Times of Torment (Peregrine x ChaosMage)

Discussion in 'ROLEPLAY GRAVEYARD' started by Peregrine, Jan 23, 2014.

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  1. Wake up, Birdy.

    It took Jaylon a few moments to figure out that the voice he was hearing was not a part of his dream. His eyes fluttered slowly open, staring absentmindedly at the white popcorn ceiling of his tiny New York apartment. There were shivers running down his back, and the hair on his arms was standing on end. He sat up, running long fingers through his spiked black hair, before rubbing the heel of his hand against his eyes. It took a few moments for his breathing to settle back out to a normal rhythm, and even longer before he could no longer feel his heart pounding in his chest. There was no reason to panic, he scolded himself, standing up and heading over to the bathroom to splash cold water on his face.

    It had been three months since Jay, or Bird, as his close friends called him, had started hearing the voice in his head. It had been easy enough to ignore at first. Jay’s thoughts had never been particularly easy to follow, even when he was a child. Finding a stray thought in his head that did not seem to really belong to him had never been an uncommon occurrence. It wasn’t until he realized that he was dialoguing with these stray thoughts that he began to realize something was wrong. And as soon as he acknowledged their presence, these stray thoughts collected together into something sinister. Even then he hadn’t worried too much about it. The voice provided a nice little distraction at work, when the endless lines began to pile up and he was running mostly by instinct and charm. He trusted his own mind; it would never hurt him. After all, it was one of the few allies he had, and if he couldn’t count on it he couldn’t count on anything. If it wanted to manifest a dark personality to let off a little bit of the stress, he would be happy to accommodate.

    He only began to worry when this dark personality began to offer him tidbits of information, disturbing information that even he was not twisted enough to come up with. And it was too late to do anything when he realized these bits of information were true. He almost lost his job when, losing his temper at a customer, he ripped into the man for daring to tell him how to do his job when the man had been fired from his last job because all he did was try and get under the boss’ secretary’s skirt. He had tried to apologize, but the man was so furious that it could only be true. He fully lost his job when he dug out the manager’s secret stash of scotch in a back drawer.

    He had gone home that night and relayed this latest bit in his string of bad luck to the only person who still seemed to care for him; the “older sister” he had grown up with in foster care, Silvia. He left off the fact that he wouldn’t have had this problem without the voice in his head, a voice that was increasingly beginning to terrify him.

    The nightmares began not much later. He saw himself, put in the most violent situations he could comprehend. But what scared him most was the smile plastered across his own face, and the promise of the dark voice that this was his future. Only as soon as it got a little closer to him.

    For several days he had considered committing himself to an institution. He was not feeling any violent urges, but surely this voice in the back of his mind was a sign that it was coming. And he probably would have too, except for the fact that he knew this voice was not a figment of his imagination. It knew too much for that. It led him to the hidden key his next door neighbor had planted, into the apartment, and to the closet, where he opened the man’s safe in a single try. He backed out of the room in a panic, leaving the half-pound of heroin and several thousand dollars untouched. After that, he stopped following the promptings of the dark voice, no matter how sweetly or cruelly it offered them to him. The voice only laughed. Soon enough, it said, Jay would have no choice but to play its games.

    And that was why, on this dark winter morning in downtown New York City, Jaylon was waking up in a cold sweat. Because the voice had offered two more words after its wake-up call. And they could only mean one thing. Whatever this dark voice intended, there was no avoiding it now.

    It is time.

    He got dressed quickly, barely even noticing as he put his shirt on inside out and his shoes on backwards. He stumbled his way out of the apartment, trying desperately to ignore the taunts of the voice. Where did he expect to run? Did he really think that he could get away? And the constant, never ending repetition coursing through his head. It is time, it is time, it is time.

    He was nearly run over by a car when he darted out into the street outside his apartment, only dodging because of a shout of warning from the voice in his head. The taxi driver swore at him violently, shouting at him to get out of the road. Jay compiled, his fingers slipping into his jacket pocket and tightening compulsively around his phone. He didn’t really know where he was expecting to run either, and he knew it was futile. There was no escape. If these three months had taught him anything, it was that this dark voice was infallible, unavoidable, and persistent. He was consumed by fear, racing ahead blindly, desperately trying to outrun the bad thing that he knew was coming. It is time. It is time to play the games, to succumb to whatever it was the dark will wanted.

    The sun was starting to rise, and still Jay pushed himself onwards, ignoring the desperate burning of his lungs and the stitch in his side. He was goaded on by the voice, the voice that had never stopped whispering to him since he had awoken, and by the strange belief that, if he didn’t stop moving, it wouldn’t start. He crashed to a stop outside Grand Central Station, bowling over a park bench and falling heavily to the pavement. He pushed himself up, ignoring the blood and strange, clear, gooey liquid that was secreting from his torn palms and knees. He stumbled his way in through the double doors, desperately trying to avoid the laughter that seemed to echo off every wall and pillar in the immense building. He came to a rest against a wall and leaned back heavily, panting. There was something sliding down his face, and he reached up a hand to wipe away the sweat. When he pulled away his hand, he saw it coated in that same, strange, clear goo that had been seeping from his hands. He pulled away from the wall, gasping wildly, only to see it dripping with the same substance. His clothes were soaked, and he could feel it leaking from every pore in his body. He started to wail, trying to claw the stuff away from his body, but it poured out in a seemingly neverending stream, on the floor, benches, anything he came in contact with.

    Show Spoiler
    He didn’t notice the security guard coming up on him from behind until he felt the man latch onto his shoulders. Jay whirled about, clawing desperately at the guard, coating the man in the goo that was flowing faster and faster from him. As soon as the stuff touched the man’s skin he began to scream. He shoved himself away from Jay, clawing savagely at his face, as clefts began to carve themselves into his flesh wherever the gunk had touched him, staining the substance a murky shade of pink. The stuff began to bubble, almost as though it was boiling, and it raced back along the path that Jay had taken, up benches and walls and all along the floor.

