'Cause I don't wanna hide here anymore.
Take me to a place where nothing's wrong, and
'Thanks for coming,'
Shut the door."
It's all wrong. Forgemaster and his weapons. Green Man and his precautions. They had built up more wards and defenses around their home than I thought was possible after Nick got shipped off, but that didn't stop the normal, the everyday, the mundane. The regular old postman.
Because it's my birthday today. My goddamn birthday. I'm 23. So it's only natural that I should get a birthday present.
I... I can't deal with this. I can't do it. The memories, the images, the sounds. I want it to stop and it won't. I try to find the entry point, the single thought that starts the spiral. It's like it's invisible, it's like my mind isn't mine anymore. It did something, It had to have. During the missing time. That's the only explanation for why nothing will respond anymore, why I can't seem to see anymore. I feel blind.
I've been blind. In my grief, my complacency, my selfish desire for comfort, I had become stupid. I broadcasted my position to the entire fucking world, even when I've clearly stated that it's my policy not to do something like that. Don't publish anything about your current location until you're already in another location.
And yet, I still get the feeling that even if I hadn't done that, it wouldn't matter. Nothing anyone does seems to matter lately.
...None of you knew Bay. My friend Bashawn. The boy with the golden voice, who sang songs with me and didn't laugh when my low notes went flat. He let me borrow his iPhone for an entire day and trusted me to bring it back, even though we had only known each other all of 4 days back then. This is the guy who asks you how you're doing and expects an honest answer (if you feel like giving one), not a cursory "Good" or "Fine". He had never met a stranger in his life, my friend Bashawn. He had no family, so he made every single person he met into his family. None of you knew that, but I did.
Bay sheltered a stranger just because I asked him to. He gave that stranger money to help him get back on his feet. He dedicated more time to non-profit and charity than any person I've ever known, led a glamorous life as a professional singer, got a 4.0 in his night classes, and did it all with a smile.
He held me while I cried in a smoggy highway underpass, without asking any questions at all.
Forgemaster and Green Man didn't know that, didn't care about that. All they knew was that an insulated box arrived at their doorstep through the mail. The fucking postal service. No black plastic trash bags, no tree branches, no spill, no mess. Just a box. A box packed with ice to keep its contents from decaying and smelling and alerting the mailman. Completely legal and official - stamped and notarized and marked with "Fragile" and "This End Up". All the pomp and circumstance that Bay would have laughed at but that I'm enraged at, because he was my friend. Bashawn Moore was my friend, possibly the greatest human being I've ever known... and there he was, reduced to a mere fraction of himself in a cooler the size of a large shoebox.
When I saw it... when Green Man and Forgemaster finally let me by to see what was in the package addressed to me, what they were so horrified about... I screamed. I screamed and screamed and backed away and banged into things and fell over and screamed some more. I'm not quite sure when I stopped. Or if I've stopped. At least the burned body
This way, I could see clearly, so clearly, the last look that lively, expressive face ever made.
...Judging by that expression, his end probably wasn't pleasant.
I... don't know what else to... or even if... I don't know.
There will be people looking for him. Not here, maybe - Bay never set foot outside of New Jersey in his life, and Nick's apartment is reasonably far from the state border - but better safe than sorry. Or so my hosts told me.
Or so Green Man told me.
He wasn't a big enough asshole to tell me happy birthday at a time like this, but he did make it clear that he didn't want me and the trouble I bring in his home anymore. But he would take care of the box. As a "favor".
I thought about telling him no. I contemplated begging him, pleading with him, please don't leave me alone, please, please. The images will intensify, the sounds will twist, the memories will be made real. This headache I've never told you about won't go away, this cough I only have when I'm alone will get worse. Please, I'm sick, I need your help, please don't make me leave--
But I didn't. I... I didn't want to.
"Thanks for letting me stay over. It was nice of you."
Please, just let me hide here, let me pretend here, let me feel like, just once, there's nothing wrong...
"Thanks for coming."
Shut the door.