5 sweet little things

He wakes up.

And it's like any other morning.

He walks downstairs, dragging his feet and wearing only his plaid boxers to clothe him. His brother makes him breakfast, cold and brooding as always. He eats it without bothering to make casual chit-chat because he and his brother don't need that. In fact it's better if there's no talking; they both enjoy silence over speech.

He does his dishes and goes up to dress. He dresses in front of his mirror, always. He examines his body, weak with bones causing vast ridges in his chest. He stares, at the mouth on his forward that smiles, always smiles at him. He watches his hip bines as they sink under the jeans, the clean underwear, the carefully picked out shirt. He looks into his eyes, seeing emptiness, selfishness, an absence of any true emotion.

He goes to school, he draws, he speaks to his friends, and then he leaves. He goes to his job at the coffee shop, taking orders, and earning his wage. His life is nothing but roles he plays, showing little feeling or care. He doesn't care anymore, is beyond self-hatred. He's beyond trying to destroy the part of him that makes him something not human. He's beyond pitying himself for being a monster.

He goes home, locking himself in his room, and doing his homework. He stares absently into the television, not watching, just filling the role he's placed himself into.

He hears a knock on the window.

He turns his head.

He sees a hand, paler than bone. He stares at the long fingers the splay out, revealing an eye in the center of the palm.

He stares, frozen.

A smiling face rises in the window, thin black strands of hair falling across a forehead, and circling a sharp jaw.

He can't move.

The figure opens his window, arms striped in black and white; he knows this man can't be human. The smiling face approaches.

"Stop," he says, not recognizing his own voice. The figure does not stop.

He pulls out a small switchblade that his brother had given him.

"Stop!" Is that fear he hears?

The figure stops, and continues to grin.

He slowly gets off the bed, backing up to the door.

"Hello, Riley," the man says, and he can hear his pulse beating inside of his head.

"Leave," he murmurs, he doesn't know why his voice won't go any louder.

"Want to be friends?"

'What a strange question to ask after breaking into someone's house,' Riley thinks.

He doesn't answer, just brandishing the switchblade. He looks down at it and sees his hands are shaking. His hands are shaking… his hands are shaking? He swallows.

"No," his voice is hoarse. He's scared, and that idea scares him.

The figure approaches quickly, pinning him.

"My name's Dill," he says.

He doesn't reply.

"I want to be friends."

He can't say a word.

"Please?"

The man is too close now. He can feel his body heat, the breaths coming from his nose, the tension of his own fear. He stares at the switchblade, poking into the boy's shirt, and seems not enough. He feels helpless. He feels more emotion than ever before in his life.

"Okay," it's a whisper.

"What?" Dill's grin widens.

"Okay." His voice refuses to rise.

"Okay," Dill repeats. His grin is even larger. He face lowers and he closes his eyes tightly. He expects the worst, but only feels a slight brush of lips on his cheek.

When he opens his eyes, Dill is gone.

He wakes up.

And it's like any other morning.

But it's not. What was last night? Was it a dream? He doesn't remember what happened that well.

He gets out of bed and goes downstairs. He stares at his brother who makes him breakfast. He stares, wishing that they talked, wishing that they both didn't enjoy silence over conversation. He wants to tell Dietrich about the monster, and he wants to know that he's safe here. Instead, he says nothing, and his brother leaves for work. He eats his breakfast, and it's just like any other morning, but it's not.

He dresses, but not in front of the mirror. Today he doesn't want to look at himself. He doesn't want to know what it's like to have emotion in his eyes, especially not when the emotion is fear.

He goes to school, and he is silent, he gets little done because his hands are still shaking. His friends question him, and when he answers they leave him. He stares down at his notebook, drawings of the man seeming to appear there without his permission.

He feels as though he's gone crazy.

He calls in sick to work. It's the first time in his life. His boss sounds worried about him, but he passes it off as nothing but a migraine. His boss is still worried. He hangs up, trying not to think about it.

He goes home, and for the first time since he was a child he goes into his brother's room.

The black haired man raises his head from the pillow, cold green eyes searching him.

"What?"

"Can I… stay in here tonight?" he hates the sound of his voice now.

"Why?" Dietrich seems unimpressed.

"I… I just need to." He needs to know he's safe, and this is the safest place he believes to exist.

And for the first time since he was a child, he curls up next to his brother, and falls asleep.

He wakes up.

And it's not any other morning he remembers.

He sees the gray-green walls of Dietrich's room, and sees the gray sheets of his brother's bed. He suddenly feels ashamed.

He gets up and goes to breakfast, and his brother is waiting there, his arms crossed and eyes watching him.

"So what was that about?" he asks.

He stuffs his mouth with an egg, but as trouble swallowing it because his throat feels tight with shame.

"Nothing."

