A/N: I posted the wrong chapter yesterday so…here it is!

I know the summary makes the story sound a bit funny and lighthearted but all I can say is that don't let it fool you…I cannot even classify this as lighthearted. But please do read on to find out why . Thank you!

Prologue

"Good morning, Claire," she said, glaring at me through her thick lenses.

It is a Sunday morning, I think. I'm not so sure anymore. I could barely keep track of things ever since they threw me here. I wrapped an arm around myself, feeling the cold slithering beneath my skin.

He's here and he's not waiting until Dr. Carol leaves.

"Are you feeling alright, Claire," she asked me again but that was before she scribbled something on her clipboard. I brushed away the hair from my eyes before I looked at her. She is sitting on the other side of the table across from where I am.

"We are here to help you, sweetie," she urged, her green eyes warm but condescending.

"How do I know you're not messing me up?" I asked her in my trembling voice. It felt like it dropped a few degrees. I pulled my nifty knitted jacket tighter around me.

"We're your friends, Claire. All we do is what's best for you."

"Like trying to lock me up?" I raised an eyebrow at her and pushed my chair a little further away from the table. There's a mirrored panel behind her and I could see my face ashen white behind my messy black fringes.

"They lock you up, Claire. Not us," she shook her head piteously. I clenched my fists at my side as I tried to fight the desire to bolt straight up from the chair and grab her by the collar.

I sighed. Like that would help. I can't give them any more reason to contain me here.

"Now, tell me what the voices in your head say, darling. Do you still hear them? Do you hear them now?" She twirled a strand of perfectly curled blonde hair in her fingers as she spoke. She has an air about her that hints an ancient beauty gone long before but the traces were still there somehow. Classic.

I bit my lower lip and looked away.

"I-I don't hear voices that don't exist."

I closed my eyes and waited for her next question. Then I felt it, a cold hand on my shoulder and another one playfully ruffling my hair. And then a silent whisper:

Don't be afraid, Claire.

How could I not be afraid? I'm alone in this. I'm just me. I'm not special I can't—

You have me.

I don't. How could I have you? You're dead.

There was a pause. I couldn't feel the hands on my shoulder and my hair anymore. I opened my eyes and she is still there holding her clipboard to her chest but the smile on her beautiful face had vanished. The look in her eyes spells desperation in its pure sense.

I felt my throat constrict. I wanted to scream but I couldn't. I was transfixed there, staring at her.

Julian, I'm sorry. Please come back, please help me.

Silence.

I closed my eyes again and yelled out his name but he didn't answer.

I'm so sorry, Julian. Come back. I believe you.

I slowly opened my eyes again. She wasn't there anymore but the green clipboard she was holding lay on top of the table. I couldn't see paper clipped to it. What was she writing on? I don't even know she could write.

A shadow moved somewhere to my side. My breathing stopped as I slowly turned my head, my heart palpitating. I knew I screamed. I could hear myself screaming on top of lungs before I raised my arms up to shield myself from her.

She was hovering over me, a murderous glint in her crimson eyes. The beauty I saw was replaced by moldy flesh and peeking white bones. Her blonde curl hair had been reduced to nothing but blackened twigs. Her jaws were open in a mid-scream, teeth glistening malevolently as she hacked and sliced at my skin with a knife.

I could smell burnt flesh in the air as she kept coming back. I felt my arm sting, taste blood in my mouth as I toppled on the floor. Then I saw him or perhaps it was just my imagination.

He appeared behind the woman and grabbed her by the arm and pulled her off and away from me. Where he took her I didn't see because a few moments after, Dr. Carol came rushing into the room flanked by the Institute guards. I think I passed out after that.

When I woke up I found myself in my room. Julian was there, too, sitting on the floor with his back to the door. I saw a fresh wound on his left cheek but he smiled at me when I sat up. I felt sore all over. I looked down, expecting to see bandages covering my arms but I saw none. Just lightly tanned skin without any marks. Like the hacking incident didn't happen at all.

"I'm not getting any stronger, Claire," he said, his purple eyes fixed on me. "I can't protect you like this."

I bit my lip, my habit, and shook my head.

"You don't need to protect me, Julian. You have to rest now."

I felt my eyes welling up with tears but I fought back. If Julian was doing this for me because he thinks I need him then I wouldn't give him the satisfaction. It would hurt me to see him go but he's been through enough, even in his lifetime.

"We both know that after what just happened you need more protection than you can get." He stood up and walked over to my bed. He didn't sit beside me like he would always do. He only stood there, near the window, staring at me.

"So what do we do?"

"I know someone who can help but it will take a lot of explaining before he believes. I can bring him to you. He will help the others, too."

"You're leaving?!" I asked incredulously, my first thoughts about asking him to rest out of my head in a second. I jumped out of bed and threw myself against the door. I never even thought how ironically funny it must have been.

Ghost boys don't use door.

"She won't come back. You're protected as long as you believe in me, Claire. That's the key."

"I know, I know, I believe in you. You didn't have to go, right?"

He chuckled and walked up to me, stopping a foot away. He looked so miserable standing there. If I could I would have thrown my arms around him in a tight hug. Or I could kiss him. Kiss him the way I always wanted to.

"He will help a lot, Claire. Just for a few days. You can last a few days without me, right?"

"We never needed him before. Whoever he is."

"The time will come when believing in me wouldn't be enough." He said softly and he closed the tiniest distance separating us. I could feel his hand on my face, touching me there; feathery light like the wind. I raised my own and let it linger a few seconds longer before I ran them through his hair.

I couldn't feel him but I could always pretend.

God, I'm dying to touch him.

He let out a weak laugh.

"I love you," he whispered. He stepped closer and went through me and door. And he was gone. Just like that.

I wondered if he even looked back.

A/N: How was it? Please share me your thoughts!

Please let me know what you think! I would really appreciate it!

Thank you!