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A Promise To Protect - 9. Not Alone

“Tyler.” Zeke sits beside him on the bed. “Have you ever had anti-depressants before?” He asks calmly. Tyler rolls over and looks at him nervously. He hated feeling vulnerable but wanted so badly to have someone he could talk to, about everything. The isolation of being dead was harder to live with than he’d imagined. More than ever, and perhaps because of the reason behind the fight they’d just had, Zeke felt a need to comfort Tyler, he wanted to be able to do something more than just stand and talk because clearly he wasn’t getting anywhere with that anyway, but he felt as though that would be completely inappropriate now. “I’m really worried about you, I understand talking about this kind of thing is really difficult but I think if you had something, to help you get through this stressful stage, you’d be so much better off.” Zeke tells him, looking into his eyes with concern.

“You’d trust me? After...” Tyler didn’t have to finish the question, Zeke knew exactly what he was referring to and was himself, quite concerned that giving Tyler access to a medication he’d already attempted to overdose on, was going to be playing with fire. On the other hand though, that was under different circumstances, Tyler had the information to make different decisions and he also knew the person he would turn to for help with this, had plenty of methods of restricting the chance of an overdose.

“Well, I can talk to my friend, the one that’s a doctor.” Zeke starts answering.

“The super convenient doctor friend I haven’t met, sure.” Tyler shrugs and rolls over again, facing away from Zeke coldly.

“Well obviously you’d have to meet him, I can’t just start giving you my medication. He’d have to assess you and decide whether or not you would benefit and if he did prescribe some anti-depressants to you then we would have to decide the best course of action given your previous overdose attempt.” Zeke answers very matter of fact. Tyler remains silent, not giving Zeke any indication one way or the other about whether he thought this was a good idea. Zeke bites his lip and shifts a little closer, he places a hand on Tyler’s shoulder gently and gives a sigh. “Just think about it ok?” Zeke suggests, getting up from the bed and leaving Tyler in peace.

Tyler wakes from his brief and restless sleep to the sound of quiet arguing in the hallway. Tyler gets out of bed and walks to the door quietly, eavesdropping into the conversation.

“You are in too deep Zeke, it was never your place to take this on. Just come clean, admit to it and let Tate sort it out.”

“Corey please, you know I can’t do that.” Zeke pleads.

“I know you disagree with the way he runs things...”

“I would be dead if people played by his rules, the protection we put in place for people is not enough, we know that and it’s been proven time and time again. Please, you’re the only person I can trust and you have a better chance of helping him than I do.” At this Tyler loudly opens the door, not wanting to appear like he was being sneaky, despite having heard part of this conversation. He assumed this was about him, and he hated the thought of Zeke trying to palm him off to someone else. Zeke and Corey turn to him as he walks out of the room.

“Tyler, this is Corey, the friend I’ve mentioned.” Zeke introduces him to the man standing beside him. He was very plainly dressed, with sandy blond hair cut short and un-styled.

“The convenient doctor one?” Tyler asks, crossing his arms and tugging his sleeves down as Corey’s eyes run over him, like he was doing a full visual health check on him.

“It’s good to see you up and moving.” Corey walks over and extends a hand to Tyler. Tyler shakes his hand but doesn’t say anything. “Zeke called me because he thinks you might benefit from some medicinal intervention. Would you like to talk to me about what’s going on?” Corey asks.

“I’m sure he’s told you everything.” Tyler shrugs, he was nervous to be having to face someone, despite Zeke trusting this guy, he couldn’t help but think the more people that knew he was alive and where he was, the more danger he was in so someone appearing as a doctor seemed suspicious. Zeke was leaning his back against the wall, watching Tyler and Corey. He looked exhausted, like he still hadn’t gotten any sleep, Tyler gulps back a feeling of guilt for causing Zeke so much stress. It’s not like Zeke was innocent in this, he’d been adding to the reason Tyler was miserable.

