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Leaving the bathroom light on, Frank stumbles back to bed and sits down weakly on the spongy mattress, hugging a pillow to his chest. He’s drenched in sweat but still shivering and almost starts crying again at how fucking unfair this is. He should be happy and healthy and playing with his band tonight, not seeing ghosts and sobbing in the dark. Who the fuck is Anna Fletcher and why should he care? What does any of this have to do with him anyway? His head aches so bad he can barely see so he drags himself to his feet again and leaves Brian's room in search of painkillers. Dizzy and feverish, he stumbles out into the hotel corridor and blunders into some people near the door. “Sorry,” he mumbles, keeping his eyes on the blurry carpet.
Squinting through the burning white lights of a migraine Frank's surprised to see Gerard and Brian standing in front of him. The concert must be long over because Gerard is wearing pyjama pants, an old Misfits t-shirt and socks and his black hair is wet from showering. Brian is still dressed but looks tired and stressed and extremely worried.
“Frank, you look terrible!” Gerard cries in dismay, “Get back inside and lie down.”
“I can’t,” Frank croaks, stifling a cough, “This isn’t my room, remember?”
“Right. Shit. Listen, I'm really sorry about earlier man,” Gerard sighs guiltily, wrapping an arm around his bandmate's small shoulders. Nodding his head, Frank leans woozily against the taller man for support, his sore eyes full of fireworks, and Gerard winces at the heat coming off his friend's sticky skin. “Jeez. Brian, he's burning up. I think you should call a doctor.”

The My Chemical Romance tour moves onwards the following day but Frank doesn't go with it. He's got a bad case of the flu and until he recovers he has to stay tucked up in bed in the LA home of the band's lawyer and close friend Stacey Fass. While Brian and the rest of the band head off to San Francisco, Stacey dotes on Frank like a little brother and does her best to make him well, setting him up in her spare room with a TV and playstation and bringing him a constant supply of medicine, warm drinks, ice packs, blankets, kleenex, and cups of hot soup. Determined to be rid of his traumatic nightmares once and for all, Frank also takes heavy doses of the sleeping pills Brian gave him every night and ends up sleeping through most of each morning and afternoon as well but it seems to work: his bad dreams don’t return and his health improves.

After a few days when he's feeling almost like his old self again he’s woken one morning by his cell phone vibrating on the bedside table. Reluctantly rolling over, he grabs at it with sleep-numb fingers and answers with a yawn, “Hello?”
'Hey Frankie.'
“Oh, hi Gee. How’s it going?”
‘Not bad. I’m sorry I haven’t called sooner,’ Gerard says nervously, ‘I wanted to but I thought maybe you’d still be mad at me and the other guys for ganging up on you and I didn’t want to start a fight while you were sick.’
“We’re not going to fight,” Frank says softly, sitting up against his pillows, “Not unless you want to.”
‘Of course I don't. I’m sorry about before, I was just so worried. I still am. How are you feeling? How's...your head?’
Frank sighs and runs a hand through his messy hair, “I’m fine. No more flu. No more nightmares.”
'For real? Well that’s great. But, um, don't you think maybe...’
Gerard hesitates ominously and in the awkward silence Frank picks anxiously at the healing burns on his arm, dreading what his friend might say. “Gerard, speak,” he demands finally, “What’s up?”
‘Well it’s just that... Stacey called yesterday to update us on how you were doing and she mentioned that you’re taking sleeping pills every day now.’

A sting of betrayal stabs Frank’s heart and he flushes with unexpected anger. He’s never taken those pills in front of Stacey so how come she knows about them? Is she spying on him somehow or going through his stuff while he's passed out? A thousand paranoid thoughts crowd his mind and he suddenly feels horribly vulnerable. No wonder everyone was so happy to leave him here if she’s been reporting back to them in secret.
“She shouldn’t have told you that,” he mumbles into the phone, “But you don't need to keep worrying about me. I’m doing okay. Plus, y’know, it’s not like any of you believed me when I told you what was wrong so maybe you should stop telling me how worried or concerned you are or whatever because it doesn’t mean much if you aren’t willing to put a little faith in me!”

