When he was just a baby, he smiled at the lady who stood in front of him.
When he was five, he learned not to speak about things that made adults worry.
When he was ten, he learned to control his thoughts and actions.
Then he was sixteen...
Tyson Shawn was just a little child playing with toys when he first saw the adult-looking young woman, watching him as he played but saying nothing in particular. Her face was mostly expressionless while she was crouching next to him. Her hair was dyed red and her eyes glimmered in emerald green. A white silky thin camisole followed her body line. At first, Ty just kept peeping at her in great awe and wonder as the lady quietly sat beside him most of the time, without any signs of emotion. Sometimes a hint of interest appeared in her eyes but nothing more. Then she vanished from the young boy’s sight.
The woman appeared again in front of him when he was five; that’s when the complications began. Ty was in kindergarten when he realized that others could not see his so-called “Young Lady” friend and because of that, his peers shunned him. Unfortunately, at the time, his family was stressed about other things: The mother had to quit her modeling career due to getting “too old for the camera” and the dad was just about to run for office. No wonder they turned irritated when their son had problems fitting in. Eventually, they took him to a child psychiatrist.
No matter how much Ty said that his friend was real, nobody believed him. Why would they? Nobody saw her except him. Besides, the woman had never spoken to him or anyone despite the boy trying to strike a conversation with her sometimes. She was always just standing or sitting next to him, expressionless ignoring him talking to her without moving an inch.
The woman followed him for five whole years, every day. He was told at first that there was nothing wrong with him and that he can have his imaginary friend unless he didn’t insist on persuading others to see her too.
At the age of seven, he was commanded to let his childish behaviors go and when that didn’t work, he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. He soon realized that the drugs did not help him and that his only option was to completely ignore the woman. Although that turned out to be difficult for him only being a child. He was told to attend club activities and to learn how to behave among normal children. So he went to several clubs and in each one of them he ended up being shunned or bullied due to him being just different and freaky because of seriously thinking he saw ghosts. But he still had to keep attending.
One day he was suggested by his psychiatrist to just “Tell the Young Lady to go away.”
He did as he was told, thus the girl disappeared from his sight and she never seemed to be coming back again.
Soon after Ty’s life turned from peculiar to normal to great.
Ty was having his sixteenth birthday party with five of his best friends in a Mediterranean village on a small island. The event took place on the third floor of a three-story-tall luxury villa at night. The place was owned by the Shawn family. The servants were told to leave for the night and return tomorrow for breakfast. Ty’s dad was a well-known senator and he acquired quite a few of these luxurious villas all over the world. For what reason Ty never knew. But he had a hunch as he often saw her mother and his dad disappearing into one of these villas while Ty was training at a summer camp for martial arts or while he got occupied with other club activities.
The large bedroom was filled with loud music, alcohol, chatter, and conviviality. The boys invited over some girls from the wealthy neighborhood. Ty could not remember all of their names. The only thing he noticed that these girls had barely any clothing on and they were proudly showing their tanned skins like a work of art at an exhibition. He glimpsed at Zeno, his friend, who just smirked in return, pointed at the ladies and quietly mouthed the words:
“Which one?” to his friend.
Oh yeah, Ty thought as he glanced over the room, uninterested by the events around him.
He was supposed to get intimate with a girl on his sixteenth birthday. He was sitting in front of the entrance, sipping beer from a can. There were a few more whiskey bottles and glasses lying around him. His friends were recently pressuring him to act like a man and get close to a girl on his sixteenth birthday because they thought that was the right age to get acquainted with the opposite sex. Ty felt sluggish and felt like doing nothing but playing video games and crunching crisps.
However, as the party went on and he was pestered more and more by his friends, he thought maybe he should give in. He would show everyone what he was made of and that he did not need help or persuading in order to get a woman. Of course, he did not want to be bullied again, so he had to play along, at least that was what he thought.
The alcohol soon made him feel sluggish, peaceful and sleepy and he dropped his beer can onto the carpet floor. He thought that probably going to bed would be better but since he was sixteen now, he was supposed to be a big boy and had to keep his image he built over the years. None of his parents knew that they were drinking alcohol at the party or having girls over. Ty told them they were just going to play some video games and watch a couple of movies and eat junk food which wasn’t entirely a lie because that was what he originally intended to do. Although, Zeno and the others had a better plan for the night and Ty just went along with it.
Tyson Shawn liked his current friends a lot, especially Zeno, who was his first real friend. They met during one of Ty’s martial arts lessons when they were children. They became competitive buddies since they were the same age. Zeno, as a small blond child, had freckles back then. He had lost most of them by the time he turned fourteen, although there remained a tiny one in the middle of his nose that he just could not get rid of, not that it mattered to him. He almost matched Ty’s medium built body but he was a bit taller and much leaner and had a much lighter complexion than him. Zeno was the one who introduced Ty to his other friends who were also attending his party now. However, Ty just did not feel as close to them as to Zeno. Maybe his attachment to Zeno was what people described as having a best friend.
Ty yawned. Even though he liked his current friends a lot, he just felt too tired and did not feel like doing anything in particular for his birthday. Why couldn’t he just go to sleep? He used sign language to communicate his concerns with Zeno, knowing that no one else would understand his message. Zeno and Ty liked exchanging information with each other using different secret codes, such as this sign language they developed together for fun. Soon it became truly important for them to be able to discuss top secret or embarrassing matters only between themselves. Zeno liked figuring out new ways to make his life more entertaining or as Ty once said “more difficult”. Ty, well, he just wanted to stay Zeno’s friend so he did what he could to maintain their friendship. Thankfully, no one seemed to care or notice their silent conversation as most of them were already quite drunk by that stage. Ty looked at his phone: 1 a.m.