“I can’t diagnose from someone else’s opinion. I want to hear from you, how you are.” Corey replies. Tyler glances over at Zeke and then back at Corey, chewing his lip nervously before nodding slowly. “Ok, can we use your office Zeke? For confidentiality.” Corey states.

“Yeah of course.” Zeke looked nervous himself, Corey gives Tyler a polite smile and gestures to the office. Tyler turns and walks down the hall, going into the office and sitting on the couch, as though he was in a proper doctor’s office. Corey walks in and closes the door, then pulls the chair from behind Zeke’s desk, to in front of it, sitting down and facing Tyler in a very relaxed and friendly gesture. He opens up a case that was on the desk and pulls out a note pad and pen.

“I’m going to take notes under Zeke’s name, to keep you completely confidential, ok? If there’s anything you say that you would rather not be noted then you have the right to say that. I only want to make sure I am helping you as best I can with what it is you need right now. This information will not be shared with Zeke, he has no right to know anything you tell me in here or the outcome of our discussions and if you feel in any way like you are being pressured I want you to tell me that too, ok? I am here to make sure you are ok and my priority is being able to leave here today knowing you are comfortable and happy with what has been discussed and decided on. I also want to make sure you know that in the case that you feel that Zeke is not safe for you to be around, I will be able to help you be removed from the situation. I know you think he’s my friend, but my duty of care is more important than my personal opinion. If you’re experiencing any kind of behaviour that is distressing to you in any way, I will protect your privacy and safety while assisting you in finding a way out. You are safe to discuss anything that is concerning you without judgement.” Corey tells him very calmly, giving him a smile as he finishes speaking.

“Wow you sound like a proper doctor.” Tyler comments, having until now been skeptical. Corey laughs and pulls out his ID, unlike Zeke’s his had full name, status of qualification and the registration number.

“9 years of study including masters in medicines and mental health. I can show you my certificates if you would like.” Corey offers.

“No, it’s fine.” Tyler shakes his head.


After a fairly brief interview Tyler walks out of the office, heading to the lounge room where Zeke was sitting on the couch, hands clasped together with his forehead resting against them.

“You ok Zeke?” Corey asks. Zeke nods slowly and stands up, turning to face them both.

“Apparently I’m really depressed, but I guess when you ask someone who saw their family members dead, ‘in the last 7 days how often have you felt helpless or like there was no hope?’ ‘how often have you cried?’ I mean really, I didn’t need to take a test to know I was seriously depressed.” Tyler shrugs, showing Zeke the results.

“It's a formality more than anything obviously we can tell a lot about a person despite observing them or we could assist you because we know what you've been through but for the sake of the paperwork we have to go through this system it does in your circumstance seem ridiculous.” Corey acknowledges giving Tyler a slight nod and a comforting smile. Zeke looks from Corey to Tyler clearly itching to know more but unsure how to ask or if it was even his place to know.

“So you got it sorted then?” Zeke asks. Tyler gives a slow nod seeming a little bit unsure himself.

“He said he'll prescribe me something a low dose just to get me started.” Tyler chews his lip nervously looking down at his feet then up again to meet Zeke’s eyes. “But he won’t give me enough that I would be able to kill myself.” Tyler states bluntly.

“There’s a week worth in there. I’ll fill it again each week so there’s no more than 7 at one time and also so we can change the medication or dose after we have trialed if there’s any reason it doesn’t seem to be suitable. I will come back and visit again in a few days to see how it’s going but we won’t expect to be too aware of how it’s helping until...”

“A week or more into taking it. I was listening.” Tyler tells Corey who gives him a nod.

“Good, I hope to hear positive results soon then. I’ll leave you in the care of your trusted agent.” Corey smiles over at Zeke, then turns and leaves the house. For a few moments Tyler and Zeke stand in silence.

“Did you not sleep?” Tyler asks, finally breaking the silence.

“Uh, not really. But I’m fine.” Zeke answers.

