Dylan woke up at one p.m like he did every other day. The thick black out curtains made the bedroom dark and cool. At first Dylan just laid there for a moment, still trapped somewhere between this world in the next Not quite sure where he was or why it might matter. He laid there half asleep until the sound of barking finally managed to rouse him. Dylan groaned loudly and sat up in bed, rubbing his eyes as they adjusted to his surroundings. What the hell was that barking? He didn't even like animals; he sure as hell didn't have one. He felt something move and Dylan jumped a little, he hadn't realized someone was beside him. Sigmund was lying there facing the wall, eyes closed but Dylan could tell by his unpleasant expression that he was not asleep. "Go shut your damn dog up before the neighbors make a complaint again." Sigmund said irritably as he covered his head with the blanket as if to muffle the noise. Dylan wanted to scream at him. He wanted to scream that he didn't even have a dog, wanted to kick this strangers out of his bed. He couldn't though. He couldn't admit to his insanity. He couldn't tell people that he was having trouble following his own life. Hell, he thought he was a completely different person for how long? God only knows. Was Milo still in the freezer? How much time had passed? He threw back his blankets and decided he was going figure it out. After, he shut up the fucking dog, his fucking dog apparently. Where the hell was Mercade? Surely he could shine at least a little light onto this darkness.
He couldn't help but notice as he walked through the hallway how boring his apartment was now. His art that he had painted was gone; all that he saw was boring white paint. As he reached the living room he found his dog, or what he could only assume was his dog. Riley was sitting on his couch looking relaxed and amused, a large chocolate Labrador curled up with its head buried in his lap. The dog was much too big to be in his apartment, but there it was. Riley was petting its giant head absent mindedly as he stared in Dylan's general direction.
"Riley…." Dylan said quietly, not sure what to say to him after all that had happened. How much time had passed and why was Riley so happy? He felt guilt suddenly hit him like a wave; he couldn't speak for a moment. What was going on? "Are you okay?
"Never been better," Riley said with a grin, "And certainly better off then you." He moved the large dog from his lap and stood up. He was impeccably dressed, which was incredibly odd to Dylan who couldn't remember seeing Riley in anything other then boxers. He wore a silver colored dress shirt with a sweater the color of blood, the collar carefully smoothed over the sweater. His long legs covered in black ironed dress pants, instead of letting them go exposed.
The large chocolate lab got off the couch and made his way towards Dylan. He never realized how terrified he was of dogs until it started to get close to him. He took a step backwards, but the beast followed him, he eventually stuck his hand out for the dog to smell. His heart beating rapidly in his chest. The dog nuzzled his hand gently and Dylan petting his large head.
He began to relax a little and checked the tags hanging from its collar, "Pavlov" he said to himself, and the dog wagged his tail in pleasure. Deciding that the dog was friendly enough, he looked back up at Riley. He was smirking as he closed the distance between them. It occurred to Dylan that he had never really spoken to Riley. He had, or at least it was implied that he had talked to him enough to make out with the boy. He wondered if maybe if he had been able to recall those precious conversations, maybe it would have been able to keep him from committing such terrible sins against him. When he looked at the boy he expected anger in his eyes, but there was nothing of the sort. Riley rested his hands on Dylan's hips, and his hands were so feverish that Dylan could feel them through the thick material of his pajama pants. "What do you mean better off then you?" Dylan said quietly, trying to get a handle on just what was going on.
"You don't look well, "Riley said quietly, amusement in his voice, "You should sit down" His hands rubbing Dylan's sides gently. Dylan wasn't feeling well, he actually felt like he might vomit. He was so confused, everything in his world violently different. Dylan allowed himself to be gently led to the couch; he closed his eyes and tried to calm down. He felt Riley straddle him, but he didn't react, wasn't he in a relationship with Sigmund? Was he cheating? He didn't react, not wanting Riley to notice a change in his behavior.
Warm hands rested on his face, Dylan opened his eyes at the touch. Riley's eyes had turned black and cold, he was grinning wildly and thick black ink spilled from his lips and landed in thick drops on Dylan's pants. Dylan grew pale at the sight and tried to back away. The thick black drops began to seize and shake, squirming they took new life. Black leach like creature began to crawl up his legs on his chest. Panicking Dylan swatted at them, but as his hand struck them they dissolved into black muck, clinging to his hands. They began crawling up his hands and it seemed the more he fought the larger they became. As they reached his face he began to scream and thrash, but it was no use, the creature buried themselves into his mouth.
