THE COUNTERPART

FIRST CHAPTER DEATH Alana Music had always thought that when something like this happen your senses are waking up. You start walking back and forth, wringing your hands with risk to break your fingers, praying under your breath even if you don't believe in God, digging nails into your skin, asking everyone about any new. That all nervousness you have and you have hidden inside in your entire life is coming to the surface and you can become mean and cruel to everyone, to shout, to express your negative feelings. It's normal reaction when everything is crushing and you can't do anything to avoid the next blow of Fate. You care for nothing because you realize you'll lose soon the most precious thing that had ever mattered for you. This situations get the best and the worst from us and shows our real personality. Everyone has got image for what would do if has to pass through it. But when you face up the cold facts, it is much more different. It just starts strangling and overwhelms you. Sometimes you even can't realize that all this is part of your life, not a bad dream or worry. It just happens and often there is nothing that could be done except sitting and waiting. This morning she was the average sixteen years old girl who goes to school with her friends and happy smile on her face. Alana thought anxiously about the coming evening and her meeting. In the last nine months it was her usual morning and there was reason about this. Who could suspect that just after few hours everything would change in so painful way? Now she was sitting in the waiting room of the emergency completely motionless, with empty and gazing eyes and feeling for despair. Irene was close to her caressing her shoulder and talking without stop just to make her do something. She used the old sayings like "He must be all right, it can't be so serious" but Alana knew that her friend doesn't mean to annoy or upset her, only to make her relax and feel more positive about the entire situation. But how could she? It seemed impossible when some meters away from them her greatest love was fighting for his life? It really happened too fast. She remembered last night when Joel called her and they talked until the morning. It's incredible how the time can fly when you are happy. Before hanging up on him an uneasy feeling started trembling inside of her. Alana had understood that something would occur later but couldn't figure out what exactly. The girl uttered nervously to him to watch out. His soft, surprised laughter was still sounding in her ears. So carefree, so fresh, so. young! For a moment it helped her relax despite the fact that during the whole day the doubts kept on torturing her mind. The last words were still spinning through her mind: "Don't be so nervous, dear, you know it's bad for the health. OK, I'll see you tonight. I love you." But she decided that it's too stupid to worry just because of bad feeling and kept on with the boring part of the day. School, examinations, the Chemistry test today. It's not that Alana was a bad student, her school report was full of good marks making her mother being proud. Just there were lot more important things than this and she couldn't wait for her graduation. Everything was pretty normal except the little colic the girl felt sometimes. Finally the classes were over and she could relax and think of more pleasant things. Alana was packing her things when she saw Irene running towards her with pale face and shaking walk. It must have been something serious because her friend was really calm person and only nightmare could make her look like this.

"What's going on?" She asked when Irene reached her and stopped for taking a breath.

"Oh, I'm so sorry I have to tell you this. It. something terrible had happened just an hour ago. Joel had been in the music shop when. one guy with gun had entered and. Oh, dear, I don't know what exactly had happened, but. Ally, Joel had been shot and now he is in the hospital at the peril of his life.

The textbooks fell from her hands. All her world ruined with these words. Words meaning her death sentence. NO! That was impossible, just a dream, just a dream, just a nightmare. Now she would have waken up in her little bedroom and he would be completely safe. But it was the reality laughing at her face, showing her that she is completely helpless against the circumstances of life. It was the most terrible, strangling and unbearable feeling so far. "He is not dead yet, he'll be all right." Alana was thinking while she and her best friend were catching a taxi to go to the emergency as soon as they could. "I'll be close to him. He won't die so young! Not now! Not Joel!" And now she was staying here waiting for the answers she had already known well. The girl was aware about this since the beginning of the day, since the first words of Irene. Her beloved was doomed and there was no hope for him. She should have cried but not a tear shed and rolled down her cheeks. May be it was because part of her was still unable to realize and that's why Alana stood calm and dizzy in the same time. Delusions are so sweet thing, just like the chocolate. Everyone is clear that it's bad for his or her health but no one is strong enough to give up. It is something you need, no matter that it can hurt you badly in the end.

"Hey." Irene started, hiding her own tears. She was afraid too but her soul wasn't captured by the black despair. There was still hope in her heart that it's going to be all right. "Don't worry so much. He can't die, we won't let him go that easy."

