Til Shadows Come
| Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 |
Disclaimer; Popular and all of its characters is copyrighted to Touchstone. No infringement meant. For entertainment purposes only.
1. Do not read if you are averse to subjects such as death, sadness and depression.
2. Characters are not portrayed according to the way they are in the show.
This story is lovingly dedicated to Green Quarter, Nan, and also to Kekkoen. J now to the story;
Til shadows come
on a dark day's
my trembling soul
Sounds were crashing around her, and the world seemed to spin then explode, leaving her confused and terrified. The fear that burst within her then rushed through her veins, then throughout her entire body made her freeze to the point of almost becoming stone even when all of her instincts screamed out to her in desperation to move out of the way of the speeding car that was fast approaching. But she didn't budge as she felt a strange sensation of numbness that held within it an ironic sense of peace because she knew what was coming and accepted it.
"I'm going to die."
At that instant time seemed to freeze around her. The sudden stillness of the night, and the unearthly glare of the oncoming car's headlights dulled, then allayed her fears.
"I didn't think that Nicole hated me so much as to murder me."
Her pink lips had parted wildly to form an "O" shape, but the gut wrenching scream of terror never emerged from her throat as her mind traveled out of her body.
"I'll never see Sam again."
It was as simple as that; her very last thoughts were for her reluctant, stubborn, liberal, somewhat self-righteous, often arrogant, stunningly beautiful step-sister, Samantha McPherson whom she madly, deeply adored despite the girl's obvious antagonism toward her.
"Sam will go on without me. She'll grow up and marry someone else. She'll never know that I'm in love with her."
Then she felt something out of place; she wasn't alone. A familiar voice suddenly filled her ears;
The sound of Samantha's frightened, desperate, shrill cry filled her ears like a blessing, and her heart lurched with joy mingled with worry and fear.
"Sam? How can she be?"
Everything else seemed to fade for her as she focused only on Sam's voice, on her presence.
"Sam sounds so close. OH NO! Is she trying to save me?"
Panic welled up in the girl's heart as she realized what Samantha was going to do.
"NO Sammy! I don't want you to die too! You have to live!"
Suddenly she felt a warm body collide with her own, a pair of slender arms wrapped themselves around her cold form.
"I've got you, Brooke! I've got you!"
Brooke felt her heart lurch with pure joy despite her reticence at having Sam risk her life for her. All that the blond girl could think of at that instant was that she had Sam with her, and that was all she needed to be happy. Then the headlights of Nicole's shiny Jaguar became huge orbs as their lights overwhelmed her, and the sound of the car's engine deafened her.
Brooke awoke with a start as her entire body stiffened, then stretched out involuntarily. Her eyes were temporarily out of focus, but she recovered quickly to find herself looking up at the sky.
Brooke had expected to feel the massive impact of the encroaching car wiping her out of existence, but instead she found herself lying down on the soft, plush grass of the Kennedy Highschool playing field.
"How the hell did I get here?"
Brooke sat up, and looked around her. She noticed that she was wearing her cheerleading outfit complete with a pom-pom in each hand.
The sight of her pom-poms made the blond girl smile briefly.
"I only use these gadgets when our squad is cheering at a game."
Then Brooke heard voices in the distance, as she looked up to see that she was far from the bleachers.
"Hey! I'm not alone out here. Thank God! That must be the football team practicing!"
Brooke carelessly threw her pom-poms on the ground as she got up on her feet. She suddenly felt a bit unsteady as a wave of dizziness overcame her.
"I...can't walk all the way to the bleachers. I think I'm going to faint..."
Brooke felt a wave of nausea hit her, then she simply blacked out.
Til a time of reaping
when the earth
opens her arms,
spring is endowed
with powerful charm,
but yet can't hide
my broken soul
from endless weeping...
Brooke opened her eyes, then blinked several times.
"Did I just black out?"
The lanky girl looked around her, and noticed the change in her surroundings.
"How did I get here?"
The here in question was where Brooke had initially wanted to be; next to the bleachers.
"This is so weird!"
Brooke felt a soft breeze on her pretty face, and for a moment she closed her eyes to relish the gentle caress of what seemed to be ghostly, invisible fingers that also carried with them the echo of muffled voices that the lanky girl immediately recognized.
Brooke's smile was radiant as her dark eyes fell on the approaching team of football players; all of them tall, rugged and sweaty in their football gear and practice uniforms. The troop of players filtered slowly off the playing field, walking tiredly toward the distant buildings that housed the gyms and locker rooms. Two figures lagged behind; on tall, heavyset, obese, figuratively resembling a brick wall of strength whom Brooke recognized as Sugar Daddy, as kind hearted and gentle as his nickname suggested, and the other figure a bit shorter, muscular and lean was Josh Ford, Brooke's ex-boyfriend, and once her true love.
Brooke eagerly ran toward the two boys, relieved at the fact that she was no longer alone.
"I am SO glad to see you guys!"
But when Brooke stopped short, the stood only a few feet away from them, she noticed that the two boys had stopped walking, and now stood in the field hugging each other.
"Hey you guys! What's wrong? Josh...why are you crying?"
The boys seemed indifferent to Brooke's presence as they stood in a tight embrace. Sugar Daddy held Josh in his strong, powerful arms in a firm embrace as the young man literally shook with uncontrolled sobs.
"I loved her, SD! I know I'm with Lilly now. But I still loved her so much. Now she's gone! I'll never see her again! I'll never be able to tell her that I still love her and want her back again!"
Josh was inconsolable in his tears as he sought refuge in his friend's arms.
"Yeah, dud. I know you loved her. But she's gone for good. She ain't ever comin back! You gotta let go of her. You gotta control yourself before Lilly figures you out, cause yer gonna lose her too!"
Sugar Daddy's sobering words seemed to have a positive effect on Josh who calmed down, sniffled loudly as he pulled away from his friend.