“I feel like not sleeping and potentially needing to defend yourself is a bad combination. Was it because of me, was that why you were trying to get rid of me and send me off with Corey? Were you seriously trying to pass me off to someone that’s a complete stranger to me?” Tyler surprises Zeke with the question. Zeke was feeling conflicted between what he thought was the right thing to do and what was clearly hurting Tyler’s feelings.

“I’m just getting it all wrong now aren’t I? With you. Tyler I was trying to send you off with Corey because I thought that you would be better off. He’s just, better at people. He is exceptional at reading people and just knowing how to help them. He has the knowledge to deal with emotional needs and distress and there’s no conflict of interest.” He had sincerity written across his face. With just a hint of guilt.

“Because of this morning?” Tyler asks it was Zeke’s turn to nod in silence. “You know, I don’t think you’re a bad person.” Tyler start. “In fact, to be honest. I really like you and I did fall for it at first, I believed you because I wanted it to be true, that you liked me.” He admits, His eyes scanning Zeke for his reaction, disappointed as he simply stares back at him blankly. “But I know you think I’m just this naiive guy...” Tyler starts with a self depreciating comment.

“Tyler.” Zeke hesitates. “When you spend time with someone in a period of emotional distress in their life, it’s easy to mistake the feelings any normal person would have, of empathy and care for them, for, other feelings that they are not. You asked about my ex, I cared that he was hurting. I empathized that he was going through a hard time. I did not love him, even if sometimes I mistook those feelings and thought I did.” Zeke shrugs, for once not able to look at Tyler as he spoke, he was ashamed of himself.

“Ok, well we have to live together so can we try to move forward without trying to seduce information out of each other? For the sake of not losing all respect and sanity?” Tyler suggests.

“Can you forgive me for that?” Zeke asks.

“I forgive you, just forget about everything. I don't want it to be weird between us so probably best we just forget about all of it.” Tyler gives a sigh.

“Hey it's not my business so you don't have to tell me anything but you said earlier than first these kind of things happened to you before...” Zeke let's his voice trail off, not exactly sure how to ask the question but he‘d said enough that he knew he didn't need to ask it more directly. Tyler bites his lip considering how to answer and if he even wanted to.

“Never on the same scale but.” Tyler hesitates continuing his answer, “There was this guy at my school, told me he liked me, pretended not to know me when we're in public but he would text me all night you know, anyway turned out it was some kind of dare. text messages we sent to each other things were being posted in a school forum and that's how everyone found out that I was gay. It wasn’t the first time I’d had someone try to convince me they were interested in me, just to use it against me but it was the most convincing and I fell for it.”

“Wow that's, that's awful I'm sorry well ended up happening to the guy if you don't mind me asking?” Zeke asks.

“We dated for six months in secret. He was really nice away from his friends, but he couldn't keep up the façade forever, he was just never quite comfortable with it, things never went anywhere. His friends still bullied me relentlessly right in front of him he never said anything never stood up for me, sometimes joined in. Eventually one day I got tired of it he called him out on it in front of them. Of course he denied it why would he admit in front of them but he was in love with me. The guy had a reputation to think of which was more important to him. But I was over it I couldn't deal with it anymore I broke up with him in front of all his friends.” Tyler shrugs, looking down at his feet and shaking his head. “I don’t want to talk about it anymore.” Tyler blinks back the tears and rubs his temples. Zeke was silent in surprise, he certainly wanted to know more but he respects that Tyler didn’t want to talk about it. He had to get ready to go out anyway, though he promised a dozen times that he’d be home as soon as possible, there was just no way he could be home and present in the way Tyler seemed to need him to be. Work was unavoidable, and too important to be able to skip. As it was he was heading back having had no sleep which wouldn’t mean he could do his best work.