    People were being drawn in by the security guard’s screams. Another man tried to grab him, but he too fell to the floor, screaming. On the far side of the room, a young woman slipped on the path Jay had made and fell into the stuff. She began to writhe on the floor as her clothes became soaked with blood. Someone who rushed forwards to help her found himself trapped as well. And the more people who touched it, the more violently the goo began to bubble.

    Panicked beyond anything he could understand, Jay pushed his way towards the exit of the building, barely even noticing as he ran into an elderly woman desperately trying to get away from him. There was chaos in the station, and the ooze seemed to be creeping along the floors and walls, covering everything nearby, human or object. There were tears streaming from his eyes, or was it more of the gloop, falling away from him in sticky handfuls. He was coated in blood, but even as he moved it was washed away as more of the substance flowed from his skin. He nearly tripped over a person, who had been so eaten away that it was no longer possible to tell whether the person was male or female. But a scrap of brightly colored floral pattern attested to the fact that she had once been female. Her eyes were wide and staring, and he backed away, silent, until one of her eyes rolled suddenly and pointed right at him. Then his screams echoed around the room, made unrecognisable by the tumult of the rest of the people in the room.

    Finally, he reached the entrance to the station. He pushed his way out through the door, and the bodies that had begun to pile up around it as people tried to force their way through the stacks of goo that had built around the door. Jay too pushed his way through, unconcerned and unthinking about what it might do to him. But the stuff slid around his body, almost seemed to welcome him into its warm, sticky, bubbling mess, before spitting him out the other side. As he slid out, all of the goo on his body slid away with him. It took him a moment to notice that he was perfectly dry, not a hair or thread out of place. He stumbled to a halt, looking back at the building, his eyes wide. Had he just imagined the whole thing? Had he simply gone insane? There were no more screams, just the sound of cars, trains, and footsteps. A small smile spread over his face, relief that, while he might be crazy, no one else had been hurt.

    And, with that smile still touching his lips, he saw the boiling goo at the door begin to vibrate. There was a moment where he saw the orange glow that began to build in its depths, and, suddenly, Manhattan was rocked as an explosion tore through Grand Central Station. Jay felt himself flung away as a fireball flew at him, but it passed through and around his body the same way the goo had. Pieces of the building flew all around, crashing through windows, into cars, and onto the street. A middle aged woman didn’t even had a chance to scream before a piece of the wall caved in the side of her head.

    Jay stumbled his way to his feet, knowing that this time it was tears that flowed from his face. The voice was laughing, exultant, praising Jay for his phenomenal effort.

    That couldn’t have gone better if I had planned it myself. They are going to hunt for you now. You just blew up one of the most notable landmarks in the country. And that smile had perfect timing.

    He was trying to swear, trying to say anything, but his tongue seemed to have folded over on itself. He couldn’t get a breath of air to pass through the back of his mouth. Yet he was gasping, and he was screaming. Why couldn’t he move his legs, even though he was running, running away as fast as he was able?

    Now you play my games. Now you have no choice. But, don’t worry. I won’t let them hurt you. I won’t let anyone do anything to you. After all, you are mine.

    There was a bridge up ahead, and Jay hurtled himself over the edge, unconcerned for the twenty-five foot drop that awaited him. Yet he landed with almost cat-like grace, legs spread out beneath him, hands imbedded a couple of inches into the rocky dirt. He stumbled his way under the bridge and slid down against the wall. His tears seemed to have finally come to an end, and he was no longer screaming. He couldn’t have made a noise, even if he had wanted to.

    The police siren jolted him out of his reverie. He pressed himself tight against the wall, ignoring the voice, which politely informed him that there was no way the police could see him down there. His hands were back in his pocket, and he felt the hard edges of his cell phone biting into his hand. He flipped it open, and dialed the number on instinct. It was the only one he really had.

    “Sil,” he whispered when he heard the ringing stop. There were tears streaming down his face again, and his voice cracked as he tried to speak. “Sil. I... I need your help. Please.”
  2. It was a call she dreaded for years. Every sister worries for her brother and her and Jay were no different. When he was placed in the foster care, she protected him. Cared for him. Stood up for him. She was the sister he never had. Now he was in trouble..and he called her. Her silken hands clutched the phone as she answered the call. "Oh my god. Jay! You alright?" She could hear him slightly crying on the other line...it broke her heart. "I..I don't know what's going on..everything just..Please..help me...."

    Tears welled in her hazel eyes. She knew she had to help, but if she didn't know where he was..than there wasn't much she could do. She held the phone tight..as if it was his body she held in her frail hands. "Listen carefully Jay..i need you to find something. Something that you can tell me so i can find you..ok? A street sign...a landmark...a restaurant...something." Silence echoed from the other end..each second of it seemed like it would drive her insane.
    Did he die? Drop the phone? Did someone kidnap him? "Sil?" She breathed a huge sigh hearing his voice, even if it resonated of pure terror. "Yea Jay? Did you find something?"
    The silence waiting for his answer tormented her even worse than the first wave. Each quiet moment was like a crash of anxiety..a wave of panic. It terrified her more than anything else..to think it involved Jay. "Jay..please...just tell me where you are."
  3. As soon as he heard her voice his whole body began to shiver. The tremors seemed to originate right from the side of his head, where the phone was firmly pressed against his ear. They spread down his spine, into his arms and legs. For a moment, they got so bad that he could barely even hold the phone anymore. He could hear Silvia on the other side of the phone, her voice desperate. It brought a small smile to his lips, and he tried to speak. This time, his own voice was frozen in his throat by the sound of that cruel laughter, the laughter that had driven him through today. He would have thought he was used to it by now, but, somehow, it still froze him right to the core.

    Who would have believed it? This is who you were calling? I thought people were supposed to care more for their friends than they did for themselves. You want to drag her into this? Well, never say that I am not happy to oblige.