"Yeah, SD. You're right. I can't lose Lilly. She's all I got left now. She loves me, and treats me real good. Brooke left me a long time ago, and stopped loving me!"
Brooke's befuddlement knew no bounds.
"What the hell are you two clowns talking about? I haven't gone anywhere. I'm right here!"
Despite her loud, angry words aimed at the two young men, Brooke was shocked to see that they still ignored her.
"Josh! Sugar Daddy! I'm right here! Why are you guys ignoring me? You're acting as if I were dead or something!"
Sugar Daddy threw a comforting arm around his best friend, Josh, and the two boys continued speaking in muffled tones that had become totally unintelligible to Brooke.
"I can't understand what you assholes are saying!"
Josh and Sugar Daddy continued to exist in blissful indifference of Brooke as they both turned away from her, and walked away toward their locker room.
Brooke's patience had come to an end.
Once again Brooke heard voices, and turned to see who it was. The girl was both amazed and overjoyed to see the familiar faces of the girls in her cheerleading squad walking in her direction.
The cheerleading squad of Kennedy Highschool known as the "Glamazons," walked in a straight row, then stood in a solemn line facing the sun. All the girls wore their cheerleading outfits, and something more that surprised Brook who stood nearby.
"Why are you guys wearing black arm bands? Who died?"
Just like Sugar Daddy and Josh before them, the cheerleaders completely ignored Brooke who continued to question them loudly...
"Ohmygod! Someone did die! Who?"
The cheerleaders were all crying, and holding hands. Brooke in turn was sinking into desperation.
"WHO? Tell me!"
Brooke noticed that besides herself there was another cheerleader missing.
"Nic isn't here! Is it her? Has something happened to Nic?"
Even though lately she and Nicole were no longer best friends, Brooke still cared deeply for the girl.
"Come on you guys! Talk to me! What's happened to Nic? Is she alright?"
Then Popita stepped forward, turned to her friends, and spoke solemnly.
"We are gathered here to remember our beloved friend, and cheerleading captain, Brooke McQueen who was taken from us so tragically..."
Brooke's eyes almost exploded from her blond head at the sound of Popita's words.
Suddenly everything went black for Brooke as her consciousness faded away.
Til the pale fullness
of a distant moon
is a complete sphere,
and from my eyes
run crimson tears,
while my mind
drowns in abject pain
that seems endless...
Suddenly Brooke remembered everything.
She felt herself drowning in a wave of icy cold panic.
"Nicole got angry with me because I rejected her when she confessed that she was in love with me. She went over the edge when I told her that I was already in love with Sam, and that I was pretending to like Harrison just to make her mad and jealous. Then I ruined Nic's chances to go to the prom with George."
Finally Brooke remembered and understood the final event that brought her to where she was at that moment.
"Nicole ran me down with her Jaguar on Prom night."
Now the lanky girl felt a sliver of peace as she began to accept her present condition.
Brooke couldn't yet let go completely of her former life and reality because she still had one last issue to settle; the most important one of all.
Brooke closed her eyes and concentrated. She felt a tingling sensation run through her as the reality around her shifted and changed.
"I have to find Sam."
Now that Brooke understood her circumstances and accepted them, she was no longer subject to blackouts and memory loss. Now there were no longer any mysteries for Brooke.
When Brooke opened her eyes again, she was standing in the living room of her house.
"It doesn't feel like home anymore."
Brooke's thoughts and feelings had changed so that nothing from her past mattered to her anymore; the house she had once lived in, her belongings, her life, parents and friends.
"All that I want is Sam."
Brooke pondered the secret that she had carried securely within her heart for most of her life.
"I always loved Sam. Everything else was just an illusion...to fill my time until I could find the courage to tell her that I was in love with her...that I wanted to marry her!"
Once again Brooke contemplated how her present reality related to her situation with Sam...
"Nothing has really changed. I'm still the same inside. I'm still in love with Sammy."
At that moment Brooke fully understood her new limitations when it came to Sam, and it made her extremely angry.
"Its not fair!"
Sam was alive and out of Brooke's reach forever, and that made the lanky teenager feel a vengeful spark.
"I swear that I'm not going to leave Sam's side for a single instant! I'm going to cling to her in the worst, sickest way! I'm going to chase away all of her lovers, and turn her into an old maid!"
Brooke was now determined to take over Samantha's life.
"Sam is mine!"
The blond girl walked from the livingroom into the kitchen where she found her parents, dad Mike, and step-mom Jane sitting at the kitchen table.
Mike and Jane sat at the kitchen table in the early morning hours of the day. Jane was crying, sobbing, hiding her pretty face in her trembling hands. Mike also cried, but silently in his manly way as thick tears ran down his pale cheeks, while he tried unsuccessfully to comfort his grieving wife.
"The house is so empty and quiet, Mike!"
Jane looked up at the ceiling, then around the kitchen.
"I can't stand this place anymore!"
"We'll move away, Jane. We'll start over somewhere else."
"Can we really do that, Mike? Can we ever forget the past, and what we lost?"
"We'll never forget, baby. But we have to go on."
Brooke stood close by, and watched as Jane and Mike cried together. Her heart was filled with pity toward her grieving parents so that she went and stood by them.
"Don't cry mom, dad. Its not so bad really. I'm okay."
Then Brooke leaned over, and kissed Mike and Jane on the cheek.
"I have to go now."
As Brooke turned away from her grieving parents, she noticed that their forms became blurry, then enveloped in shadows. It was then that Brooke had the oddest thought.
"Why isn't Sam with them?"
Brooke felt a strange sensation of emptiness as she ran briskly up the stairs of her house, then down the hall toward her gorgeous step-sister's room.
Brooke felt joy, passion and love mingled with eagerness at the thought of seeing Samantha once more.
