My breath comes out in dense fog as my warm, exhaled air makes contact with the freezing winter. It has been snowing since last night and now the ground is draped in a white blanket; it is breathtakingly beautiful yet just looking at it causes icy fingers to crawl down my back.

Stepping into it is daunting as I don't want to mar the pure white with my old boots. I tread softly, gently, trying to minimize the effect of my weight on the snow. Proceeding cautiously, I make my way from the front door to the sidewalk, walking on my tiptoes.

I don’t hear many birds chirping, they must be too cozy to be bothered while I am satisfied looking at the arctic allure that surrounds me. Houses wear white sheets and the trees are dressed in snow dresses; it is my favorite kind of beauty, dainty but brutal.

When I have walked to the end of my street do I dare to look back at the havoc I have wrecked, only to find the last few footprints disappearing, leaving the snow undisturbed as before.

"You can thank me later, just walk for now." Says a voice to my left but as I whip around all I see and feel is chilling breeze.

"Come on, you will be late for school."

I jump a foot high and realize the sound wasn't coming from any particular direction, but it was... it was surrounding me.

"Who's there?" I ask, feeling like an utter fool.

"What? Forgot me already?" I hear a chuckle of amusement, but don't see the body producing it.

"Of course you forgot about me. Do you have any idea of what it felt like when you forgot about me. I felt suffocated, there was just darkness and I could not even form proper thoughts. Only because you didn't need me anymore, I had to endure that... that dark place filled with the anguish of others forgotten like me."

Perplexity is not a descriptive enough word for what I was feeling and I voiced the thoughts running through my mind.

"Who are you? What are you? Where are you?"

"My name is Bringo Porkenheimer.''

As soon as it registers, it's an onslaught of memories and emotions.

Me and Bringo meeting at the swings, him and I spending hours playing, talking, laughing. He was my confidant, my best friend, and then... I forgot about him.

"Bringo...," the name escapes my lips in a gasp.

"The one and only," I hear his smile and cockiness that were forever present.

"I... how... I search around for words but I'm utterly speeches.

"Let's walk," he says. "You're getting late and it isn't safe."

"Where even are you?"

"Have you forgotten? I am where you want me to be. I look whatever you want me to look like. But please don't add those make me wear those awful sweaters. Put me in a leather jacket, I wanna feel like a bad boy." 

I shake my head but it all feels normal, second nature. It's like riding a bike after a long time-- you never forget how to ride it. 

And it's true, I can start to see him as we start to walk towards my school but my mind was still in disarray.

"You were never as smart as me Amber," Bringo pulls his arm around my shoulders. "But now that we are walking, I'll start talking. We both know I love the sound of my voice."

We both laugh at this, remembering all that I had forgotten.

"So after you forgot about me, I went where all imaginary friends go after they have been forgotten. Trust me you don't even want me to get in the details. By the way, what is wrong with kids these days?" His eyebrows shoot up in surprise.


"So the inflow of friends has become slower and slower. And they tell us how kids now have this internet thing so they don't need us anymore. I mean how can you even survive without us. I know you wouldn't have without my genius and support."

I let my mouth fall open, feigning offense, but what he says is true. He had been there for me all the time, helping me, being a friend when I desperately needed one.

"I know you know that I'm right. I'm a figment of your imagination so I get an unfiltered flow of your thoughts." 

"I didn't even realize how much I missed you." I admit because there is no point in denying and he was the confidant in whom I trusted blindly.

He never judged me and I will always love him for it.

"I love you too and I missed you so much." He gives me my favorite smile and we are 6 again, joking and teasing.

"Getting back to the topic." Bringo puts his hands in his leather jacket and takes a deep breath. "It only happens extremely rarely but if a kid can imagine a friend that has existed before, instead of getting a new one, he or she gets the old one. I honestly thought my chances were none existent, I mean who can think up Bringo Porkenheimer down to the very last detail."

I shake with laughter and he puts on an indignant expression.

"Like seriously, I was surrounded by Emilys and Bens while I was Bringo Porkenheimer." He looks upset but I know he loves his uniqueness. 

I wrap my arm around his and look up at him to see his lips curl up in a smile. 

"Come on, say it," I prompt.

"I was proud to have the most imaginative friend. Thank you for not making me some cliche imaginary friend." He grins at me. 

I nod my head in approval. 

"Still a miser with your words," he observes. 

I smack him and inquire, "What happened next?"

"Let me tell you, it only took this one a week before she was a victim to the internet virus and started forgetting about me." 

He is sad I can see that so I hug him around the waist and snuggle into his arms. 

"I'm sorry I forgot about you."

He runs his hand through my hair. 

