It was hard on my parents. When I was eight, they divorced, leaving my mother to attempt to deal with me and my headaches alone. When I was twelve, she went to work and never came home. I got lucky when a neighbor became suspicious and came over to find me alone in the house a week later. I was put into the foster care system after that since my mother had simply disappeared into thin air as far as they could find. I didn't care. I was too much trouble for her anyhow.
After that I bounced around from foster home to foster home, unable to stay anywhere since as soon as the headaches began again, they would call my social worker. No one had the patience to deal with me and my illness. There was no way to make it easier on myself or the people who tried to take care of me. In the end, they all gave up. I had a foster brother once who asked me why I didn't just kill myself instead of suffering through the pain of my headaches and the hurt the constant abandonment caused. I had simply shrugged in answer to him, but I knew the truth. I was just too much of a coward to take my own life.
Once I turned eighteen I was kicked out of the foster system and forced to figure out how to survive on my own. It was difficult. Most of my bosses tried to act understanding of my situation, but in the end they always ended up firing me. It was to be expected really. Who really wants to deal with an employee who gets headaches so bad that they will pass out if they try to force themselves to work or calls out five days of every month? Still, I was smart about the time I did work. I never spent money I didn't have to and managed to keep a roof over my head even in between jobs.
Times like this, when the pain is so bad that I'm afraid I'm going to die, I think back to what that one kid once asked me. Why was I so afraid of dying? I barely existed like this anyhow, so it wasn't like I would be missed if I did die. Maybe that was what scared me the most. The idea of dying without even a soul to remember me. No one to mourn at my funeral. No one to discover my body until I had already begun to rot. Or maybe I was just scared that there was nothing after the body died. No soul to go to heaven or hell or even to wander the earth aimlessly.
With a groan, I pulled the pillow tighter over my head, now trying to silence even my morbid thoughts. I'd have to get up soon to call in to work. Most likely I would be told not to worry about coming in again. This guy had already tolerated me much longer than any of my previous employers, but it was only a matter of time until he got tired of it. After all, employees like me were a dime a dozen. He could have me replaced in less than a week, if he hadn't already done so.
I sighed and pulled the pillow from my head enough to glance at the digital clock on my nightstand. I removed it completely once I realized it was time to take my medicine again and pray that this time it actually dulled the ache. On the nightstand, I had everything from migraine medicines, to epileptic medicines, to sleeping aides. However, the one I was reaching for was the extreme pain killer that was prescribed for times like this. Times when the daily medicines failed me and the normal solutions didn't work. If anyone ever saw my nightstand, they'd think I was dying of some horrible disease, instead of suffering this incurable headaches.
I swallowed the two large white pills with a swing of water from the glass on the bedside table and started to curl back up under the darkness of my pillow and covers. I had just grabbed my pillow when I heard a knock against my door. For a moment, I considered just ignoring it and pretending that I wasn't home when it came again, only more insistant. I groaned as the sound echoed through my head. I couldn't deal with the knocking nor did I want to open the door. I sighed softly to myself as I made my way quickly through the completely dark and empty apartment.
"Who's there?" I said, leaning against the door so that I didn't have to raise my voice too loud. Still even a normal tone sounded like I was yelling to me.
"You have a peephole, don't you?" the voice responded and I groaned.
"It's too bloody bright out there," I groaned, dropping my head into my hand as just the sound of my own voice left a ringing in my ears.
"It's Cayden, from Othello's," the voice said, though this time it sounded mildly ashamed. "Mike sent me to check on you and see if you were feeling better." I groaned inwardly. None of my bosses before had ever bothered to check up on me and it made me feel a bit guilty and happy that Mike had. I reached over and turned the lock before walking away from the door.
"Come in if you wish, just don't turn on the lights," I said and shuffled off so that the light from outside wouldn't cause me to pass out from pain. I heard the door open and shut as quietly as it could, with it's annoying squeaky hinges that could never seem to be oiled enough.
"How do you manage to not run into anything?" Cayden asked as he stood at the doorway still. "It's so dark in here that I can't see my hand in front of my face." I smirked a bit and turned towards where he was standing now that he had closed off the light. I heard him take a sharp inhale and I knew he could see something now. It was one of the things that bothered most people about when they finally saw me in the dark. "Your eyes... they are glowing?" he barely whispered.
"So I have heard," I whispered back. "Keep your voice down and don't let the light in please." I watched him nod a little and began moving back towards my room. I could hear his tentative steps as he tried to follow me. "Don't worry. There's nothing to stumble over in here. I've only my bed and a dresser for furniture."
"Tell me, Kieran," he whispered as I disappeared under my covers again. "What's wrong with you?" I turned so that I was facing him and put my pillow over my ears so that his too loud whispering wouldn't make my head hurt more.
"No one knows," I breathed. It was true and I knew that no doctor out there could ever find anything wrong, but the headaches were always there. He made a small thoughtful noise and sat lightly on the edge of my bed. He didn't say anything else and he didn't move and eventually, the effect of the sleeping aides and the pain killer began to take hold. I slowly forgot that he was there as my eyes drifted closed and I fell into the bliss of a drug induced sleep.