Chapter 23 "He's Not Gone"
It’s dark until suddenly a light above my head flickers on and ice cold water is coming in around my feet. I look around anxiously, trying to keep my breathing under control. What is this? What’s going on? There are walls all around me; there are sketches etched into them of my family being murdered in terrible, unimaginable ways. Some of them are hung up by pulleys with their skin shredded and hanging, some have hooks in their bodies, stretching their skin out as they are tied to a wall and someone is hitting them with a sledge hammer. I put my hands on my mouth, screaming. I quickly turn and begin to smack on the walls, “LET ME OUT! LET ME OUT!!!” On the other side of the box is a laughing child and a man telling me, “I’m still with you Addison...” He’s getting closer, closer, quieter. He’s in my ears. ”Addison...” He’s in my head. The water is up to my thighs. It’s so cold! I’m shaking. I gasp; a man’s hand is riding up my leg and I feel a presence rising behind me. A long drawn out breath sounds very close to me. He presses up against my back and the side of his face leans against my head. His skin doesn’t feel human. His hands take a hold of my arms and I know his mouth doesn’t move when he says; “...I’m a part of you.”
The nightmare causes me to roll off the couch, shouting for my family. When I hit the floor, I quickly look up and see I’m in a hospital room with claw marks on the walls, writings I don’t understand on the ceiling and floor and there are people walking past the windows. They’re normal, but they don’t know I’m here. Every few seconds the room is bowing in and out, giving me a headache. I stand up quickly and look behind me; I didn’t fall off the couch; I fell out of bed. “No...” I breathe, “No no no-” I run these words together, whispering them, looking everywhere. Please, I’m not back! I can’t be back here! God, please no!
I back up to the bed and take a hold of it, standing up slow and carefully. Was everything between Gabriel and I in a dream before that nightmare? How do I find out? I get a sudden stabbing pain in my head; a vision of my bathroom mirror flashes like static in my mind. “Ah, fuck!” I hold the side of my head and stagger to the bathroom. A safe place; hopefully it will have something I could use.
Just as I go in, the smell of death hits me in the face.
I cough with my hand over my mouth and look in the toilet. What I see makes me scream and drop to the floor. There’s a man’s head in there, badly, badly decomposed. I bring my sleeve up to my face- I’m in a gown?! I quickly jump to my feet and slam the toilet closed, then look in the mirror and see my apartment bathroom. What-! What the hell-! I turn back around to see where I am exactly; the hospital bathroom. Back to the mirror; apartment bathroom. I back out of the room and see I’m in a different room. There are two windows, a metal bed with a beat up mattress on it, the tile floor is cracked and the gray paint on the walls is splitting off; I’m in an asylum room.
I move slowly to the windows and see the familiar apartments across from me. NO! STOP THIS MADNESS! STOP IT! I cry and hold my head, squeezing my eyes shut tightly and pulling my hair. “STOOOOP!!! LEAVE ME ALOOONE!!!” STOP FUCKING WITH MY HEAD!
The moment I stepped through my door, thoughts of... you... longing thoughts of watching you in your everyday life began to take over my mind. The fool that stood next to you and kissed your forehead so gently, so caringly... lovingly... has gone away.
I’ve thought about your smile... your laugh... how long your conversations on the phone with family and friends were... how you took your time brushing your hair ever so gently every night... how you rushed around the next morning getting ready for work at the Dillard’s store... how you spent your weekends watching movies, waiting for your boyfriend to come ‘home’ but hardly ever arrived because something came up and he couldn’t make it... How you hugged your pillow tight and wept in your sleep because of your innocent, insecure nightmares someone was going to harm you...
Since you moved here, something has been out to get you. You’re not dumb, Addison... You know, but you don’t know, it’s always been me making you feel this way. But you never knew I also followed you to work, to the store, to the clothing outlet stores, the bank, the coffee shop - you name it, I’ve been there, too - with you. Of course, in some places I never went inside... I wanted to watch you from afar just in case something happened.