    It felt like his whole body was turning inside out. The cell phone dropped out of his hands, and Jay let out a small, whimpering scream. Somehow, the pain was almost welcome. It felt like atonement for all the things he had done that day. Even if he hadn’t meant to do it, those people, how many had there been, were dead because of him. He should have done something sooner, back when there might have been a way to change it. But what could he have done.

    As suddenly as the pain had come, it stopped. Jay was still huddled in on himself, his knees pressed firmly into his chest. But he was no longer sitting with his back to old concrete; he was resting lightly upon the couch in Silvia’s home, muddy shoes staining the upholstery. He let out a gasp, and then a whimper, as he looked up into Silvia’s wide eyes.

    Now she is an accomplice. And when the FBI comes hunting for the terrorist that blew up Grand Central Station, they are soon going to find out that he went to visit his best friend from foster care. And that she helped him. You have just chosen to make your sister America’s Most Wanted #2.

    “No,” Jay whispered. “I’m sorry, I’m so, so, sorry. I should never have called you.” He stood up quickly, dodging around any attempt that Silvia might make to stop him. He hurtled towards the door out of the apartment, dodging furniture more by instinct than because he was really seeing anything around him. He reached the main door, pulled it open, and stepped out into the hallway. He closed the door behind him and attempted to keep running, but found himself colliding with something that shouldn’t have been here. He hit the back of the couch forcefully, sending him toppling over it.

    Why was there a couch in the hallway? It took him a moment to realize what had happened. He hadn’t gone out into the hallway. Somehow, as he had walked out of Silvia’s apartment, he had stepped right back into it. He had come back in through the bathroom door. But how had he gotten there?

    The laughter in his head was back again, how he wished it would just go away. No, no, no. It scolded, as though reprimanding a troublesome toddler. You made your choice. Now you have to accept the consequences. You don’t get to leave. This whole thing will be much more interesting if we drag your girl along for the ride.

    He was crying again, bawling as he had not done since he was a child. It would have almost been humiliating, except he was so far beyond caring that it no longer mattered. He did not even dare wish that this whole day had just been some absurd nightmare, because that dark voice was silently reminding him that it could make this day a whole lot worse than it already was.

    And what was he supposed to tell Silvia? She did not understand what was going on any more than he did. If anything, he had a better grasp on it, because this voice had been his constant companion for the past three months.

    “Please,” he whispered. “Just let her go.”

    No. I’m sure she will turn out to be quite... useful.

    Jay was shivering again, shaking so badly that he was afraid he would bite his tongue off. What had he just done? To what kind of hell had he just sent his foster sister, and himself?
  4. She couldn't quite understand. One minute, she got a call from Jay..he sounded scared, afraid...and it terrified her. Then, suddenly, there was silence and he was suddenly outside her apartment and now he was sitting on her couch. She watched him stand, watched him stain her brand new rug with his muddy shoes..but that didn't bother her at this time. Jay looked...lost. His eyes were blank..as if they knew they were there, but they were off searching for something. Just a blank stare.

    "Jay..Jay? It's Silvia..remember? You called me..Jay, please say something!" The color slowly returned to his face and when he saw me, i smiled. I could see the old jay..happy, carefree, loveable. But now...he looked..horrified to see i was there. He apologized to me and ran for the door, but appeared on the couch.
    This made no sense..she was so confused.

    Then..she saw him do something he hadn't done since she first met him many years ago. He cried....no, not just cried. He bawled. It was a sight that resurfaced memories she wished she never had to endure again. The orphanage, the kids, the beatings, the rejections. She shook her head. Jay needed her here..now.
    She sat beside him on the couch and wrapped her arms around him comfortingly.

    "Jay..you haven't done this since the orphanage. Please, tell me what is troubling you. I'm your sister..let me help you."
    He looked at her, tears dripping from his eyes.
    "Please Jay..."
    "Please let her go."
    Her eyes went wide. Who was he talking to? The way he looked at her..looked through her..it was like she was never there. Like he couldn't see her, or feel her comfort. She began to cry, hugging Jay tightly.
    "Please Jay..you're scaring me. Please say something...i want to know you're ok...."
    #4 ChaosMage, Jan 24, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2014
  5. Her voice slowly brought him out of his vacant daze. He felt her arms wrapped around his shoulders, felt the wetness of her tears staining his shirt. He took a deep breath, and his tears slowly stopped as his hand reached up, curling around the side of her head and pulling her closer to him.

    That's right. Settle down. You've got to think, if you want to stay ahead of the cops. How long before they figure out who it was who blew up Grand Central, and throw you and your pretty sister in jail?

    He felt his teeth clench harshly, bringing the muscles in his jaw into relief. The sadness echoing inside him was suddenly and violently replaced with anger, but that didn't last long. The voice taunted it right out of him.

    Good. Anger is good. Far better than sorrow. You will do far more interesting things when you are mad.

    Now there was nothing in him, nothing but echoing emptiness. A part of him still felt guilt for dragging his sister into whatever hell this was going to be, and a large part of his soul weeped for the lives of those lost in the explosion. Had anyone survived it? How many people had there been?

    And, most importantly and most painfully, how was he going to explain all this to Silvia?

    He turned his head sideways and pressed his nose into her hair, taking a deep breath. "It's ok, Sil. I'm back. But I'm not alright. I'm about as far... as far as it is possible to get from alight." He paused, turning aside and gently extracting himself from her embrace. "And I'll try... I promise I will do my best to explain it. But..." but I'm afraid you might hate me. I'm afraid you will look at me with disgust, when you know the kind of monster I've become. When you know the things I've done.

    "But I don't think you will be able to understand. At least not right away."

    Would you like me to enlighten her? The groan that rumbled in his throat was answer enough to that particular mocking statement, but it only earned more laughter. It would go faster that way. A lot faster.

