Chapter 2

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I screamed until I couldn't hear anything. I screamed until my throat became splintered. I screamed until someone came up to me and told me it was a dream. Except it wasn't, and no one dared to come near a psychotic screaming girl.

When the last sound drained out of my throat, I reassessed what was in front of me, my body frozen as I took in the image. My feet craved to run away, but the ground trapped it down.

All I could see was a mush of silver, wrecked, lying on the highway. Besides it, there were two other cars, each with its own deformities. The scene in front of me seemed to be out of a movie, except this was real life.

The mush of silver wasn't just an act, just like how the body on the stretcher, one with glowing auburn hair, wasn't an actress with too much makeup.

The ground released my feet as I bolted forward with all of my energy. My high-pitched scream sustaining in the air, fading away into nothing as I got a better look at what was on the stretcher.

"Young lady, excuse me." A policeman pushed me away from the path of the stretcher.

"No, she's my sister," my voice choked out, my body feeling like it was floating away.

Even as I said the words, I knew the mess wasn't Kayla. It was just a body with an ashened face and blood flowing out from everywhere. Kayla wasn't like that. Kala's face glowed in the morning sunlight, Kayla could hold herself straight and sturdy.

"Call your mother," the policeman said.

I nodded, pulling out my phone from my pocket with shaking hands and dialing her number slowly. She picked up immediately, as if she knew what was happening, or was afraid to lose me to some terrible accident.

"M-mom? Highway. Accident-" I said, feeling the fat, salty tears fighting their way out.

"Ella? Honey, speak louder," she said.

"Kayla. Highway. Accident. Cars. Toyota. Blood. Ambulance. Police-" I said again, my voice shaking as a policewoman interrupted me.

"Are you her sister?" she asked, her voice gentle.

"Yes," I said, gasping for air as I sobbed.

"What's your name and your sister's name?" she patted my back, trying to comfort me. Imagine how many times she's done this before.

"I'm Ella Nowak, and she's Mikayla Nowak."

"Ella?!" my mom yelled from the phone when my hand brushed over the speaker button.

"Can I speak to her?" the policewoman asked, reaching for my phone already.

I nodded and handed my phone to her, since she was a police officer. Even if I did try to speak to mom, she won't understand a single word because of the broken sobs layered above it.

Silently, I thanked the officer for speaking to my mom. Speaking those words would be confirmation that this wasn't a dream. Speaking the words would shatter me into more pieces that I was already in.

"Hello, Mrs. Nowak. This is Officer Landon speaking. I'm really sorry. Your daughter Mikayla just got into a horrible accident," she said.

Because Officer Landon forgot to turn off the speaker, the silence on the other side of the line was obvious. It was even more chilling and heartbreaking to hear my mom go through the loss, scarcely three months after her mother died.

"Is she dead?" mom asked, breaking the silence.

"Not yet confirmed, but-" Officer Landon began, and the rest of her sentence became muffled as I clasped my hands over my ears.

Hearing the policewoman and my mom talking would make it real, and unavoidable. I was ready. I was the twin that needed the sugar coating over every bad news, but I shouldn't need it because I was one who lost her best friend at ten.

If I couldn't even endure this, then how could I survive the future? The future would get worse and worse, with death upon death and tragedy upon tragedy. It was the cycle of life, but also the cycle of suffering, a cycle that I'd rather avoid than live through.

"I'll stay with you until your mom comes, alright?" Officer Landon asked, her voice triumphant over my closed ears.

I nodded, finding a place to clutch and lean against in case the emotions overwhelmed me. I needed to be strong, yet I felt like a flimsy puppet, whose life was manipulated by the world. How was I supposed to be strong when every part of me was out of my control?

Out of the corner of my eye, I could make out a few more figures coming out of the car. Ivy, her mom, Gianna, and Amara were in the car also. Two of them seemed almost unscathed, and the other two were in ambulances. None of them seemed as injured as Kayla was.

A fire burned in me, and I was tempted to scream again in fury. Yet, my dried throat didn't allow any sound to come out, trapping the anger in my mind. Why did they have to be fine while Kayla was on the verge of dying? Why couldn't someone else take her position?

My thoughts were selfish and inconsiderate, but they kept coming. There was nothing to do about our selfish nature, especially when your whole being wasn't in your control at all.

"Ella," a weak voice called my name.

I turned around, and my mom's black Mercedes came into view. I dragged myself into the car, the car that was dressed in black and ready to go to funerals. Now, looking around, it felt like the color drained out of the world. I was still living, except in a world where nothing seemed joyful nor interesting.

Our drive to the hospital was silent, except for my occasional sobs or mom's small whimpers. It continued like that until we got to the waiting room.

The waiting room was a place filled with anticipation, both good and bad. This was the place where young fathers received news about their newborns; where families received news about their loved ones making progress towards recovery; where hopeful families celebrated that their loved ones cured of a poisonous disease that plagued their body.

It was also the place where hopeful families' hopes were crushed, where families first received the bad news they couldn't seem to accept, and where my own sanity and being was shattered. I wanted to be among the happy crowds in the waiting room, but why would I wish for what I won't have?

Maybe I was so exhausted that I fell asleep, or maybe I wished that when I woke up, the nightmare would be over. Little did I know that my nightmare had just begun. If I knew what news I would wake up to, I would've never fallen asleep in the first place.

When my drowsiness went away and my vision cleared, I saw my dad hovered over my mom, handing her tissues. Telling by the trash can that a nurse brought to her and the distressed face of a doctor, I knew the exact sentence mom would say next.

"Kayla is dead," she whimpered before breaking into another round of crying.

I looked towards dad, and he nodded. Seeing his red eyes made my heart drop. The small piece of me left after the accident drained away as well, leaving me with nothing but grief and emptiness.

Maybe I wasn't officially pronounced dead, I might as well be. I was nothing if Kayla didn't exist, I couldn't be Ella without Kayla's accompaniment. I might as well just vanish into thin air because I was just a body now, my mind drained empty of everything.

They say that when you lose someone, you'd lose a part of yourself and that you'd go to desperate measures to get that part back. But this was worse, there was no motivation, only a sinking black hole inside of me, drowning me deeper and deeper into nothingness.


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