"Don't you hear it? There's music in the rain…" Her voice drifted off into the gentle patter of raindrops. I lifted my head, letting the water splash down my face, over my head, let it trickle down the bridge of my nose. The slim figure of her disappeared, disintegrated, floating along with the light wind, twirling a few times on the way. I can't think. Shadows of people – they tower over, their red eyes glowering, piercing through my chest, and their mouths open, revealing razor sharp pins, blood dripping from the tops. Cackling.
"Remember?" They asked, remember – a spray of blood, sliced bodies shifting, twisting mutation, they struggled with the chains, shrieking a death cry. I watched as a flock of ravens descended, their knife-like beaks tear into the necks of their victims, ripping open blood vessels, gouging out their eyes, striking, crushing skulls, dripping with slime. Infested bodies, crawling with rats, worms… snakes slithering, wrapping around broken cracked bones. Bones that used to be people. Crinkled brown leaves dance around them, and just like everything else, they disappeared, following the bare skeletons of trees, the dried leaves, the dusty air. I closed my eyes, and as if in a dream, I was flying, soaring into vortex of bright neon lights, sparkling and flashing.
"Wake up! Can you hear me? Hey!" The voice shifted the blankets on the bed. My eyes sprung open, and I saw the most beautiful thing in the world. The bright, smiling face of a boy. His sparkling hazel eyes glowed with excitement and… life. His lopsided grin spread over his face like a mischievous jack-o-lantern. I counted the freckles on his face. Not one missing. His light brown hair smooth as silk. And the skin… those rosy cheeks, with the blood rushing onto his face, his heart pumping the blood, the blood flowing – hell, the blood inside him. He reached out his arm, offering me his hand. Like in a trance, I reached to take it. I could almost feel the warmth radiating from him, longed to hug him until he choked. For the first time in years, a smile reached my lips… and his hand began to fade. Starting the tips of his fingers, it transformed into the rain, sprinkling into the wind, transparent particles. Then the rest of him started to leave until the last of him I saw was the grinning ghost of his smile, still happy, always happy, stuck in an upside down hourglass. And again, I drifted away, into the darkness of the shadow.
I was running. Running circles around a track. Round and round, like a spinning merry-go-round, a wheel of time. He was running beside me, that ash black hair flowing out behind him into the wind. The blank face pasted onto his head, stuck together with duct tape. His eyes stared out into space, emotionless, dark orbs, sucking in all light. The mechanical movement continued, legs continuously stepping in front of each other, the rhythmic patter of running shoes drip onto the pavement. Music pounded in my ears. He ran towards a gaping black hole, covered with blades, bent on slicing him, tearing his limbs, slashing through the delicate flesh, and I can't catch up. I'm not fast enough. My legs ached, the muscles pulled together, tightening and winding themselves, twisting around my bones. I'm not fast enough… I can't catch up… and he got torn. Struck by the rotating blades, spewing black mist as he went. And I'm not fast enough, I'm never fast enough. The sweat dripped down my chin, the earth spun, the dizziness drilled into my brain, blurred my vision, and I collapsed.
"You're in charge of them now. I trust you." Feminine. I looked around at the heads, a river of fighters. All bent, shaped, molded to become warriors. Their blank eyes stared at me, tingling my spine. A cry, distorted, rattled their hollow skulls, never blinking, mouths gaping. Their bodies tense, straight, staring, looking, gripping their weapons. They are not ready. Their brains swirling with sound, their eyes exploding with inverted color, their brains thumping with thoughts of running, escaping. Their exteriors were stone hard, frozen lava, steel. A punch would break the bones of the intruder. But their interiors, full of melted ice water, flowing like the rapids, crashing down the waterfall, splashing, spinning out of control into a whirlwind. I understood them, the way they thought, the horror they were about to face. And I stared back. A sea of memories flooded into my head, and the world was upside down, darkening, black.
The bright morning sun blazed down on my face. The soft green grass tickled my senses. A flock of white birds flew by. They were my angels. The sang for me, their sweet melody leaked into my ears, and I looked around. My world. They smiled back, happiness scrawled all over them. Some are standing… some are sitting crisscrossed, or kneeling on the grass. Others were lying on their back, like me. One was lying on his front, gently playing with the flowers through his thin fingers. I felt comfortable, at home. This was where I truly belonged. In my world, with them. The sky was as blue as ever, the fluffy white clouds danced in the horizon. One of them tapped me on the shoulder. I looked up at the smile, and grinned back. As if on cue, they got up. Speeding through the grass like a flock of deer, graceful and elegant, in sync. The glided through the forest, prancing over fallen logs, gingerly stepping on the smooth pebbled steps leading through the thicket. I ran alongside them, like a lone wolf reunited with its pack. Howling at the moon, hunting the helpless little creatures. Jumping, leaping over mountains, splashing through springs, tongue flopping at the sides, the feeling of true freedom sinking into its heart. A bullet smashed through the brambles, implanting itself in its shoulder. Yelping in pain, the wolf falls into the river, letting the cold water wash him away…
"You can join us, we'd love to have you as our friend!" Cheerful faces, welcoming hands. The boy who was shivering on the ground looked up, feeling the warmth of friendship for the first time. He managed a weak smile, letting his pure green eyes let in the soft light. They met the ones of his saviors – blue, brown, grey, amber, hazel, green, like his own. The tips of his fingers twitched in the cold snow, purple and half-frozen. Slowly, he moved his hand out of the frigid snow. Shivering, he stretched out his arm, and extended his bruised hand, letting his cold fingers straighten painfully. Opposite him, another arm reached out, and reached for his. The long fingers extended, moved towards the boy's freezing hand. The boy squeezed his eyes shut. He was sure this time he would disappear again, like all the times before. But he would give anything to keep this moment. He shut his eyes and prayed. The warm hand inched closer. And grasped the cold hand. A surge of warmth flowed through the boy's broken, cold body. Warmth that will forever stay in his heart. Heart pounding, the boy looked up. Sparkling hazel eyes greeted him. Silky light brown hair, rosy cheeks… the boy shyly met the other's gaze, and counted his freckles out of sheer amusement. Mustering all of his strength, he stood up on his wobbly legs. He tore off the cursed hat on his head, and threw it into the snow.
I was back. The rain dripped down my face onto the bloodstained ground. I could not tell the difference between my tears and the rain. Who cared, anyway? I closed my eyes and listened. The pitter patter of the rain formed its own unique rhythm.