If bad dreams could build a staircase to the sky, then Gallows would have been able to touch the moon by now. It was not so much that the dreams scared him; it was just that they unsettled him. They normally made no sense, and yet, they were always capable of instilling unease within his rapidly beating heart. This dream was no different.
He looked up at the gray sky, a small smile pasted on his face. It would rain soon, the skies promised that much. The sweet smell of dew flowed around his nose and taunted his mind to prance among the pretty yellow flowers. Yellow. Yellow like the sun. He thought absently as he pushed a strand of hair from his eyes. Gray. The sky is gray. He closed his eyes for a moment or two and then tried to open them, only to find that his eyelids had fused together and were starting to burn. He cried out in pain and tried to sit up, but the grass around him wove a surprisingly strong net and pulled him back to the ground. Rivers of acid were flowing from his eyes and carving pus covered lines down his face and neck.
"Go ahead, scream, they will not hear you." mocked Jet’s voice from above him. Gallows struggled to free himself from the net, only to have the grass tighten more, cutting off his air supply briefly. "I can see you… but you can't see me" Said Jet in a sing song voice, walking around Gallows slowly. Gallows tried to open his mouth to retort, only to find that the acid had sealed his lips shut. "Move around too much and They will find you." He giggled, coming to a stop behind Gallows and putting his foot lightly on Gallows' forehead. The best Gallows could do to this was groan angrily. Jet once again giggled, this time in a more childish voice. "They can see you, Gallows, and They can hear you." He cackled, removing his foot from Gallows' forehead and knelling down beside him, his breath tickling Gallows' blood caked cheek. "And, when they find you." He continued, caressing Gallows cheek with surprising gentleness. "They'll rip your eyes lids apart for you and rip out those pretty blue eyes of yours…” He concluded in a loud voice, slapping Gallows as hard as he could as he stood up.
"Oh, how nice… Here they come…” Came Jet's voice from far away. He heard footsteps and then heard several people coughing and knelling down beside him, their soft knees digging into the earth. "So, Jet was right, this is the misguided one!" said Halle, reaching a withered hand down to one of his eyes. "You're right; he should not have run away." concurred Shane, putting his soft hand down on Gallows other eye. Gallows inwardly cringed and prayed to the Guardians to make this dream end. Please, make it go away, make it go away… "I think we need new eyes. My eye sight is not what it used to be…” groaned Halle, digging her nail under the tender flesh of the eyelid, drawing a well of blood as she did so. "And, I just want to have a little something of my brothers…” mumbled Shane, following Halle’s suit. goawaygoawaygoawaygoaway "Just a little…" began Halle, starting to peel back his flesh. GO AWAY! Please GO AWAY! It was then that his sight flooded with brilliant light and he screamed out his fear at the top of his lungs.
He sat bolt up right in bed, his eyes flinging open with fear. His lungs felt as if the were aflame and every breath he took fanned the flames a little more. He took in a couple of deep breaths and looked around nervously, pressing the shaking heel of his palm against his warm forehead. Am I running a fever? He pulled his hand slowly from his forehead, half expecting to see blood covering his hand, luckily, however, such was not the case and he dropped his hand quickly to his side. What the hell was that all about? Some sort of warning? No, Jet would never do something that sardonic… Would he? Gallows shook his head slowly from side to side and took in a deep breath. Of course he wouldn't… Jet is no monster. With a nod, he lay back down and pressed his head comfortably against the soft pillow. I've nothing to fear from Jet, 'cept for maybe some vulgar words and perhaps even a solid punch to the gut. I can handle that. It's not like he's going to rip my eyes out and feed them to me…
(~~~~) Jet quietly closed the entrance door behind him and walked up the stairs in an equally cautious manner. He needed to get up to his room with little or no interruptions. There should already be a cup in your room. All you need to do is follow my directions exactly. Screw up even slightly and he will die. Do you understand? Jet nodded his head, a heaviness of unease settling down deep in his gut. Fine, tell me what to do, I'll be sure not to screw this up. I'm not him after all. To this, Reason laughed and concurred with a grunt of amusement. So true. Now, take that paint thinner out of your vest and get a teaspoon from that jar over there. Jet nodded and walked toward the table in the middle of the room, grabbing a teaspoon from the jar as instructed. He stood there for a moment, a perplexed look on his pale face. What am I doing?! There is not time for doubt or pity. You know that he deserves this, now sit down at the desk and do as I say!
Jet nodded and did as he was told, looking alternately between the paint thinner and the liter of whiskey beside it. He was really beginning to question his and "Reasons" motives. Why does this feel so damn wrong! Maybe I'm going about this the wrong way… Maybe I need to reconsider… Maybe… Maybe you just need to stop thinking so much, Adam, all thinking is, is a deviation to a possible truth. Now, open the paint thinner. Jet blinked to this command, but did as he was told, flinching a little as the harsh bitterness wafted past his nostrils. Why must this stuff smell so NASTY?! Why not just ask good ole' Rold? Because "good ole' Rold" as you call him, is dead. Riposted Jet sarcastically. … Right. Now, measure out exactly one third of that and pour it into the bottom of the cup. Jet nodded and stilled his shaking hand along with his nerves and poured the prescribed amount into the clear glass cup, marveling at how something as clear as this could be so deadly.
