By Allanasha Ke Kiri
Morning found Jason leaning over the toilet, puking up everything he'd eaten the day before. He could feel himself shaking even under Isaac's gentle ministrations. The blond hadn't woken up when Jason had the the first time. The second, though, was hard to have slept through as Jason had woken with a scream and ran to the bathroom.
"Shh," Isaac told him softly. "You're okay. It's alright, you're okay."
But Jason couldn't stop shaking. And, as he stopped actively throwing up (instead simply dry-heaving), he noticed he was crying as well. He closed his eyes; he hadn't had this strong of a reaction to a nightmare since Sarah. His body convulsed, trying to throw up something that was no longer in his stomach.
"What happened?" Isaac asked.
Except ... except it was wasn't normal. He'd already had one that night. He'd never had two in one night. Never. That was why he felt safe going back to sleep. He knew there was nothing left to fear in his dreams.
"I take it, it was bad."
The statement had Jason shuddering, eyes closing. Unfortunately, that brought the images back to the forefront of his brain.
Tied down. Panic. Blindfolded. I couldn't see, could barely hear them. Couldn't make out the words
Jason shook his head, unable to continue thinking about it. Isaac's hand made soothing circles on his bare back, quietly murmuring nonsense. He couldn't exactly hear what was said, and didn't feel like using the energy required to try.
Cut. Slice. I could feel it. It was on my leg. It spasmed, forcing the knife deeper. I screamed. They screamed. More straps, more-
NO! He wouldn't think of it. Jason sobbed as he dry-heaved again. Isaac murmured something he didn't catch again, and stood. He wanted to tell Isaac not to leave, wanted to beg him to stay. He didn't want to be alone, not just yet. But he didn't. He just leaned against the toilet and sobbed, and heaved, and sobbed some more.
They were cutting my other leg. They'd strapped it down so it couldn't move at all. The knife gently cut into my skin, all the way down to the top of my thigh.
Jason sobbed, tightly closing his eyes as he threw his hands over his ears, as though that would block it out. No, please no. Please.
I screamed. It hut. I couldn't see what they were doing, only feel. And it hurt. Hurt, hurt, hurt. The knife pulled away, and they pat something against the skin. It's soft. It hurts.
"No," Jason whined, his body heaving again. His shaking increased. He didn't want to live through it again. His legs throbbed, reminding him of the injury he didn't have. That he'd never had. But it hurt.
He heard the door open, but paid it no attention, trapped in his own mind.
I was crying. It hurt. It hurt so much. The knife was back, regardless of my fearful please. I still couldn't see, only feel, and beg, and cry.
The knife didn't cut down, it cut across. They were cutting the skin off. I screamed again, my voice going hoarse.
Jason jumped with a startled cry. The voice was soft and soothing, not meant to startle, but it did, and he was glad of it. It pulled him out of the dream he did not want to remember. He whined to show he'd heard. His vocal cords weren't working just then. Isaac gently wrapped and arm around him and pulled him back. Jason gripped the toilet, not wanting to move just then. Isaac was gentle, but unwieldiness. Finally, he was leaning against Isaac instead, eyes closed. Tears still spilled from his eyes.
With one hand, Isaac kept Jason against him, and used the other to reach for something. Jason didn't recognize it until it was pressed against his lips. He groaned and turned his head away.
"Drink it," Isaac told him softly. "It will help."
He'd just throw it up. He tried to tell the blond as much, but couldn't get the words passed his throat. So, he drank the water. He drank some of the water. Isaac seemed to understand though, and didn't push.
The pulled the knife out from my now loose skin. I could feel them do so. The flesh stayed where it was. My breathing was quick and harsh with the pain. Every nerve seemed to be on fire.
'Is it big enough?'
'It'll do for the first test. Remove it.'
Fingers fumbled with the edge of the cut skin. I whimpered. My leg tried to spasm again, but it couldn't. I hurt so much.
The pain increased as the hand slowly peeled the skin away, letting the air rush in and brush against the raw nerves. I choked, unable to scream anymore.