"Dylan?" A voice from a corner of the room said slowly, "What's the matter?" Dylan looked over and saw Mercade standing in pajama pants a look of confusion and concern on his face. The leaches had disappeared and Riley stood on the other side of the room, a knowing smirk on his face. Tears began to pour down Dylan's face as he stood up quickly and ran into Mercade's arms. He buried his face into Mercade's chest and sobbed openly. He was so scared, everything was different and wrong. Mercade wrapped his arms around him, but seemed awkward and confused. "What's the matter Dylan?" Mercade asked slowly stroking the boy's hair, his voice soft and confused.
"What's wrong with Dylan baby?" Another voice, this voice so familiar, but he couldn't place it. He turned to look, and took a sharp breath at the sight. Milo stood there, concern on his face, and so very real. Just a few feet away. Flesh, and blood, and so close. Dylan broke down even further. He didn't kill his brother, his brother was here. His brother was alive.
"I'm just emotional, everything's okay, just had a really bad nightmare." He said between sobs, he didn't want them to know how little he understood what was going on. Didn't want to give himself away. Milo was alive. Milo was alive…. This reality had to be better…Milo was alive. He moved from Mercade and hugged Milo in his arms, the older boy was much thinner, but he was so warm and so real in his arms. Milo hugged him back and soon Dylan stopped his crying, he could figure shit out. Mercade and Milo stood before him, real and alive, human…. And he could build from this. This is the reality he wanted.
The sound of his phone ringing broke through the silence. "I'm sorry I have to take this," He said automatically, though he had no idea just why he had to take the call. He walked to the kitchen, and pulled out the ringing phone.
"Dad?" He said into the phone, not sure who would be calling him.
"Dylan?" The voice on the phone said, and Dylan sighed in relief. At least this had not changed.
"I was just wondering if you were doing alright paying your bills" The voice on the other side of the phone said. It confused him; his father had always paid for his bills. Always.
"You pay my bills," Dylan said quietly before he could catch himself.
"Think, Dylan. After Milo got out of inpatient care, you got an apartment together. How did you pay for it?" The voice said the urgency in his voice building, it was making Dylan nervous.
"You paid for it…." Dylan said again, though he was starting to realize that maybe that wasn't true. How much of his world was a lie?
"Your father died when you were eighteen, remember? He didn't pay for your apartment, you did. How did you do it Dylan?" The voice was growing more urgent, pushing him along. Died? Then who was talking to him?
"Who are you?" Dylan said into the phone, feeling violated and confused.
"I am running out of time." The voice said, now in a panic, Dylan could feel the ever growing danger.
"Please, just tell me who you are?" Dylan begged, surely it wouldn't be that hard to utter just a simple name.
"I have to go"
The phone went dead and Dylan sank to his knees in confusion, and buried his face in his hand. He wanted to die.
"Are you upset that I played such a cruel trick?" Riley's voice entered Dylan's ears now, playful, and not the least bit apologetic.
"Did it taste good?" Dylan said looking up at Riley who towered above him, smirk on his face screaming of untold sins.
"You always taste good," Riley said as he kneeled in front of Dylan and took his face in his soft hands, "Does this body not appease you like the last one did?"
"Riley is gorgeous," Dylan said softly, "What do you look like?"
"You know what I look like," Riley whispered intimately into his ear. Imagines of seeping darkness and sharp teeth entered Dylan's mind, flashes of what was hiding in Riley's thin body.
"You are right. Does this mean that Riley is dead as well?" Dylan asked, all the passion left his voice, and he didn't know if he fully thought that this demon would answer him. The demon stroked his face gently, as if to soothe them.
"I'm surprised you can't feel them when I am so close to you. They scream inside me, demanding your blood as payment for their own." Riley said with a smirk, he took Dylan's hand and rested it against his chest. Dylan could feel the gently beating of a heart, but not the screaming of Riley. He shuddered at the thought though, pulled his hand away before he might actually be able to feel Riley's angry spirit try to get out.
"Who is the man on the phone?" Dylan said as he extended his legs and rested his hands on Riley's hips, gently guiding the demon onto his lap again. He felt his clarity returning to him, he was beginning to understand what was going on. He was feeling his power come back.
Riley made a sound of amusement in Dylan's ear as he ground down on him, "No one you need to worry about, he's far far away and won't be joining us. It's just you and me here."
"We have played this game before," Dylan said as the thought came to him.
"Many many times." Riley said with laughter in his voice, "You are doing very well this time."
"I aim to win this time," Dylan said quietly, "I'll figure out how I killed him."