No longer able to control her desire to see Sam, Brooke brazenly threw open the door of the girl's room, and burst inside.
Samantha's usually dark and chaotic room was inordinately tidy, bright from the light of day streaming in through windows that usually had the blinds down.
Brooke's dark eyes scanned Sam's room carefully taking in every minute detail of the furnishings, colors, locations of books and personal items, all of which clearly described the girl's precarious taste in decoration.
"Something is wrong here!"
There was something odd about Sam's room.
"This doesn't feel lived in. Its empty!"
Brooke had the oddest notion; it was almost as if Sam were gone forever, or that she had never really existed.
A terrible feeling of panic mingled with deep anguish possessed Brooke's heart at the thought that Sam was possibly gone forever.
"No. That can't be so. Sam can't be gone!"
Brooke rushed across Sam's room to open the door that connected to their shared bathroom. The blond hopefully expected to find Sam using the toilet or brushing her teeth.
Instead Brooke found the bathroom as empty as Sam's room.
"Why isn't she here?"
Brooke crossed the bathroom, and opened the other door that connected to her own room.
"Maybe Sam decided to sleep in my room!"
Brooke looked into her own, well tidied room and found it empty also.
"Where the hell can she be?"
Brooke suddenly felt a huge void in her heart, as if she had just lost part of her soul.
"Sam is my soulmate!"
That was the most important truth of her brief, earthly life, and her new existence.
"Sam...where are you?"
Then Brooke started to cry in desperation.
Til heaven departs
when the Savior comes
at time's end...
when night and stars
then life's course
fragile and mortal
will once again start...
The night was engulfing her, and she could feel her breath coming in short gasps as she tried desperately to close the gap between herself and the figure just ahead of her.
Samantha's shrill, frightened cry filled the air, but its echo seemed to stagnate instead of being carried directly to the lanky blond that stood motionless and terrified on the edge of the road as a shiny, brand new Jaguar sped toward her with both murderous intent and speed.
"NO! BROOKE! NNNNOOOO!"
Sam knew that her body was breaking down quickly, that soon her strength and energy would run out so that she would collapse. But she deliberately had to go on and reach the girl who was only a few feet away, and in mortal danger.
"Just a bit more! Please God! Just a bit more!"
Knowing that she was about to collapse like a weak, helpless bundle unable to move at all, Samantha used the last reserves of her young body, as she jumped, thus flinging herself the remaining distance between herself and Brooke.
Painfully aware of her surroundings, and of each passing millisecond, Sam extended her arms, then reached out as her slender body stretched out while in mid-jump. For a moment Sam could have sworn that she was flying, but the sensation ended as she felt her arms filled with Brooke's trembling form, and their bodies collided with each other.
"I've got you Brooke! I've got you!"
Sam felt a sudden sense of triumph as she felt Brooke in her arms. But the girl's feelings of elation were quickly drowned as out of the corner of her eye she saw the headlights of the Jaguar advancing upon her.
Sam woke up in a cold sweat, her heart beating madly, her bedclothes disheveled. The girl sat up in bed, kicked the covers off herself, then tried to calm her nerves.
"What the hell was I dreaming about? Why did it get me so upset?"
Sam's labored breathing slowly calmed down, and her nerves returned to their otherwise numbed status. The terrible dream images that had plagued the girl's sleep quickly vanished from her memory.
"Its always the same. I have a nightmare and I can't remember what it was when I wake up!"
Sam glanced at the neon clock on her wall, saw the time and panicked.
"Seven thirty! I have to hurry! School starts in an hour!"
The voluptuous girl quickly got out of bed, almost tripping on her Nikes, carelessly thrown there when she stripped them from her slender feet the night before. Other objects; clothes, books impeded her progress to the door of that connected her room to the bathroom that she shared with her somewhat snobbish step-sister, Brooke.
"I really should clean up this mess!"
Sam finally reached the door to the bathroom, then stifled her sudden urge to just open it, and go inside. Instead the stunning brunette banged on the door.
"Are you in there, McQueen?"
No answer came from inside the bathroom, so Sam continued to knock on the door.
"I'm coming you hog!"
Sam opened the door quickly, and burst into the bathroom expecting to find Brooke inside. Sam was surprised to find the bathroom empty.
"Where the hell are you, Brooke?"
Out of curiosity, Sam opened the bathroom door that connected to Brooke's room, and carefully peered inside.
"Brooke are you in here?"
Samantha's dark eyes quickly scanned Brooke's pristine room, finally focusing on the girl's neat, untouched bed.
"Yep. Miss Head-cheerleader of the Kennedy Highschool Glamazons with an anal, perpetual fixation with tidiness!"
Sam's beautiful face darkened, finally erupting into an angry scowl. The girl's intense dislike toward Brooke overwhelmed her.
"I hate her. I hate her. I hate her!"
Yet Sam was instantly silenced as the echo of her own words returned to her sounding strangely empty and distant. Suddenly Sam was seized by a strange void that began to overtake her.
"Brooke isn't here. She probably got up early and left for school. Show-off!"
Yet again Samantha felt the void ache within her bosom for her absent sister.
"What's wrong with me? I can't possibly be missing that obnoxious snob?"
Sam growled in exasperation as she shut the door to Brooke's room, and went back into the bathroom.
"That's enough of the mush! I'm taking a shower. I hope Brooke didn't use up all of the hot water like she usually does!"
Suddenly Sam felt dizzy.
"I don't feel too well. And I think I'm starting to get a headache!"
Samantha simply blacked out.
Til a desolate time
comes quite slowly
in a maddened crawl,
making my tired
heart sadly recall
while I listen to
the old clock's
When Sam recovered consciousness, she was startled to find herself dressed for school, and descending the stairs of the house.
"What? How did I get here?"
Samantha was quite confused, not recalling having bathed, then dressed for school.
"I must have blacked out and done all of this instinctively...that's the last time I smoke any of Lilly's cheap dope!"