Jason jerked away from Isaac's hold, barely making it back to the toilet before throwing up the little he'd managed to drink.
Poking and prodding.
"What was it?" Isaac asked. "The dream?"
Jason shook his head. He didn't want to relive it, despite his minds continued attempts.
I could hear them move around, but they weren't touching me now. I took long deep breaths, hoping to distract myself from the pain ebbing its way up my leg.
Something was poured over my leg, wrenching another scream from my lungs.
"Jason," Isaac said as he heaved. "Keeping it to yourself is obviously not working. You've been in here for ages."
Jason whimpered his agreement, but didn't speak. Isaac began rubbing circles on his back once more. He couldn't. He didn't want to. He just wanted to shove the dream as far away from his mind as possible. He'd already ... once. He didn't want to again. Don't make me, please.
He knew. He knew the images would come back. The pain he could still feel.
Isaac began murmuring again, still too quiet for Jason to hear, but he found himself slowly relaxing, his tears finally slowing to a stop.
Finally, he thought. He was tired, and he was sore. All he wanted was to go back to sleep.
I was tied down, couldn't see anything. Something was tied around my head. I was blindfolded. I was panicking. I could feel myself fight against the bonds holding me down, but they didn't loosen.
Jason shuddered, hunching down. Why wouldn't they leave him be?
"I .. I was tied down, blindfolded," Jason said, voice hoarse and hesitant. "I couldn't see anything. I could ... hear people talking, but I couldn't hear what they were saying. Everything seemed ... muffled. I was afraid, panicking.
"I was ... cut. Someone cut me, my right leg. It spasmed though, causing the cut to go deeper than they'd intended because he cursed, jerking the knife, I assume it was a knife, away."
He could do this. Focus on the words, not the images that went with it. Ignore the images.
"They strapped me down more. Both legs. So much that I couldn't move them. Then, they cut into my left leg. Th-the knife cut down my thigh from just under my pelvis to just above my knee. Then ... then, at the top, the cut across to the side of my thigh." He shuddered, nearly choking again.
"Then, they carefully began cutting under the skin - down the previous cut, separating my skin from my leg. Gods, it hurt. When he was done, he began peeling it away ... no ... no, they talked first, wondering if it was big enough. They said it was for the ... for the first test. Then they peeled it away from the rest of me.
"It took forever. The pain only increased. Everything was so ... raw. When it was gone, they poked and prodded at it, not caring how much I screamed, or begged. They just didn't care.
"Then they ... they poured something over the wound, and I screamed. I don't know what it was. They never took the blindfold off."
Jason's tears started again, and his shaking had begun again. He noticed Isaac had stopped moving. After a moment, he glanced up. The blond was staring at the bathtub, pale.
"Water," Isaac said, causing him to blink. "It was water."
Jason's lips turned down, confusion beginning to set in. "What?"
Isaac turned his eyes to Jason, eyes blinking rapidly. "Nothing, sorry. I was ... thinking of my own experiences."
Jason wanted to ask, but the alarm sounded, causing both of them to jump. Jason struggled to stand, but Isaac stilled him with a hand on his shoulder.
"You shouldn't get up."
"Have to. I have class."
"You're in no condition to go."
Jason shook his head. "I have to."
Once again, he struggled to a standing position, but this time Isaac allowed him to do so. The blond sighed and left the bathroom. A little later, the alarm stopped. Jason flushed the toilet and closed the lid, lowering himself onto it. He felt absolutely exhausted. Maybe Isaac was right, maybe he should stay home. He didn't think he'd be able to pay attention to his classes anyway, not with the way his mind was wandering.
He told Isaac so when he reappeared in the doorway, and let the blond help him back to bed. Isaac closed the curtains and climbed back into bed as well. They were both asleep within a minute.
Jason was still tired the next time he woke up, but forced himself out of bed when he noticed the time. 12:13. If he slept for much longer, he wouldn't get to sleep that night. Isaac was already up, as he wasn't in the bedroom.
He stumbled to th bathroom to empty his bladder, than to the living room to see his guest reading. Isaac glanced up when he entered.
