True Life


Artist: Breelyn Boucher '25

Artwork by Breelyn Boucher ’25

Diana Graham, Creative Writing Student

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It was raining that day, and we were all dressed in a gothic manner, huddled around a gravestone. This gravestone however, wasn’t just any gravestone. It was my little brother Alex’s gravestone. My family was in tears knowing he wasn’t coming back. The funeral was pretty boring; people just stood and spoke about how they wanted him back. I knew, though, I wanted him back most of all. He was my little brother, I knew him better than anyone. I was the one who found the note, and gave it to mom.

he, of course, blamed me, though we both knew it was her fault. She constantly threatened us, hit me, and yelled at Alex. She wasn’t the best parent, but she was all we had so we put up with her. One day it became too much for Alex, so he hung himself. He was only 12, while I was 19. I already missed him, and he had only been gone for about a day. 

When it was my turn to speak, I could barely get a sentence out of my mouth before I lost it. I let out a horrible shriek of agony and bolted for home. Tears were rolling down my face, I was so done with everything. Alex was my only reason for being here, and now, because of mom’s stupid yelling, he was gone. I kept running until I made it home. My legs felt numb, but I didn’t care.

I ran into the kitchen, grabbed a knife, and rushed into my room. I won’t go into detail about what I did, but I’m assuming you can guess. All of these events led to where I am now: dead. Engulfed in nothing but pitch-dark void. At least that’s what I thought… 

My eyes began to flutter open. I felt my body lying in something that felt like hay, and then I realized it was grass. I sat up and fully opened my eyes to reveal a forest all around me. I was lying on a pile of leaves and sticks. I was in the middle of nowhere, very confused on how I got there. As I looked around, I could see a river in the distance, so I got up to begin my journey to said river. As I was walking, my body felt lighter. I felt like I could run faster so I started running, and before I knew it, the once far away river was in front of me. I saw my reflection in the water and leaped back so far that I hit a nearby tree. 

“Ouch!” I exclaimed, my body aching. I crept back over the riverside and peered in again. My once brown hair had become snow white, and my eyes colored as if there was a sunset inside of them. 

“You should be more careful,” I heard a whisper in my ear. I shrieked and fell backwards, but someone caught me. I looked up to see lavender hair, and as I followed the hair upwards, I was met with a kind smile.

 “Are you alright?” he spoke again, his voice was soft and calming. 

“W-Who are you?” I managed to sputter out. Here before me stodd this beautiful man, with emerald green eyes and lavender hair that was soft as sheep’s wool. He was tall, handsome, and seemingly very kind. His face was perfectly shaped, with high cheekbones and a distinct jawline. He was beautiful.

“I am called many names, but you may call me Itar,” he said calmly. We stayed as we were for a good while, me in his arms, I felt as if I could tell him anything and he wouldn’t judge me. 

“Itar?” I called to him and he looked down at me, his emerald eyes staring into mine.

“Yes,” he responded nonchalantly. He rarely showed any emotion other than his warm smile.

“Do you know where I am?” I asked, a confused look on my face.

“You are in Salvation, the place where lost souls become found,” he replied, not even phased at my question.

“Do you know if Alex is here?” I asked without thinking. Of course he wouldn’t know. How would he? Alex was probably in heaven right now, happy as he could ever be. 

“Your little brother is here, Onyx. If you wish, I can take you to him,” he said calmly, even though he’d just told me I’d be able to see Alex again. How could he just say something like that so nonchalantly?

“Please, that would be great. I’d love to see him again!” I giggled happily, not realizing there was a lot he didn’t tell me.

We began walking through the forest. It was beautiful, and everything here had been absolutely gorgeous so far. I never thought such a beautiful place could exist after death. I was always taught that you either went to Heaven’s paradise, or Hell’s torment. I never imagined that a place like this existed. As we continued walking, I began to see all manner of strange creatures. I saw deer with long tails just like lions, and winged frogs in the lakes. This surprised me the most when I saw one of them start buzzing around us as we walked across a bridge. 

