Here we go/ Just give it to me one more time/ And then I'll pack up and say my goodbyes/ This is the one last time I can get inside/ Because I'm really leaving this time/
I wanna be right here/ When it's just you and me/ When we can fall in bed and have the time of our lives/ Do it again/ Just one last time/ And I'll be on my way / That was my goodbye/ And now I'm throwing you away
It doesn't matter anymore/ I ripped you apart/ Made you a whore/ Looking back on what I did/ All I have to say is that you better find a better game to play/ Because you lose this time/ You'll never amount to more than some words in a rhyme/ You're nothing to me/ You'll never be
InNoCeNt/ I can't take this anymore/ this is way to deep for me/ I can't believe you're hurting me/ Not like this/ Shattered Innocence
I moaned deep within my throat, eyes fluttering open ever so softly, and I found myself lying in a bed, staring up at a ceiling with its bright incandescent light shining down on me. I moaned again, the noise sounding half like a grunt.
Where was I?
I slowly started to sit up, but only got halfway there, deciding just to prop myself up on my elbows instead. My body hurt like hell, and I had no idea why. Hell, I didn't even have a clue as to where I was, save that it reminded me terribly of a mental institution, which was rather creepy to think about.
"Hello?" I whispered, surprised at the sound of my own timid voice. Funny, I didn't really remember being timid at all. But then again I didn't really . . . remember . . . Oh shit.
"Oh, I better not have fucking amnesia, or whatever that shit is called," I growled to myself, my voice STILL sounding uncharacteristically high. Okay, so I KNEW I was a male and all, but hell; my voice was two steps away from being able to sing second soprano in a school choir. Not cool.
Ignoring my pain as best I could, I forced myself up (and when I say forced, I mean FORCED; I hurt!) and walked across the room, noticing some of the more abstract details, and finding it strange that I wasn't much interested in noticing anything other than that there was a bed shoved into the corner, and that bed looked like it was two inches thick. Other than that, there was nothing. The room was gray, concrete all around.
I walked to the thick iron door and rested my hands on it, noting that there was only a small window near the top that I seemed to be too short to see out of. And seriously, the window didn't look remotely high. How old was I? Five?
Hearing a noise like the sound of a key being inserted into a lock on the other side of the door, I gasped in my surprise, and unconsciously stepped back, staring at the door as it opened slowly to reveal a rather large and very muscled man, who stared at me in a mixture of fake composure and obvious fear.
Well, what the hell was he afraid of? Certainly something as small as I couldn't do too much damage, right? So what the hell was this guy looking at me as if I were some kind of demon child for?
The man stepped into the room, making absolute sure that the door did not shut all the way and that he was very close to it. He swallowed hard, looking at me through ocean green eyes.
Hmmm…so I carefully noted human appearance, but cared almost nothing for the appearance of my surroundings. Or was it just that I didn't care much for the particular room? I wouldn't really have liked to stay in it, to tell the truth. Kind of creepy, you know, staying in a one-celled, closed room all alone.
"S-sir?" he started, swallowing again before he continued to speak. I wondered vaguely why he addressed me so formally. Why so timid? "They want to s-s-see you, if that's alright with you, of course. They're worried about you."
"Hmmm." I smiled, feeling a sadist wave of emotion almost overcome me completely. "They care do they?" I didn't even really know who "they" were, let alone why I would ask whether or not they cared about me.
The man nodded, his hand reaching instinctively for the doorknob as if he were going to need to run for it.
"Afraid of little old me?" I asked, mock-sympathy in my voice. "Come now, why so scared? I couldn't POSSIBLY harm you, now could I? I mean, just look how small I am. I couldn't hurt a fly."
By this time the man was pressed up against the wall so hard that I was shocked that it didn't start cracking from the pressure. But if "they" kept people locked up in here, as I suspected they did, then it would only be logical that the walls be able to endure much punishment.
"Not going to answer, I see. Very well then." I crossed my arms over my chest. "I really don't like it in here, not at all."