"Should you be awake.? You don't look like it."
"If I sleep any longer, I wont be able to sleep tonight."
Isaac nodded his understanding so Jason blearily turned away from him and carefully made his way to the kitchen, using the wall as a brace. He could feel Isaac's eyes following him as him as he moved, but didn't bother to glance back. He was hungry, and it was taking long enough to get to the kitchen as it was.
Jason wasted no time grabbing a bowl, and the fruity pebbles. Pouring the cereal, he moved to the fridge to add the milk and went to the table. He was barely able to remember that he needed a spoon before he sat down. Seconds later, he had his utensil and was eating with his head resting on one hand.
"You might be able to sleep the night through with how you look," Isaac commented, causing Jason to jump. He hadn't heard him enter.
Jason just shrugged, not looking at him.
Jason finally glanced up at him, eyes blank. "I had a nightmare that had me spending a good portion of the night puking."
Isaac eyed him for a moment, not saying a word. "Have you ever considered that they're not just nightmares?" he asked softly.
Jason sighed, rubbing his eyes. "You're making everything weird," he said, mentally at how much his voice sounded like a whine. "It was just a nightmare. I've had them forever."
Isaac's lips twitched upwards. "Exactly. You've always had nightmares."
"Yeah, and none of them have come true, thankfully, so it's not like they're a premonition or anything."
Isaac's head tilted to the side, quizzically. "Have you ever asked?"
Jason frowned. "What?"
"Have you ever asked someone if one of your dreams happened to them?"
"Of course not."
"Then how do you know?"
Jason blinked. "What?"
Isaac was silent a moment, then shrugged. "Sorry. It's nothing. I just find it hard to believe that dreams that strong don't mean anything."
"I'm sure a psychiatrist would say that al the quick changes in my life have left me feeling helpless, or something like that."
Isaac's head tilted to the side again, staring straight at him curiously. "Do you feel helpless?"
He shrugged, postponing his answer with a bit of food. "A bit, I suppose. Everything's just ... strange."
Jason gave a tired chuckle, shaking his head. "Hey, I highly doubt you chose to run into me. Besides, if you hadn't, it really didn't look like you would have survived much longer."
Glancing up, he received a small nod from the man across the room. Isaac glanced at the table and they both fell silent. The only sounds were Jason's spoon against the bowl.
"They'll find me soon," Isaac said. "I should leave. You'll be in danger if they find you with me."
"What happened to you being safer if someone else was around?"
"They grow impatient quickly," he replied. "Eventually, they will not care." He bit his lip. "Or, they will assume I have told you what I know."
Jason leaned back in his seat, ignoring the milk in the bowl. "What'll happen if I do know?"
Isaac shook his head. "I don't know. But it wont be pleasant. Especially if-" he cut himself off, shaking his head.
"Especially if what?" Jason asked, frowning.
"I think I have a right to know. Especially if what?"
After a moment, Isaac sighed. "Especially if they learn I introduced you. No human has ever been introduced before. I think they know this."
"Okay ... so I never tell anyone the rain talks to me. Easy enough." Wasn't like he'd want to anyway. They'd put him away before he could finish talking. It just wasn't worth it, and it was much easier to just keep it to himself.
Isaac shivered. "If they get a hold of you, you'll tell them anything just to make it stop."
Jason didn't want to ask. He really didn't. "Make it stop?"
The blond looked back up at him then, eyes full of memories he couldn't begin to understand. "The pain."
"I have to leave. If they don't find me here, you wont be in danger."
Jason almost didn't say anything. It was probably better if Isaac left. he didn't want anything to do with torture, which is what it sounded like was likely to happen. However, if Isaac ran right now, he still wouldn't get far. He needed rest, full meals (or as full meals as he could manage) and warmth. None of these he'd get while running.
"How long until they find you here?" he asked.
"I don't know ... a week, maybe less. If I stay out of sight."
"Stay the week then," Jason told him. "My money comes in Monday and I can at least buy you a ticket out of here to somewhere far away."
"They can track the bus."
"I know, that's why you get off before your scheduled stop. They'll then have to check ever stop and you'll be long gone by then."
