Friday, February 19, 2016

Lost in Existence - Short Story

Hello everyone!
I am here with another short story that I'm pretty proud of.  My English curriculum had me write a short story for school a couple weeks ago.  I was not told to have any specific aspect to my story, so I took a prompt from Pinterest and gave it a little twist.

 Well, my story is about how this girl perceives the life of a ghost as she tries to get noticed by the people around her.  I made the narrator Death himself, well... he's how I understand Death would be if he was a "person."  Of course, I originally got the idea from The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.  I never wanted to write a whole book with this type of narrating, but I thought it'd be fun to try it out for one story... and it fits with the theme.

I hope you guys enjoy this, it is something I worked hard on.  Oh!  I should mention...  I just passed my 2nd year anniversary of writing!  It was this last wednesday (February 17).  I really wanted to finish my novel that day, but I don't think it's that close to being finished.  It still has a lot of things I want to add in, plus multiple things I want to take out.  But I guess that's what editing is for...
*shivers at the thought of editing*

With that, here is my short story called Lost in Existence.  Mysterious name, isn't it?

*          *          *          *          *

Existence is the state of living or knowledge of an object, but when something goes missing and is forgotten, it becomes lost in existence or nothing at all.  An event in someone’s history that no-one else knew about, then that person dies.  The knowledge is gone and that event becomes lost in existence.  That’s how it works, once something is forgotten and every trace of it disappears, there is no reason for that object to still be an entity.  But what if an entire person’s existence becomes lost in existence?  A state in which everyone around them forgets about this person and their whole being disappears beyond reality.
       The car swerved on the icy road, the steering wheel was beyond control and the driver had already passed out from the shock of another car ramming into the back bumper.  CRASH!  The university student was late to class, and she would probably miss the rest of the school year with the laceration she ended up with.  She had a piece of metal that impaled her leg, a twisted arm, and a bad head wound to top it off.
       Sirens from the emergency vehicles could be heard coming from a couple of different directions.  The crash had created a pile-up of six cars, no deaths, but major injuries to three people.  That death toll wouldn’t be zero for long, the university student had already lost a lot of blood.  The news of the crash had spread quickly, and the university was full of talk about the accident.  People spoke about how one of the students had even been involved.
       As a third year student, Penny had made multiple friends throughout the campus.  Her best friend, Elliot Collins, was the first to be contacted by the police about Penny's condition.  Even though his class had already begun, Elliot rushed out of the auditorium and drove to the hospital.  It started to snow and block his view of the road, but he pressed on.
       The hospital was packed full and by the time he got to the front desk, a group of doctors walked out and asked if anyone had arrived to see Penny Lewis.  Elliot's hand shot up immediately, "Uh, Yes.  I am her best friend, her family lives out of state."
       The head doctor nodded and motioned for Elliot to follow him, the loud noise behind the emergency room doors ensued.  Shouting from surgeons to their assistants and the beeping of monitors blocked out the sound of the doctor's voice in front of Elliot.  He pointed to a doorway ahead of them and he led Elliot into the room where Penny lay.
       The metal shrapnel had been taken out of her leg, they had set her arm back into place.  And there she lay, completely still.  The monitor next to her bed was beeping quietly.  There were a lot more medical tools hooked up to her than a normal crash patient, Elliot would know, he was studying in the medical field.
       "Why does she have so many things hooked up to her, usually it’d be just a couple of cords?"  Elliot asked.
       "I see you know about the medical do's and don’ts?"  The doctor asked, "Well, she's in a coma.  It'd be pointless to do anything more than this, but we will try our best to keep her alive as long as possible."
       Elliot stood frozen, in shock at what he just heard.  His best friend, the person he had known since childhood was in a state of unconsciousness?  She can't be wakened, nor will she respond to any contact you give her.  "How?"
       "She had a bad injury in her head, but we also believe it was from the shock of being flipped upside down."  The doctor walked to the side of her bed, he put his hand on her forehead.  "If she doesn't come out of this coma in six weeks, we will ask if you and her family want us to pull the cords.  But the final decision does belong to her parents."
       "Yeah, I know.  Do you need their contact information?  Penny was on bad terms with them, they may not be in her phone list."  Elliot sighed, he knew the conditions all too well.  "I need to get back to the university, I still have a couple classes today."
       "Alright, but please, feel free to come back and keep her company."  The doctor smiled weakly, it was obvious he was trying to hide something.
       Elliot turned to leave and walk out the door, but he looked back at Penny's still expression.  What he didn't know was that she would die in the next couple of days.  He walked out of the hospital and reached the car just as the snow stopped falling.  Wasn't he lucky?