I looked around me; disgusted at the dreary feeling the gray walls gave the room. It really needed some color . . . if only I could paint it like I painted – wait – I knew how to paint? That was interesting. Could be useful.
"I want to leave," I stated, irritated by the man's silence. I tapped my foot on the ground impatiently, only now realizing that my feet were bare - small too. And I was wearing naught but what seemed to be some sort of a white silk bathrobe. Why was I wearing this?
"B-because, sir," the man started, taking me by surprise. I hadn't realized I had thought aloud. "After your fight with Eric, you . . . you . . ."
"You sort of . . . well . . . He bounced the guard and came back at you, and you sort of . . . fell . . . and you hit the floor and there was a lot of blood around your head . . . and . . ."
"I hit my head?" I interrupted.
The man nodded.
"Did I suffer brain injury or trauma?"
He just stared at me as if I were crazy. But then he shook his head. "Not so far as our doctors could tell." And then he jumped suddenly and out of nowhere, shocking me completely. "Oh! You have an appointment. Come on, we can't be late."
"Appointment," I repeated. "Interesting . . ."
The music rose and fell, deep lyrics mixing with the most sensual of music, making the fans around the stadium practically die from the sheer ecstasy of the sound. It made Jamie smile as he played his bass guitar. To think, he had become a rock star overnight it seemed. Because from the moment he had met the other four members of his band three years ago, they knew. They had to have known what they would become.
And after all of the nights they stayed up writing lyrics, high and drunk and trying to make sense of their thoughts; and all of the nights they played in bars and clubs; the days spent working . . .it all seemed so feeble compared to this, like none of it really mattered. Like it was never there.
Jamie closed his eyes as the music of their third song came to an end, listening to and loving the sensuality of the rhythm they made. And when he opened his eyes, about ten seconds later, his eyes immediately went to the lead singer, watching as the man looked over at him, a large grin on his face. Jamie grinned back, winking playfully.
Keith chuckled, but then he started coughing. So hard he coughed, in fact, that he ended up accidentally dropping the microphone. Jamie just stared in horror, frozen where he stood. He didn't know what to think.
"Keith . . ." he whispered softly to himself, watching the man as he dropped to his knees, hands clutching his throat. Blood flowed from his mouth and nose. "Keith," Jamie repeated, this time a little more loudly.
Jamie grabbed his guitar, absentmindedly taking it off from around him and just holding it, dumbfounded. He waited for Keith to get up and laugh or something at how stupid he felt for getting sick on stage like that, but the man didn't move. It was like he couldn't.
The bass player let out a small sigh of relief when his singer started to move from the fetal position he had been in. But the relief was short-lived - for as soon as the man got to his knees, he fell forward, unconscious.
Jamie ran over the where his friend lay and dropped to his knees, ignoring the comments of his fellow band mates when they told him he should back up and give Keith some room. He just told them to call the fucking ambulance.
"Oh god, Keith," he whispered. "Don't die on me, please. Please don't die . . . Damn it, Keith, come on . . ."
"Good morning, Bailey," a man in a suit said sweetly, smiling at me as I entered what seemed to be a child's play room. It was creepy, in all its sweetness; it just seemed all the more sadistic.
"Morn," I replied unceremoniously. My name was BAILEY? Who on God's green earth named me THAT? What were they, fucking stupid? Such a pussy name . . . Damn.
"Please, won't you sit down?" the man asked, smiling kindly at me. I studied him for a look of sadism or something of the sort, but found only a gentle, somewhat sympathetic and caring look in his eyes. Weird.
I sat in a chair, having to look around me yet again to really understand where I was, which kind of annoyed me, but I tried to ignore it – probably just a side effect of hitting my head and losing my memory.
We must have been in some sort of a conference room, but it looked to be for kids. And the man across from me reminded me of a psychiatrist. Psychiatric Ward? Was that where I was?
"Where am I?" I asked, finally getting annoyed with not understanding anything. Besides, as far as I was concerned, these people probably already thought I was crazy anyway, so what was so bad about me making them believe so even more?
