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I’m just going to put it out there that I’m new to reddit in general. In fact, I’m not really a computer person at all - some of you guys would laugh at my typing speed. But right now, I’m kind of desperate, and I’m not sure who else I can turn to.

For reference, my name’s Erik and I had a best friend named Axel. Not anymore, as you could probably guess from my wording. Axel and I were childhood friends - best friends. We lived on the same street, and by the time we were five, we were inseparable. At least according to our parents.

From reading the title of this post, you guys are probably thinking something along the lines of “How the fuck did Axel get into an insane asylum?” Let me make it clear right now: Axel wasn’t insane. Sure, he was a sarcastic son of a bitch, but he was a normal teenager. I’ve read some of the stories here on nosleep which describe some people of just not being “right” from the moment they’re born. Axel wasn’t like that. He was a perfectly normal and happy kid - straight through kindergarten to senior year.

It wasn’t his fault. It was all mine.

Two years ago, right after graduation, Axel and his parents were heading over to his grandparents in Los Angeles to celebrate him going to college. It was a six to seven hour drive (we live in Northern California), and they wanted to arrive early in the morning. They barely left the city when a drunk driver T-boned their car - a full tractor trailer ramming into a tiny Honda civic.
Both of Axel’s parents died on impact. The doctors said it was a miracle that Axel even survived. At first, we were hopeful. Somehow, Axel had managed to avoid any major spinal injuries. With therapy, he would be able to walk again - move his entire body. It didn’t look like his brain had been damaged so that he would be unable to function again. If he woke up, he could recover.

The thing is, he never woke up. The first week was understandable. By the third week, we were begging the doctors for some sort of explanation. They could never find one. Theoretically, he should have woken up. There was nothing wrong.

Needless to say, I didn’t react very well to the accident. Axel’s father and mother were basically a second set of parents to me. Axel himself was more like a brother to me than a neighbor. My real brother was already studying on the other side of the continent. For the very first time I could remember, I was alone.
Of course, I still had my parents and other friends and everything, but Axel had always been there. A constant presence -
sometimes a warm blanket and other times an annoying pest that wouldn’t leave me alone. But regardless, he had always been there - and to see him disappear was a little more than I could take. Axel in my mind had always been a strong individual who wouldn’t let anything stop him from getting his way. Seeing him unresponsive in some hospital bed didn’t seem real.

That said, you could probably guess I wasn't exactly thinking straight for the next few months after the accident. Had my mom not driven me to my new college and dumped me on the sidewalk, I probably wouldn't have gone at all (it’s only a 30 minute drive from my house). Five months after the accident, Axel still didn’t show any signs of waking up - and nobody knew why.
As I said above, I’m not a computer person. After the accident, I didn’t really touch my crappy 2011 Chromebook unless I had to type up a paper or something. My Skype account and Facebook were basically untouched until like, I shit you not, this year. If someone had to communicate with me, it was either through phone or my Yahoo account. And even then, I checked my email, on average, twice a week. Not that I got any mail besides PornHub or genital extension ads.

That’s probably the only reason why I clicked on that email. Because it wasn’t porn. There. I said it. Now that I look back, I should have immediately moved it to my spam box. But because of my stupid human curiosity, I didn’t. The email itself was not special or extravagant enough for me to post here. The only thing in the message box was a link. The sender was some no_reply sort of thing - and I thought the link would just send me to some other porn site I hadn’t heard of yet.

Instead, it just sent me to some sort of chatroom. You know Cleverbot? It was basically that - only without the logo.

I remember explicitly moving my mouse over to the “x” on the tab when a line of text appeared.

Do you want to save your best friend?

That scared me. I hadn’t really discussed Axel’s accident with anyone - not even my family. The people who really did know the situation knew that Axel was probably never going to wake up. The only conclusion I could really come up with was it was just some asshole from my high school that decided it would be funny to play this sick joke on me.

So, with my grand typing speed of 45 WPM, I told the guy to fuck off. I was surprised when I got a response almost immediately.
I can help you.

I shouldn’t have kept going, but I was tired and already pissed off at my English professor, so I did. If I remember correctly, it was something about how making fun of a person induced in a coma was a really shitty way to pass time. Once again, I got another response which completely ignored my obvious lack of enthusiasm.

I can bring him back.

Because I didn’t have anything else better to do, I asked him what he wanted to bring back. I wish I didn’t.

Axel’s soul.

Just putting it out there, I’m not a religious person. Though I wasn’t a hardcore atheist, I didn’t really believe in things like souls and other crap like that. Unfortunately, the chat, however, had me intrigued. Whoever was behind this knew Axel’s name and that I was his best friend. “What an elaborate prank,” I thought back then as I promptly told the other party to stop shitting me.
Why do you think Axel’s not waking up?

That was the line that really got me - and one of the reasons why I can still remember this chat verbatim two years later. I stood up so fast that my chair was knocked over. The pain of Axel trapped in that coma was still ever present, and despite all my beliefs, I started to wonder in the back of my head: What if Axel wasn’t waking up because...his soul wasn’t there? His body was perfectly fine - at least medically, so it would make sense that he wasn’t awake because he was missing something else. Something like a soul. Almost as if the person behind the screen could see me, another line of text appeared without me replying.

I can save him. But I need your help.

Not suspicious at all, right? I wish someone was there back in my dorm to tell me that to my face back two years ago. But back then, all I could think was: What if he was telling the truth? What if this wasn’t some prank, and this guy really could save Axel? I was desperate - and five months of pent up emotions weren’t really helping either. I remember asking the person behind the screen specifically, “This isn’t a prank right?”

No. I will bring back all of him. I just need your help.

And then I typed, “All of Axel? All of Axel’s soul?” I wish I paid more attention to that thing’s reply.

I will bring back all Axels.

What did I have to lose? Now I realize, I had so much to lose. But of course, now, it’s too late. “What do you need me to do?”

I need your approval.

That should have been the giveaway. But it didn’t click in my stupid clouded mind. The possibility of saving Axel… I was willing to take it. If it was something as simple as my approval…who wouldn’t do that for their best friend? Who wouldn’t want to save their best friend?

The word “Okay” barely left my lips when the line of text appeared once again on that white textbox. Your contract has been approved.

I didn’t even stop to wonder how the person knew I said “Okay” when I didn’t even type my reply. All I could do was jump when I heard my phone ring. I recognized the number immediately - it was the hospital Axel was staying in.

I will never forget the receptionist’s voice over the phone as she explained to me how Axel woke up. How he woke up screaming and clawing his throat. How, by the time I arrived at the hospital and looked into his eyes, I didn’t see “Axel” anymore. How he never stopped screaming - even when the doctors gagged him to prevent him from biting his tongue off. How every time I saw him from then on, I saw a completely different person looking at me through his eyes.

I thought that “Axels” had been a typo. Only when I saw that text on my phone did I really realize how wrong I had been.

See? I brought all of them, just like I promised.

To this day, I’m still not sure what I did. I screamed at my phone for a reply - hell, I even drove all the way back to my dorm and screamed at my laptop. I never got a reply. And Axel never recovered. He was awake, but it wasn’t him. Eventually, they had to move him to an insane asylum because they couldn’t get him to stop screaming. From what I hear, they had to cuff his hands and feet with some sort of padding to prevent himself from scratching his throat out. I only visited him once - and that was a year and a half ago. I still can’t get rid of his screams from my nightmare.

And now, here I am, two years later in a completely different dorm with a less shitty computer and a somewhat better mental state typing to you guys because I’m scared. I just got a call from the asylum. Axel wants to talk to me. But I’m not sure if it’s even him anymore.


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