‘I'm sorry,’ Gerard sounds sheepish and it takes Frank a second to realize he was shouting down the phone just now. “I’m sorry too,” he sighs, “I know how crazy I must have sounded that day.”
‘Forget it,' Gerard says, 'But I still think you should get some professional help Frank. Suppressing your nightmares with pills might only make things worse in the end. I mean, the last time you took those meds you had some kind of seizure-dream in the street, right? What if that happens again? Or something worse?'
Frank doesn’t reply, toying with the idea of just hanging up the phone and shutting out the truth of these words. Sighing miserably, he climbs out of bed and opens the door to the landing, listening for Stacey. The TV is on downstairs. He can hear CNN.
‘Frankie?’ Gerard asks in a small voice, ‘Are you still there?’
‘Frank, please talk to me dude.’
Scrubbing at his tired eyes, Frank grits his teeth in frustration, no longer wanting to be in this conversation or in this room or in this house. It’s all so claustrophobic and ugly and he wants out!
“Goodbye Gee.”
Snapping the phone shut without another word, he tiptoes along the landing in his socked feet and Stacey immediately appears out of nowhere on the stairs with a cheery smile. “Hi there, sleepyhead. Do you think your stomach can handle some breakfast today?”
“Not really,” Frank mutters, rubbing at his itchy arm as he shuffles towards the bathroom. Was Stacey eavesdropping on his phone call just now? Fuck, why is he so damn paranoid? She's only trying to look after him. “Actually I’m getting kinda sick of being holed up indoors, Stace. I think I'm gonna wash up and then head out for a while.”
Stacey's smile shrinks and a tiny crease of worry appears on her forehead, “Do you need me to drive you anywhere hun?”
“No, I'll be fine,” Frank insists, “I just want some air, to walk around or whatever.”
“Ok. Well, have fun I guess. Hang on, I'll fetch you a spare house key.” She disappears from sight and Frank quickly darts into the bathroom and locks the door behind him, avoiding looking in the mirror over the sink while he brushes his teeth and showers. He's lost weight while he's been ill and his cheeks are rough with stubble but he's pretty much given up on caring about his appearance. If he's not going to be up on a stage then what's the point.

When he returns to his room wrapped in a clean towel he finds a key, a glass of fresh orange juice and a note left on the bedside table. 'Gone to the office. See you later - Stacey'
Biting his lip, he listens to the silent empty house for a moment and very faintly, on the edge of his consciousness, he can hear the sharpening of knives.

The bright breezy daylight should be a nice change from being cooped up in bed with comforters and cough syrup but Frank is jittery and nervous as he walks along the warm sidewalks in the vague direction of the beach, whistling tunelessly to block out echoes of his old nightmares. He's wearing a red and black hoodie, baggy jeans and skate shoes and the Californian sun is too hot and too dazzling. He misses the weather in New Jersey and reflexively runs his tongue along the NJ tattoo on the inside of his lower lip, watching the pavement dust rise under his plodding feet.

He doesn’t really know or care where he’s going, he’s just walking on autopilot, so it’s no surprise really when he walks smack into the side of a street-lamp. Stumbling backwards with hands flying to his bruised face, he flushes with embarrassment and looks around to see if anyone saw his clumsiness. Two blond high school girls giggle their way past him and a middle-aged dog-walker shoots him a sympathetic glance but other than that he’s ignored.
Squinting in the bright sun, he steps carefully around the street-lamp, wishing that he’d brought his sunglasses with him. Then he remembers he lost them on the day of the car accident... and now suddenly the street he’s walking on looks strangely familiar.

With a nervous shudder that sets his heart racing, Frank realises that he is standing near the same crossing where the blue truck killed that guy last week. Everything looks normal again now and the only trace left by the tragedy is a long black smear on the road, but the sharp sound of squealing brakes comes screaming through his mind again, followed by the smash of exploding glass, and he rubs at his eyes as frantic images of the accident and the dead man start to resurface as well. It’s so bright out here in the sun, too hot and too loud. He can’t take this! Nauseous and panicky, he hails the first taxi he sees and jumps in.

“Where to?” The driver asks.
“Anywhere, I don’t care,” Frank says quickly, “Just drive, please.”
“You got it,” the driver shrugs, and the cab peels away from the curb.
Frank sinks back in his seat, suddenly exhausted, and watches sunbeams dance on the back of the driver’s seat. It’s hot in the cab and the pathetic whimper of the air conditioning barely stirs the heavy air. Wiping sweat from his face, he peels off his hoodie and sits there in his jeans and the t-shirt he wore in bed staring out the window and trying to forget the world.

After a few minutes, a sparkling silver flash catches his eye and pulls him out of his daze. Focusing on the sight, he sees a very shiny internet café glide into view and an idea starts to scratch in the back of his head. Telling the cab driver to pull over, Frank pays him and gets out, walking cautiously towards the café. As he pushes open the polished glass doors, a blast of ice-cool air hits him, chilling his skin, and he almost puts his hoodie back on. The air-con in this place must be top of the line.
Ordering a Coke and an hour with a computer, he Googles the name that no amount of sleeping pills has erased from his memory: Anna Fletcher. Her name brings up over a million hits but most of the first page is a list of references to a character in some old 70s movie and he's pretty sure his fever-dream wasn't about her.