"You know others can't see me so stop hugging the air." 

He is hurting.

"Bringo...." I begin, "You have been the only true friend to me, you are more real than all these people that surround me."

"Wow you must be really miserable," he laughs but I'm not the least bit embarrassed because it's true and there is no judgement in his voice. He is more understanding than anyone could ever be.

"So...," he continues, "before I could be dragged back to that sad place I decided to pay you a visit, see if I could make you remember me." He smiled at me. "I know how much you love the snow and how much you hate ruining it by walking on it. I knew you would look back at the mess you were creating and wallow in pity."

"You made the tracks go away," I say slowly. "Like you always did!" I exclaim, remembering.

"Yeah I knew there would be a part of you that will start to remember without you consciously knowing and that was the opening I needed to make you hear me."

"Oh my God Bringo. Thank you for coming back to me. I will never forget you again."

"Yeah, but that is not the only reason why I erased your tracks."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, you have been talking to me, someone no one else can see. Why do you think people aren't starring at you?"

I look around and even though there aren't many people around, those that are there are not paying me any attention. They walk by me like....

"They can't see me." I realize.

Bringo nods. "I learnt cloaking. When I was watching you, I noticed someone else watching you." 


"Cody McCall"

Two words and dread pools inside me. 

"You look like you're about to pass out. Don't worry, I have a plan. I'll be your imaginary friend slash guardian angel."

"You are telling me that a serial killer has been stalking me. A serial killer that has already killed twelve school girls and wants me to be the thirteenth."

Bringo turns to me, holding me by my shoulders. "Amber, I'm with you. I won't let anything happen to you. No one can see you, you're not leaving any tracks, and I have a plan. Trust me. Just go to school, you will be safer and we will deal with him after it's off; teach him how unlucky thirteen can be.”


I see him standing by the tree and look back but see myself leaving footprints. My eyes widen and I look at him, my panic evident. He cocks his head to the side, asking me to trust him, but as I begin to walk to him, he shakes his head: people will see me talking to no one. Right now I couldn't care less what people think. He sees my defiance and shakes his head vigorously, raising his hand to his throat and making slashing motions.

My blood turns cold. Cody McCall.

I start walking quickly and he falls in step beside me.

"Not so fast," he says. 

There is a serial killer after me!

“You think I don’t know that? We don’t want him to get suspicious.”

I’m scared.

“I know,” Bringo consoles.

Really an unfiltered flow.

Bringo chuckles, “She can actually talk. Not so miserly with your thoughts.”

I give him a weak smile and he gives me an assuring one.

We make our way to my house and he follows me inside. 

“I watched him all day and he will make his move in a little while. Lock all the doors and close all the windows. He can make it in, he is a pro but let’s not make it easy for him.” 

I go around the house, closing everything. That’s when I see him, hiding in the shadows behind my house. 

“He is here," I breathe out

Bringo is calm, “Call 911. Report it and tell them to turn off the sirens.”

My hands shake as I raise the phone to my ear. 

I whisper my plight as I see McCall slowly make his way to my backdoor.

Bringo motions to me and I follow him up the stairs to my room. I close the door behind me and he motions for me to slide my table in front of it. I push against it until it’s barricading the door. 

“Open your closet, leave the door slightly ajar, he’ll think you are in there.”

I do as told and I hear shuffling from outside the door.

“You still keep keys to your bathroom?”

I nod. 

“Lock it from the outside.” 

I tiptoe to the door as I hear someone entering the house.

“Good.” Bringo says, he is trying to reassure me. “Climb through the window.” 

My heart is in my throat and my stomach wants to empty itself right this second.

“I hate puke,” Bringo says and leads me to the window.

I climb out and he follows me. 

“Now slide over outside your parents room.”

I shuffle to it, my back getting cold.

“Listen to all of it now. You will enter your parents' room wait inside it. McCall will force his way inside your room and when he is searching in there I will cloak you and we go downstairs and out. The police should be here by then.”

I nod and do as he told. Once we here the commotion from my room, we quickly and quietly move downstairs and out of the backdoor which McCall entered through.

Making our way around the house we spot the police cars coming down the street and Bringo lifts his protection.

I rush out and the cars stop in front of me. I tell them McCall is in the house and they quickly surround it as Bringo and I wait with baited breath. 

Soon McCall is arrested and I cry in relief while Bringo does a quick dance with his smug expression not leaving his face. 

I will never forget him again.

“I know you won’t!”

So this is what true friendship is... I forgot about him for a decade yet he just saved my life.

"Yup." Bringo popps his p. "I will always be your friend. More real than everyone else."

January 08, 2020 09:36

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