❖ Chapter Twenty-Five ❖

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Healing Gabriel: Chapter Twenty-Five

                                                 ※(*)※Gabriel's POV※(*)※

      Waking up in complete darkness, alone, after a terrifying, sweat-inducing nightmare was not the way I wanted to start my morning. Especially not at 3am.

      I sat up in my bed, rakishly coursing my trembling fingers through my sopping hair. I was startled to only see black. I turned my head to search my bedroom for a source of light. My room was never black; there was always a faint glint of light somewhere . . .

       I looked over towards the wall where my once glowing fish tank sat, but it was all black. No purple glow radiated from it whatsoever. I couldn't bring myself to move my legs to turn on the light switch; I could hardly move at all. All I could do was sweat and shudder and whimper.

      I'm still dreaming, I tried to convince myself. I must be. Everything was still happening; Eightie was fighting with the other boy right in front of my eyes. I could hear the others screaming at them. But I knew they were all dead, so why could I still see and hear them?

       Wake up. Wake up. Wake up. Wake up! I thought frantically to myself, for my mouth was too dry to speak. I started scratching at my arms so hard I thought I could feel some of the skin come up--ew. I stopped after a second, continuing to search for a light source. Any light. The light didn't even have to be real light, it could be a person. It could be Evan.

        Where was Evan?

        I quickly recalled us conversing about Sixx and the other boys. The conversation must've triggered something in my brain. I always had nightmares when I slept, but this time the nightmare was far more realistic.

       My heart was beating like a snare drum against my chest so hard that it hurt. I clutched my chest with both of my hands, dragging my legs toward me as I cowered against the corner of my bed. I leaned against the chilled wall to cool my sweat-coated face. My stomach was churning, making me feel nauseated. The air was starting to get harder to breathe in; I felt like I was being smothered. I knew that if I kept feeling this way, I would probably die.

       I don't want to die, I realized as teardrops dripped down my cheek, from both fear of the overwhelming smothering and the proximity of death. I didn't want to leave my friends or my parents behind. Plus, who'd take care of my fish? Surely no one else could ever develop a bond with them like as strong as I did.

       Months ago, I would have been more than fine to die. I'd have been a-okay with finally leaving all of the pain and memories behind. But now I had things here, on Earth, in Clydesdale Heights, that I wanted to live for. I don't want to die. I don't want to die!

       You're not gonna die, a familiar voice murmured inside my head, pushing itself past all the bad thoughts. You're just having a panic attack.

       A panic attack? I thought. It made sense; I just hadn't had one in while. I must've forgotten about some of my anxiety problems during the weeks where I could almost convince myself of being normal.

       You're okay. Nothing is here. No one can hurt you. You're safe. Breathe in, breathe out.

       The instructions the voice inside my head gave were difficult to follow. I didn't know how to breathe in or breathe out all by myself during a panic attack. I was always with someone, from therapists trying to teach me how to Evan whispering the words of being able to breathe normally in my ear.

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