Now, the cup that you have right there is around, I'd say, about a sixteen ounce cup, so, about a pint. The liquor should mask the scent of the paint thinner. Now, pour the liquor into the cup, fill it up to almost the top. Jet nodded, and shakily opened the lid of the Gault Fire and did as he was told, watching in slow motion as the golden liquor splashed and mingled with the paint thinner, creating an aromatic odor of sterility and pain. The plan was over half complete. Now, all that was left was to… Well, Jet, it's show time. Let's see how well you act under pressure. Jet nodded, it was do or die now. Taking in a deep breath, he picked up the cup in a shaking hand and picked up the Gault Fire in the other. "Show time…” mouthed Jet, walking toward the door, putting the Gault Fire into the crook of his arm. Just as his hand touched the cold door knob, the word "Guilty" flashed in front of his eyes, bleeding the paint of warm blood and accusation.
LET'S GO!! Jet shook his head and watched as the words dissipated and floated away into the abyss of thought. He opened the door shakily and walked out into the cool hallway, a cold sweat breaking out on his brow and the thunderous sound of his heart beat flooding his ears. Do or die. Fight and Live, Lose and Die. I will not die. He walked slowly toward Gallows' room, noting with a certain amount of relief that his light was still on. Good, that means I won't have to wake him up… Since when have you been the considerate one? Gee, thanks, Reason, you really know how to make a man feel great! It's just the truth, and don't try to feed me your lies. I am your voice of reason after all… Yeah, yeah, you've already stated as much five hundred times… ….
Jet raised his hand to knock on the door when he froze. Are you absolutely sure that the measurements are correct? I don't want to kill him… I am sure, stop second guessing yourself; you are giving me a headache… Jet sighed to this and rapped once on the heavy door. "Yes?" came Gallows’ sleep ridden voice from the other side. "It's me, Jet; open up…” responded Jet with a certain amount of vexation. There was a brief silence on the other side of the door and then he heard footsteps. The darkest part of his mind lit up with malicious hope whilst his heart dropped down into his feet. Damn, Gallows, why must you be so nice?!
The door opened to reveal a half asleep Gallows. His hair was pulled back into a tanned, leather thong, and yet, pieces of stray hair still managed to find their way to his face. "Hullo…” He said with a lopsided grin. Jet did not repay the smile with a smile of his own, instead, he held up the fated glass and the flask of whiskey. "Let's drink…” Muttered Jet, looking at Gallows in a rather no nonsense manner. Gallows blinked a couple of times and pushed a strand of wayward hair from his face. "Kind of late for that isn't it?" asked Gallows as he dropped his hand back down to his side. Jet shook his head back and forth once and continued to hold the liquid out in front of him. "It's never too late to drink, didn't you always say that?" blinked Jet, looking past the Baskar and into his room. Gallows looked behind him to see what Jet was staring at and then back to the young android.
"Well, if I weren't so "blah" right now, I would agree, but seeing as that I don't feel all that gre-" "Maybe having a drink will calm you down and help you sleep." Cut Jet in, handing the glass to Gallows. Gallows looked down at the glass and blinked. "What is this?" Gallows asked, his eyes already watering due to the strong aroma of the brew. Jet smiled to this question and nodded toward the cup he had extended. "It's Gault Fire; I figured that this would be a "peace offering" of sorts." "Ahh…” responded Gallows, taking the cup from Jet and giving him a genuinely warm smile. "I hope you like it; it was the strongest they had." simpered Jet, locking eyes with the young priest. Gallows nodded, and then, realizing that Jet might feel better if he were sitting down, invited him in with a grand wave of his arm. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to be rude, Jet, come on in." Jet nodded and walked into the room, turning back to watch Gallows as he closed the door.
"Thank you, Jet, for this "peace offering". You beat me to it." laughed Gallows quietly as he sat down on the bed and took his first drink of the elixir. Jet tilted his head to the side and sat down in the chair that Virginia had occupied a couple of hours before. "What do you mean?" Gallows chuckled to this question and blinked a couple of burning tears from his eyes. The alcohol was stronger than he had anticipated. "I was going to apologize to you and offer you a pe-" Gallows shook his head, trying to shake the yellow dots from his fading vision. " Peace offering" of my own." Completed Gallows, looking down at the glass with a certain degree of perplexity.