Zeno made a disapproving grunt after receiving Ty’s message. Slowly and like an animal, he crawled over on the ground to the birthday boy.
“Hey Ty, don’t be such a party pooper. We did this for ya! Just look at the others having so much fun!” the blonde boy gestured around the spacious decorated room.
“Oh yeah, I am having fun.” Exhausted, Ty put a fake smile on his face. He decided to wash down another glass of whiskey to prove his friend how much fun he was having.
Man, this is terrible, he thought as the alcohol was burning his throat. Nevertheless, he just kept drinking and grinning at his friend.
“You sound, pretty drunk, eh? Maybe you should stop for now. Or otherwise you will lose yourself,” Zeno smiled back.
Ty dropped the whiskey glass he was holding before and at that moment, something strange happened. He lost his consciousness or not entirely. He was there inside himself but he just did not feel right. Maybe he was too drunk after all?
Nah, that can’t be right, he thought, his head dizzy. I was feeling just fine.
Suddenly, Ty felt the presence of someone else inside him who was looking around.
No way, he thought, feeling a bit of panic. He tried moving his fingers. They wouldn’t move.
Zeno kept his eyes on him.
“Ty, you alright? You look like as if you’ve seen a ghost. Don’t tell me you’re gonna throw up now!” raising his hands defensively as if protecting himself from something disgusting happening, Zeno began laughing. He realized that his friend looked way too pale and he was trying to figure out a way to help. It wasn’t easy as the alcohol had clouded his mind, so the only thing he could do at that moment was to titter awkwardly.
In the meantime, inside Ty, the thing’s eyes, which were Ty’s eyes in reality, was observing the outside world. The thing at first was completely oblivious to Zeno, who was by that time desperately trying to catch his friend’s attention. He tried talking to him several times, calling him names when he did not seem to listen to his own and he also tried shaking him up. Reluctantly, Ty’s eyes turned towards Zeno and rested on him for a short while.
Familiar feeling, huh? Ty managed to start thinking straight again. I have experienced this sensation before. The feeling of being possessed. Yeah… Don’t tell me... But she never managed to take control of my body before!
If he had control of his physical self right now, he probably would've run into a corner and hid his face, while shouting in fear at the thing to go away, just like in his childhood once or twice before he managed to get rid of the ghost entirely. He could not do that now. The thing was completely controlling him.
This is the girl alright. What is she gonna do? Ugh, I feel so numb, Ty thought as the thing inside him shut his eyes for a second.
One of the neighbor long-haired girls, who was sitting on one of the tables full of drinks and snacks, caught his attention. She seemed to be bored as her companion was continuously talking about all sorts of sports, especially soccer. Even though she found it interesting at first, the boy was talking way too much and only about himself and his achievements and the topic soon became boring for her. She was yawning when she suddenly noticed the dark-skinned handsome black haired guy gazing at her with the beautiful ocean blue eyes, sitting right next to the entrance. She remembered he was the birthday boy. She put on her best smile for the young man and decided to approach him. Ty’s face gave an annoyed look in return.
Zeno immediately took the situation into his hands and decided to distract the girl with one of his jokes. He managed to make her sit down on the carpet with him on two large pillows. That way he kept her away from Ty, who could have snapped if disturbed. He knew Tyson from the age of twelve. He was one of Ty’s first friend. Zeno got to know him as a young shy boy who tried to come across as proud and strong, showing off his martial arts skills to anyone who tried bullying him. Sometimes, Tyson seemed to him a little absent-minded and sad for some reason. He could never figure out how a fortunate rich boy could ever feel this way. But he just concluded that riches had their own problems, too, like fitting in with the poorer masses. Nevertheless, Ty`s personality appealed to Zeno and they soon became best buddies. Zeno wanted to be just like Ty.
Although today, his role model acted differently. Not because it was their first official drinking event, (they have practiced before), no this time it was something else. Ty’s face looked even greyer than he first noticed him acting strangely. Ty looked disastrous, dreadful, his blue eyes had a green tint to them and kept on moving from side to side, like a pendulum.
Alcohol poisoning? I need to check on him later, thought Zeno, as he glanced back at his friend’s almost motionless body.
All of a sudden, Ty regained control of his body and opened his eyes wide, gasping for air as if he had just emerged from under the water. His glance briefly caught Zeno’s gaze and rushed out of the spacious room, slamming the door behind him.
Everyone was taken aback by his sudden dash. Zeno quickly got up to follow him.
“I’m going to go check on him,” he said to the girl while standing up. “He had a lot to drink.”
She seemed to be very reluctant to let him go and as Zeno was walking away, she grabbed his arm.
“Before you go, will you tell me at least one more joke?” she asked the blonde boy. Zeno at first did not know what to do as the girl’s random reaction got him by surprise. He studied her for a second. Her long wavy brown hair and her body looked very attractive with her tanned skin and with a short mini skirt, indeed. The alcohol made his mind fuzzy again. The girl smiled at him. He grinned back, immediately forgetting about his friend, thinking that this might be his only chance in life to get close to a pretty woman like her. In the end, desire took him over and he dropped back to the floor to entertain the girl.
Meanwhile, in the bathroom, Ty was looking at himself in the mirror, feeling petrified.
What should I do, what should I do, what should I do? She is back! No way. I thought I was cured, he was desperately trying to find a solution to his mental condition.
He washed his face with ice-cold water over and over again. A couple of minutes later, the cold water finally seemed to work - he was feeling calmer.
“It’s alright. I am okay,” he kept breathing slowly, as he was talking to his mirror image. The glass waved for a second. Ty wiped his eyes.
All of a sudden and without warning, he lost control of his body again. His hands began undressing him, while his gaze was focused on his naked torso in the mirror. He touched his chest.
He heard a quiet female voice coming from the inside of his head:
This is not my body.