Alone once more and with old feelings re-emerging, Tyler contemplates searching that draw for the sweet blade again but instead, he takes to scratching the newly formed scab off his scar. He sighs at the sting of pain and looks at the glistening blood protruding from his arm. Tyler hears footsteps in the house behind him and panics, thinking Zeke was about to catch him. He turns around slowly and sees a face then it disappears. Tyler stumbles back in shock then looks towards the doorway, bravely, he takes a few steps forward and looks out into the bedroom.

The face was familiar, terrifyingly familiar, Tyler frowns and slinks back into the bathroom nervously. He closes the door and locks it then sits on the floor and waits, expecting at any moment to hear the lock click and to be looking once again at that terrifying face. He whimpers and closes his eyes.

“Zeke. Please come home.” Tyler begs silently, almost praying.

The rattling at the door takes Tyler by surprise. He had no idea how long he’d been out of it for, Corey had warned of drowsiness from the anti-depressants and that with the days of limited food and more frequent cutting was a recipe for disaster.

“Tyler!” Zeke’s voice shouts nervously from the other side of the door. Tyler sits up quickly and looks at his arm that had streaks of dried blood down it. He stands up washing the blood off his arm in a rush when he feels the faint feeling hit him again. He grabs the basin to steady himself and closes his eyes, trying to will his body not to do this to him now. As it passes he looks back at himself in the mirror, shocked to see how ghostly pale he was. “Tyler are you ok?” Zeke calls again anxiously from the other side of the door. Tyler rolls his sleeve down and unlocks the door then leans against it weakly. Zeke opens it and catches Tyler as he fall into his arms. “Tyler, what the hell happened? You scared the crap out of me.” Zeke tells him as he hugs him tight.

“Sorry. I. There was someone here. I thought. There was someone here.” Tyler says and uses Zeke’s broad shoulders to help himself stand properly. But he was struggling.

“What do you mean there was someone here?” Zeke asks urgently. Tyler shakes his head and looks around the room.

“I saw him. I was in the bathroom and turned to see him st-standing in the doorway. I panicked and stumbled backwards then he was gone. I peeked out of the doorway and he was looking at me from the bedroom. S-so I locked myself in here.” Tyler replies.

“What did he look like?” Zeke asks and looks deep into Tyler’s eyes, his own eyes full of concern.

“I don’t know.” Tyler frowns and tries to remember the face.

“Tyler are you ok? You feel really cold.” Zeke says and strokes Tyler’s cheek. Tyler turns away from him quickly.

“I’m fine. Leave me alone.” He mutters and walks away down the hallway, Zeke follows him into the kitchen.

“Want something to eat?” Zeke asks and goes over to the fridge to find food.

“I’m not hungry.” Tyler replies and sits down at the table. Zeke sighs and closes the fridge then looks over at Tyler.

“Can you try your hardest to remember what this person looked like? I really need to know so I can report it.” Zeke looks at Tyler curiously. Tyler nods and looks down at his shaking hands. He looks back up as Zeke sits down across the table from him, Zeke looks at Tyler and gives him a small smile. The face he’d seen last night substituted itself in front of Zeke’s and Tyler jumps up nervously, knocking his chair over then cowering away from Zeke. He blinks and sees Zeke standing up and walking over to him quickly, Tyler starts crying and drops to the floor helplessly before Zeke reaches him. “Tyler what’s wrong?” Zeke asks and crouches in front of him.

“Save me.” Tyler cries, absolutely terrified of his own imagination. Zeke frowns and rubs Tyler’s back.

“You are safe Tyler. It’s just you and me here and I won’t let anything happen to you. I promise.” Zeke tells him gently.

“No, no. He’s here. He’s here.” Tyler stutters and falls forward against Zeke’s chest. Zeke wraps his arms around Tyler and holds him tight as the young boy shivers in his arms. He was beyond confused by all of this.

“It’s ok, I’m going to get you some help.” Zeke assures him.


