Charlie wasn't sure how he felt about Jared anymore, and after being so sure even for as short a time as he was, he felt shiftless and without direction and it showed transparently on his face. He could see his own confusion reflected in his amber colored eyes as he looked in the mirror, that stayed consistent even when amber became gold, then red, and then green as his face contorted and changed shape, or at least to Charlie seemed to do so thanks to the generous amounts of LSD in his system. At this part of the night, he wasn't really sure about anything, and that was how he liked it anyway. Everywhere he looked, thoughts and emotions seemed to intermingle and trickle into reality in fantastic displays of color, before vanishing completely just as soon as they had come. His carpet, which was usually an unimpressive, dirty piece of shit now seemed to be vibrating with motion and felt like a sea of silk beneath his feet. Charlie loved being in this state of mind, it relaxed him and made him feel happy. When he was tripping like this, he always felt as if he better understood himself and his problems, which was the feeling he was looking for tonight, so far without success. He HAD liked his old high school buddy Jared in a romantic way, he 'positive about that. He'd spent many of his teenage years trying to deny the feelings he had felt and to pretend that he was into chicks just like all of his friends. Even now, he could remember the dozens of late nights he had spent awake worrying about "his secret." which now seemed so childish and silly to him, but still somehow managed to torment him in the present. It had been 5 months since Charlie had confessed his homosexuality to those closest to him( Jared included) in a drunken stupor, which to Charlie's surprise went much better than he had ever anticipated.

So well, in fact, that he had felt like an idiot for not talking about it sooner. Like he had been tearing myself up inside for years over nothing. The weight of the world had lifted off his shoulders and he had almost felt like a new person. The cynical pessimism that was the trademark of Charlie's personality had morphed into flamboyant ( no pun intended) optimism. The shy reserved guy who had kept his mouth shut to stave off the judgment of others now gave not one single fuck about what anyone thought, and everyone could see it. Jared had seen it. He'd made that clear in a tearful confession that had made the hairs on the back of Charlie's neck tingle. All at once, every deep-seated fear in his life had melted away and in its place was everything he had ever wanted, the acceptance of those he loved, and the affection of someone he liked. Everything had seemed like it was falling into place until the night Jared asked Charlie for intimacy. " I'm gonna be working with my Dad over in Kentucky for a few months, we won't get to see each other for like half a year, it'll be a great way to say goodbye." He had said with a mischievous grin. It took Charlie several seconds to understand what Jared was suggesting. The realization blind-sided him and made him slightly uncomfortable because though he wouldn't admit it out loud, the years of self-loathing and denial he had put himself through had made the whole concept of sex terrifying to him. To Charlie, sex was something filthy that you didn't talk about, much less request from another guy as casually as one might ask for help mowing the lawn. He didn't know how to respond. "Oh," he said unenthusiastically. Jared's expression turned from mischevious to concerned. " I mean if that's ok, are you up to it? Is everything alright?" he asked. Charlie started to apologize profusely and did his best to explain to Jared why he wasn't ready to give him what he asked for, to which Jared listened to quietly and accepted despite clear disappointment on his face. " It's alright Charlie, I don't want you to feel pressured into anything," he said sincerely before changing the subject. The remainder of the night passed with relative silence between the two and the next day Jared left for Kentucky, and for a time, left Charlie alone with his thoughts. Well, alone with his thoughts and the three tabs of acid he was now enjoying. He wondered to himself why exactly he had turned Jared down while staring lazily at his bookshelf that was contracting and expanding almost as if it were breathing as the acid zipped through his brain. What made this question even more difficult, aside from the drugs, was another whirlwind of uncertainty and confusion that had recently blown into his life. A whirlwind named Delilah. She was the most vibrant and lively person he knew, and she filled him with feelings that made him doubt everything he thought he had established about himself, and he was at a loss as to what he should do with them. He had never felt attracted to any girl in particular up to this point and wasn't really even sure if he could be, but if he could, he would definitely be attracted to Delilah.

This realization made him ask himself if he were really gay and going even deeper, what that even meant. All of the sureness of self he had with Jared had now evaporated and he was left with conflicting if not slightly pleasurable feelings. Charlie decided to try and put the question out of his mind out of habit and instead tried to focus on the stunning visuals that filled his surroundings. From where he sat on his bed, his bedroom which more often than not was so familiar that it was painfully dully had metamorphosized into a totally alien landscape the likes of which could scarcely be described. To call it a wonderland was no exaggeration. Everything was in motion. The bookshelf was breathing, his head was tingling, the floor was alive with ghostly shapes and geometric patterns that were in constant flux, but at the same time, nothing felt out of place. He didn't feel that his senses were being invaded but rather expanded, it was an experience that Charlie thought everyone should have at least once in their life. Somewhere off in the distance, he heard the clear dinging sound of his phone announcing to him that someone was texting him. He ignored it at first, then twice, but when the third ding rang out he figured that he should at least check his phone to see who was so desperately trying to get his attention and he set himself to the daunting task of finding his phone. Once he finally did pick his phone out of the ocean of shifting objects and phantom colors he turned it on to see a straightforward notification the likes of which one would expect to see on a phone screen. 3 messages; Delilah, Jared. He glanced over the texts, the first two being from Delilah. "Hey, What's up?" followed by " I hate my Job :(" Charlie was always sincerely impressed by her ability to be random for reasons he didn't understand, and he chuckled a little when he realized that seemed to be the main theme of his life. " Well, if you can't laugh at yourself, what kind of man would you be?" he reasoned with himself before opening Jared's text and instead of seeing the usual kind of texts he got from him he saw something rather cryptic. " You know Charlie all comedy really is, is a mixture of tragedy and time." Charlie wasn't exactly bothered by this, Jared had a habit of trying to make profound statements that were usually just corny and lame, like the kinda shit you would see written on motivation posters. But this one stood out just because it had a bitter kind of humor behind it that was unlike Jared, and it made Charlie wonder if he was upset about something. " Yeah, I guess so, everything alright?" he managed to reply despite the LSD. a few minutes passed with no reply, then a half hour, then two hours with no reply. He had decided not to reply to Delilah in that time frame in part because it would still be several hours before he would be functional enough to comfortably have a coherent conversation with her, and also in part because texting her and Jared at once made him feel slightly guilty, even though he knew that was silly.

Instead, he just decided to vegetate in the chemicals that radiated through his brain for however long he could while he patiently waited for Jared's reply. Hours came and went with no reply until the sun had started to peak out from under the horizon outside and the tidal wave of sights and sensations that came with doing acid had slowed down to near none existence when Charlie noticed movement outside his bedroom window. He approached the window with caution and at first saw nothing out of the ordinary until he looked down his driveway and saw a tall figure standing by his father's car. The figure was dressed in all black and wore a heavy hood of the same color that obscured his features. For several moments it stood completely still, staring up at Charlie's window before raising its hand and waving to Charlie as if they were old friends before completely vanishing into nothingness. Charlie was pretty unsettled by what he saw but reminded himself that he was on drugs, and the logical conclusion was that he was still hallucinating. After a few deep breaths, he convinced himself that was the case and then forgot about it altogether when the ding of his phone brought another message from Jared at last. two simple words that started Charlie down a dark path of destruction and pain that would touch everyone he had ever known. " I Know."