The man seemed to lose his patience for a moment, but he composed himself quickly enough and, with a sigh, spoke to me. "Bailey, you know I don't do well with people who try to play around with me. For God sakes, child, I'm here to help you, I've told you that how many times?"
"Humor me," I said. "I need the conformation."
The man sighed exasperatedly. "All right, all right. I'll humor you, Bailey." He rubbed his eyes in a way that, for one reason or another, made me pick up right away that he was stressed and tired and needed to go home. "You're in drug rehab."
I was startled, and it must have shown on my face, because the man looked at me strangely. I shook my head and motioned for him to go on.
"You were caught with kilos upon kilos of cocaine, among other drugs. You made a plea-bargain with the judge to attend drug rehab for three years, and that during that elapsed time you would have to prove to us – that is to say, your councilors and myself – that you have changed."
"I see. And did I ever take any of these drugs?" I was really hoping that he would say no. Really, really hoping.
He shook his head and I let out a breath of relief, receiving yet another strange look from the man. "Bailey, what's up with you? Your time is up in a week, kiddo, and you're going around getting into fights with men that would only rip you apart if they ever got alone with you!"
I shrugged, unsure of how to respond to that particular statement. "Shall I dare even ask about what went on there?"
"What do you mean?" the man asked. "During the fight?"
"Why did the fight happen at all?" I replied.
"Actually, we were hoping that YOU could explain that one, Bailey. Eric's been getting along really well with everyone for the past couple of months, and out of nowhere you start screaming at him to leave you alone, but he's not even NEAR you!"
"Well," I said simply. "That's different."
"We thought you were going to lose your mind," the man said, studying me intently. "But you seem to be fine."
"Yes, because thankfully, I hit my head and lost my memory first. That way, at least, I wouldn't remember to be insane."
"It doesn't work that way," the man said slowly.
"Then I must not have been insane."
"Bailey . . ."
I shrugged my shoulders again. "You know, whoever gave me that stupid name ought to be shot. It sounds so gay."
The man looked taken aback for a moment, but then he leaned back in his chair and grinned at me. "Ah, ah, ah," he said. "That's not very nice. But at least it's something you would say. You were scaring me there for a while, being so polite and proper.
"And just for your information, young man, I came up with that name for you, because when we found you with the drugs and brought you in, you wouldn't tell us your name no matter what we threatened to do. So we just agreed on something simple and unique to call you so that we could communicate better."
"Interesting. Did I live on the streets?"
"Oh no," the man said dramatically. "You worked for one of the most fearsome drug lords in this country. You were very well off, until you got caught that is. But he probably betrayed you."
I shrugged. "What's his name?"
The man returned my gesture, also shrugging. "We were trying to get you to tell us."
"Well, if I ever remember, I shall be elated to tell you the son-of-a-bitch's name."
The man laughed. "I want to show you something," he said, "before you go. Because I think that if I let you see this, you just might not go back into that lifestyle."
Keith awakened to all kinds of doctors looming over him, injecting him with this or that drug, and overall just scaring the shit out of him because he thought he was going to die on an operating table, having felt like he had so much left to do, and no time with which to do it. And really, if this WAS the end, as he suspected it to be, he certainly didn't want to spend it in a hospital.
The singer just watched as all of the doctors poked and prodded his body, taking blood samples and injecting him with still more drugs. He vaguely wondered why this was happening. He couldn't remember having done enough of anything to really give him even much of a buzz, let alone to actually or almost kill him.
He just lay there for a while, watching the doctors go about their business, a few of them leaving from time to time, but basically all of them staying within the vicinity and watching over him. It was hell.
And by the time that even one of them seemed to realize that he had come to, he was the only one left in the room at that time.
"Ah, I see you've awakened," the doctor said without emotion.
"Where am I?" Keith asked, feeling a deep scraping in his throat, as if nails were clawing at his vocal chords when he spoke. He also noticed that his voice itself was very scratchy. Damn, he was going to have to miss out on a couple of concerts. Too bad he didn't have a backup singer or something . . . better than having to deal with those asshole business people.
