A/N: This was written for the January 2010 WCC in the Review Game. Check it out sometime.


There's this |tick, ticking| sound creeping in from under the door.
It slinks along the walls and buries itself in the cracks of the ceiling.
So damn soft, he can feel it in his bones,
rattling around his head to the rhythm of absolutely nothing.
Tick. Tick.

He is dead.

Standing in front of the bathroom mirror,
chest bare and toothbrush in hand,
he studies his reflection.

They called him weird.
A zigzagging
left turn to the right of a narrow boulevard.
He left the others to walk in his dusty breeze while the tide washed the castles ashore.
Fucking freak.

There is toothpaste foam around his mouth, dribbling down his chin in a messy portrait.
The drops fall in tune with the ticking noise, hitting the sink abandoned aircraft style.
He quells the urge to imitate the sound.

A bruise.
It kisses his jaw in a suggestive manner.
Rough and hard,
as if to whisper faithfulness while it's trail of lovers watch from the rest of his body.
"Whore," he murmurs.

They called him troublemaker.
The open blender on the stove in 90 degree weather.
With a future chained to the courthouse just as theirs was chained to the inevitability of the inevitable.
Might as well just leave those cuffs on.

Sore.
His side is sore.
It throbs sluggishly on its own for a moment before harmonizing with
the dripping and the
ticking.
They echo and crash into each other,
fucking to their own soundtrack on the backseat of his eardrums.

There is a finger length scar that runs down his chest, right smack in the center.
From when he had felt another one of those urges brought on by the hellish Eden of a pre-game buzz.
He likes it because it looks like someone had tried to split him open,
tried to spill the contents of his chest so they could tack it to his sleeve.

They called him unnerving.
The ominous soundtrack to a tale of sightless ships.
He was that eerie undertone of the smile meant for the two-faced themselves but what truly brought on the chills was the fact that
he also wasn't.
Ha. Ha.

There is blood on his hands, on his knuckles to be exact.
Tiny pools of red ooze from the scrapes and cuts as his mind draws a blank trying to remember where that came from.
He feels no real pain, and yet his heart tightens at the sight.
Oh wait, ecstatic is all.

A lightheaded draft settles on his shoulders, anchoring him to the ground and his lids to each other.
Tick. Tick.

They called him something.
A word to encompass the steel in his fingers and lead on his tongue.
The complete summary of a boy-man not shunned
but one who chose to skip for the sake of sanity.
A Holden by any other name or,
whatever.

He is not dead.
He is alive.