Tyler isn’t much of a child anymore.
He’s just turned twelve, he’s a very smart boy.
But Tyler is a bit different than other twelve year olds.
Tyler has a friend.
Tyler’s friend’s name is Josh.
Everyone tells Tyler that Josh isn’t real.
Tyler doesn’t believe them.
Tyler talks to Josh. Josh always replies.
Tyler can see Josh.
They always hang out in Tyler’s treehouse.
Tyler’s mom is worried about Tyler and she has put him in therapy.
Tyler tells Josh that he can’t come into the therapy sessions with him, and Josh listens.
Tyler talks about Josh a lot to his therapist.
His therapist doesn’t show much emotion, he simply nods his head and writes stuff in his little notebook.
Tyler doesn’t understand why he has to be in therapy. Tyler loves being friends with Josh.
“He’s not real,” His mom would tell him.
Tyler covers his ears. “He is real, mom!”
Tyler’s mom would just sigh.
Tyler sees her praying a lot lately.
Josh walks over to Tyler and pats his shoulder.
“You know I’m real, right, Tyler?”
“Of course, Josh. I see you.”
Josh smiles. “I’m glad you see me. We’re best friends.”
Tyler is happy.
But the nagging thought of the possibility that something is wrong with him remains.
Josh always comforts Tyler.
Tyler likes that.
But Tyler is still doubting a bit.
“Don’t forget about me,” Josh would constantly remind Tyler.
“I want to grow up. I want to be normal,” Tyler would chant silently.
“You are normal,” Josh would reply.
“Then how come no one else sees you?”
Josh sighs. “Because they don’t believe in me. They don’t believe you or your imagination.”
Tyler frowns at that.
Tyler’s mom keeps praying. And Tyler keeps talking to Josh.
Tyler is scared.
He continues to see his therapist. His therapist helps him.
Josh tries to change Tyler’s mind.
Tyler shakes his head. “No more, Josh!”
“What do you mean?” Josh said.
“You’re not real!” Tyler cries out.
Josh gasps. “But Tyler! I am real!”
“No! No, no, no!” Tyler screams.
Josh tries to grab Tyler’s sleeve, tries to yell.
But Tyler is covering his ears from Josh now.
And Josh is fading.
Tyler cries as he keeps covering his ears and screaming “No! Not real!”.
Tyler’s mom rushes to him and hugs her distressed son.
Tyler clings to her and sobs.
“He’s not real,” He sobbed out.
“He’s not real.”