The obviously simple explanation for her predicament, her lack of memory seemed to pacify Sam's nerves.
Sam heard distant, hushed whispers coming from the kitchen.
"Mom, Mike and Brooke are having breakfast without me? Why didn't Mom call me? Betcha she called Brooke...she likes Brooke better than me!"
Sam's jealousy and ire mingled into one single ball of rage that centered itself into a huge knot in her throat.
"I hate Brooke."
The irate teenager burst into the kitchen, only to find her step-father Mike with her pretty mom Jane sitting at the kitchen table, but without Brooke.
"So Brooke isn't here either?"
Mike and Jane seemed to be holding each other, talking in hushed, muffled whispers that Sam couldn't quite understand.
"Mom...Mike? What's going on? Are you two finished eating breakfast? Where's Brooke? Why didn't you guys wake me up, and tell me that breakfast was reading?"
Jane and Mike seemed totally oblivious to Sam's presence.
"Hey! Aren't you two listening to me?"
Sam's parents continued to ignore the girl. Jane was sobbing, and Mike was lovingly comforting her.
"You wouldn't ignore Brooke if she was talking! You guys always listen to her! You like her better than me!"
Sam felt the first sting of tears begin to erupt from her eyes, and she tried to blink them away.
"I hate Brooke McQueen!"
Til a dove alights
upon my window's
singing her sad song
amid night's chill,
her mournful cry
Nothingness seemed to momentarily engulf Samantha as she lost track of reality around her. Then just as quickly as she blacked out, Sam woke up once more.
"Hey! What's going on?"
The beautiful girl discovered that she was no longer at home, but in the crowded halls of Kennedy High.
"How did I get here? I don't even remember driving to school?"
Sam shook her head as a slow wave of panic overtook her.
"I swear I will never take drugs again! I'm losing my mind!"
The frightened girl resolved to try and understand what was happening to her.
"I wonder where Lilly is?"
Sam was overjoyed to see her two, best friends walking down the hall of the school in her direction.
"Carmen! Lilly! Hi!"
Short, pretty, brunette Lilly Esposito walked slowly down the hall, clutching her books to her chest in her arms with an iron grip, as tears streamed out of her brown eyes. Taller, chubby Carmen Ferrara walked alongside Lilly with on arm draped comfortingly around the shorter girl's trembling shoulders, while balancing her bookbag with her other arm. Carmen spoke in low, soothing tones to a bewildered Lilly who only nodded as a reply.
"Lilly? Why are you crying, Lil?"
Samantha panicked at seeing Lilly"s tears, and the look of deep grief covering her features. To Sam, seeing Lilly cry was the equivalent of having her heart physically torn from her body because she loved the girl like a sister.
"Carmen...you're crying too. Why?"
Carmen was in Sam's affections equal to Lilly; another sister of her heart.
"Come you two! Talk to me!"
Samantha was shocked by the oddness of the situation; Lilly and Carmen were speaking to each other in muffled voices that she couldn't decipher.
"What are you two girl's blubbering about? I can't understand what you're saying!"
Carmen tightened her grip on Lilly, pulling the girl closer to her. Carmen leaned down, then kissed Lilly's tear-stained cheek. Lilly smiled in surprise, then sniffled loudly. Then the two girls walked by Sam, ignoring her completely.
Now Sam was truly awestruck.
"What the hell is going on here? Why are you guys ignoring me? Do I have bad breath?"
Lilly and Carmen turned a corner, and vanished completely from Sam's sight.
Sam's rage knew no bounds.
"I'll bet this has something to do with Brooke! I'll bet she's been bad mouthing me to Carmen and Lilly. Now they don't want to be friends with me anymore. I hate Brooke!"
Sam's anger was quickly forgotten as she caught sight of another one of her friends standing a few feet away from her.
Samantha's heart swelled with joy and utter bliss when her dark gaze fell on Harrison's tall, lean frame. Harrison was her closest friend, her on and off secret crush, whom Sam hoped one day to call her soulmate. Beside Lilly, Carmen and her mom Jane, Harrison was the one who took up the most space in Sam's heart.
The energetic girl had called out the name of her childhood friend and sweetheart; the boy she had often dreamt of marrying someday. With ease and grace, Sam ran up to where a seemingly sullen, forlorn Harrison stood silently staring at a wall that was out of the girl's sight.
Sam had come up quickly to stand behind the tall boy. Now that she was close to him, Sam called out to a seemingly unresponsive Harrison.
"Harrison! What's wrong with you? Are you deaf or something? I've been calling you, and you don't answer me!"
Still, Harrison continued to ignore Samantha.
"Harrison! Wake up dude!"
Then, as Sam stood behind the lanky boy, she noticed that he seemed to be staring at a poster on the wall, as his body shook noticeably.
"Harrison are you okay? Why are you crying?"
Sam felt tears rush up to her eyes as she moved to stand beside her friend's side.
"Harrison...look at me!"
When Sam stood beside Harrison, and reached out to gently touch him, she finally noticed what the lanky boy was looking at so intently.
"You're crying over a poster of Brooke?"
The poster in question was a picture of Brooke as prom queen.
"How could you?"
Angrily Sam stepped back away from Harrison as if he were a leper, and drew her hand back from him in utter disgust.
"You...bastard. How could you cry over her? YOU LOVE HER!"
Samantha felt deeply betrayed and wounded by what was once the love of her life.
"I hate you, Harrison! You love Brooke instead of me! Go to hell!"
The gorgeous girl screamed furiously at the boy who ignored her, and continued to have eyes only for the girl in the poster on the wall.
Til I recollect
your golden ways
in mirth or anger,
filling the days
of my faded youth,
your shade returns
to nightly become
my dream's subject.
Sam shook her head, and winked her eyes several times to rid herself of the heavy daze that still clung to them. The girls was disoriented, and tried to get her bearings.