Isaac shook his head. "You don't have to," he said. "It's better if you don't help me anymore than you have."
"I want to," Jason said. "Marie wasn't kidding when she said I had a bleeding heart. I can't not help you. If I don't, I'll never be able to sleep. I'll be worrying over you and wondering if you'd have made if I'd just helped more. It's a downward spiral I'd rather not get into if you don't mind."
Isaac's lips turned upwards slightly. "A selfish reason then."
Jason shrugged. "I'm a selfish person."
The blond laughed. "You do not seem the type."
"That's because you're in need and you trigger my damned bleeding heart. Zeke loves to tease me about it."
Isaac's head tilted again, once more giving him a curious look. "I do not think I have ever met a selfish bleeding heart before. The two seem very ..."
"Different? An oxymoron?"
"I know, it surprises me too whenever it pops up." He shrugged once and picked up his bowl, downing the milk still there.
Isaac didn't reply, and when Jason was done, he stood and took his dishes away.
"I could have done that," Jason protested.
"But I could do it easier. You could barely walk when you got up."
"You really should go back to bed. That nightmare seems to have really affected you."
"It didn't. Not this much. I'm never this ... incompetent after a nightmare."
Isaac leaned against the counter, crossing his arms. "Have you ever had one as bad as that before?"
Jason was silent a moment, comparing his other dreams to the one he'd had last night. "No. I've had one that came close, but .. not as bad as that."' he shuddered, wrapping his arms around his stomach.
"What was it?"
Jason blinked up at the blond. "What?"
"You said you had one that was almost as bad. What was it?"
He eyed him a moment before sighing. "Rape. One of my nightmares involved rape. Up until last night, it was the worst thing I'd ever dreamed.
"It didn't affect me this bad either. I threw up a bit, anyone would after something like that, but ... it wasn't like this."
Isaac made a small noise, but didn't say anything. Jason sighed again, running a hand through his hair.
"I think I will go back to sleep," he said.
Again, Isaac didn't say anything.
"You'll stay, right? At least until morning? We can discuss things then."
Isaac looked about to refuse, but he sighed and nodded. Jason gave him a small, tired, smile and made hs way back to the bedroom.
Friday evening found Jason backstage. The enitre cast was in costume and make-up. They waited for the crowed to file in. Already, they could hear them in the audience, talking. Jason could feel teh excitement that always filled him before a performance. Following that was the nerves, but he knew that would fade away as soon as the curtain rose. It always did.
He was worried about Isaac though. The blond was in the audence, having grudgingly agreed to stay until Jason's money came in. He'd made sure Isaac wasn't left alone, just in case 'They' found him sooner than they expected. He wasn't really sure they were that close, but he figured it was better to be safe.
"Jason, hey Jason," Carrie, one of the Techies, hissed. "The curtains about to rise, get out there."
He nodded once to show he'd heard and stepped out onto the stage. At the moment, there was nothing on the stage, but that would chagne ofter his monologue. He took a slow deep breath, centering himself as he took his place front center, right behind the curtain. He liekd this play, he really did. The best part was that he got to play insane, and constantly broke the fourth wall. Closing his eyes, he took another deep breath.
Beyond the curtain, he could see the lights dimming, hear the voices quieting.
"Ladies and Gentlemen," Christopher said over the microphone. "Could you please turn off your cellphones, the show is about to begin."
Jason glanced over to the wings. About a minute later, Carrie gave him a thumbs up. He tossed her a smirk, took a final deep breath, adn let out an anguished scream. he could almost picture the audience jumping. He let himself fall to his kenes and let out another scream, this one choked off by a sob.
The curtain finally opened at his third scream and at the fourth, the lights slowly rose. Their cues were set him him and it was amazing, when he had time to think about it. At the moment, however, his was to submerged in his character to think about that.
The play had begun.
Okay, so I didn't get this out by the ned of the week ... but well, beginning of the week is alright, right? At least I didn't leave you hanging for months ... the five people that actually read the last chapter .
Thanks for reading ^_^ let me know what you think.