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It's getting so late but the darkness has him now. There's no way out. He's trapped alone in a claustrophobic room with black shadows hissing and biting at his skin and he's blind and can't move a muscle. It's too hot to breathe in here and under his nervous feet it sounds like glass is breaking. The darkness won't lift no matter how wide he opens his terrified eyes and his chest tightens as the old burns on his arm itch and throb. Oh god, whose death is he going through now?

Panting with anxiety, he starts to choke as a gush of tangy wet whiskey floods his mouth instead of oxygen and pours down his throat! Coughing and spluttering as waves of burning booze flood his airways and nose, he hears the the hissing shadows grow louder and louder and it's so hot in this tiny black place. He's getting dizzy. He can't breathe! Sweating through his clothes, he desperately tries to gasp some air but only more alcohol washes over his tongue and fills his lungs and he tries to spit it out but he can't. He's fucking drowning!
A low voice hollers in the dark, calling his name, and it sounds likes someone he knows but they're too far away to help him. Choking on the fluid in his lungs, he collapses to his knees with his insides ablaze as consciousness starts to leaves him. But just before he suffocates the shadows explode in a blaze of crackling orange flames and sulphuric smoke and then he's burning in agony inside and out! Burning away to ash and bone and nothing...
The voice cries his name again, louder now, but he can barely hear it above the raging fire.
“Frank... Baby, open your eyes!”
Forcing himself awake with a jolt that nearly makes him puke, Frank sees a familiar tear-blurred ceiling above him and tastes his own spit in his mouth. The darkness and flames and pain are gone and there's no ocean of alcohol clogging up his chest. He's alive and he can breathe again and his own broken voice is screaming in panic and fear. The bed under his body rocks as he lurches upright, gasping and crying, and his mother's worried face appears as she pulls his trembling body into a frantic hug. “It's okay, Frankie,” she murmurs, stroking his sweat-damp hair as he sobs and shakes against her, burying his face in her shoulder and clutching her as tight as he can. There's a burly nurse standing nearby with a loaded syringe in his hand and a doctor in a white coat is hovering in the doorway.“You were just having another nightmare, sweetie,” Linda whispers, cuddling her crying child tight,“I'm here now, it's alright. Shhhh... I've come to take you home.”

