You're Not in This Alone

The Weight of Death


When I awoke early that dark June morning, I knew immediately that there was something very wrong. I felt more foreboding than I ever had before, and I was afraid. I also felt that Gerard was near me. I turned over in my bed and opened my eyes.

There he was, sitting in my window and looking out at the dim and cloudy sky. He regularly climbed into my room through my first story window in the morning or even in the middle of the night. Normally he would wake me up with a kiss when he needed to talk about one of his dreams. I wasn’t surprised he was acting differently that day. I already tasted change in the air.

Gerard had been my next door neighbor and my only friend since we were very little. He was the only person I ever connected with. Ever since I could remember, I had known that I was different from everyone else. I had a different way of thinking, a different way of viewing the world. However, just as I was different from anyone else, I was the same as Gerard.

Well, we weren’t exactly the same. I had feelings. I don’t mean the emotional kind of feelings. My feelings were like predictions. I felt when something good or bad or strange was happening or was about to happen. I also felt compulsions, the need to do certain things. When I followed these urges, I was always correct in my ways.

Gerard did not have these kinds of feelings. Instead, he had dreams. He dreamt about what was going to happen in the future, what had happened in the past, and even what was happening the very second he was dreaming. He always knew which he was dreaming about.

“What did you dream about?” I asked him cautiously. I knew he had dreamt about what was wrong, and he did not turn to look at me.

He avoided my question and countered with his own. “What do you feel?”

“Death,” I replied without hesitation. But this wasn’t the kind of death I’d felt that winter when I’d predicted a boy at our high school would get sick and die. This was much worse. I felt so much death that it pushed down on my lungs and made it hard to breathe. “Too much death,” I added breathlessly.

He tore his gaze from the black sky and looked at me with tortured eyes. I knew that just as I felt the weight of death, he had seen it in his dream. “Everyone,” he whispered. “Every human on this earth is going to die when the sun sets on them today.”

Although what he said was terrible, I believed him. I knew he was right, and it saddened me. Even though I’d never loved my parents or felt much of a connection to them, I was grateful for all they’d done for me, and my older sister had always looked out for me. I didn’t want them to die. Among all these mixed emotions was another. I knew Gerard and I were not going to die. “If we aren’t human,” I asked, “then what are we?”

He shrugged, whipping his long black hair out of his eyes and coming to sit next to me on my bed. “I was hoping you would know,” he told me.

I shook my head disappointedly, and then I leaned against his shoulder. “We can’t stop the sun from setting. What are we supposed to do?”

He ran his hand down my long brown hair, saying, “We’re going to leave. I saw us traveling in my dream. We were looking for something.

“No,” I whispered, new knowledge flooding into me. “We’re going to look for someone. I know that there are others like us that won’t die.”

He looked surprised and said in a puzzled voice, “I’ve never dreamt about them before. Do you know where we’re going to?”

“No,” I repeated, “but I know what direction we’re going.”

He didn’t question me any further.

“I guess we should start packing,” I suggested, starting to get up.

"I’m already packed,” Gerard informed me, glancing at a backpack he’d brought and set on my floor that looked very heavy. “I’ll help you.” But before doing so, he traced a finger down my cheek and kissed me on the lips. His kiss seemed to take away some of the weight of death inside me, but I was still too depressed to smile at him.

“Just pick what you need,” he instructed. “Mainly food, water, and clothes. We won’t need money. After sunset, it’ll be useless.”

I only nodded. When I started packing clothes, I glanced at the clock. It was only three in the morning. The sun hadn’t even risen yet. Knowledge I’d never known I had started spewing out of my mouth. “Today is June 21st, the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere. Here in New York, the sun will rise at 5:24, and it will set at 8:30. But after the sunlight passes the International Date Line, that’s when it will start. The sun will always be setting somewhere, but it will begin setting today, so to speak, at 3:30 a.m. our time.”

“So we only have about half an hour before people start dying,” he concluded.

I nodded. I was done packing clothes. I grabbed a toothbrush and a hairbrush, and then we crept down the hall and to the kitchen. We filled the rest of my backpack with water, breakfast bars, peanut butter, canned food, and any other kind of food we could find that wouldn’t go bad quickly.

“We’ll take my car,” I offered as we slung out backpacks over out shoulders. “It’s already in the driveway, so my parents won’t hear the garage door open.” Just before we walked out the door, though, I felt the need to go back for something. “Go ahead,” I told him. “I’ll be right out.” He didn’t argue.

I took a pen and started writing on the back of the grocery list.

I’m sorry I had to leave. I need to be with Gerard when it happens. You’ll see it all over the news. They won’t know what’s happening when the sun’s setting. Don’t be scared. Just spend the day with the people you love. Bye, Mom and Dad. Love, Ebony.

I didn’t really love them, but a white lie on a day like that seemed alright to me.

Gerard was throwing his backpack into the trunk when I emerged from my house. I tossed mine in next to his. When he started to go to the passenger seat, I spoke up. “No, you should drive. I don’t want to be behind the wheel at 3:30 when I start feeling what’s happening. I’ll tell you where to go.”

He hesitated, but then he nodded and walked around the car.

We filled up on gas, and he started driving in the direction I told him to. After a few minutes, Gerard pointed out that we were headed towards New York City.

“I think that’s where we’re going,” I said, but I was unsure.

We both continued glancing at the clock nervously. Time seemed to be passing very slowly. Eventually, it was 3:29. The seconds ticked by even more slowly. Gerard reached over to me and took my hand. It was going to start soon.
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I'm psyched for this story. I'm going to switch off doing Ebony's point of view and Gerard's point of view every chapter. Pretty please comment and subscribe!