- - -

       Penny wiggled her fingers and opened her eyes, she leaned up and saw the hospital room.  She remembered the car crash and felt her head wound.  Nothing was there, there was no cut or even a bandage.  Frantically she pulled the hospital gown she was wearing away to see her leg.  A large scar was in the place of the shrapnel.  She didn't feel any pain anywhere on her body, but a weird feeling had been creeping up her spine.
       The room she was in had been completely empty, only the bed and leftover equipment was left.  The door was wide open and she could hear voices from doctors outside her room.  How long had she been asleep?  Penny stood up and walked towards the door, she needed to ask someone.
       Doctors walked to and from the multiple rooms that were connected to the hallway.  Penny walked out and ran up to a man standing nearby with a binder in his hands.  "Sir, can you tell me what the date is?"  No answer, he didn't even look at her.  "Hello?"  She put her hand in front of his face and waved it around.  Still nothing, he didn't even flinch.  Another man walked up to him and spoke a couple words in his ear before they both walked away into another room.
      Penny stood still for a moment in utter astonishment, why didn't he see her?  And isn't it abnormal for a car crash patient to be walking through the hallways?  Penny turned around and walked out of the patient’s wing, she dawdled over to a stack of newspapers and checked the date.  May 14, 20XX.  Four months had passed since the crash, why was she still in the hospital?  She looked around, everyone in the waiting room hadn't turned her way.  She was invisible to everyone around her.
       Panic had spread throughout Penny's thoughts.  Would she ever be able to live anymore?  What if she’s never able to talk with her friends ever again?  Penny decided on one thing.  Penny ran around the hospital, looking for a set of clothes to wear, once she found some she left the hospital to find answers.