    Jay barely restrained himself from speaking aloud, but the feel of Silvia sitting next to him kept him from speaking. Or, at least, from speaking to the voice in his head. "I... I don't know where to begin," he told her sadly. "I can't even comprehend of a place to start."
    #5 Peregrine, Jan 24, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2014
  6. She glanced at him. He looked so full of despair. what should i do? She didn't know what to do, so she did what came to her mind first. She took his hand in hers and gazed into his eyes.
    "Take your time and tell me what happened. I'm not going anywhere."
    Something had happened to him and whatever it was..whatever had happened, it troubled him greatly.

    As she waited for her brother to talk, her phone rang. She jumped, getting slightly alarmed. "I'll be right back Jay." She stood up and grabbed the phone.
    "Yes? Oh hi...the news? no i haven't...now? i kinda got company....alright alright, hold on."
    She walked up to Jay and sat back down beside him.
    "Sorry Jay, my friend said that i have to turn on the news. It's important...this won't take long."

    She turned on the tv and the report started.
    "..saster here at the Grand Central Station. We have gotten reports that what has happened here might be the work of a terrorist attack and the number presumed dead is still unconfirmed.
    The police are asking anyone who might have information to come forward as soon as they can. Here at New York news, we will be covering this groundbreaking story as it unfolds." Silvia felt weak. An attack at the station? When? How?

    Turning off the TV, she turned to Jay, only to see his face even worse than when he arrived.
    "Jay, what is it? Is it about the station?"
  7. The sound of his foster sister’s voice was having a dual effect upon Jay. On the one hand it was bringing him out of his nightmare, bringing him back into a more stable place of mind, where he could once more think. The fact that thinking only brought the details of his escapade into Grand Central Station into greater relief was not welcome, but if he didn’t think about it... He would never be able to move on. So, for that, he thanked her. But her voice was also a constant reminder that she was here, sitting next to him, and she would stay next to him no matter what he told her. The voice was right when it said that he had just put his best friend into more danger than most people could track down in their entire lives, and there was no way for him to get out of it. The panic in her voice also added to the guilt that was stabbing into him with every word she spoke. He had gone to her out of instinct. She had been the person who protected him all his life, and they had always worked with each other whenever they got into trouble. She was the only person he could ever truly trust, and he for her. But, if he had been thinking at the time, would he have called her? Would he have left her to wonder as his face became spread all over the country, left her to worry about what could possibly have happened to him as things got worse and worse?

    Because he knew things were going to get worse. The dark voice had forced its way into him, and it wasn’t going to let him go. It was going to continue to torment him until he died, and maybe even after that point. It would find his greatest weakness and exploit it, until he was nothing but an empty shell made of pain. This morning it had been the lives of innocents, average people who were just going about their daily lives. Now it was his sister.

    Perhaps the best way to protect her now was to truly let her know what he had gotten himself into. Maybe then she would reject him. The thought of that nearly ripped his heart in half, which in some ways might be a good thing. The constant knowledge that everything he did made the most important person in his life hate him all the more might be a good enough reason for the voice to let her go. Although it was doubtless tuning in on this convoluted logic, and making its own decisions from that.

    But it was pointless speculation. As he watched her move away from him and turn on the tv, as he felt the pain from this morning rip through him anew at the footage of the flaming Grand Central Station, at the charred corpses that were slowly being dragged out by a conglomeration of firemen and police, he also knew that she wouldn’t leave him to face this alone.

    Jay was barely able to meet her eyes when she asked him if this had anything to do with the mood he was in. He tried to hold their hazel depths in his own dark eyes, but quickly found himself looking away. It took a moment for him to gather the resolution to look back at her.

    “Yes,” he whispered, dropping his head into his hands. “It is all my fault.”
    #7 Peregrine, Jan 27, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2014
  8. His fault? How could that be possible? Jay was the nicest kid she or anyone ever knew. How could he have anything to do with Grand Central Station? She lifted the phone to her ear again. "I'm sorry...i have to go. Ye..yes i'm fine. I'll call you back." Hanging up the phone, she turned back to Jay.

    "Jay, what did you mean when you said it was all your fault?" There was something that he wasn't telling her. Ever since he showed up at her place, she had felt cold. Fearful. Like something was watching them. She knew it was probably just nerves..but there was definitely something wrong with Jay. He was usually more outgoing, energetic and kind and yet here he was. Sobbing, scared out of his mind, and not telling her a damn thing.

    Kneeling next to him, she took his hand in hers. Her touch trying to settle his apparently disturbed mind. His skin felt cold as if he had been standing in winter chills all day. She hoped that her heat might warm him up some, but it didn't feel like it was.
    "Jay, please talk to me. What's going on? What happened at Grand Central?"
  9. Since the moment that his sister had turned on the TV, the voice in Jay's head had been taunting him, congratulating him on a job well done, promising him more chaos yet to come. He had tried to ignore it, but there was no way to avoid its subtle insinuations. The voice was dragging him out of his cocoon, forcing the emotions he had repressed to tear through him again. But there wasn't just sorrow and fear. There was anger, distrust, love, empathy, and most absurdly and most worrying, a touch of pride. He had done that. He had done more damage in a few seconds than most terrorists could pull off in a year.

    He registered with some surprise that the tears had stopped flowing. He was staring at his sister's face, and right now, she seemed more worried than he was. Perhaps that was a good thing. Perhaps, now that he had someone to take care of, he would stop feeling sorry for himself and concentrate. He had a duty to explain to her what was going on, before one of them made a mistake that could end up causing someone a lot of harm. She needed to understand. The fact that the voice agreed was worrisome, but in the end irrelevant.

    "I didn't mean to kill all those people, Sil. I didn't know what was happening. If I had, I never would have even left the house. Or maybe I would have just killed myself." That comment was not helping, and he quickly hushed any protests his friend may offer. He had to start at the beginning.

    And so he did. "You remember when I got fired? When I wouldn't tell you how I found the things I found, and knew the things I knew? Well, the reason was, at the time, I thought I was just going crazy. You see, Sil, there is this... voice. A voice in my head. And it tells me things. Bad things. But I wasn't too worried about it. It was just a voice. But when I realized that it was telling me true things... Things that there was no way I could know, or even guess.

