One day the voices in his head got their names. Alexander had to decide whether he wanted to stand by his imaginary friends and go “crazy” or wipe out their existence in order to “grow up”.
On his eleventh birthday, the names appeared. They all said the same thing.
John. Alexander. Alex.
All of them, really. There was a small part of John that wanted to die, he just couldn’t deal with it. It was the most frightening thing he’d ever heard, so much that it seemed he couldn’t breathe properly anymore.
“Are you alright, John?” Alexander asked, “You don’t look very well. Do you need my help?”
“No,” John said, his voice cracking, “I just… Want you to know I love you.”
His eyes welled up with unshed tears.
“I love you too, John,” Alexander said, “Don’t cry.”
John gave in. It was the hardest thing he’d ever done. The hardest thing he’d ever said. But he had.
“I’m going to die soon,” Alexander said.
“It’s okay,” John said, “It was just the beginning. Please, just keep your eyes open, okay?”
“John, please, don’t. I’m begging you. I’m begging you. I don’t want to be here anymore. Just… just for a little while. Just don’t die. Oh God,” Alex said.
“As long as you promise me you won’t die, you’ll live,” John said, “Please… Just… Stay alive.”
“I’m trying to live, Alexander.”
“But… What if I die? Will I just be here? Will you die here with me?”
“You don’t have to do this.”
“Yes. I do.”
John pressed his hands against his eyes, wishing he could cry, but Alexander just held on.
“John. John, this isn’t fair. This isn’t right. How can we live like this? What if we run into each other? What if we never met? What if this is the end? How can we survive knowing the end? I don’t want to die, Alexander.”
“John, there’s no way I can live without you, because I’m afraid. Of losing you. I’m afraid of how much I care about you, and I don’t want you to die. I can’t lose you too.”
“What’s this about? You can’t love me like this.”
“You’ve got my soul, John. It’s in your heart, and it’s beating. I have a soul too. I think you could break it. You could have a family and I could love you. Maybe you could be a part of this family too. You could live a normal life. You could have a life with me. But you don’t. You have me, and I have you. We have your memories and your fears. We have our friends. We have our friends, and the world doesn’t end without us.”
“But how? You have me! You have me. All of my friends, all of my fears, all of my memories, everything. I am nothing without you. Please, Alexander.”
“We’re all alone. None of us has the heart. None of us can bear to be away from you. I love you so much. I don’t want you to go.”
“But if you die, everything ends. You don’t have to live anymore.”
“Please, Alexander. Just for a little bit longer.”
“I can’t. You know I can’t. You know that I love you. And I love you so much, Alexander. You’re the only reason I exist.”
“John, please, don’t do this. I can’t… I can’t live without you.”
“John. There is nothing more I need. The world is cruel and unforgiving. There is no one else that I can love, not like I love you. And I feel alone, but so many others don’t. I want you to know that.”
“I’m so sorry, John.”
“I love you, Alexander. I always have, always will.”
John was gone. John is missing. And Alexander is alone.