"What's happening to me?"
Samantha felt her anxiety peak to the point of where she felt almost compelled to start screaming.
"I blacked out again. But why? Where am I now?"
The girl quickly scanned her surroundings, noticing the harsh lighting on what seemed to be a long, narrow hall filled with people dressed in light green hospital garb.
"Am I in a hospital or something?"
Sam's assumption proved correct when she overheard the conversation of two people dressed in the standard hospital scrubs that stood a few feet away from her.
An obese, black woman with short hair, obviously a nurse, was speaking to a tall, stolid, fiftyish, balding man who wore a white lab coat over his hospital garb, signaling that he was a doctor.
"Dr. Stone, the patient in room 321 refused to take her medication again. She became so violent that we had to restrain her," the obese nurse said nonchalantly.
"Would that be Ms. Nicole Julian, Nurse Edwards?" the doctor asked.
Sam perked up at the sound of a familiar name; that of the girl who was her worst enemy in highschool.
"What is Nicole doing in the hospital?"
Samantha stealthily drew closer to Dr. Stone and Nurse Edwards, and continued to listen in on their conversation.
"Is she still hallucinating, nurse?"
"Yes, doctor. She talks to imaginary figures as if they were real."
"And has she identified who these figures are?"
"Well, doctor...she thinks that she's talking to one of the dead girls."
"Is that so?"
"I think that its best that she be kept heavily sedated at all times to avoid her violent outbursts, nurse."
"I agree, doctor."
Suddenly the figures of both doctor and nurse seemed to blur before Sam's observant eyes, and their voices became slurred so that she couldn't understand what they were saying. Then Sam experienced the oddest sensation; a dizzying motion as if she were swaying, then sailing away.
"I think I'm going to be sick!"
Sam watched the figures of Dr. Stone and Nurse Edwards become smaller, then more distant as if she were suffering carpal tunnel vision. Then everything went black as Sam lost consciousness.
"Please leave me alone! Don't inject me anymore! Please untie me!"
The sound of a familiar voice filled with desperation and fear filtered into the nothingness that surrounded Sam, stirring her from oblivion. It seemed as if Samantha had been floating in an inky black liquid environment that became a thin layer of paper that was peeled away as she returned to consciousness once more.
The name escaped Sam's lips; the person who's pained voice had awakened her from a sickly, recurring lethargy.
Now Sam found herself in a brightly lit, windowless hospital room with walls painted in a nauseating light blue, and the smell of antiseptic permeated the air. In one corner Sam saw a hospital bed propped up in a reclining position, and instantly she recognized the person who lay upon it.
The figure on the bed was that of a slender, little blond girl swathed in an oversized, green hospital gown, tangled in numerous bed sheets that she kicked about as she squirmed energetically, while trying to free her hands that were bound by the wrists by cloth strips that were in turn tied to the sides of the bed she lay upon.
"Sam...SAM? Is that you?"
Samantha walked to the bed, and stood beside it. Now the gorgeous brunette looked down at the girl who had been her most hated enemy for years.
"Yeah. Its me, Nicole."
"Is that REALLY you?"
Sam felt her ire rise as her constant anger and resentment toward the blond her. But Sam's sudden antagonism toward her enemy soon subsided when she saw the girl's disheveled, sweat matted hair, her bloodshot eyes, her sickly color.
"Yeah, its me. What the hell happened to you, Nicole? You look like shit!"
To Sam's surprise, Nicole began to giggle almost convulsively.
"Typical Samantha McPherson attitude!"
"You are so weird, Nicole!"
"I am SO glad to see you, Sam. I thought that you were gone for good...I thought I had..."
"Me gone? Where the hell would I go? What were you thinking, Nicole?"
"I'm...just glad to see you."
"That's a new one, Nicole. You hate my guts!"
"Not now, Sam. Not today. At least today I'm glad to see you."
"Well that is totally ironic!"
"What do you mean?"
"My parents, and my best friends aren't speaking to me. Hell...NOBODY's speaking to me at all! But my WORST enemy is glad to see me? I must be in the wrong dimension!"
Nicole started laughing again.
Suddenly Sam backed away from Nicole's bed as a stabbing pain seized her. Sam brought up her pale hands, and grabbed her fistfuls of her hair while crying out in agony.
"SAM? What's wrong?"
A desperate, frightened Nicole tried to sit up in her bed, and struggled against her bonds.
Sam stumbled back against the corner, and stayed there as the pain in her temples slowly subsided.
"Its okay, Nicole."
"What's wrong with you?"
Samantha shook her head slowly.
"I don't know. I keep blacking out. When I wake up I'm always in a different place."
"Sam...does that mean that you're leaving me?"
"I don't even know how the hell I got HERE!"
"Please, Sam...you've got to stay with me!"
"I don't know if I can..."
"Please...PLEASE try, Sam!"
Nicole was suddenly silent as she took to observing Samantha with a fixed, piercing stare.
"Stop staring at me, Nicole! You've got eyes like a Harpy!"
"My God! You don't remember anything about last night!"
"What happened last night, Nicole?"
"The Prom, Sam! Don't you remember going?"
"I can't remember anything beyond this morning!"
Sam was getting irritated by the little blonde's persistent questions.
"Stop asking me so many questions, Nicole! You're giving me a headache!"
"If you happen to see Brooke..."
"If I see Brooke, I'm going to slap her damn face, Ms. Julian!"
"Please listen to me, Sam!"
"What? WHAT DAMMIT?"
"I didn't mean to hurt her, Sam. But she pushed me out of her life because of you."
"OH? So now its all my fault, huh?"
"You and Brooke are obnoxious! You both hate my guts!"
"Well you hate us too!"
"The feeling will ALWAYS be mutual, Nicole!"
Nicole sighed audibly.
"Please, Sam...let's not fight anymore. Let's try to get along for now."
