Chapter: Sparks and Fires

Entry: Oct 12, 2007

Screaming. Agony, vile and thirsty.

Seconds and millennia; tears of longing.

Death. At last.

Kyle, it calls to him. Kyle!

"Kyle!" says a voice, miles away, draped in echo and filtered through eons.

His face stings. Warmth spreads over his cheeks, pleasant and soothing, driving away lingering discomfort like a balm of oil and menthol.

Slap! A ripple of shock drives his repose into bitter retreat. His right cheek burns. The pain is an anchor; what remains of Kyle's demented dreaming cracks and shatters and he knows then: he is alive.

His eyes float open, unseeing, rolled backwards so the whites scan the world, skeptical and unwilling to witness what must still lurk within Adriana's Room. But Kyle's in control now, and as disgusting as Rue may be, the creature was relatively harmless when robbed of his mind-twisting dreamscape. Or, so Kyle hoped.

"Kyle!" she shouted in his ear. Adriana's hands pushed against his chest, rocking his unresponsive body on the floor to wake him, not quite realizing his eyes had opened.

He groaned, bringing his left arm up to rub weary eyes and unleashing a long yawn that refreshed and invigorated him. He looked at Adriana—sitting and worrying her hands anxiously to his left—and yawned again, still groggy and drunk with swimming vision that fought against the traces of drugs still poisoning him.

He pulled himself into a sitting position, steadying himself with his right hand, leaning against it until the dizziness passed and the blackness flirting with the edges of his perception gave way to color. His heartbeat was sluggish, and he was still too weak for such exertion. He lolled his head to the left and dragged a corner of his mouth into a torpid smile; it was all he could manage.

"Are you alright?" whispered Adriana. "You... you just fell down." She wrung her hands, glad he wasn't hurt, but worried anyway. After all, healthy people didn't collapse.

Kyle would have responded—set her at ease—if he could. But Adriana wasn't alone: Rue sat on her folded legs, a witness to her frantic efforts at awakening him. Still the same: rotten and shriveled, eyes sheltering an inferno of rage. A mania that demanded satisfaction.

Rue hopped suddenly from Adriana's lap, and she was flung upwards and backwards, landing as a baffled heap on her own bed. Kyle's heart leapt to his throat, dread binding his hands and benumbing his mind. It's happening too fast! He was nothing but an immobile bison trapped in the piercing beam of an oncoming train.

Rue was on the move.

The hare spun around and hopped away from Kyle, providing distance: room to work.

"Adria—" Kyle tried to scream. But a chair scraped along the lacquered floor and tilted backwards, barreling toward him with murderous intent. He yelped a strangled "Hurgk!" as it blasted the air from his lungs. Both boy and chair sailed in a curve toward the ceiling, stopping only when a wall broke their momentum.

Plaster cracked and the chair's legs punched through, rending to powder the porcelain-hard surface. Behind Kyle was a web of cracks radiating from a substantial crater. He was pinned several feet from the ground, dangling like a broken doll, head and shoulders draped over the chair, a small trail of blood leaking from his lips. His skin was yet unbroken, but he felt like a tenderized steak.

Adriana gasped, horrified by the vicious attack. Her attention switched from Kyle to Rue several times, hopelessly perplexed by the scene. Kyle, battered and hanging from her wall, and Rue, apparent conductor of his fate. But she had no answer; this was all unprecedented.

Meanwhile, Kyle struggled to breathe. The chair was a bar over his chest; he choked and coughed in vain. As his vision dimmed, he saw the walls begin to bleed and ripple, peeling away like flesh baked taut until it ruptured. Not again! Why does he want me to sleep, so badly!?

His concentration faded with his consciousness, but there was no shame in launching one final effort. He grit his teeth, emptying his mind of everything but the ever-present pain, and saw. He felt the details, made them real. All at once, the chair was replaced with an equal amount of water, which splashed against him, buffeting him with a cool chill to quench his searing, battered limbs.

Freed from the impromptu wooden cage, Kyle crashed to the floor.

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