Frank sits in silence for the entire journey back to his mom's house in Trenton. Curled up in the passenger seat of her ancient Chevy, he hugs his knees to his skinny chest and stares miserably at the scars on his arms with reddened eyes, only coughing or grunting in response to Linda's tentative questions. After a while she gives up trying to coax her son into telling her what's hurting him and turns on the radio. A Bon Jovi song fills the awkward silence.
That morning when Linda had arrived at the clinic clutching identification documents and a phone number for the family lawyer – just in case – she wasn't expecting to find Frank still asleep, let alone so paralysed by his night terrors that he couldn't seem to wake up. A nurse and doctor had bust into his room to sedate him but Linda charged past them as soon as she heard her son screaming and grabbed Frank's hand, calling him out of his nightmare and calming him down when he woke up too traumatized to speak. All he could do was cry and cling to her blouse, trembling like a leaf in her arms, and his scarred skin felt so warm she was sure he had a fever. Release papers were swiftly signed and she packed Frank's medication and clothes into a bag while he sat shivering on the bed with his head in his hands and his eyes squeezed shut. As they walked through the clinic doors with his therapist looking on in disapproval, Linda felt her son's quivering fingers grab hers and squeeze so hard she almost winced. He was twenty-three years old and as scared and helpless as a lost toddler and it broke her heart to see him like this.
The Bon Jovi song fades into something else and Linda turns the radio dial to Frank's favorite New Jersey rock station in an attempt to cheer him up. A Black Flag song booms out of the speakers and he lifts his head slightly at the familiar chords as the faintest ghost of a smile lights up his green eyes. Linda turns left onto her street, sunlight flashing over the windshield, and is just pulling into the driveway when the Black Flag song ends and the DJ puts on My Chemical Romance's latest single 'I'm Not Okay (I Promise)'. Frowning worriedly, she kills the engine and moves to turn off the song but one of Frank's hands shoots out and stops her. “I wanna listen,” he says softly, his gaze focused on the radio like it's the only thing in the world as his own guitar-playing and Gerard's energetic vocals fill the quiet car. When the song finishes, he turns the radio off and slowly stretches out his legs, breathing quietly. “Are you alright, sweetie?” Linda asks, unbuckling her seatbelt. “Yeah, that was nice,” Frank replies, sounding a little surprised, “I think I needed to hear that.”
Mother and son walk into the house together and Linda starts making sandwich toasties to fatten up her underfed offspring while Frank takes his bag and a phone up to his room and shuts the door, flopping down on the bed and punching in Gerard's cell phone number. No answer. And the voicemail function is turned off.
Sighing, he tries calling Gee's parents' house instead and after a few rings somebody picks up.
“Hello, Way Residence.”
“Hey Frank! It's good to hear your voice, man. Your mom told us she was gonna pick you up today. How are you feeling?”
“I...could be better. Listen, Mikes, is Gerard around? He's not answering his phone and, uh, I thought maybe after he came to visit me the other day he'd wanna talk...or something.”
“I think Gerard's in his room,” Mikey mumbles, his happy friendly tone vanishing in an instant, “And it's lunchtime so he's probably passed out drunk already or still hungover from yesterday.”
“Oh. Shit.”
“How bad is he?”
“Not as bad as before,” Mikey sighs, “But not far off. He misses the music. We all do. It sucks having to put the band on this stupid indefinite break when we were really just starting to take off.”
“Yeah I get it, dude, I'm in the fucking band too,” Frank snaps defensively, “And it's not like I meant for any of this shit to happen!”
“I know,” Mikey sighs, “I wasn't accusing you. Just blowing off steam I guess.” The sound of a TV blares in the background. Outside Frank's window a plane soars across the wintry sky.
“Mikey, can you do something for me?”
“Sure. What?”
“Keep an eye on Gee for me today, okay? I mean it, really watch him closely if you can. I've got this bad feeling and... I'm gonna come over and see him as soon as I can but I don't think Mom is gonna let me out tonight.”
“I guess I can,” Mikey grumbles, “But I'm not my brother's keeper, man. I have my own shit going on.”
“I know. Sorry. I just... it helps my, um, anxiety and stuff if I know that everyone I care about is safe. Please can you do this for me?”
“No problem.”
“And Mikey?”
“You have smoke detectors in your house right? Including in the basement where Gee's room is?”
“Um...yeah, I think so.”
“Good. Okay, yeah, that's good.”
“Frank, are you okay? You sound-”
“I gotta go, Mikey, sorry. S-Speak soon.”
Hanging up with fresh tears blurring his tired eyes, Frank throws the phone at the floor and tries to breathe normally, anxiety and paranoia oozing through his mind and body like ice water. Gerard will be fine, he tells himself, grabbing a nearly pillow and hugging it tight with white-knuckled hands. He'll be fine, he'll be fine, there's no fire, there's...
Out of the corner of his eye, movement flashes in the mirror hanging on his closet door and he turns to see Lorna's ghostly face staring out at him from between black band posters and stickers. Her eyeballs are gone, empty bloody sockets staring at him in silence, and behind her, as faint and transparent as a spider's web, he can see Gerard's charred corpse.
Linda nearly jumps out of her skin when she hears an almighty crash come from Frank's room and immediately assumes the worst. She's already running to investigate when he comes flying through his bedroom door and charges down the stairs so fast he almost trips, crashing into her in the hallway with his eyes wide and drunk with panic. “What's wrong?” she cries, grabbing his shoulders and forcing him to stop running before he reaches the front door. “I-I saw...th-there's...I can't shut them out!” he cries, twisting out of her grasp and taking another two steps towards the door before stumbling and collapsing to his hands and knees. “Oh god. Oh sweetie, talk to me, what's wrong?” Linda pleads.
“N-nothing,” Frank gasps, shaking his head like he's trying to convince himself as well as her, “I'm okay, mom, please don't send me back to the clinic. I can be fine, I s-swear!”
“Honey,” Linda says firmly, kneeling down beside him, “I won't ever send you back there if you don't want to go. You're safe with me, I promise. No matter how long it takes for you to feel better, I'll be right beside you sweetie. You've been through so much and I'm so proud of you. You're gonna be alright.”
Frank sniffles and nods slowly, getting wearily to his feet and following his mom into the kitchen where he sits down at the breakfast bar with his arms folded in front of him. The knuckles of his right hand are all cut up and lightly bleeding. “I smashed my mirror,” he explains sheepishly, wiping his eyes on his shirt, “Sorry.”
“That's okay,” Linda smiles, placing a plate of grilled cheese sandwiches and a glass of cold milk in front of him, “I'll fetch the first aid kit.”
While she's gone Frank picks at his food and slurps a mouthful of milk, thinking about everything he's seen and dreamt over the last few months. The death dreams are part of his life now and he's going to have to accept that and learn to deal with them, no matter how hard it might seem, because that's the only way he can get his life and his band back together. Hearing 'I'm Not Okay' on the radio earlier stirred something deep inside him that he'd almost forgotten about: his fierce passion and love for playing music with his friends. As long as he still has that he can survive anything, dammit! He just needs to figure out a way of balancing the nightmares with reality; to help the people he can and forgive himself for the strangers he can't save. The masked man who killed all the other kids afflicted with this curse is dead now and police are keeping tabs on the case. Mikey and Brian and everyone else he cares about are only a phone call away and he's safe at home now with a parent who will do anything to protect him. If Gerard is going to die in a fire then it probably won't be in the Way family home surrounded by fire alarms and people who love him. It's going to be somewhere else. Somewhere dark and claustrophobic and filled with broken glass and whiskey. Frank needs more information but the dreams haven't been very clear so far. He needs more details and to get more details he needs more sleep. It's time to suck it up and be brave. “Where are my fucking pills?” he mumbles, getting shakily to his feet just as his mother returns carrying some band-aids and bowl of clean water. “Mom?”
“Yes sweetie?”
“Where did you put the sedatives they prescribed me at the clinic? I think I'm going to need them.”


************* Yo, wonderful people!
Not to sound pathetic or anything but your comments genuinely help me beat my writer's block so please feel free to tell me what you like or what you think might happen next.
I love you all. xx**********************


Absolutely stoked for this!

IAmAMonster IAmAMonster

That's honestly one of the nicest comments I have ever got! Thank you huni, I will be adding a new chapter to my story Just Sleep very soon and I have a gory horror story idea too that might become something new...
Watch this space :) xx

Pinchetta Pinchetta

I did! I read them all! They're so good! Everyone of them had me on the edge of my seat on the verge of tears. I can't wait to see what else you post, I know they're gonna be great!

IAmAMonster IAmAMonster

Thank you! Please check out my other stories if you like. :) xx

Pinchetta Pinchetta

This was so good! One of the best fics I've ever read!

IAmAMonster IAmAMonster