"Please tell Brooke that I love her. Tell her to forgive me and come back."
"I don't even know where Brooke is, Nicole."
"You'll find her, or she'll find you."
"I don't care..."
Sam cried out in pain again, as she grabbed her head once more.
"My head hurts!"
"Please stay with me, Sam! Someone's coming...I want you to see them! I want them to SEE you!"
Sam's pain was so intense that she couldn't reply.
"Please, Sam! When they see you, they'll know that I'm okay...that it was all just a mistake! Then they'll let me go!"
Sam had become sullen, silent and dark as she continued slumped against the corner, only inches away from Nicole's bed.
"Please don't go, Sam. Please stay with me. I'm so alone. Brooke left me. My mom won't come see me. Everyone has left me!"
Sam shook her head as an angry scowl covered her classic features.
"You're pathetic, Nicole!"
Nicole was crying now, as a rain of thick tears slid down her soft cheeks.
"All I ever wanted was for Brooke to love me! That's all. She was my entire world! She was all that I ever wanted or needed to be happy! But she threw me away!"
Nicole cried harder, and Sam just continued to slip farther away from her.
"Its always about Brooke...isn't it Nicole?"
Nicole winced painfully at Sam's quiet words.
Suddenly two figures entered the room, and Sam recognized them; Dr. Stone and Nurse Edwards.
"Well how are we today, Ms. Julian?"
Dr. Stone stood beside Nicole's bed as he read her chart.
"I'm fine, doctor...despite the fact that I'm tied up."
"Nurse Edwards said that you became violent with an orderly, and refused to take your meds. You had to be restrained."
"I am sick and tired of all the pills your damn moneky orderly is making me take, doctor!"
"I prescribed the medications to you to help your nerves, Ms. Julian."
"I don't want anymore pills, doctor! They knock me out!"
"Its all for your own good, Ms. Julian. Just cooperate, and you'll feel much better soon."
"You mean I'll become a lobotomized rat brain!"
Nicole was becoming more fierce with each passing second.
"You're becoming delusional, Ms. Julian."
"I am not delusional! I have proof that I'm completely sane!"
"Yes, doctor. Sam is here! She's standing in the corner. She'll tell you herself that this entire affair has been a big mistake. Then you can let me go home!"
Nurse Edwards and Dr. Stone looked at each other knowingly.
Nicole began to struggle with her bonds.
"Sam...please talk to them! Please tell them that I never meant to hurt anyone! It was all a big mistake!"
"Ms. Julian, there is no one there."
Dr. Stone spoke calmly, quietly, and Nurse Edwards nodded in accordance.
"How can you say that, doctor? Of course Sam is there...standing in the corner. Can't you see her?"
"Ms. Julian...please calm down..."
"Doctor...Sam is right there!"
"There's no one there, Ms. Julian. Its all in your mind. Your acting delusional again."
"I am not delusional!"
"Nurse...I think that Ms. Julian should be sedated. Please give her another shot!"
"I'm not CRAZY! SAM TALK TO THEM!"
"As I said before, Ms. Julian. There is no one there."
"Please don't make me sleep again, doctor! PLEASE! I keep having nightmares, and I can't wake up!"
"Those nightmares are produced by your guilt, and you have to face that or you'll never get better, Ms. Julian!"
"I never hurt anyone, doctor! If you would just talk to Sam...she'd tell you that this is all a huge mistake!"
"Get me a fresh needle, Nurse Edwards...I'll inject Ms. Julian myself!"
"NO! Don't touch me!"
"It was all a mistake! I was just so angry...then I got drunk! Brooke ruined my chance to go to the prom with George! But I didn't really want him...I wanted her to go with me!"
"Calm down, Ms. Julian. Everything will be just fine. You just need to get some rest."
"I never meant to run Brooke down with my car!"
The sound of Nicole's terrible admission seemed to spark life into Sam.
"What? You ran Brooke down? Oh no!"
Sam felt a sudden panic mingled with a deep anguish that overwhelmed her so that she began to cry deeply.
"You hurt Brooke, Nicole! How could you do that?"
"I loved Brooke so much! But she was too busy with you and Harrison! That stupid rivalry you two had over him! She stopped paying attention to me! It was all your fault, Sam!"
"Nurse Edwards! Hurry up!"
"I'm coming, doctor!"
Sam felt an overwhelming dizziness envelope her, this time mingled with the same stark, stabbing pain in her temples. Sam cried out, knowing what was going to happen; that she was slipping away, and would black out again.
"Sam...please don't leave me!"
Nicole's frantic, frightened voice was the last thing that Sam heard as she slipped away into darkness and nothingness, and asked the universe one last question straight from her heart.
"Where are you Brooke?"
Now, out of the void, her own lingering whisper brought Sam back to consciousness.
As she returned to full wakefulness, Samantha felt the strange sensation of emptiness return to her heart as thoughts of Brooke's absence from her life filled her mind.
"No. Brooke can't be gone.
When Sam looked around her, she noticed was now in a brightly lit room with walls covered by metal cabinets. In the middle of the room the girl saw a man wearing a white lab coat with his back to her. Sam noticed that he was leaning over metal table that had what seemed to be a figure on it covered by a white sheet. Almost instantly the girl recognized where she was, and what was about to expire.
"This is a morgue...that guy over there...he must be a coroner, and he's going to do an autopsy. But why am I here?"
True to Sam's words, the tall, gray haired man in the white lab coat turned on a small, hand held recorder, set it down on the table, and began to speak.
"This is Dr. Rodriguez, and I am about to begin an autopsy on a 17 year old, white female named Brooke McQueen."
Sam felt something like what seemed to be a powerful jolt of electricity that rushed through her entire body, making her feel the most intense pain that she had ever felt, at the very same time that her brain seemed to explode at the mention of Brooke's name.