Right now, I’m sitting in the middle of my living room in a dining chair with my back facing the windows; I’m staring at the door. While I’ve been thinking about you, this thirst for blood and that same urge to kill is becoming so unbearable the feeling is almost identical to being chained to the floor, starving to death, watching someone eat in front of me. I need it. I need it all right now. I need you Addison. I thought just seeing you was causing this desire to grow, but no... It’s something else; it’s what I am. Or it could be Reuben.
I jump up from the chair, knocking it across the room and I pace like an angry caged lion. I hear whispers fading in; they’re in my mind, my own voice telling me to go to you. The temptation is too strong. It was somewhat tolerable, but now-I can barely resist it.
I approach the window and see you putting blankets over your windows. My eyes grow furiously. You can’t shut me out! I look down at the people in the parking lot. They make me utter a low, disgusted ‘hmm’. The voices tell me to ignore them and go. But as I hear them, I very faintly sense something in the walls; a familiar presence, eyeing me, amused at my behavior. As I notice this, I feel my lust getting stronger. The voices are more vehement, images of you chained to a wall, blood dripping from your face, long slices in your midsection and the pleading, desperate look in your eyes, are provoking me to the point I can’t take it much longer. The mist is crawling up my body. The blanket you just put up falls slightly and I see you walking around the room with your hands in your hair, trying to pull it out, and a tall blonde man is standing at your bedroom door watching you. Then he slowly looks over at me. When he does this, I feel something like gravity yanking my body forward; my mist quickly wraps around my body and I snarl, ”Reuben!” I become the mist and dart out the window in less than a second. I shoot through the cracks in your bedroom window and fill the room with darkness. “ADDISON, GET ON THE BED!” I shout. The blonde man’s head slowly tilts.
You trip over yourself, backing away from me, and then you look around in fright. “Gabriel!” You gasp. I make the darkness close in on him, but I’m stopped by an invisible barrier; I can’t get past it. The light in his face suddenly vanishes and now I see a gray statue-like face with dark liquid red eyes staring directly at me. He walks toward me slow and menacingly, and as he moves, I’m forced back into physical form. It makes me weak, hardly able to stand.
He stops in front of me, so close I can see further into his burning, hellish gaze; all the souls he’s captured unknowingly being consumed on the hospital grounds. I see everything Addison explained. And I see the day Jack was born...
A naked man was laid out on a table in a small house. Reuben was standing next to him with something sharp on the tip of his finger. He stuck him in the arm with it and blood starting coming out of his pores. It couldn’t come out fast enough. It even poured out of his eyes, ears and nose. Blood pooled around the table. Reuben stood completely still as it all happened. He remained in the same spot as the sun went down, and then, finally... the man on the table took in a large breath. He opened his eyes and stared at the ceiling.
Reuben put his hands together. “Jack... welcome, to earth.” his voice was soft. The man looked at him, and in that moment they locked eyes, there was an immediate bond between them; master and creation. Jack, the first vampire, was born. Reuben was in awe of him.
And suddenly, as I see these things appearing in Reuben’s eyes, he disappears, taking my darkness with him. The apartment fills with light, and it feels empty. Completely empty. The weight has been lifted off me and I have full control of myself again. I heave out a huge sigh of relief. He left. He left because I was seeing so much. Or did he want me to see that? Is this more of his game?
“He’s- He’s gone?! Is he gone?!” you choke, bringing me back to reality. I glimpse at you. “No.” I walk over to the windows. “This is more of his trickery. He wants me to follow him all the way to the end. And that... I will do.”
“Wait, Gabriel please I need you! You need to stay here! You have no idea what’s happening!” I keep moving. You run to me and pull me around, “Please!” I hiss at you, “GET AWAY FROM ME! As long as I’m around you, you’re in danger! You can’t see me again!” I hate the last words; they sting like poison burning my tongue slowly. How could I say this, when you’re everything I want and need! I become a full mist and dash out of your apartment.
You hold your chest and fall to the floor with large watery eyes, frightened and lost.
I hurry back to my apartment and race around breaking all my mirrors and any other reflective surfaces. Then I stop in the living room, huffing and clenching my fists. I have to stop him. I need to think this through as much as I can, the best that I can! I need to stop him!