- -       -

       A month went by and Penny had gotten used to the feeling of being hidden.  She found her university’s campus and decided to find out what she could do with the students.  Penny discovered that people can see her move objects, but when she put anything on her body like clothes or accessories they became invisible too.  She often used pennies to get a person’s attention, then she tried talking to them through a notebook or drawings in the ground.  She tried this with many people, but one person, in particular, got a lot of her observation.  Elliot, her best friend.
       While she had disappeared for seven months, Elliot hadn’t mentioned her name at all.  Maybe because it was painful, or because he didn’t need to.  All of Penny’s other close friends had either graduated or dropped out.  Elliot was the only person on campus that knew Penny really well, except for a couple of teachers.  But she didn’t bother them, with all the work they had to do since testing was coming up.
       After a couple more weeks of investigating, Penny realized that she was vanishing from pictures on the walls of the university.  When she had first noticed, was while she was following a first-year student down a crowded hallway.  Penny had a solid body mass, which means she wasn’t like a ghost where she could just “phase” through anyone she’d like.  She was just like any other person in that hallway, so she had to be careful and not get bumped.  Or else chaos would take place.
       The student Penny was following had receded from her view and she was left to tend to the crowd she was standing in.  She was able to get to the nearest wall without anyone running into her, but that was when she noticed.  She stood right next to the medical classes’ year pictures.
       Where Penny was supposed to be standing, she wasn’t.  When the image was taken she was standing right next to Elliot, she knew that because she remembered how bad his bedhead was that day.  His hair was roughed up on the right side of his head, his right side.  His right side was where Penny should have been standing, but she wasn’t.  To make sure she was right, Penny ran around campus to multiple pictures where she was supposed to be in.  But she wasn’t in any of them.
       Penny ended up walking into the lunchroom after the lunch hour had finished, only a couple people sat at a table or two.  Elliot was one of them, he sat at the far end of the lunchroom.  He had his class material in front of him while he ate a sub sandwich.  Penny smiled and walked over to him.  He heard her footsteps coming up from behind him and he turned around to find no-one there.  He sighed and turned back to his materials, the medical classes had gotten harder for him to follow.  But he was pressing on and getting the homework done on time.
       Elliot always seemed to feel Penny’s presence whenever she hung around him.  So Penny pulled out her experimental copper coin and flipped it up into the air.  The copper penny landed in the middle of the textbook’s page.  Her action made Elliot jump in his seat from the sudden coin flying in front of his face.  He picked the penny up and stared at it as if he was thinking about his best friend sitting next to him.  Hidden behind a veil of reality, Penny watched his expressions contort.
       What was he thinking?
       Then he spoke his thoughts, “Why does this coin feel so familiar?”
       Penny’s jaw dropped, had he forgotten about her?
 I will answer for you, hello, you may know me as the Grim Reaper, a Dark Angel, or just Death.  You may have wondered who the narrator of this fictional tale was, well, that would be me.  Penny is dead, she doesn’t think so.  I may have left her soul behind in the material world for a reason, but I will leave that for you, the reader to decide.  Back to the question, yes, Elliot Collins has the memory of Penny in his brain.  But it is so deep within his memory, it’d take a lot for him to remember his best friend.  Why may you ask?  Maybe I will tell you.  Well, I played around a little bit and discovered I could erase someone’s existence if I wanted to.  So this ordeal is all a test of my strength, there is your explanation.  Why don’t you enjoy the rest of the story now?
       This is where Penny starts to question her existence, did she ever exist?  Of course, Elliot said that it sounded familiar.  Penny slumped to the table and set her head down on one of Elliot’s textbooks.  He heard the thump of her head hitting his book and glanced over her way.
       “What’s going on?”  Elliot leaned in closer and touched his textbook, right in front of Penny’s nose.
       She panicked and jumped up, if he had touched her, well, it was too early for physical belief.  He had to remember her first, then she could have conversations with him.  Penny grabbed the copper coin when he wasn’t looking and walked away.  She needed to find inside help, someone who could hint about her around Elliot.  Yes, that’s what she needed to do.
       Two weeks go by and Penny found someone she could trust with her favor, Jonathan Stewart, a third-year student who sat next to Elliot in the previous year.  When Penny was still active in studying on campus, she and Jonathan had spoken very few words to each other.  But that few number of words is one of the reasons why Penny trusted him.  He remembered her faintly, but it was still something she could go with.
       One afternoon, Penny found Jonathan and the two of them tried to find Elliot to test out their experiment.  They located him in the library looking up surgical techniques.  Jonathan sat down next to him and started a conversation while Penny sat down across the table from them.  She flipped her copper coin and caught it, repeating this action multiple times while listening to the men talk.
       “It’s been awhile Elliot, I spotted you in here and thought I’d stop by to chat.”  Jonathan started.
       “Oh, good to see you, Jonathan!  Yeah, I was just looking up some techniques for a paper I’m writing next week.”  Elliot answered, he pause and then continued.  “What’s up with you lately?”
       Jonathan grinned, “I met up with an old friend a few days ago, it’s been a year, so we’ve been talking a lot in between my classes.”  He looked over in Penny’s direction, she held up a notebook that wrote “Good start Jon!  Keep it going, he’s sure to remember me.”  He turned his head back to Elliot and spoke again, “I think you may know her, Penny Lewis.  Do you remember her?  I think she was in our class too.”
       Elliot stared at him blankly, the gears in his head were working, but not hard enough.  He hesitated before answering, “Uh, no, I don’t think I remember her.  But Penny, that name does ring a bell.”
       Disappointment fell on Penny’s face, she drew a sad face on her notebook and stood up to leave.  She left the notebook there, standing up.  She wrote a little “Goodbye reality” in the corner of the page and walked out of the library.
       Jonathan looked over at the notebook and frowned, “Penny!”  He shouted, but to no prevail.  She had left, there was no way she heard him.  “You idiot, you were supposed to remember her!”  He shouted at Elliot, the girl’s best friend had a confused expression.  But then his confusion broke and he looked torn.
       Elliot looked over at the notebook across the table and walked over to it.  He put his hand to his forehead and sighed, “I am the biggest idiot.  I couldn’t even remember my best friend.  What have I done?”  He glanced over at Jonathan, “Thanks for helping, do you know where she could’ve gone?”
       “Of course not, I did just tell you that I met her a few days ago.  She’s been all over campus for the past couple of months.”  Jonathan frowned, “Alone.”
       Elliot thanked him again and ran off to find Penny, he looked for her everywhere.  But to no luck, she was nowhere to be found, she could be anywhere.  An invisible woman who was forgotten by many.  He worried that there was no hope in even looking for her, she was probably sitting under the apple tree in the campus’ courtyard.  He hadn’t even checked there yet, he had a chance.
       It took him another week before he found her sitting at that exact tree, she hadn’t been there up until then.  She was crying, crying like an abandoned child.  She had been abandoned, by the very person, she thought of as family.  Elliot had pushed her out of his mind, no.  Death had pushed her out of his mind.  All the pain Penny had been holding inside of her came out like a waterfall.  Tears, screams of agony and loneliness.  She would roam the world, alone, for eternity.  Would she ever vanish completely?  Death didn’t even know.
       Elliot walked up to the apple tree, where a small area of grass had been flattened.  He sat down next to it and leaned his head against the tree’s trunk.  “Do you even sleep?”  Were the first words that came out of his mouth.  He felt a weight lean on his left shoulder, was that her head?
       Penny sniffled and laid her head on his shoulder, he remembered.  She smiled slightly, it was the first time she felt this happy since the crash.  “Elliot, don’t ever forget me.  Ever, for the rest of eternity.”  She looked up at him.
       He was shocked to hear her words, looking down, he found a faint image of a torn woman.  Her eyes were puffy and red, she had tear streaks down her cheeks.  She was transparent but visible.  He smiled, “I won’t.”
       With those words, he saw her slowly fade away.  His best friend was dead, but he knew that already.  It had been eight months since the crash, that snowy winter day had changed both of their lives.  He would never forget her, not again.