"Well, that's hardly necessary. After all, I'm the one that started the whole mess…” Said Jet quietly, a hint of sorrow creeping into his voice. Gallows shook his head and looked at the glass, it was now half full. Jet also looked at the glass and inwardly cringed. Gallows would be feeling its effects in a bit. "Well, I really had no right to punch you…” slurred Gallows, his hands now shaking from the tainted whiskey. Jet smiled a little bit and got up from his chair. Gallows followed his movements dazedly. ".. You're right; you had no right to punch me." He knelt down in front of Gallows and took the glass from his shaking his hands. "And now, we are even…” Jet concluded, setting the flask of whiskey down on the night stand beside Gallows. Gallows' vision was now half gone and he desperately groped for Jet's arm, which was swinging erratically in his line of vision. "W-what did you do to me?!" He asked weakly, his arm falling down to his side.
"Making us even…” smiled Jet, now out of Gallows’ range. Gallows blinked dazedly and then fell down backwards onto his bed, a fine line of drool glistening down his chin. "Slobbering pig…” grunted Jet, walking toward the door, only to be stopped by Gallows’ strained voice. "Istir rens… mo'kinai…"Jet turned around and looked at the young man with surprise. "WHAT?!" Snarled Jet, shooting him a venomous gaze. Gallows did not respond, he was out cold. …What did he mean?! Reason! Damn it, answer me! However, Reason did not answer, and it was then Jet realized that "Reason" was never there. "What did I do..?" gasped Jet, looking down at his hands with fear. It doesn't matter; I've got to get out of here NOW! He raced to his room without another word, closing the door as lightly as his panicked hands could. What did he say to me? What did he mean?! Damn it!
He quickly crossed the short distance to his bed and threw himself on to it, burying his face in the pillow and squeezing it snugly to his face. What did I do to him? What was I thinking?! Did I kill him? Did I? Is he dead now because of me? Dead? He wasn't supposed to die! He was supposed to LIVE! Reason! REASON, please come back! He bit his lip to suppress a sob. I killed him.. I killed the son of a bitch, I know I did… A tear ran down his face and smeared neatly into the rough pillow case. He looked up at the warped headboard, his mind warping the lines into a gruesome skull and crossbones. I poisoned him… poisoned him… dead…killed…murdered… He screamed his despair into the pillow and closed his eyes, trying to force the horrible image of Gallows' stiff body from his mind.
"Killed him…" Jet whispered in despair, the tears now falling freely from his eyes. I must tell someone… anyone… I have to get this off my chest! Fool! You can’t do that! Shut up! It's because of you that I got into this mess! No, I'm not the one that poured that paint thinner into his drink. That was you, my friend, stop trying to place the blame on a third party! But you were the one that told me to do it! Stop blaming me! But, you were only listening to yourself, your own selfish desires. I am, after all, just the voice of your subconscious… Jet sat up and swung his legs over the side of the bed, placing his elbows just above his knees and placing his face in his quivering hands. No, that can't be right! You were there the whole time! You were there! Telling me what to do every step of the way!
Ah, but that is where you are wrong, my friend. You were telling yourself what to do. Jet lifted his head from their perch and looked at himself in the mirror. He reeled in terror when a visage of fear and panic gazed, doe eyed, back at him. But how as that possible?! You're talking to me right now! How can you tell me that you don't exist! As I said earlier, I exist out of necessity. When you need reason for your actions, I am there. But… I… I called for you earlier… Why didn't you come? Because, you needed to think about your actions first, you needed to realize the true repercussions as to what you've done. But, I… I needed you… I needed a reason… I needed… Solace? You will not find solace in reason. You may find a temporary truce but never solace. Solace comes from an absolute truth, a truth that you have obviously ignored. Truth? I don't understand… The truth that you may have taken a man's life due to your own insecurities and selfishness. That, Adam, is the absolute truth, find solace there, not in me! … No… What do you mean?! YOU TOLD ME TO DO THIS! Reason sighed to this. No, you told yourself to do this! I just gave voice to your reasoning… Jet, face the music, you may have killed him. Suffer the consequences and live with that knowledge.
I am going to tell someone. I have to! Perhaps there's a way to save him! NO! Are you crazy!? If you tell someone, you will end up going to jail, or worse yet, may be killed by your so called "friends"! Jet, listen to me just this once! Let them find it out on their own. If Gallows does not wake up, then you have nothing to worry about. Dead men can not talk. However, if he wakes up… then you need to start worrying. So, I just sit here and wait? Precisely. … It doesn't feel right. Once again reason abandoned him, and he was all alone with his thoughts. He was alone with the one thing that he feared the most. His own demons.
The blind man always seeks what he can not find. The deaf man always listens for what he can not hear. The mute man always mouths the words he can not say. The blind man stumbles along the corridor of blades. The deaf man walks among the voiceless multitudes. The mute man forever watches as the foolish walks toward the cliff.
The learned man forever seeks what’s just out of reach. The arrogant man seeks what can never be found. The sorrowful man searches for a fading hope. The learned man weeps over memories long forgotten. The arrogant man laughs insanely in solitude. The sorrowful man mourns as hope flickers and dies.
Humans will die. Faith will fade. Glory also is ill fated. When we realize that time is, indeed, borrowed. We will be set free.