"No. She can't be dead. No."
Despite the deep anguish that she felt, Sam's voice was barely above a whisper. At that moment Samantha came to a startling revelation that frightened the hell out of her;
"I love Brooke. I can't live without her."
The coroner reached out, then grabbed the sheet that covered the figure on the table before him. The man quickly pulled the cover off the figure to reveal Brooke's pale, stiff corpse lying on the table before him.
"Oh no. No. No. No...no...no...no...nononononono..."
Sam felt herself begin to tremble, and sobs began to rise from her throat like convulsions. Then Sam heard something terrible that made her cringe as she watched the man take a metal object in his hand, and turn it on.
"That bastard...is using A...DRILL TO CUT HER OPEN!"
The doctor went about his work as Sam exploded in pure rage.
"DON'T TOUCH HER! STAY AWAY FROM HER!"
But the coroner was completely oblivious to Sam's angry cries, or the fact that the girl had flung herself at him, and was beating his broad back with her small fists.
"STOP IT! STOP IT! STOP IT! STOP!"
Samantha's furious energy was all in vain, and she tired quickly. An overpowering wave of weakness possessed her as she fell to her knees, as a powerful, painful wail escaped from her throat.
Then Samantha blacked out completely.
Til shadows come
my heart awaits
in tender yearning,
for your return
to end my pining,
to forever rest
in your embrace...
til shadows come.
Brooke heard a long, drawn out painful wail that went straight to her anguished heart because she knew who had cried out.
The blond girl ran hastily from her room, crossed through the connecting bathroom, and back into Samantha's room which she had thought was empty.
"Sammy where are you?"
Brooke anxiously searched her girl's room once more, following the echoing, reverberating moans of sadness and grief.
"Sam...its me...where are you?"
Then Brooke heard a sound which made her heart lurch with joy.
Sam's reply was weak, almost a whisper.
"Sam...where are you?"
Brooke was agitated now anxious to find Sam, to hold her.
"I...think...I'm in the closet...but I don't know how I got here."
Brooke shook her head as she tried to suppress the urge to giggle nervously as she rushed to Sam's closet, and threw the closet door open. When the lanky girl looked inside, she found her Samantha sitting in a corner in almost a fetal position.
"Sam...what the hell are you doing in the closet?"
"I don't know..."
Brooke was determined to touch Samantha, and entered the cluttered closet, trying to make room for herself beside the beguiling girl.
"Brooke you are such a hog! We both don't fit in here!"
Brooke was laughing too hard to care what Sam called her.
"So I'm a hog? You're the one with too much shit in your closet!"
"You always were a clean freak, McQueen!"
"I'll fix you right now, McPherson!"
Brooke finally found a place to sit down.
"Brooke! GET OFF MY LAP!"
The lanky girl settled comfortably into Sam's warm, plush body, and gave her a tight, intimate hug.
Samantha was extremely embarrassed.
Brooke's husky voice trembled with desire as she began to place small kisses on Sam's face.
"Do you still want me to move, Sammy?"
Sam's mind was slowly turning to mush, and her willpower was slipping away into nothingness, so that Brooke became the master of her heart.
"Sam. Do you still want me to get off your lap?"
"Oh of course not..."
Brooke giggled softly, reveling in their new intimacy, in her new power to confuse and arouse her Samantha.
"I love you, Sam."
"Yes. I do. I've known that I loved you always, and I also knew that you loved me back!"
"Now just a minute, McQueen...I most certainly do not..."
"Stop fighting me, Sam. There's no reason to anymore."
"I refuse to..."
"Yes you do."
"Say it, Sam. I want to hear you say it."
Brooke's voice was soft like melted cream.
"Stop being do damn stubborn, Sam. Say it..."
Brooke had begun to kiss Sam again, and she was driving her brunette crazy.
"I love you, Brooke."
Their lips met in a passionate kiss, as their tongues touched, then danced together, as their hearts began to beat at the same pace.
Suddenly shouting, and the sound of running footsteps made the girls stop kissing.
Jane's agitated voice echoed through the house as she ran down the hall, and into her daughter's room. The woman's heart was racing, her breathing was ragged, as she looked wildly around Sam's room while hoping against hope that her daughter somehow really was in the room.
"Sam...are you in here?"
Jane felt desperation well up within her as she half expected Sam to answer her. The pretty woman had started to cry again as she felt a gentle hand on her shoulder.
"Sam's gone, Jane. You have to accept that."
Jane turned to see Mike standing beside her.
"NO! I HEARD HER! I heard her just now as clearly as I can hear you! She was crying and screaming...I have to find her...and comfort her...take care of her..."
"She's gone. Just like Brooke. They're both gone, Jane."
"I don't believe you!"
Jane looked under Sam's bed. Then the grieving mom threw open the door of Sam's closet, and looked inside.
"Its...empty. There's no one here..."
Jane was sobbing as she stepped back out of the closet.
"You're right, Mike. Sam is gone."
Jane ran to Mike, and took refuge in his open arms.
"I miss them both so much."
"Me too, baby."
Mike quietly consoled Jane as best as he could.
"Let's get out of here, Jane. I'll call a real estate agent to put the house up for sale. We can stay at a hotel!"
"What about our things, Mike?"
"Let's leave everything behind. We'll start over."
Mike led Jane out of Sam's room, and closed the door behind him.
Brooke and Sam were both silent for several minutes. But Sam was the first one to speak.
"What's going on here, Brooke? Mom just looked in here, and looked directly at us. How can she not have seen us? And what's all this about us being gone?"
"You've just been confused, Sam. It takes some people longer to figure out than for others. I figured what was going on almost right away."
"Figure what out?"
"Do the math, Sammy. No one can see or hear you. You're invisible to everyone. What do you think that means?"
Very slowly, the truth of her reality was beginning to dawn on Sam, but the girl still refused to admit it, preferring to cling to her past.