    "Sil, this voice is real. It isn't just me going crazy, really. I don't know what it is, but it is evil." He closed his fists tight, biting his nails deep into his palm, trying to ignore the voice cooing in his head, acting all flattered. "It wants to hurt people. It wants me to hurt people. And it... it has been getting closer. And now it got me to kill those people.

    "You have to believe me. I'm not insane, I'm not schizo, I'm not suffering from any form of PTSD, or any other mental illness. This voice is real and it is very, very powerful. It made me... secrete this liquid explosive, and as soon as I left the building everything blew up. It made a piece of rock pass right through me. It teleported me to your couch, and then it made me come in through the bathroom door when I tried to leave your room."

    Jay leaned forwards, cupping his sister's face in his hands. "And now it isn't going to let you go, either. It wants to torment me, and it knows the best way to really get at me is through you. Please, Sil. Try and leave. I don't think it'll work, but I'm begging you. Run away as fast as you can."
  10. Silvia watched her brother and listened to him being frantic. He talked about murder..about a powerful voice..secreting liquid that would explode and that he wasn't crazy.
    "I know you're not crazy Jay. You have to understand though that all this is kinda far fetched. You're talking about spirits and demons and..well...magic basically. I'm not saying you're a liar, but..."

    He continued talking even while she was...even begging her to try and leave. telling her to try..even though it wouldn't work. She looked confused. Why wouldn't she be able to leave her own apartment?
    "Alright Jay..just relax. You want me to try and walk outside..then i will. I'll be right back..ok?"
    She stood up and began walking to the door, opening it up and gazing out into the hallway. She had no clue why Jay wanted her to do this, but if it helped him calm down..then she would do it. For Jay....

    She took a step outside and found herself staring at her wall. "What the...?" She glanced around and saw she was sitting next to jay on the couch. How did i get here?
    She stood up, noticing Jay had not even flinched since she walked toward the door. She walked back to it, still noticing it was wide open. Taking a step outside, she found herself back on the couch.
    She screamed and jumped up from the couch. She was on the verge of being terrified.

    "Jay...what the fuck is going on?"
    She hardly ever swore..but it came to her lips instinctively. Her eyes locked onto Jay..waiting for him to explain...then she remembered what he had said.
    "Sil, this voice is real. I don't know what it is, but it is evil. It wants to hurt people. It wants me to hurt people."

    The realization of his words finally fully sunk in. It wasn't a dream...it wasn't a nightmare..not a joke or a prank or a story...it was real!
    She collapsed to her knees, her head falling into his lap as she sobbed. She wanted to stop, but her body wouldn't respond.
    She hated to appear frail in front of her brother..but she couldn't stop herself. All this..all at once...it was too much.
  11. Let her go.

    You don't really want that.

    She was willing to humor him. She had always been willing to humor him. He could see the disbelief warring with sympathy in her eyes, and a part of him hated it. He didn't want her pity. But he forgave her for her disbelief. She would be forced to believe all too soon. She opened the door, glanced at him once, and walked out.

    Yes I do. Let her go.


    Please let her go.

    She wouldn't stay away even if I did make her go. All that would happen is she might start to actually think you are insane. And I don't want that.

    It wouldn't be that big of a challenge to make sure that she didn't come back.

    But I want her to stay.

    She was sitting back next to him now, and for a moment she didn't even seem to register what was going on. She looked at him curiously before her eyes went wide. It hurt him to know that her panic was only going to get worse. He wished it was all in his head, that he was making everything up, but everything around him told him that this was real. And he would not allow himself to believe that the entire thing was nothing more than one big hallucination, that he was lying in some hospital bed while his brain tormented him. Because if he allowed himself to believe that this wasn't real, then he might start not caring what happened. And then, if it was real, it would be far too late to go back. He would be lost. And the world might very well burn for it.

    If you let her go... I'm all yours. I'll have no one to listen to but you, and eventually it will drive me mad.

    You are mine already. It will be so much more interesting to watch her watch you go mad.

    What does that gain you?


    Only something incredibly sick would find any entertainment on the emotions that were flashing through his foster sister's face now. He could see the panic building within her, and waited patiently for her to realize the truth. There was nothing he could do to aid her now, she was either going to accept what had happened or she was going to break. And he prayed that it wasn't the second option, even as part of him wondered, if she broke now, whether or not that would free her. Maybe if she rejected him the voice would be satisfied, because that final rejection would hurt far more than anything he could ever do to himself, or anyone other than her could ever do to him.

    She was crying now, sobbing her heart out. And all he could do was lean forward, pull her in close to his chest and hold her until she calmed down. "I'm sorry," he whispered, desperate at her pain. "I'm so sorry I brought this down on you.

    "Breathe. I'm here. Breathe." He had been right. Having someone else to take care of tore his attention away from his own pain. He could feel himself regaining complete control, and the beginnings of a plan were starting to form in the back of his mind. There was nothing he could do to keep it hidden from the dark voice, so he didn't even try. And the plan had nothing to do with finding a way to avoid the voice. All it was concerned with was finding a way to keep her safe.
  12. Silvia wept. She really didn't know what else to do. Jay had been living with this for so long..why didn't he tell her sooner? The tears finally started to subside. He was dealing with something far greater than she was prepared to deal with.
    She leaned away from him, slowly standing back on her feet again. She was back to her normal self..save for how much this entire scenario was freaking her out.
    "Ok..we need to find someplace to lay low. In order for me to fully help you Jay, you need to tell me everything. Don't keep anything from me..alright? Promise me! I'll do whatever I can to help you beat this....whatever it is."

