Written by: Summer Laura
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"I had a dream once, and it was a beautiful dream, and it was a dream I took for granted.
I had a love once, and it was a wonderful love, and it was an unconditional love, and it was a love as deep as the oceans.
I had music once, and it was mine and I thought I'd have music forever.
Now, I have insanity, and I have nothing, and I'll never have those things again..."
He lay on the bed, his blue eyes staring sedately at the ceiling. They gently flickered; open and shut, open and shut, blinking in slow motion as though blinking were an action to be savoured. He heard nothing but the sound of his own scarred heart beating its newly regular rhythm inside of his smooth, soft chest. Occasionally, he smiled, but there was no happiness in his smiling. There was no joy as the corners of his beautiful lips curved upwards to the Heavens. There was merely the shadow of the beauty that could once be roused on command. His eyes did not twinkle; the stars of his joy illuminating them cosmically until they were as darling as chrystals and as blue as the twilight sky. They had diminished away, leaving only his fading soul, shining through their dirty windows.
He used to sing to pass the time, until he forgot the words. His angelic voice would enlighten him, unti his tragic mind denied him the pleasure. Then, he would hum, until he forgot the tune. After that, he would scream, banging his bound wrists and kicking his captive feet until it seemed as though his bones would break, until he forgot what he was screaming about. He had realised that those tiny, white pills were taking him apart, piece by piece, but he'd forgotten how to care...he savoured the escape they gave him from this inescapable boredom.
He remembered his name - Brian. he remembered what he looked like, even if that image was fading. He didn't think he looked the same now, somehow. He used to remember why they took him, and why they were doing this to him, and why he was held prisoner in this cold, blue room, but now he didn't. He used to know that people were looking for him, but now he couldn't even put names to the faces that he could only barely see. The only thing he knew for certain was that Hell wasn't red, how he'd always thought of it, it was blue. It was blue, and he was in it!
The door opened, waking the young man from his light slumber. He tried to sit up, but the strap around his chest effectively held him down. He gasped at the restriction, then gave in to it.
"Good Morning, Brian", the tall, bald man said. He spoke to him as though he were speaking to a five year old.
"Am I...am I, um...."
The thought was jumbled and fazed, but the bald man knew to give him time. It would come to him soon. "Am I gonna see those people today?"
Brian's voice was tiny, but so hopeful. He'd asked the same question, day in and day out, for the six months that he'd been held. Every day, he cried when they gave him the same answer.
"Not today", the bald man told him.
He whimpered, until the pills were placed into his mouth and washed down with lemonade. The receding man tapped his head until he calmed down. Same routine, day in and day out. It had taken them weeks to discover that tapping his head almost sedated him. He never thought the kid would have broken so easily, though...
"Come on, Brian, you're doing so well....you're almost there".
Brian laughed through his tears, wincing when he subconsciously pulled at his bleeding wrists. They were cut, and they hurt him.
"It hurts...", he whispered. "Could you untie me...please?"
The voice was so charming; so innocent. Receding almost fell for it, until he looked into those blue eyes. The kid was crazy, but he wasn't stupid.
"I'll stay still, I promise. I won't run away like last time."
Receding knew the rules. Don't get involved...not too much conversation. He has to be afraid. We're not his friends, we're his captors. 'Think of the money', his mind's voice told him. He turned his back, and walked away from the helpless boy.
"PLEASE", Brian screamed, panicking suddenly, but he knew it was useless. He felt that only glimmer of hope extinguish as the key turned in the door.
6 Months earlier…
Brian awoke with a pounding headache. He felt the blood that had dried just around his left eye, making it difficult for him to focus OR open it up, and the lump on the back of his head was enough to make his world spin. He felt nauseous…he felt weak. Most of all, however, he felt confused. Where was he? It was by putting the fragmented pieces together that he had remembered….
“Go to bed, Brian. You look tired…” His cousin, Kevin. Always the worrier; always the first to let him know when he was defeated. That damned dance routine wasn’t the easiest things to put into motion when you’ve had as little as a half hour of sleep the night before.