"Nicole can see me..."
"That's because she put us both here!"
"But you can see me, Brooke!"
Brooke sighed in exasperation.
"Sam...wake up. You can see me, and I can see you because both of us are in the same situation. Get it?"
"I had the strangest dream about you, Brooke...it was awful..."
Tears came to Samantha's eyes as she recalled the drilling sound, the coroner bent over Brooke's lifeless body...
"I dreamed that...you were...dead..."
Brooke wrapped her arms tighter around Sam, kissed the girl's tear stained cheeks, and spoke soothingly to her.
"It wasn't a dream, Sam. I'm dead."
Sam was speechless for several seconds as a look of shock washed over her features, and she stared at Brooke in wonder.
"Then...I...I'm dead to?"
"Both of us are dead, Sammy."
"When did this all happen?"
Sam shook her head slowly, as her panic resurfaced, as her mind raced back to try and remember, but all she had was a blank slate instead of her memories.
"Brooke...I can't remember. I'm scared! Its almost as if I'm disappearing! I CAN'T REMEMBER ANYTHING!"
Sam's terror was so real and intense, that Brooke could almost feel it herself, which spurred the lanky girl to gently rock her beautiful brunette back and forth slowly.
"Ssshhhh...its okay Sammy...don't be frightened...you're not alone...I'm right here with you...and that's a permanent situation...don't worry...nothing bad is happening to you...its just part of the normal process...that's all."
"There's a process here?"
Brooke giggled softly as she nuzzled Sam's neck with her nose.
"Yes, Sam...there is. You're just changing...letting go of your past...and starting a new life with me."
"I still wish I could remember..."
"Remember we were both fighting over Harrison like two, hungry hyenas, Sam? We both wanted to date him? I didn't really like him...I don't think you did either. I don't know how or why, but we just started behaving like two brats over him."
"Well...yeah. I do now, Brooke."
Sam frowned with disapproval.
"And we made him go to the prom with both of us, Sam...we made him choose between the two of us, even though deep inside we were just too stupid to admit we really wanted each other?"
"Hhhhmmm...yeah...I wish I could tell him that, and crush his obnoxious little ego!"
Somehow, Sam had found the urge to smile once more. Brooke smile as well, glad to see there was still a vestige of the old Sam still inside her girl.
"Stop changing the subject, you!"
Brooke playfully slapped Sam on the thigh.
"Hey! I can still feel pain, Brooke!"
"I remember now. He picked you, Brooke...instead of me."
"You started crying, Sam. That broke my heart...I felt such shame that I left the table, you and Harrison...and ran out of the Prom..."
"I had the strangest feeling, Brooke...when I saw you run away...it was as if someone had cut me in half! I had this sudden urge to follow you...so I got up and ran after you as fast as I could! I never looked back!"
"I was out by the side of the road, Sam. Then I saw the headlights of Nic's Jaguar. I just froze then...she was coming right at me! Then I felt your arms around me. I don't know how it was possible...but you caught up with me!"
Sam gasped in surprise, as the memories, though vague and distant came weakly back to her.
Sam squealed in triumph and delight.
"I did catch up with you! I had too! I couldn't let you die alone! I knew Nicole was going to kill you...I had to save you or die with you! But...I did it...I caught you!"
Sam's crying subsided, and a long sigh of relief left her throat as her entire body relaxed in Brooke's loving arms.
"Nicole ran both of us down with her Jaguar on prom night, Sam. We both died on the way to the hospital."
"I...thought that if you died and I stayed alive...I would never, ever be happy. I had to...get to you...save you or go with you...if I hadn't caught you...ohmygod...if I had just been one second too late...I would have missed you, Brooke..."
"But you made it, Sammy...you caught up to me...stop torturing yourself over it..."
"I never thanked you, Sam."
Brooke kissed Sam's soft, delicate cheek.
"For risking your life for me...you never said that you loved me with your lips...but you showed it in those last minutes of life that we shared together."
Sam smiled briefly and shyly, but then her countenance became dark once more.
"Mom was crying because I'm dead...I have to her..."
"No, Sam. You can't. Its over for us here."
"I didn't get to say goodbye to her, Brooke. That's not fair!"
"I happen to think that its more than fair."
"How can you even think that? You didn't get to say goodbye to Mike!"
"Its more than fair, Sam...because you and I are together. If one of us had lived...we would have been apart and miserable forever!"
Brooke's words were undeniably true, and Samantha couldn't help but to agree wholeheartedly.
"You're right, Brooke. Its more than fair."
Beguiling Samantha was smiling as she intertwined her fingers with those of lanky Brooke, who smiled back at her beloved.
"Yes, Brooke. I do. We're together. That's all that matters."
Sam's voice was a whisper that seemed to become a hollow echo, and her dark eyes shown like smouldering coals.
Brooke's voice sounded like a sudden wind picking up speed, and her skin seemed to glow dimly.
"Brooke...what's happening to us? We're...changing..."
"We're fading, Sam...we don't belong here anymore."
"What happens to us now?"
Brooke held out her long, slender arms to Sam.
"We go back to the universe, Sam...back to being what we were always meant to be..."
The two girls were drawn to each other like a moth to a flame, moon to the stars...like sea and sand, while Brooke's lingering voice could still be heard, distant and fragile...
"To what we were before birth...one...single soul."
Sam was silent now, as shadows came to her, and she finally understood Brooke's words in a peaceful way that this was meant to be, that this would make her complete. Sam would never speak to Brooke again now, for it would be like talking to herself.
The gorgeous brunette took refuge in her golden lover's arms as they gradually faded into the brightness of a suddenly erupting light.
Now one single, glowing figure dressed in white stood where two once stood. The glowing soul now stood outside what had once been her home in life. She looked up at the structure one last time, and smile sadly.
The soul faded away as a ray of sunlight...