He sighs and is about to give up on searching through 1 million useless pages of junk when he spots a link to someone’s personal website, one of those little freebie sites where people post their blogs or artwork online. The site is titled ‘anna-ruth-fletcher.com’. With nothing to lose, he clicks on it and raises his eyebrows as the internet window turns black, speckled with a delicate spray of crimson stars. Grey ghost-like writing fades into view amongst the stars: ‘COME INSIDE’. Okay, slightly creepy. Frank clicks on the invitation and the screen changes to a white background slashed with brilliant streaks of crimson. The stars are here too, along with several hovering lipstick kisses and winking eyes. One very large eye appears in the center of the webpage, blinking mournfully as a loading signal flashes rhythmically in its pupil, and athough it’s just an animation he feels a shudder trickle down his spine. The eye looks dead and inhuman and reminds him of the screaming woman from the hotel mirror, glaring accusingly at him as the page loads. Finally it vanishes and is replaced by a photograph, sepia-toned and photo-shopped to look torn and frayed, and Frank gasps in horror, choking on his drink. It’s her, it’s Anna Fletcher: the woman from his nightmare, the face in the mirror, the ghost, the corpse. She’s the owner of this website... and Frank can feel her dry, dead lips clamped around his mouth again…

Bolting to his feet with his guts churning, he dashes to the Men's Room and bursts into a cubicle, collapsing to his knees on the cold tiles as acid and cola flood his mouth and his body heaves his stomach contents into the toilet bowl. Waves of terror and nausea rocket through his insides, forcing him to puke and retch until he’s left weak and trembling on the cubicle floor with his eyes blurry and his tongue soaked in bile. Shaking and sweating, he stays crouched on the smeared floor for a few more minutes, gagging and biting back tears until the fear and trauma passes. Retching a few more times with no results, he stands up unsteadily and swipes his hand across the toilet’s flush sensor, washing away the mess.

When he's cleaned up and composed himself, he walks slowly back into the café and sits down at his computer, almost afraid to look at the screen. It’s changed somewhat while he was busy throwing up. Now fully loaded, the page displays several photographs: all of them faux-aged and showing Anna with various friends at various celebrations. The pictures are surrounded by several more floating eyeballs and they hover and wink enticingly at Frank until he forces himself to click on one of them. A new page loads, much quicker than the last, and shows him a beautiful hand-painted cityscape of LA at dawn. Drifting over the lovely background are several trails of words typed in blue and Frank’s tired brain scans them cluelessly for a moment until he realises that he’s looking at a poem:

They come to me when dark night falls,
And the stars have choked on our city’s shit.
No lights are here to guide us now.
We're casualties of timeless crimes.
A million broken angels cry,
Cry and whore and puke and die,
Die laughing, screaming, choking, high.
My dreams are filled with laughing dead,
A thousand faces, a thousand fates.
These L.A. streets are washed with red
And I see the rain and shadows bleed.
I know the signs but the music changes.
The faces melt but still I know,
I need to stay, they have to go.
A thousand nights run red with blood
And one more soul's gone today.
...I’m so sorry I couldn’t save you.’

Frank sits there open-mouthed reading the drifting spiralling words over and over again until a screensaver blinks on and erases them from his sight. It’s pretty obvious what Anna was writing about but he doesn’t want to believe it. He doesn’t want his fears and nightmares reaffirmed yet again! But his dreams led him to this website and it seems that Anna has the same nightmares as him and Lorna. She sees people die in her dreams and was apparently too late to warn at least one of them: ‘I’m so sorry I couldn’t save you.' Fuck, how many of them are there?

Searching nervously through the rest of the site, he finds several more poems, each one more disturbing then the last, where this poor girl has written about her nightmares and visions and thousands of dying ‘angels’.
Cold all over, Frank clicks back to the page with the photographs and one of the pictures catches his eye and chills his blood stone cold. It’s a photo of Anna and a dark-haired guy a few years older than her, smiling and laughing together on the steps of what looks like some wholesome college building. The guy is Mexican and wearing a football jersey and jeans and he's smiling happily while Anna grins at him, their fingers laced together in affection, frozen forever in the photograph. Frank definitely recognizes this guy and the memory makes him want to throw up again: it's the man who was hit and killed by that blue pick-up truck last week. He was Anna Fletcher’s boyfriend.


(I am going somewhere with this... trust me. And comment? ;) )


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