The click of the power coming back on woke me up. Or had I been asleep? Everything had been a haze, a bad dream that I could only hope to wake up from.
But I wouldn't, because he was gone- for real this time- and he wouldn't be coming back. The tears began to seep through my swollen eyes. I had once thought there couldn't be anything worse than losing someone that you loved, but I know knew that I was wrong. There was something worse: losing that someone twice.
I buried my face into my pillow, wondering how I had managed to pick myself up off of the den floor and get into my bed. The tears flowed more quickly now as I thought of Will. He had been so confused, hadn't even know what had happened to him. Had he even realized that I had been the one to kill him? Me and that stupid corsage. Madame Zanzibar's words echoed in my head, over and over and over again, an endless recording that would never let me be at peace. She had warned me, not once, but several times.
Stupid Frankie. Stupid, stupid, stupid! My thoughts wandered to prom. Why had I even cared? It was prom- it lasted a few hours and then it was over. I had killed Will, just because I hadn't wanted to spend those few hours alone.
A bird twittered outside of my window. I wanted to throw a rock at it. How could anything be happy? Would I ever be happy again? I knew the answer to that. I wanted to block out the shards of light that dared to creep through my blinds. No matter how hard I tried, I would never be released from last night. The sun could shine as brightly as it wanted, but I would always be enveloped in the darkness of the den- waiting for Will. I buried myself more deeply in the covers, wishing that I could stay here forever. I didn't want to have to face the world again- especially being the only person who knew that Will had died a second time. everyone else was forgetting, but the pain was still as sharp as ever in my mind. No one could understand that- not even Yun Sun.
A noise beside my ear startled me. The voices of the kids from High School Musical were screaming in my ear. I had never gotten around to changing my ringtone. I had bought it to make fun of Will. He had complained about it being stuck in his head after we had first seen it, so I had gotten it to tease him. I grabbed the phone and jabbed the talk button- just to make the voices stop.
"What?" I muttered, my voice was rough and heavy, a combination that came from little sleep and lots of crying.
"Oh my gosh Frankie, you sound terrible!" It was Yun Sun, probably calling to make sure that I was alright and my wish hadn't come true.
"I'm really sorry that Will didn't ask you, but trust me, prom wasn't all that great." Her voice was giddy, indicating the opposite. My entire body went numb with disbelief. Had one good night made her forget everything that had happened? I couldn't speak. "Plus, there's always next year. I mean, who cares about Junior year? It's Senior prom that matters and you'll have an entire year to get Will to ask you."
I was silent, unable to believe that she had just said that. She had spent a week tip-toeing around the subject of Will. She had practically led me to all of my classes, because I could barely remember how to get to them without Will. She had to be drunk, or stoned, or- I couldn't think of a substance strong enough to make her say those things.
"Um, well I guess I should go." Yun Sun said, breaking the silence. "We were up all night and I am sooo tired." She giggled. I knew it, she was stoned. "I'll see you later, Frankie."
"Yeah, sure." My voice cracked and I pressed the end button, holding it down until my phone turned itself off. Raw pain ripped through my chest. Yun Sun would call back in a few hours when she woke up again and apologize, but I didn't want to hear the apology. I wondered if everyone else was the same way. Had they even thought of Will once last night?
I pulled the covers over my head, unable to sleep but unwilling to face the world.
A knock at the door pulled me out of my stupor. I groaned. The downstairs phone had already rung several times Why couldn't the world leave me alone? The knocking stopped after a few minutes and I returned to my misery.
There was a thumping as someone came up the stairs. Yun Sun must have finally realized what she had said and had come to apologize. I turned my body away from the door. I didn't want to talk to anybody.
My door squealed a little as it was pushed open. I ignored the sound and pretended to be asleep. "Dude, Frankie, are you awake?" My heart stopped and chills ran through my body. I had to be asleep; I had to be dreaming. "It's three o'clock. I've been trying to call you, but you wouldn't answer. Are you alright?" I squeezed my eyes shut, trying to wake myself up.
Come on Frankie, you can't do this to yourself. He's dead, gone, never coming back. I was going insane. I had to be, but Will's voice went on.
"I, um..." I could imagine his adam's apple bobbing up and down as he tried to talk to me. I remembered how cute he had looked when he was nervous.
He's in the ground, rotting. He can't talk anymore.
"I wanted to apologize to you about prom. I know how badly you had wanted to go." He paused, as if trying to summon up his courage. "I wanted to ask you, Franks, I really did." He let out a nervous laugh and the tears started running down my face again. "You would have been the most beautiful girl there, I just didn't know how to ask you."
I finally rolled over, not wanting his voice to stop, but knowing that I had to show myself that he wasn't there. I had to accept that he wouldn't be coming back.
But he was there. His hand was running through his curls, his adam's apple was bobbing up and down. He was in my room. I leaped out of bed and grabbed him. His face turned crimson as I embraced him, but I didn't care. He was here!
"Uh, Frankie?" His voice trembled a little. I pulled him closer.
"Screw prom." And then I kissed him.
It was weeks before I let him out of my sight. I was afraid that if I was away from him for even a moment, then he might disappear forever. Yun Sun laughed at my clingy-ness and asked what had gotten into me, but I couldn't tell her, I couldn't tell anyone.
My final wish had been that the corsage had never existed. I had wanted the thing gone, and so I had wished it away. The consequences had never occurred to me. I had thought that it would disappear and that would be the end of it- Will would still be gone and I would have to live with that for the rest of my life.
But he was here, and didn't remember a thing about the corsage or Madame Zanzibar. Yun Sun was the same. They had both asked a few questions, but Will had slowly backed away and had given in to my new attitude, even though he didn't understand it.
After apologizing again about prom, Will had asked me to next year's prom. I politely refused, much to his surprise.
"But Franks, I thought you wanted to go..."
I never explained my real reasons for not wanting to go. I didn't tell him that I'd had enough of prom, even without going. Instead, I asked if we could have a movie night and eat pizza- just the two of us. Bewildered, he had agreed.
A few months after I had begun to get used to having Will around again, I finally mustered the courage to return to Madame Zanzibar's house. I had gone alone, not wanting to have to answer any questions from Will or Yun Sun, neither of whom remembered anything about that night. When I got to the house, I found only a bare patch of grass.
I walked around the area for a few minutes, feeling relieved and confused at the same time. In a way, I had hoped that Madame Z would be here. It might have been nice to talk with someone who had remembered the corsage and who knew about its effects. But at the same time, seeing her would have reminded me of what it had done and how it had almost destroyed Will's life and my own life.
Feeling bitter-sweet, I left the area and began to head back to my own house. Before I left, something at the edge of the grass caught my eye. Kneeling down, I pushed aside the grass to get a better look.
Nestled in the foliage was a small, white corsage.