-       -       -

       “I do,” The words fluttered out of their mouths simultaneously.  A white dress, fit for a bride.  And a bright tie, perfect for a groom.
       “You may kiss the bride,”  The priest uttered to the crowd.
       The groom took the bride’s hand and pulled her in and locked her lips with his.  As they pulled away, warm smiles lit up the church.  Family and friends clapped for the new couple’s beginning.  The bride and groom looked at their guests and back at each other with a big smile on each of their faces.
       “How do you feel Elliot?  You’re married!”  The bride shouted as they got into the car with the “just hitched” sign drawn on the back window.
       “Amazing, Jennifer!  I feel amazing to have been married to such a wonderful woman.”  He smiled widely and grasped her hands.
       “I’m so blessed to have been your first love.”
       Elliot’s smiled had not changed, “Yeah, my first and only love.  For eternity, there is no one other than you.”
I decided to not let it end at the final confrontation between Penny and Elliot.  To show you that my experiment worked, and I successfully erased someone’s existence from reality.  I wanted to show that once an object is erased from existence, that means that everyone will have had to have forgotten about that object.  Aren’t you proud of me?  You might want to watch your back now, not that you have any power over me.  But just wait, you might be next on my list.  Thank you for listening to my tale about a girl whose life or should I say “soul” was changed for the rest of her days on earth.  I hope you enjoyed this piece of literature and I will see you soon.

*          *          *          *          *

I am going to quickly mention, I CRIED WHILE I WROTE THAT LAST PART!  I felt as if I was punching myself in the face as I wrote that.  Tears fell on my fingers as I typed the words down.  That was something I needed to get off my chest, plus my brother told me he didn't like this story due to the last section.  I felt so cruel to both myself and my sibling.  But I guess that's what being a writer means?  I have never felt that way with one of my own stories, it was so weird.

That was something I just wanted to say!  I'm done now, I shall return on the first Friday of March!  See you all then,
                                   --Anna Jolene o/


  1. Uh! So sad, but well written! Fantastic job!

  2. I just really love the idea of Penny leaving... pennies. xD Soooo awesome.

    1. It was the easiest way for her to remind the people she knew xD

  3. Hi Anna! I tagged you for the Get to Know Me Tag.
    It's totally up to you whether you do it or not.