his phone book from his nightstand so that he could look for Drew’s number in it, but strangely enough, it had disappeared from there too. “That’s weird,” he said to himself. Now, not only was he worried about his dream but also the fact that his best friend’s phone number had disappeared.

He ran to his parents’ room and woke up his mother, Diane. “Mom wake up. Please can you give me Drew’s number? It’s urgent and I can’t find it anywhere,” he requested in a troubled voice. She brought him out into the living room so that they didn’t disturb his father, George. Shane asked for the number again. Diane hesitated and then asked, “Why do you need Drew’s number at 3 a.m. anyway?”

“I had that dream again,” he replied. “I needed to be consoled, so I thought I’d call Drew because he’s my best friend and he knows me the best.” Then he told her that he couldn’t find Drew’s number anywhere. Diane gasped and sat down on the couch.

She started heaving and after a few minutes got up and ran in to wake up her husband, George. She said something to him after which they both coming running out of the room. George went up to Shane and asked, “How are you feeling, buddy? Any pain or dizziness?”. “No”, replied Shane in a very perplexed manner. In the background his mother picked up her phone and made a call. “It’s coming back! Hurry!” she shouted in a scared manner.

Shane was more confused than ever. He kept asking his parents what was going on and what was coming back but all they said was, “Be patient. All your questions will be answered.” They told him that everything would be explained to him in some time. Diane brought out an album labeled ‘Shane and Drew’ and asked Shane to take a seat. As they seated themselves on the couch, Diane calmly said, “Honey, I want you to remain very calm. Please do not freak out.” She opened the album. Handing Shane the open album, she asked, “Honey, now, do you see your friend Drew anywhere in here?” Shane flipped through the album and with his voice full of fright and shock, said, “No.”

“How is this even possible?! I’ve seen these pictures before! How on earth is it possible for Drew to disappear from them?” asked Shane. At this point he didn’t have a clue of what was going on. His best friend’s number, that he knew was once on his phone and in his phone book, had disappeared. All his pictures with his best friend, now only had him in it. Just as he was about to ask another question, there was a knock on the door.

George let in the people at the door. Three people came into the living room along with George. To Shane, they were Joe, the mailman, Simon, his school janitor, and Mary, his neighbor. “What are you’ll doing here?” asked Shane. His parents and the three that had just arrived asked him to sit down because it was time for him to know the truth. The first thing they told him about was that the three visitors were actually his doctors who were secretly treating him. “How is this possible? What am I being treated for?” asked Shane, confused from what he had just heard.

“All your questions will be answered. Just be patient,” they replied. Then they exposed him to the next “truth” that was hidden from him. Mary said, “That recurring nightmare you have isn’t just a nightmare. It was one of the worst events that had occurred, and unfortunately, you witnessed it when you were ten.” Shane was stunned. “How is that possible? I don’t remember this happening at all,” he said. The doctors replied, “Just wait till we are done with telling you everything and it will start to make sense”.

Then Simon started to explain to him slowly and steadily why the kids in his school avoided speaking to Drew and him in general. “Drew doesn’t exist. He is a figment of your imagination. He is not real,” Simon explained. Shane felt light-headed, dizzy and a bit nauseous. “So, you’re telling me that my childhood best friend doesn’t exist?”

“He did, once,” Mary replied, “but he wasn’t exactly your friend.”

Before he could recover from all the information that he was just exposed to, Joe stated, “Over the past few months I’ve taught you to use art to express yourself. I assume you’ve gotten good at it.” He then requested Shane to make a sketch of his friend, Drew.

Shane did it and kept it on the coffee table. Diane placed an old newspaper beside it. Shane picked it up and saw an article published about the murder of a ten year old boy. When he compared the picture of the murdered boy and Drew, he realized that the boy in his dream was Drew. This is when they tell Shane that he lost his memory a few months after he was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder due to witnessing that very event.

Suddenly Shane faints. The event plays in his head again.

Shane was ten years old. He was walking on Hipston Avenue. He saw a ball on the road and, for no particular reason, he kicked it. It went into a dumpster in the by-lane next to Al’s Hardware Store. Just then a kid came up to him and said, “That was my ball. Didn’t you see Andrew written on the ball? I’m Andrew.” Shane replied, “I’m sorry, I didn’t know. I’ll get it out for you.” They both walked up to the dumpster. As Shane jumped in, a van drove into the lane. Three men got out. Shane, scared by the men and their demeanor, decided to stay in the dumpster.

One hefty man caught Andrew and slit his throat. The other two men put him in the van and began to cut him open. Shane stayed in the dumpster the entire time and saw that poor, innocent child’s organs being harvested from him. Shane witnessed a guiltless child being slaughtered for money. Somehow, Shane was able to get away from there, but that haunting event that he witnessed, never got away from him.

Shane was diagnosed with PTSD. A few months after that, because he wasn’t able to mentally accept what he had seen, he lost his memory. He started imagining that dead boy everywhere, but not in a scary way. That boy was his imaginary friend.

Shane woke up and saw everyone crowded around him. He got up and said, “I remember everything. What I saw that night was horrifying and it shouldn’t happen to anyone, but somehow, after four years of imagining Andrew as my best friend, I’ve come to peace with his death”.

***

Two days later. Shane standing in front of Andrew’s grave, almost at sunset.

Shane starts speaking to Andrew’s grave after placing flowers on it along with a candle,

“Andrew, I was there that night when your life was taken from you unrightfully. For almost a year I was so traumatized by it, then I lost memory of any of it happening. I started imagining you as my best friend, but the truth is, you never were. At first I couldn’t handle what I had seen, but after four years of being best friends with you, even though we weren’t actually, I somehow came to peace with what I had seen. I was able to accept it because I got to experience you, as a person, as my friend. I would have never recovered without you. So, thank you. You were the best friend I never had.”

It started to rain, and even though the fire on the candle was put out, the light still shone on Drew’s grave.




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