    She was always the planner of the two. Any plans he needed thought up, anything someone needed scheduled or organized..she was the girl to go to. Someone even said she would be an excellent strategist if she put her mind into it fully. She never really had any need until now.
    "Grab my other backpack and fill it with canned food and stuff that won't rot quickly."
    She rushed into her bedroom to grab her wallet, her emergency kit and fill her backpack with some raggedy clothes. These would help them blend in outside.
    Once she had all her things from her room, she threw the backpack over the shoulders and went to help Jay in the kitchen. They had to hurry and get out of the apartments before some of the gossipy people noticed them.
  13. It was beautiful, the way she believed he could be “saved.” Beautiful, and painful. The voice was laughing again. It must be amusing, being wherever it was, able to look down on humankind and see how weak and pathetic they were. Perhaps that was why it wanted to cause such chaos. It wanted to see how the human creature would react.

    But for Jay, he couldn’t isolate his own being, his own emotions, from his sister. He wanted to tell her that there was no saving, that he had been entirely selfish coming to see her. He simply wanted to drag someone else into his hell. But he had to have some faith, or he really might break. Maybe there was an ending in sight. Maybe, now that he wasn’t alone, she would be able to see something that he couldn’t.

    But he doubted it. Even as he tried not to, he doubted it.

    “I promise,” he replied, the words bitter in his mouth. They felt like a lie, because even in promising to tell her everything so as to help her save him, he could not believe there was any salvation waiting for him. The deaths weighed on his shoulders like some stone obelisc. There was no bringing those lives back. And the dark voice promised him that there was no getting back to his life, either. It would play with him until it was bored, and then it would abandon him. But by that point, there would be nothing left of Jay. Only a broken, shell of a puppet, dropped onto the floor with tangled strings and limp arms.

    But he stood anyways when she asked him to go get the food, nodding blankly. That was a task on which he could focus without having to worry what it might mean. He snagged the backpack on the way to the kitchen, breathing heavily. However, his hands opened reflexively in shock when he entered. The cabinets were open, cans upon cans neatly stacked on the counters. As soon as the backpack left his grip, it was caught, pulled away from him. The cans hopped off the counters, fitting into the bag with ease.

    Wh... Why? He stumbled out eventually.

    Because I can. Because it is funny to see you flinch. Because I want you out of here as quickly as possible.

    The first two motivations made as much sense as anything. But the last one sent a shiver down Jay's spine. He could not believe that anything the voice wanted would bring anything less than suffering. But he had to protect Silvia. He grabbed the bag of food, turning towards her, almost running into her as she wandered into the kitchen. He proffered the bag, face carefully neutral.

    "Shall we go?"
  14. At the FBI headquarters in Washington, DC

    Ferdinand Strauss sat at his desk. As his 12th year as the director of the FBI division, he felt that nothing could disturb this fine day. Everything seemed normal on the screens. No alerts of terrorist attacks, no bombings, no gang riots. All was good with the world. Suddenly, one screen flashed red again and again.
    "What is going on there!?" People scrambled to get the footage onscreen. "A bombing of Grand Central Station!? Why weren't we alerted to this before!?"
    "We don't know sir. The news report..one of our analysts saw it and shot it over to us. this is the first we're hearing about it."

    He heard his phone ring. "Damn..get me all available footage from the scene. Cell phones, cameras, security tapes, whatever they got..I want it here within the next 2 hours!" A unanimous SIR rang through the office as he picked up his phone. "This is Director strauss...Mr. President...I assure you sir, this is the first...yessir, I know tha....We're working on some leads right now sir...yes sir."

    He hung up, sighing. This was going to be a long night. "Call in the day manager. We need to get everyone here and get this under control. Wake everyone up and get them here...NOW! Also, set up a press conference. We need to get the citizens settled before they panic!"

    Back at Sylvia's apartment

    Sylvia walked into the kitchen seeing the bag all packed. "Shall we go?" She nodded. "did you grab the can opener too?" Jay didn't get a chance to respond as the drawer opened and the can opener flew into Jays backpack slot. "uh..right. Let's go then."
    As Sylvia walked out of the apartment with Jay and locked the door, one of her nosy neighbors walked up with her mail. "Sil darling! Who is this cute boy?"
    "Sorry Ms. Flanagan..we're in a hurry. Tell you later." The woman looked at Silvia and Jay as they headed down the hall.
  15. There were many advantages to being the assistant of the Director of the FBI. And Virginia Hecker was in the perfect position to know these advantages, because it was a role that she occupied with great pleasure. The job was primarily managerial in nature, and while her boss may have been one of the best field agents in his day, now he was older, and far more sedentary. He remained safely behind desks, managing the small problems that always arose, and Ginny stayed there with him. She got away doing very little for the pay she received, all things considered. And she was perfectly happy with that.

    But there was no way for a person who did not know how to work to get as high of a position as Ginny now occupied. She had been forced to work her tail off to get into this position, and she was always prepared to work to keep her easy style of life. Strauss relied on her, at least somewhat, presumably unaware of the fact that most of the work he assigned her got passed on to her own “assistants.” That meant it was much less likely that she would get fired, should anyone find out. But that didn’t mean she was unwilling to do what needed to be done.

    That was a very good thing, because there was no chance that anyone was going to be sitting still in the coming weeks.

    Ginny had been downstairs, talking to Lauren, one of the accountants, who had become a close friend of Ginny’s over the years. The woman was sweet and more than a little naive. She was so happy to have a “close friend” who was in such a powerful position that she was always willing to offer a friendly hand. It also didn’t hurt that the girl seemed to adore everything Ginny could only call “busywork.” It wasn’t as though Ginny was taking advantage of her. She repaid her friend in ways that were far more suited to Ginny’s own tastes. A rich party, a shopping spree, a lavish dinner. It was fun to get to participate in those things, and so long as Lauren was satisfied with the arrangements both parties came out feeling as though they had the upper hand. Ginny knew how to be conniving if it was necessary, but she much preferred it when it wasn’t.