Corey I don’t understand what is happening, he keeps saying he can see someone here, it’s like he’s having hallucinations. There’s no one here. No one but us and he is adamant that there’s this other face. I have no idea what to do. Is this a side effect I should have expected?” Zeke asks desperate for answers, actually what he wanted at this point was a coherent instruction manual on exactly what was happening, how to respond and what to expect next with Tyler because he was so beyond lost as to what he was meant to say, do and prepare for.

“That isn’t likely to be due to the anti-depressants. To be honest the first weeks’ worth is just a placebo to see if he would feel an improvement just from believing it would help, nothing more than a light sedative. But after the trauma he’s been through, I am not surprised he’s imagining danger when he isn’t in any. Just make sure he’s not going to hurt himself, and stay close to reassure him. The only side effect that could be related would be if he is feeling anxious about not having control because of the anti-depressents. Heightened anxiety can make it easy to find reasons to justify your fears and his biggest fear would be someone breaking in, right? So stay with him and reassure him, hopefully this will pass, if not I’ll be around tomorrow afternoon to check in on him anyway and I can do a cognitive assessment and make sure there’s not anything else going on.”

“Do you think...” Zeke pauses to look down the hallway where Tyler was still sitting, balled up in the fetal position. “Do you think he might be having a complete mental breakdown?” Zeke asks nervously.

“Zeke.” Corey sighs. “I can’t tell you about our conversations, or my observations. But I am quite concerned. He was reluctant to tell me anything and refused to answer some of the very basic health questions. In my opinion, I would say there is a chance Tyler may be experiencing hallucinations due to a number of reasons that I believe may be affecting his homeostatic balance.”

“Ok that’s doctor talk for?”

“He’s not well, mentally, physically. I think there’s a lot going on he isn’t saying and it’s putting him into a depreciating mental state. Just comfort, support and watch him. If he’s having hallucinations and thinking he’s in danger, he could hurt himself, or you.”

“Should I take him to a hospital?” Zeke asks in almost a whisper, his mind flooding with fear and regret at all of his choices with Tyler as the thought of having to admit to the lie of him being dead, and all the repercussions that would come with that.

“If he doesn’t calm down, if he hurts himself or if you think you cannot continue to deal with this, I think it would be in his best interests to be brought into the facility. But I know that’s the last resort. Certainly I don’t think a hospital would be safe enough for him. His face and whereabouts would be all over the news. We’ve seen how that ends for people.” Corey warns.

“I have fucked everything up haven’t I?” Zeke asks, feeling like everything was about to fall apart.

“You had good intentions. But sometimes that’s not enough for people.” Corey answers. “I’ll support you Zeke, if you have to bring him in Tyler will be under my protection as a patient and I can advocate for his right to my care and protection under the agency, I will stand up for you with Tate and he will be in good hands.” Corey pauses.

“Yeah. But I would lose my job, have my memory wiped and be on the street living a regular life.” Zeke looks down at the ground, kicking absently at the floor. “At this point it’s my selfishness against his safety isn’t it?” Zeke asks. “I’ll give it all up if it’s what’s best for him, I just, that’s a lot to give up.”

“Then play it by ear and see how he goes overnight. You don’t have to do anything immediately. Try to comfort him and see if you can help him relax. Bringing him in is a last resort.” Corey tells him.

Zeke sighs and leans against the doorway watching as Tyler heads down the hall and into the bedroom. The older man takes a deep breath then walks down to the bedroom to talk to Tyler, he had to protect him even though he didn’t know how. Tyler was in the bathroom but he opens the door and walks out a moment later with tears in his eyes. Zeke frowns at him and shakes his head.

“Tyler. I’m here to look after you ok?” Zeke reminds him and walks over towards him.

Well you aren’t doing a very good job of it.” Tyler mumbles and deliberately side-steps Zeke.

“I’m doing my best. It’d be a lot easier if I knew what you needed from me but you won’t tell me anything. I’m not blind Tyler. I know something serious is going on with you and I need to know what it is so I can help you.” Zeke tells him with a sigh.

