Living Nightmares

Danny had sat down on the couch beside me and started some basic conversation. It was all standard questions that I answered with ease, having committed the answers to memory weeks ago. I realized I may have been answering a few a little too quickly for comfort, barely taking any time to think about my answers, but I didn't think it was anything he'd catch on to. Everything was going great until he started asking questions about my past.

I didn't have a backstory for my cover at the ready; no one thought anyone would care enough to ask. I had asked for one, but gotten nowhere with it and hadn't had the time to create one on my own. I couldn't even draw upon my own past to answer for two reasons. The first being that using any real facts about me would prove to be a threat to the mission should anyone get curious and look into it. The second one was a personal problem of mine. I don't really have a past. I suppose, technically speaking I do have one, but I don't remember any of it.

Two years ago, I was caught in an explosion and was damned lucky to make it out alive. I don't know what happened, all I know is I found myself floating in some green place before I passed out. I was in the care of The Guys in White when I woke up. They'd apparently been doing a routine sweep of the Ghost zone when they found me floating alone. They asked how I got there, but I honest to God didn't have a clue. I still don't know how the hell I wound up there and I can't even make an educated guess because no one was willing to tell me anything about the accident.

I personally have no recollection of the accident itself outside of a scream I can't get out of my head. I figured it had to have been the scream of one of the victims that wasn't quite so lucky. I shuddered to think that I was the only possible survivor of the incident, and only because some unknown force had thrown me into the Ghost Zone.

Since then, I've stayed and trained with The Guys in White. Considering I couldn't even remember my own damn name at the time, there was no family to call and come get me. I was given my current name by the agents; they said it seemed to fit me and my personality. I still have to call bullshit on that, but one doesn't have much room to argue with the people that possible saved your life. As grateful as I am to them, I've never been able to shake the feeling that they know more about me then they let on. Even with this, I stuck around and I two years training and learning how to keep even the tiniest of details fresh in my mind. My specialty has always been in spectral activity, not because the Ghost Zone is the earliest memory I can draw up, but because all the paranormal stuff just tends to find me.

At first I had planned to get as far away from all that ghost stuff as humanly possible, but life had other things in mind for me. Life decided that I was going to be that one weird kid who always knew when there was a ghost near, that one kid with the ability to literally turn invisible, the one kid in the whole freaking world who was prone to dropping things because their hand suddenly decided it didn't want to exist for a few minutes. The agents and doctors ran tests and came to the conclusion that my time in the Ghost Zone without any form of protection had caused some ectoplasm to attach itself to my DNA. It was both really cool, and really weird.

It had taken me months to stop randomly disappearing. I will admit, I did have just a little bit of fun messing with the agents once I got control over these powers, but for the most part, I tried to ignore them. Now, my two years' worth of practice was being challenged by simple hormones. Just sitting next to Danny was causing my control to falter slightly, my foot had already disappeared once, and I was intent on keeping it from happening again.

It wasn't until half an hour later when Danny started going on and on about the various rules that I finally managed to get full control of myself again.

"The rules aren't that hard to follow, but God help your soul should Lancer catch you breaking one, particularly curfew. Curfew's set at 10:30 on school nights and midnight on weekends and holidays." As he started rattling off about it, I realized that the rules were probably the one thing I hadn't actually bothered to memorize before I got here. It probably slipped my mind because I could easily get out of trouble by literally slipping through people's finger's if need be. Still, it was probably something I really should have paid more attention to, it was a good thing I had Danny sitting here to fill me in.

There was a knock on the apartment door. I briefly wondered if it was someone finally dropping off the remainder of my stuff before Danny jumped up to get it saying something about expecting company. I watched him move to the door, finding something remotely familiar about the way he walked. I didn't have the slightest clue as to what it was my mind was swearing I recognized, but there was definitely something there tugging at the farthest reaches of my mind. The feeling only got stronger when the door opened.

We were both met by our expected arrivals. The rest of my luggage and Danny's friend arrived simultaneously. I left my stuff by the door with the intention of putting it up after our guest left, and was met with another major sense of déjà vu upon seeing Danny and his friend together. Danny introduced Tucker to me as I seriously wished my subconscious would tell the rest of me what the hell it remembered. Tucker was dark skinned and wore glasses and an annoyingly bright red hat. I noted that he appeared to be missing a leg and was using an artificial one in its place and briefly wondered how he'd managed to lose it.

There had been a momentary pause in the conversation when Tucker made a comment that set Danny over the edge. I'm sure it was just an off-handed remark that wasn't meant to have the effect it did, but it did answer some questions about why Danny had been deemed a person of no importance until he became my roommate.

"You know Danny, your roommate kinda looks like Sam did." Danny's eyes widened as Tucker realized his mistake.

Danny looked ready to have a full blown panic attack as he retreated inside his own head to face the horrors that one remark brought to his mind. He was silent save for a few strangled 'No's. Tucker tried to bring him back to reality, but gave up and started talking to me instead when he realized his friend could not be saved from this mental attack.

It only took him a second to answer my quizzical look. "He's trapped in a memory of an accident we were in two years ago. That's where I lost my leg, he lost his family, and we both lost our friend Sam. He's the only one to escape with minimal physical damage, but the mental damage it caused him will probably never fade. The specialists think it's the fact that he lost so many people in his life all at once, but I think the main thing to set him over the edge was Sam's death. He wouldn't admit it, but he loved her and he blames himself for her death even though it's unlikely anyone could have stopped the portal from exploding."

I was speechless. I knew it was hard enough to deal with being in an accident and not remember it, but it had to be worse to go through something like that and blame yourself for the deaths of loved ones. How he managed to make it through every day is beyond me, and it gave me a newfound respect for the guy,

"It'd be best if you didn't mention the accident. You can never tell what will set him off, some days it's easier to do than others. If you ever see him like this, just stay with him, it will help to calm him down when he comes out of it to remember that he's not alone." Tucker was dead serious and I saw a sadness in his eyes as he looked over to his friend and my roommate. It suddenly became clear to me that this was the past that kept him from being any sort of a threat to this mission. Just knowing what this kid had been through and was still managing to keep living with kinda made me fall for him just a little more.

I saw him start to raise his head and was amazed to find there wasn't a single tear in his eyes as Tucker ran to his side to coax him back to reality. He had to have been forced to relive that memory a thousand times to get through it without shedding even a single tear. I really felt bad for him. I once again felt something in the back of my mind screaming something at me, screaming that this kind of resilience was what I had always loved about the guy. How I could have possibly loved that about him before I ever meeting him was beyond me, but this kid seemed to have my forgotten memories on edge, as if he was the key to bringing my life back to me.

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