His brother doesn't believe him.

"Tell me, because you're not sleeping with me again."

Did he really just say that? He feels embarrassed.

"Some… thing broke into my room the other night."

Dietrich's eyes widen, and then narrow. He stares down at the table and suddenly looks guilty.

"What did it look like?"

He swallowed, "At first, a person my age. But they had eyes in their hands, and striped arms. He wouldn't stop smiling."

His brother's face wrinkled. They sat in silence.

"He broke into my room, he knew my name. He asked me to be his friend," after the words left his mouth he felt silly. The feeling of fear wouldn't leave him, though.

Dietrich laughed, but then his expression grew serious.

"Lock your window tonight, and if he shows up call for me," he said. He left the table, touching Riley's head on the way out. It seemed awkward, they never touched. He bit his lip, and went to get ready for the day.

He gets dressed, not in front of the mirror. He stares at his bones as he pulls on a t-shirt, but tries not to linger on them.

He goes to school. He rips out the notebook page full of Dill, and makes small talk with his friends. He tries to place himself back into his role. He tries not to think about the strange past couple of days. But try as he might, he can't stop thinking about his pulse, the throb in his head because of fear. He can't help but linger on the adrenaline, the feeling. He stares into space, dreaming about that emotion that he'd never felt before.

He feels sick.

He goes to work, but leaves early. His boss fusses over him, asking about the sickly look on his face. He tries to brush it off, but when he looks in the bathroom mirror the reflection staring back frightens him. His eyes, large and mint green are circled with deep bags. His face is a sickly pale hue. He splashes his face with water, and looks up again.

He's no longer alone in the reflection.

"Riiiileyyyy," Dill sings out.

He's frozen again, and his pulse is booming in his head.

"Riley?" he asked, reaching out to grab his face.

"No!" he shouts before he can even think about it.

He rushes out of the bathroom, out of the shop.

He runs home before he even realizes where he's going. He runs into Dietrich's room without a second thought. He cowers next to his brother's bed, which is empty. Tonight is the night he works late, he remembers faintly. This had never mattered to him before.

He sits next to his brother's bed and he laughs. He laughs so loud and so long until his voice gives out and he's curled up, shaking on the ground.

He laughs silently until he passes out.

He feels alive.

/

He wakes up.

He's curled up in fetal position on the left side of his brother's bed. There's a blanket thrown over him, and a pillow under his head. He feels simultaneously relieved and disgusted.

He doesn't dress himself.

He doesn't go to school.

He doesn't eat.

He spends the day curled up in Dietrich's room, scared to even move.

Has he gone insane?

Dietrich opens the door, and he realizes the day has gone by and he's done absolutely nothing.

"You're still here?" he brother asks.

He nods.

His brother sighs. He approaches him, picking him up and setting him on the bed. He feels as if he has reverted back to being a toddler. His brother strokes his back, and he feels sleepy. He can feel Dietrich's annoyance radiating off of him, but he says nothing.

He falls asleep.

He wakes up, and he's in his bedroom. He shoots up, looking at the clock.

2 am.

He stares out his window, and a face smiles back.

"..no…"

The face beams more, but the window is locked. The window is… locked?

Let me in, the voice mouths.

"No."

The figure shows off a bouquet of roses, each as red as an artificial cherry.

His booming pulse comes again.

Let me in.

He gets out of bed, approaching the window as if possessed. The figure's smile grows larger, if possible. He opens the windows lock, and lets Dill in.

Dill walks in, looking around as if he's a guest admiring the surroundings.

"A present for my friend," he says and hands him the roses.

He says nothing. His hands are shaking, and petals are falling all around him.

"Friends… don't give each other roses."

Dill laughs. He does not.

"True, maybe I have ulterior motives," he makes a gesture with his eyebrows.

"Gross," he responds automatically.

Dill laughs again, he backs up, crinkling his nose in disgust.

"What if I told you I loved you?"

"You don't know me."

"What if I told you I did, and I've been following you for three years."

His eyes widened. What?

"Go away.."

"You've never showed emotion, not once, until I came the other night."

"LEAVE!" He couldn't believe he had screamed.

Dill's smile flinched.

"As you wish."

And with a blink, he left, almost slithering out through the window.

He goes to bed, shaking. He stares at the bouquet of roses on the nightstand. That… thing loved him? He grabbed the roses and threw them across the room. His heart made his head hurt, and he curled into himself.

Love.

Love was… disgusting.

He opened his eyes and saw Dietrich.

"Care to explain these to me?" he asked, holding the roses.

"Monster.." he mumbled.

"Monster?"

"…came into my room… love…"

Dietrich looked confused.

"..said he loved me. Love is… disgusting."

His brother's hand tensed.

He took the bouquet out of the room.

