I’ve never been outside my body before, unable to interact with the world around me. I’m not sure what to do with myself for two weeks. I don’t want to hover over Charlotte’s personal space; being the overprotective brother isn’t me. So, I ended up following Jaylen around town. Occasionally, he would pop into a store to grab books and clothes.
“He’s totally your type,” a tall, blond woman said to her short, brown-haired girl with the pigtails. “You should go say hi.”
“N-No, I couldn’t,” replies the other girl blushing ruby red. “Let’s just get going.” Girl in pigtails passes through me and brushes her shoulder against Jaylen’s arm. He quickly pulls his hand away in a panic.
“See, you totally have the hots for him,” the blond girls giggles as they continue on walking. I am surprised though, Jaylen is starting to face his fears of people.
Back in elementary school, he would always shake like he was freezing to death during class. Being in a room with more than three people made him feel uncomfortable. Being touched by the teachers or other students caused him to freak out even more. He would always run away crying to the point where he was put in the back of the room away from the other students.
It didn’t get better for him. Middle school and high school were the worst times for him. As he matured, his face and figure become like those male movie stars which fangirls adore. Girl after girl would approach him asking him on a date. Unable to stand the constant attention, he started skipping school. Aaron and I practically had to drag him to school every day. To be honest, I think the reason he ended up like that was because of his abusive family life with his father at an early age.
We are the only people who Jaylen excepts. Jaylen moved into our neighborhood before we entered elementary school, but we never talked much until our moms introduced us. Aaron was our next door neighbor and was invited along as well. At first, Jaylen would hide from us in various locations. But as we hung out more, he started to warm up to us. First, it was just saying something as simple as hi. Eventually, he has gotten used to us enough to be in the same room as each other and chatting about whatever comes to mind. I’m just glad that he’s getting better with his fear of people.
Jaylen takes an instant left turn into a dark alley. Cigarettes litter across the ground along with various types of garbage that is blown around with the wind. With a strange voice-piece placed in front of his face which hooks around his ear lobe, Jaylen starts to speak to someone on his phone.
"Hello, Aaron Norman,” Jaylen says in a high squeaky voice. Why is he calling Aaron like that? We’re all friends, there is no need to hide who’s calling.
“I’m from a charity service known as Helpful Hands,” says Jaylen after a brief pause. “We are a new organization which helps out families who are suffering from long-term diseases and injuries.”
Ever since I’ve known Jaylen, he hasn’t been in any organization like Helpful Hands. Charlotte has researched into organizations to help defer costs of my medical bills. Never heard of this Helpful Hands organization before.
“We are offering a 300 billion dollar donation to those who take the offer. All you need to do is climb Thanatos Mountain. Simple and easy for someone like you Mr. Norman.” Jaylen continues.
300 billion dollars? This has got to be one strange prank. Why would Jaylen offer up money that he doesn’t even possess?
“As I assumed you would,” Jaylen smirks. “Send us the picture of you on top of Thanatos Mountain to xxx-xxxx. Two days from now, hike up Thanatos Mountain. I’m looking forward to the picture.” A dark smile creeps onto Jaylen’s face as he hangs up the call. He starts to laugh like a hyena. “Finally, I’ll get what’s mine!” Jaylen walks away from the ally way with a dark triumphant face.
All I can do is stand and stare at Jaylen as he walks away. His footsteps echo throughout the alley. Back in middle school, we learned of Thanatos Mountain. Thanatos Mountain is named after the personification of death, Thanatos. Thanatos Mountain is also known as the mountain climber’s cemetery.
“Jaylen, hey!” I yell at him. Oh wait, he can’t hear me anyway.
I follow Jaylen everywhere, from his house, to the food store, to even the bathroom. I’m not letting him out of my sight. There must be a way to convince him to call off the climb. Aaron’s too thick headed and would do anything for Charlotte, so talking him out of it is completely pointless. Jaylen has always listened to reason when I was around. He saw me as an older brother. But with me in a coma, is there no way for my voice to reach him?
At some point, while following Jaylen, I lose him in an alleyway. After that, I couldn’t find him. It’s like he vanished from the face of the earth. I searched every nook and cranny for Jaylen, but he disappeared as if he never existed in the first place, which is impossible. It’s been two days since I lost Jaylen and Aaron should be attempting to climb Thanatos Mountain right now!
Using my fast ghost-like body, I rush to Thanatos Mountain. As I run I notice how I’m not out of breath or how my heart is not hurting with every step. So this is what it’s like to have a normal body. As I run, I continue to pass through many people and cars. Well, almost a normal body.
I reach Thanatos Mountain quickly as if I was a gold medal Olympic runner. Looking up from the bottom of Thanatos Mountain, my middle school textbook couldn’t do justice to what I’m seeing right in front of me. Thanatos Mountain is split up into four sections. At the base of the mountain is vast amounts of blood painted, sharp spear-like rocks protruding out of the ground surrounding the mountains. Right above, dark clouds surround the area and pelt down hail like snow. In the next area, grass, dirt, or anything that ends up there is flung away by the wind. The wind roars like a waterfall drowning any other sound away with it. Finally, at the tip of the mountain is a fire that is blazing as bright as the sun.
I spot Aaron climbing past the snow area all covered head to toe in snow. Just stick a carrot on his head and he’s a real-life snowman. He reaches the wind area and all the snow that has collected so far is dispersed immediately. Aaron is tossed around and around. He, fortunately, has a good grip onto a protruded rock; however, if he lets go, he’ll be nothing more than a fly flattened by a flyswatter.
Aaron with his amazing upper body strength manages to keep himself from being blown away and continues on his way to the top. Slipping a few times here and there and having almost his entire body fly off the mountain, but other than that…totally fine!
Aaron barely makes it to the end of the windy area. His clothing is cut to shreds and blood is dripping from head to toe. All that’s left is to head up to the blazing peak. Unlike normal mountain peaks, Thanatos Mountain’s peak is a little more on the flatter side. After the windy area, the rest of the hike up to the peak isn’t all that steep. However, it doesn’t stop the fire from burning ferociously like a hungry tiger ready to swallow it’s prey whole.
One step onto the first causes Arron’s shoes and pants to immediately catch on fire. A streak of pain can be seen on his face. He quickly takes the photo with his phone before rushing back down the mountain like a mad man. His skin is starting to blister from the fire and heat, but the fire is put out instantly from the wind. A sigh of relief passes through Aaron’s lips as he continues the trek down Thanatos Mountain. As he reaches the end of the snowy area, he slips.