    Her conversation was interrupted by the pager at her waist letting out a violent staccato of beeps. Ginny broke off mid-sentence, a look of surprise crossing her face. “We’ll talk later,” she told Lauren hurriedly, who was clearly desperate to know what had caused her rather vocal friend to break off in mid-anecdote. But Ginny didn’t have time to delay. She hurried up through the floors, noticing that the higher she got the more almost panicked chaos there seemed to be around her. Whatever was going on, it was big. She quickly broke out into a run, high heels clicking on the floor, long strawberry blonde hair bouncing off of her shoulders. Now was not the time for elegance.

    She didn’t know what was going on, but as she hurried into the Director’s office she was prepared to help in any way she could. This was, after all, one of those rare moments when her job might be on the line.

    They hurried out of Silvia’s apartment together, dodging people, questions, and eyes left and right. Jay couldn’t help but wonder a little bit if their hasty flight might not draw as much attention as anything, but he was just as happy to devote himself to movement. Movement allowed him to, at least temporarily, push everything else out of his mind.

    They stuck the two bags into the back seat, before piling into Silvia’s car themselves. Normally, neither of them would have left for such a road trip without quite a bit more preparation. Perhaps their lack of supplies should have worried him, but it didn’t. He had no doubt that the dark voice wasn’t about to let them starve or get stranded. Maybe there were some small advantages to this situation. When he had been a kid, Jay had dreamed of superheroes just like any little boy. He had never dreamed that, one day, he might become one of the supervillains.

    Where should we go?

    I’m not going to tell you that.

    Why not?

    Because you will go in the opposite direction of wherever I tell you to go. There was a moment of silence, and then the dark voice let out an almost surprised sounding laugh. But now you know that I know. Go west.

    Jaylon winced, turning his eyes away from the apartment. “You pick where we go, Sil. I don’t trust myself to make a decision anymore.”


    Yes, Jay agreed silently. But better an innocent coward than an assertive murderer.
  16. Silvia glanced back at her brother. He looked torn..and with good reason. He was being tortured by something..his mind tormented by something. A demon? A spirit? Whatever it was, she had to help him...she would help him. She had a place where they could hide for awhile and figure out their next move. There was an old abandoned house near the road out of town and no-one ever went there.
    The entire time they headed there, her mind raced. She had no idea what was wrong with him..how could she help? Get a priest? An exorcism? any and all possible methods crossed her mind.
    Still, she wouldn't know what might and might not work until they could get somewhere hidden and have him tell her everything..just like he promised.

    She and Jay weaved through the back alleys of the city, avoiding all major forms of transportation and social gathering sites. Last thing she wanted to have whatever that thing was get another shot like it did at Central Station. His face was all over the news, but she was still unknown to authorities. So far, she had the upper hand. "Ok Jay...we're here."

    The house and the nearby area were like she thought it's be..empty and deserted. even the junkies of New York didn't come here. Ghost stories and hauntings frightened most people away. She hurried Jay inside and closed the door, heading further inside.
    "Ok Jay, you promised. Out with it...I want to know everything. Don't skip any detail. If I'm going to help you, you can't lie to me about anything."


    Director Strauss was pacing. "Talk to me people...What do we have so far?" "Sir, we have a partial face on one of the cameras that managed to survive the explosion. Other than that, we've not been able to get much." He sighed. This was not going good. He'd have a press conference in an hour and he had very little to offer the public. Suddenly, a voice across the room echoed out.
    "SIR! We got him!"

    He called out to his Assistant Director who had been very busy up till now helping him sort all this chaos and they came up to the decryption agent. "You said you had something agent?" A boys face was perfectly modeled on the screen. "Yes sir..this boy was captured on the camera mere seconds before the station exploded. Also, you can see him standing outside the station on this traffic cam here."

    He pointed to another screen. "Good work! Assistant Director Ginny, you will lead the press conference. Get that boys face on the news and tell them he is to be brought in unharmed and alive. We want to question him, not accuse him of terrorism. He is as of right now...priority number one on our seeker list! Move it people..I want him here an hour ago!"
    He had to find this boy. He didn't have the look of a terrorist, but that didn't mean he wasn't one. They had to play their next moves carefully in order to try and keep this as peaceful as possible.
  17. Ginny had been on full acceleration since Strauss had told her all of the information on the case. Those who had gotten used to her being a calm and easygoing boss suddenly found all their impressions shattered when she became only a step short of a dictator. Now all of those who had wondered what exactly Hecker had done to get the job she possessed knew. They knew it well. Ginny knew how to work.

    That hurried, haggard morning, she seemed to be all over the place at once, aiding anyone who looked even a moment away from falling behind the flurry of activity. She had her finger in every pie, making sure that, not only did they know that she had been there, but that she had been doing her share. Perhaps even more than her share. Of course, Ginny also knew how to look like she was working without doing as much work as others, and the fact that she was privy to all of the important information right as it became known meant that her job was a little easier. She could make the connections that had already been made, without anyone knowing she hadn’t made the connection.

    As soon as Director Strauss called her name she was by his side. Her eyes passed greedily over the young man’s face, desperately memorizing every line. This man was likely going to be her whole life for the next... who knew how long. Hopefully not long.

    The reporters were already swarming, desperately trying to get past security to get the first juicy bite of information. As Virginia Hecker made her way down to the conference room she carefully tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear, straightened out her blouse, and squared her shoulders. It would not do to look hurried or hassled. She had to be calm, poised, in control. That would reassure the American Public.

    The cameras started flashing as soon as Ginny walked into the room, but she ignored them, focusing her eyes on the podium that had already been set up. She stood before it, her face carefully neutral, and then began her speech. Ginny was blessed with a phenomenal memory and an eye for detail. That had been what got her the job. But it also meant that she did not need to bring any form of note cards to press conferences. It meant that her eyes would always be up and forward, reassuring and reliable.

    “Just a couple of hours ago, the FBI received information on the attack against Grand Central Station. Since that point every available staff member has been working with utmost haste and diligence to ensure that every lead is followed through.

    “We have found one person who was a witness to the event, and needs to be brought in for questioning. Anyone with any information should make sure to report it. It is uncertain whether or not this man was directly connected to the bombing, or if he was just a witness.