When he got up he made his own breakfast, Dietrich had shut himself up in his room. He dressed himself in the mirror, and felt like a weight off his shoulders. He stared for a few minutes, eyes just roaming over the hills and valleys that were his collarbones, rib cage, and pelvis. He lost himself in the skeletal realm of his body.

He wrapped his twiggy arms around his frame, hugging himself in a quiet moment of reprieve.

He went to school, blending in just as he did every day. He couldn't help but feel as if he was being watched, feeling an itchiness spread across his skin. He kept an eye out, but couldn't find a source.

He went to work, where his boss coddled him, and his co-workers gave him worried glances.

He left.

He went to bed.

And nothing happened.

He wakes up, and the sun is warm across his face.

He lies in bed for a while, enjoying the hazy warmth of morning. He notices an odd feeling, a ticklish something on the back of his head.

He snaps around, coming face to face with the monster boy.

"Bonjour," he trills, grinning as always.

He jumps back, out of bed, gripping onto his blanket to keep himself covered.

"F-fuck."

"No need to cuss," Dill remarks. He approaches the boy, gripping his bangs and forcing his head upward.

"I'm sick of toying with you."

A fist collides with his jaw and there's a loud crunch. He squeals, desperately twisting in Dill's grasp.

"Struggle, struggle for me!"

He claws at Dill's legs.

Dill grabs his throat with his other hand, bringing him up to eye level. He pulse grows louder as his breath leaves him. His lungs shudder and strain, forcing tiny gasps out of his mouth. Dill watches him, smile stretching and forever looming.

He prays to the God he doesn't believe in, please, please don't let me die.

Not when I've just begun to feel.

A sweet kiss is placed on his cheek and he blacks out.

His eyes flutter open, and Dill is still there.

For some strange reason he feels something new.

Has he fallen in love?

Love was still disgusting, he thinks.

But I'm disgusting too, he decides.

/

The next time he sees Dill he throws him up against a wall. They kiss, and he feels alive. His heart is racing in his ears, but not because of fear but because of something else.

He wants to feel all the time now; he doesn't want to be away from this source of feelings. He hates Dill, he thinks. He doesn't really want to believe that he's in love because the thought of it makes him sick.

It makes him want to bite, to harm, to fuck.

Makes him want to… kiss?

He throws Dill to the ground, straddling his waist without a care that they're in the alley behind his work. Dill says nothing, his grin just as wide as ever. He wants to tear Dill's face apart, he wants to kill him. But his heart is fluttering in his head and all he can do is kiss him.

And strangle him.

He wraps his hands around the monster's throat, laughing as Dill struggles to breathe. He lowers his face and bites and sucks at Dill's lips, inexperienced and desperate. It's nothing like movies or books or the things he's been forced to read.

It's gross and messy and he decides that he hates it. It makes him laugh, laugh even harder than before.

Dill joins in the laughter, and they cackle like a pair of crows.

Even though they're louder than Hell no one disturbs them.

He lets Dill's neck go.

He fucks him until he can no longer laugh.

He walks home quietly in the pouring rain and thinks to himself that he has indeed fallen in love.

/

When he wakes up there's the itchy feeling again. He opens his eyes and sees Dill sitting next to the wall.

"You left me out in the rain," he sings.

He doesn't respond, turning over. He can feel his face grow hot. Embarrassment.

Weight shifts on his bed and he feels Dill straddle him.

"Kiss?"

He looks up, placing a hand on Dill's cheek.

Kiss, a kiss? Is this what lovers do? He wonders that when he kisses Dill. He wonders if all people in love want to kill each other. He wonders if all people in love scratch each other, bite each other. Leave the bed sheets dirty with blood.

He runs his hands up Dill's body. He has flesh and meat where his body lacks it. His palms press against the boy's skin, just feeling what it's like not to have those hills and valleys there. He presses his face into Dill's chest, wondering if Dill loves the bumps and dips in his body just as much as he does.

He feels slim fingers travel down the knobs of his spine, weaving lazily in and out of them. He smiles.

He wakes up, and he thinks it's all just a dream. When looks over there's no one there. He's alone, and it makes his eyes hurt. He's not sure why, but he feels like a child.

He gets up, and eats breakfast.

Dietrich gives him a look, but he just stares at his food. They don't speak, because neither of them like confrontation. His brother probably already knows, but he won't learn any more from him. He moves the spoon around in his mouth.

He does his dishes, and goes to dress.

He stares at his body in the mirror, and there are bruises there, bruises and scratches everywhere. He touches them. Some sting, some feel sore. He prods each one, making some bleed.

They prove Dill is real.

It makes him smile.

He looks up again and Dill is there holding five roses. He smiles at the fingers rubbing the bones of his neck.

"Five sweet little things, and they are all for you."

They kiss, and that is the end.