“Thanks, cous. I owe you one.”
The other guys were his brothers; his family, but none could read him the way his cousin could. He could see inside of his soul as though he were made of glass. He had known how much the break-up was killing him, no matter how well he could hide it.
The bed had felt so empty without her, but it was something he was going to have to deal with, this he knew. She had gone. His love had left him, and he didn’t even know why. It wasn’t the fact that he was alone that kept him awake, it was the fact that he was alone and he didn’t even know why. It had played; over and over, deeper and deeper in his mind it went until sleep just forgot to come anymore. He was cold, and there was nobody to wrap himself up in. He WAS alone, and it was tearing him apart.
He cried himself to sleep that night wrapped up in her jumper, he remembered that much. It had smelt so good, so much like her that he almost forgot that it WASN’T her. It wasn’t her early morning kisses that awoke him…it was the whispering in the darkness. Whispering that he didn’t recognise.
He almost didn’t feel it when they covered his nose and mouth with a tissue drenched in some foul smelling, nauseating stench…just as he barely felt the fist pounding his head. His brain had shut down before the pain had arrived…..
…but he was feeling it now. It was like waking up with a hangover, but not knowing how you got it. It was like waking up from surgery, but without the painkillers. Where was he?
Panic arose in him as he tried to focus, but could not. The images were blurred in front of his eyes. Looking down, he noticed that his wrists and ankles were bound tightly to the bed-frame, and a heavy, leather strap held him in lying position. No matter how much he pulled, he could not free himself.
“Hey…” he yelled, but to no avail. “Hello?” Still no reply.
For five minutes, he yelled himself hoarse. His voice was losing its battle, and the tears which had been threatening to overspill now drowned his face in a sea of salt-water. He hadn’t wanted to break down, but he was afraid and he was alone and he just wanted to go home.
“Please…” he whispered. He hadn’t noticed the sound of the lock being turned in the door.
The tall, bald man entered the room almost arrogantly, looking down upon his captive with a look that could only be described as arrogance. The kid was smaller than he’d expected; more angelic looking. He looked like the kind of kid who said his ‘pleases’ and ‘thank-you’s’, which unfortunately for him was going to get him nowhere.
“Brian…my name is Eric. I get the impression that you’re going to be seeing a lot of me.”
Brian looked him directly in the eyes, and continued to plead.
“Please let me go…I can’t be here!”
The words were desperate, and the look in his highly emotive eyes backed this up. He looked like a tragic rabbit, caught in a trap, waiting in anguish as the fox stalks.
“Son, you’ll thank us for it in the long run. Really you will…You just don’t see that yet.” Brian couldn’t see past the tears that were clouding his already blurred vision. All he could see was his own terror, and he was certain that it was showing through.
“What are you going to do to me?” he begged. The bald man smiled almost sympathetically, but not quite.
“We’re going to give you a new life.”
Brian looked on in confusion. “Why?”
“I can see you’re confused”, the man said; reading the boy’s thoughts. “But it will soon become clear to you…however long it takes.”
The pills were easily dissolved into the lemonade the bald man had brought him. Better to hide the truth until he becomes accustomed to it, he thought. It wasn’t long before Brian was sleeping soundly…and the process was put into action.
He stopped screaming when he knew that Eric was gone. No point wasting his voice, was there? He’d learned that somewhere, but he couldn’t remember where. Or why…
“Ellie Ellie Ellie Ellie”, he chanted. That was the only name he remembered, for some reason. He knew it was a girl; even remembered what she looked like. Petite, dark eyed and beautiful…had she been his girlfriend? He thought about it for awhile, and concluded that it must be true. She had been his girlfriend, even if it was only to satisfy his overactive imagination.
Boredom had forced Brian into a state of complete and utter desperation. Even the patterns in the ceiling grasped his attention as though they were oil paintings. He liked the way the patterns crowded around. Crowded around him. He liked it when they crowded around, like he was a little star amongst a million specks of dust. It made him feel good.
It almost made him remember...