The words struck more than just a little fear in his heart. DRUG REHAB? HIM? But . . . he'd never done anything more serious than a little marijuana . . . and that was only when his band had just started to write songs.
The doctor, noting the fear on his patient's face, tried to give a sympathetic look. "Happens to a lot of lead singers, from what I hear. You needn't worry, really. You'll be just fine."
Keith just stared at the man, unable to speak.
The doctor looked slightly uncomfortable, which made Keith all the more nervous. "Look, Mr. Johnson," he started, taking a deep breath and then letting it out slowly. "You must have had some type of an enemy or something, because the brief investigation the police made revealed that someone had slipped some sort of a chemical into either your drink or your food.
"Anyone possessing a chemical of this nature would be easily caught, considering the evidence it leaves behind in a room just by passing through the air. The police found quite easily that neither you nor any of your friends possessed the drug, so you're free to go in a couple of days."
"What was the drug?" Keith asked, once again feeling like his throat was being ripped out with every word he uttered.
The doctor looked kind of tense. "I'm not allowed to reveal that," he said, looking straight into his patient's fearful eyes. "But what I can tell you is that you are going to be fine, and that there is basically no damage done to your body. You are one of the lucky ones. Most people that are poisoned with this die before they ever know what happened."
Keith didn't really know what to say. So they weren't ALLOWED to tell him what someone used to try to kill him? What kind of bullshit was that?
"However, Mr. Johnson, there is a downside to this. I just want you to keep in mind how lucky you are that you're still alive when I tell you this, understand?" For the first time, the doctor actually looked sincere.
"What?" Keith asked fearfully, not knowing what to expect as an answer, but dreading it nevertheless.
"You'll never sing again."
"His name is Keith Johnson," the man said to me, "and he is – well, was – one of the best singers in music."
"What? Did he kick the bucket?" I asked, looking up at the man with a slightly disinterested look, although I really did want to know.
The man just shook his head and motioned for me to keep following him down the hallway. God, I just wanted out of this stupid place. I could only remember what had gone on so far today in it, and though I was willing to bet that this was one of the far more interesting days, it was hell. I just wanted out. This day sucked so far anyway.
"Mr. Johnson?" the man asked as he led me into a room in a portion of the building that seemed to be some type of a hospital wing.
I looked over to see a person that I could only describe as beautiful. Even though he was a male, I found myself immediately and strangely attracted to him. Hmmm, so I was gay. Well, I had no problem with that.
I soon realized that the man that had led me in here had left me alone with this 'Mr. Johnson,' which pretty much meant that I could have killed him and no one would be the wiser.
Walking over to his bed, I carefully studied him, from his ashen, shoulder-length hair to his beautiful baby blue eyes, which were large and full of a pain so great that words couldn't describe it. I found myself attracted to his pain, loving the look of it in his eyes. Not so much that I was being sadistic, but that I was two steps away from falling in love with the beauty that seemed to emanate from him, which his sadness only made greater.
As he stared up at me, I found myself at a loss for words. So I simply used my hands to speak, pushing a stray strand of hair away from in front of his face. He smiled at me, and for a moment, his eyes didn't seem so sad.
I must've smiled back at him, because he laid his hand on my cheek, his palm facing outward, knuckles resting on my skin.
"Morning, beautiful," he said sweetly, his voice sounding raspy. Immediately he winced and retracted his hand, placing it on his throat, which he rubbed.
I frowned. "Perhaps you shouldn't speak," I said in a whisper. "At least until your throat stops hurting so much. Surely it must hurt."
He nodded, opening his mouth to speak but then shutting it.
"You must be a talker," I said, grinning. He nodded again.
"It really doesn't matter though, because I'll never be able to sing again. And what good am I now? I can't do anything else. I just want to use my voice to . . ." He stopped. By this point he was clutching his throat so hard that the thought of him strangling himself crossed my mind. That's surely what it looked like.
"I'll be your voice," I whispered.
I was surprised at my own words, and expected the man to be insulted, but was even more so shocked when I saw the very loving look he gave me.