Soon he led me through the deep, thick forest into a clearing. Within it were all sorts of people. They were all dressed beautifully and formally, and before I knew it, the forest had become a ballroom in some kind of castle. I shrieked and leaped backwards, only to fall into someone’s arms, I looked up and saw Itar. I immediately began apologizing over and over until he interrupted me.

“Honestly, we’ve got to get you out of the habit of falling into my arms,” he smiled. I knew he was joking, but I didn’t want to stop. He was so calm, his entire demeanor was relaxing, and it felt as if the world stopped and I was finally safe.

He walked me through the crowds of people until we came upon a large dwhite door, with silver engravings of what appeared to be faeries and roses on it. He opened the door and before me was the most delightful garden I had ever seen. There were roses of every color. Any color you could imagine, they had a flower of that color. They had flowers here that I didn’t know existed. We continued walking until we came to another doorway. This one was wooden, with metal flowers on it, similar to the first one. 

“Are you ready to see your brother, Onyx?” His eyes stared into mine. I couldn’t help but admire his handsome face. He had sharp, clean features that made it so you could notice him in a crowd of people. His shimmering lavender hair was in his face.

I was unable to look into his eyes fully, but I could feel them on me. Out of instinct, I reached up to move the hair out of his face. He flinched at first but he allowed it. It seemed as if he’d never been touched before. There we were, just staring into each other’s eyes, his emerald green staring into my chestnut brown ones. I didn’t want to look away. It felt as if I could drown in them, and as if the world had slowed down just for us.

The door swung open, and I felt short arms around me. I was terrified to look down, scared that it might just be my imagination. What if it wasn’t him? What if Itar was lying? I don’t think he’d be the lying type, but you never knew. I was absolutely horrified, my body  frozen in place. Even if I wanted to look down at the small figure, I couldn’t. 

“Big Sis?” The small boy said. I could hear the sadness in his voice, but also the happiness that he saw me here. I  lost myself and knelt down to look at the little boy. It was Alex. Tears swelled up in my eyes. I cried out and hugged my little brother with everything I had, being careful not to squish him. 

“I’m so happy you’re okay, Alex, I missed you so much!” I practically yelped. I’d never been so happy to see anyone in my life. This was real; he was here, my little brother was okay, we were together again, and it was all because of Itar. I reached up to cup his face in my tiny hand. He placed his hand over mine and melted into my touch once again. 

“Thank you, Itar. I’m very grateful that I’m able to see my little brother again,” I smiled, standing up on my tip toes and placing a soft kiss on his lips.

His eyes widened but he quickly became red. He grinned at me, clearly as happy as I was. A smile spread across his lips as he led us back to the main room. 

“Please, enjoy yourselves, this is your home now, after all,” Itar said smiling, and Alex bolted through the crowds to the refreshments. I was left alone with a man that I’d just kissed, and I began to turn red as well. I felt someone walk up behind me and put their hands on my waist. Looking up, I already knew who was behind me: Itar. 

“Would you like to dance with me, Onyx?” He was very polite about it, and considering I’d just kissed him, and the fact that he had his hands on my waist, I knew where this was going, but I was happy about it. I’d never felt this happy in my life. I had my little brother back, and I had this amazing man at my side, asking me to dance, so of course I said yes.

We danced until I could dance no more, my legs  practically about to buckle underneath me. He noticed and  began leading me out of the huge ballroom and into a separate corridor. We stopped in front of a charmeuse satin door. He led me inside and it was a gorgeous bedroom. A deep purple bed, with Russian violet curtains. The floor was adorned with silver linings all the way to the ceiling making flowers, swirls, and so many other beautiful shapes. 

“It’s yours,” he said blankly. 

“Mine?!” I slightly raised my voice, surprised at the kindness he was showing me.

“Yes, yours,” he stated once again, a smile spread across his face. I couldn’t help but to embrace him in a long lasting hug. I never wanted to let go. To my surprise, he hugged me back. We stayed like this for a good while until he finally squeezed me tight, and let go. “You should head to bed. It’s been a long day for you,” he said softly, not so nonchalant.

It was relaxing and I felt at home here, so I did go to sleep. At first I was scared that I would wake up and that it was all a dream, but I never did, and that’s when I knew: It was all real.