"Do you really believe in this?" Alana clinched and felt surprised by her sobbing and moaning voice. She was on the verge of crying. "No! I have to be strong now. For me, for him, for everyone. It's not suitable time for mourning. Remember that he is still alive." The girl kept on trying to calm down. "Do you believe anything depend on us? I would do anything to be there instead of him. I would die for that. But. can't you see, it just happens and we can't do anything. He'll be gone so soon. Oh, Irene." With these words she fell in her friend's comforting arms bursting in tears. "Why? Why it had to happen with him?"

"Shhh, relax!" The latter one embraced her and started caressing her hair. "I know it's hard for you. It is like this for everyone. But don't fall in depression now. It's too early for this."

One doctor with a blue overall entered the room and crossed their dialogue. He was quite old, about forty five years and had gray still eyes. Now they were full of sadness, pity and disappointment. From the moment Alana saw his face and this expression for her it was clear of any doubt that the hope had melted. A yell got stuck in her throat but she couldn't release it. She even couldn't talk properly because of the tears and the lump inside of her.

"Who is Alana Music?" he asked and the two girls came to him waiting for the worst.

"How. how is he?" Irene uttered cautiously and afraid of the answer.

"I'm afraid that. your brother is in really bad status. The bullet hadn't planted into the heart but it had defeated big part of the heart tissue. His time is really short. He said he want to see Alana. I'm sorry, we did our best.

Irene wrapped hands around her neck and started crying, leaning on Alana's shoulder. They both understood that it was all over. The life is often too cruel to the tender souls. The teenagers headed towards the room Joel was dying. They were hugged and could barely walk. And nothing could stop the tears from their eyes. Vince, Chris and Keith were already in front of it. Their friends didn't look less wretched than the girls did. The marks from crying on their cheeks were easy to notice. It was smashing blow for everyone.

"We heard just a while ago." Chris sobbed and ran hands through his hair. The other boys were unable to speak at all. "Oh, Irene, Alana, I. I don't understand. Why."

"I have to see him." Alana uttered and rubbed her tears trying to relax. For God's sake, how could she! The things were painfully clear. With these words she entered the room and closed the door. But when she saw him on the bed and all these systems supporting the fading away life. It was unbearable to go there, to look into his eyes for last time, to stay with him while he was dying. "Joel, don't leave me." She prayed under her breath. "Not now." Slowly he turned his head and tried to smile. Something pierced her heart while she was coming closer. He seemed so pale, so thin, so. dying. Like the last sparkles of this flaming fire were leaving and dissolving. His strange dark red eyes that had amused and left her without breath with their spirit, energy and life now seemed like burned matches, melting candles. The pale blond, almost white hair was making him look like dead.

"C. come. d. darling." Whose was this weak whisper? Where was gone the divine voice which deep and full-toned sounding could make every human soul melt? She couldn't believe that the youth laying there was Joel, the love of her life. Alana reached and caressed his hand with shaking fingers.

"I. I'm so. sorry. I have to leave. so soon, my love. but. you see, there is no other way. I. love you. oh, I really. didn't imagine like. this my last. moment."

"It's not your last moments, darling. You will live, I swear. May be not in this body but in our hearts, and. in another place. The Death is not the end, remember?" She was trying to make him feel better but the sadness and the despair behind her words were obvious even for the dizzy and dying Joel. "I will never forget you. Ever!

"I. am only sorry for leaving you so soon. It was. unfair. But. our time. we had the greatest time together someone could imagine. We just had too much of heaven and the angles had envied. It can't separate us. can it?" The tears were rolling down her cheeks, while she was speaking with smile and kept on holding his hand. "Something. so insignificant and little thing as Death can not erase it."

"Don't give up. my sweet Alana. You have a lot of life. don't waste it. Fall in love again but always bring me in your heart. Tell the others. goodbye from me. if I can't do that on my own. I just feel I'm running out of time and. I'm sorry if I have ever been unfair to any of you." His breathing was getting more and more difficult, the fire emanating from him was slowly growing dim. His chest convulsed with pain and all ability to talk left him. The last words Joel utter were so weak that she barely heard them. "Kiss. me".

Alana leaned across his body and hesitatingly touched his lips with hers. Their last kiss was different than all others. When she felt their coldness and lifelessness. she knew that this was the kiss of Death. That they kissed in the minute his spirit finally left this world. The girl lifted her head and looked at the monitor of his system. The cardiac line had begun straight. She walked away, completely calm and still. Alana went into the corner of the room and almost collapsed there burying head in her kneels, bursting in tears, burning her skin. Something cold and cruel had pierced her heart and it couldn't stop bleeding. She didn't know how long she has stayed there but one hand lay on her shoulder and made her stand up. Alana closed her eyes and let being taken away from the place Joel was resting.

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