“I’m sorry.” Tyler apologises weakly and sniffles then hugs himself, rubbing his arms.

“Are you sick?” Zeke asks, unable to ignore it any longer, he was desperate to know what was happening, to find a solution.

“I don’t mean to be so much trouble.” Tyler mutters and looks down at his feet.

“Please, just talk to me Tyler, if there is something you need help with then you need to tell me. I can’t fix a problem if I don’t know what it is.” Lee sighs.

“Lee I’m sorry about everything.” Tyler pouts then sits down on the bed. Zeke walks over to him and kneels in front of him then puts his hands on Tyler’s knees and looks into his eyes.

“You still aren’t telling me what’s wrong.” Zeke replies getting slightly annoyed at the way Tyler avoided his question but trying to keep being patient and calm. Tyler looks over towards the door and tenses. Zeke glances over at the doorway and frowns then turns back to Tyler who was still staring at the doorway. “Tyler?” Zeke asks.

“I told you he’s still here.” Tyler says quietly. Zeke looks back over at the doorway and then back to Tyler.

“There’s no one there Tyler.” Zeke frowns and stares at the floor near the door to see if there was even a shadow of a person visible.

Yes he is. He’s there.” Tyler says and carefully gets off the bed then stumbles backwards pointing towards the door. Zeke stands up and slowly walks over to the door, his eyes not leaving the doorway.

“No Tyler, there’s no one here.” Zeke assures him.

“Zeke don’t!” Tyler shouts and starts crying as Zeke stands in the doorway.

“Tyler look at me! There is no one else here but me!” Zeke tells him and turns around in the doorway then looks back at Tyler. “No one here but me.” He repeats. Tyler shakes his head and covers his eyes with his hands.

“He was there.” Tyler sobs. “WHY DON’T YOU BELIEVE ME!” He screams at him. Zeke stares at Tyler shocked then walks over to him and helps the younger boy to his feet again.

“Tyler come with me. We’ll search the house and find him if he’s here.” Zeke says and puts his hand out for Tyler to take.

“What if he kills us?” Tyler asks through misty eyes. Zeke shakes his head and reaches into his jacket pulling out a gun and holding it in his other hand, he checks that it’s loaded then flicks off the safety switch.

“I’ll kill him first.” He says and looks at Tyler. Tyler slips his hand into Zeke’s and lets himself be lead from the bedroom with the gun pointed before them. 

Again, sorry to anyone confused by the last update on this chapter, it was past midnight and I accidentally posted the unedited and incomplete version of the chapter. This is the chapter that was meant to be posted.

Copyright © 2020 Littlelovestories; All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments

So is there or isn't there another person in the house?IF there isn't then Tyler is really messed up.We found out a little more of his background.Correct me if I'm wrong but it seemed at some point in the chapter Zeke was starting to be referred to as Lee.Are Zeke and Lee the same person or am I missing something.

Edited by weinerdog
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Well I screwed this up and accidentally published an unedited chapter so I apologize for causing confusion. This story is one I've written a long time ago and characters names and story progression has been changed and edited as I've been posting it on here, so I'm pretty embarrassed that the chapter was posted before I had gone through it and edited any of it. Wow I need to never be up posting things past midnight again. Really sorry for the mistake!

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I’m surprised the doctor has not mentioned blood work on Tyler; weight loss should be noticeable, and even a simple urine sample can catch key indicators of hydration, nutrition, and infection. Infection can definitely cause hallucinations.

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I believe I’ve heard starvation can cause hallucinations so malnourishment, depression, and traumatic experiences combined should create one massive snowball of mental instability so I’m not remotely surprised Tyler is in the grips of such a breakdown. So, Zeke works for a group that has the technology to wipe memories? He in an offshoot of MIB? Crazy that a agency put together by a rich family to hunt down a serial killer has such methods at their disposal but I suppose anything is possible with enough money. 🤷🏻‍♂️ 

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