    “Any more information that the FBI receives will be released with all haste. Thank you very much.”

    As soon as the pictures hit circulation, the phones began to ring. Everyone always wanted to be the one to provide the information, even if it was mostly useless. But the people who answered the phones gradually began to piece together useful pieces of information. Slowly, a picture of Jaylon Brets began to form.
  18. Director Strauss right now was listening to Virginia finish her speech and directing the slew of phone calls that suddenly flooded the station. "The majority of you are on phones. Jot down any decent details and anyone who you suspect might legitimately know something keep on hold and transfer them to a private line. Let's move people!"
    The entire squad scattered, each agent picking up a line and taking call after call. even the director himself took a few while not giving orders. After a half hour, he heard one of his agents call out to him and wave him over.

    "Sir, we have a Ms. Flanagan on the line. She says she saw the suspect in her apartment complex, but he left with a resident. She called in after seeing our press conference." He sighed. Finally, a break.
    "Send her to a private line and have her give us that address. Send Virginia and a couple agents over there to check out the apartment of the person that kid left with."
  19. The drive wasn’t long, but to Jaylon it might as well have lasted a lifetime. At first he tried to watch out the window, distract himself with the world passing by. But news of the attack on Grand Central Station had spread like wildfire, and everywhere he looked he saw signs. Either people were in a state of panic, huddled together in large groups, casting furtive glances at anyone who passed by and whispering or shouting depending upon their inclination, or there was no one. Shops that should have been open had been closed, enough people unwilling to stay in a public area, believing that they might be the next place to be targeted. The notable landmarks in Manhattan had all been closed off, people hustled away home, just in case the attacks would target another of the notable landmarks.

    But he didn’t even bother trying to question the dark voice. And for a while it didn’t bother him. It let him stew in silence, in his memories. But then it started talking again. Maybe it was bored. Maybe, being bound to Jaylon, it couldn’t follow whatever normal means of entertainment it pursued. And that left it only one output. Jay himself.

    He knew it was the voice. It was the only thing it could be. At first the noise was just like a background humm in Jay’s mind. Something unintelligible and easy to ignore. But slowly the buzz clarified, collected into words. They jumped all over the place, following various tangents, but it only took a moment for him to realize what exactly he was hearing. His eyes went wide and he glanced surreptitiously over at his sister, praying that she had started talking out loud. She hadn’t. He covered his ears and ducked his head, humming erratically, desperately trying to block out the words. But nothing stopped them. If anything, they clarified within his mind, as though he was standing in a silent room with nothing to listen to but his sister’s words. There was nothing he could do to block out Silvia’s thoughts.

    He tried to protest, tried to complain that the voice had no right to intrude into her mind, but even his own thoughts were drowned away as he unwillingly listened to her mind. It was as though there wasn’t any room in his head for both his thoughts and her own, as though his own erratic, ever changing mind had been replaced, overwritten by hers.

    Jay almost said something. Almost. But what could he tell her. It wasn’t as though she would be able to stop thinking. And he didn’t want to scare her. He didn’t want her to have to know that even her own mind was no longer safe. It was another cruel joke, another pointless vicious play that served no purpose except to remind Jay of his complete helplessness. He went limp in his seat. It might look like he had relaxed, but all he was trying to do was curl inwards, away. And Sil’s thoughts weren’t helping him either. She didn’t know what was going on. She wanted to turn to some kind of authority, someone who would help. All they would do was lock him away. Or they would try. The dark voice reminded him quietly that it would never allow Jay to get captured.

    It took a moment for Sil to rouse him when they finally reached the abandoned section of neighborhood. But as soon as she touched him her voice in his mind ended abruptly. He let out a quiet, shuddering sigh before standing and limply following her into the building.

    He should have known that there wouldn’t be any rest, even now. If it wasn’t going to be the voice it was going to be Sil. Between the two, he might never get to sleep. He was tired. He just wanted to close his eyes and sink into oblivion. Even as the thought crossed his mind he felt a strange wave of energy ripple through his body, and suddenly he was wide awake.

    There will be no oblivion for you.

    For a moment he considered ignoring Sil. For a moment he considered crying. But in the end all he settled for was a weary sigh.

    “I’m not going to lie to you, Sil.” he said quietly. “Not as long as I have any choice in what I say. But that doesn’t mean that I know what to tell you. I don’t know what everything is. I don’t even know where everything begins.” He sighed again, desperately looking for a place to sit in the derelict building. Eventually he simply had to settle for sliding down against a wall, his hands over his knees.

    “Where do you want me to begin?”

    How would she react if she knew that she was the only thing keeping him sane at this point? She was the only support that he had left. At that moment, he would have done anything she told him to. She was his only guide, the only moral compass he had left. He no longer trusted his own thoughts.

    He didn't allow himself to think about what the dark voice could do to Silvia's thoughts. He didn't even allow the thought to cross his mind. Because, right now, that might very well break him. And, right now, the dark voice wouldn't do anything to her either. It didn't want him completely broken. Not yet. After all, where would be the fun in that?
  20. She began to speak, but then stopped. Where should she begin? She didn't know how long this had been going on or what triggered this. If he didn't know, how was she supposed to? She had to think carefully. "Alright, how about you try and remember the first time things started becoming..strange..for you and then go from there. Tell me how it felt, what you were thinking, where you went and what you did all the way until today. If you can't remember everything, then don't worry. Just try and tell me as much as you can."

    A buzzing in her pocket made her jump a little. Her cell phone? She forgot she had it on her. She only usually had it for emergencies, although her friends had no qualms about texting it when they missed her or she was low on verbal minutes. She flipped it open and saw a text from her friend. FBI are at apartment. U ok? Her eyes almost widened from shock, but she knew the authorities would catch on and investigate sooner or later. She returned her focus to Jay.
    "alright..I'm ready Jay. Go ahead and tell me what you can."
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