**WARNING** CONTAINS SUICIDE AND TRAUMA***
" Well what's your choice?"
When Helix woke up this morning he wasn't planning to do it. It just, well, happened.
After a day of running around, passing through crowds alone, walking past thousands of smiling faces. It drags you down.
Helix never meant to be like this, different. Broken. Sad.
After thousands of days on your own, the demons always being in the corner, it doesn't often feel like a choice.
When he did it, he never expected to be presented with a choice.
" Kid, c'mon I don't have all day. Do you want to live or do you want to take your chances with your gods or god, whatever?"
When Helix started his day he didn't intend for it to end with him standing before the grim reaper, being offered a second chance.
" I-I...", Helix's voice dwindled out. What was there to say?
He doubted his family would have noticed he was dead by now.
He doubted anyone would notice. He was left alone, left to run his life. Left alone as lives streamed past. Time just seemed to be a waste.
He was always so sad, so terrified. Wherever he turned the demons were waiting, clutching his chains and dragging him down. Gagging and drowning him and as the days passed it just got worse
He tried to tell them, warn them. Tell them the pain, the fear, the hurt, but no one would listen.
Everyone streamed past with painted red smiles on their faces, eyes dead and blind to any plight. Everyone seemed to just care about their own problems and who was he to burden them with his own?
He didn't matter.
He was of no consequence.
People streamed past him on the daily but no one seemed to notice the red hot, flaming hands that felt like they were crawling across his body.
Years alone with demons will do that. Nightmare after nightmare, slash after slash, slam after slam.
Yet no one noticed the marks on his skin, the tears that stained his face night after night.
What was he to do?
He'd lost the will to fight.
He'd never thought anyone would notice or even care enough to give him a choice.
He almost broke down into tears in front of this ancient deity. Someone was finally giving him the choice, the chance, someone must have seen something but... he wasn't special. He'd never been special. So what did this mean?
" Why?", he asked suddenly, well more of croaked, his throat felt like it was on fire even as his skin began to chill.
" Why what? C'mon kid you're getting a second chance, go live or something.", the grim reaper exclaimed, irritation briefly passing over the being's face.
" But why me? Why do I get the chance? Does everyone?", Helix asked hesitantly.
For a moment an expression Helix almost mistook for pity crossed the reaper's face, but that's impossible. Who would pity an ant of no consequence?
" A second chance is given to those who deserve it who need it. Those who others failed to save.", the reaper said gently, placing a surprisingly warm hand on Helix's shoulder.
" No one failed to save me! No one was going to. It was my choice to-to...", Helix felt the words stick in his throat.
What was he thinking? He'd never even come out to anyone, told them how he felt, told them what happened.
" Look kid, Helix, I don't have much time for this I'm sorry but I need your answer. Do you want a second chance?"
The words were frozen in his throat. Even standing here before the reaper he couldn't bring himself to say he wanted to live. How could he?
What did he have to live for?
" Don't you want to tell them? Don't you want your voice heard? Don't you want to stand in the sunlight and know you beat them? The demons who haunt your dreams, who haunt your days? Don't you want to proudly stand beside someone who loves you with all their hearts? Don't you want to maybe have children one day? To see the world? To go out and hang out with friends? To still grow? You're just a sproutling, do you really want to give it all up? To let them win?", the reaper's voice petered out but the words were still ringing in Helix's head.
How did he lose? How did they win? Who would ever love a traumatized little boy who couldn't even fight the demons in his head?
Even after all this he couldn't say it. He couldn't say he wanted to die. What was stopping him?
No one was waiting.
But....would it be the worst thing?
He could always die tomorrow, could always have a tree fall on him or a bus hit him. What does it matter if he dies now?
But then what does it matter if he dies years from now?
Still he couldn't make the decision, " But why..."
The reaper sighed and straightened, towering far above the young boy. The reaper paused for a moment before gently wiping the boy's tears, " I do not enjoy this. I do not take souls to be cruel. I am an angel of mercy, I take those who must rest now. I don't want to take you, child. You could do great things, don't let your abusers win. I'm so, so sorry- just please try. Try Helix. C'mon. Helix.", the reaper's voice seemed to fade, and he groggily awoke on his bedroom floor.
Slowly his vision faded back to black.
Some time later he woke up in a bright room, the hospital.
" Helix oh my god.", he heard someone sobbing. But who would be sobbing? Surely no one would miss him.
" Wh-what?", he rasped.
" Oh my god! Helix! My baby!"
He blinked his eyes slowly, his eyes adjusting to the light and slowly he realized his mother was cradling him, while several people stood around him.
" Why? Helix, what the hell happened?", his father was yelling, the doctors were barely keeping him calm.
" What the fuck!", his sister shouted, punching him lightly on the shoulder but he could see the redness in her eyes and the tearstains on her face.
" I-I...", he started.
He saw his brother at the foot of the bed, his hand resting on Helix's leg.
He didn't know what to say, he could only faintly see the bandages on his arm from where he lay. He didn't know how to say sorry. He was never very good at making decisions, the dream with the reaper proved that.
He still felt a warm presence floating nearby as he coughed. After several moments it subsided and he was surprised to find tears beading down his own cheeks, " I-I'm so sorry."
His mother let out another sob and curled her arms around him, clutching him tightly as if he would disappear as soon as she let go, " I'm so sorry my little boy. Why didn't you...why didn't you say something?", she cried.
He didn't know what to say, he felt as if his pain had always been so obvious but had he ever noticed the pain in their eyes? His brother's face as he cranked up heavy metal in his room. His sister's whenever he walked past her instead of listening to her day. His parents whenever his siblings and him stayed in their rooms or at their friends' houses?
What about other people? Was everyone feeling pain and just not saying anything? Could he have reached out too? Was there someone else out there he could have helped if he had just reached out?
The realization felt so obvious but also so startling. He'd always focused on his pain, his hurt, his hatred but what about other people?
Maybe it was time he said something first.
" Mom I need to tell you something. Something that happened a long time ago, but, I think you need to know."
By the end of his story his family was all crowded around giving him a group hug. Normally the idea would have felt smothering but right now, it just felt comforting.
Maybe it was time to start talking instead of just wishing someone could see past their own pain, past, and hearts and into his own. Pictures may be worth a thousand words but what happens when most of those words are lost and hundreds more are their own?
His family finally backed away on doctor's orders so he could rest. He knew he'd have to go through therapy and have to face what happened but for the moment, it was nice to have that off his chest.
" It's never too late.", he faintly heard whispered, the warm presence leaving him. Somehow he knew that was the reaper passing.
" Thank you.", he whispered to the air. It didn't matter if the room was empty, he knew the reaper had heard him.