Chapter 3: Light My Fire
"Give him something to calm down, we need to stabilise the kid or we'll lose him" someone shouted hastily.
Aaron heard small wheels riding across small tiles, he tried opening his eyes, but couldn't.
What the hell were they talking about? Were they trying to save him, stop him from dying? No... they couldn't stop him he had to die.
He wanted to tell them to stop and he shouted, or at least he thought he did, his mouth wouldn't open, his tongue wouldn't move. He couldn't shout, he couldn't tell them to stop. He was at their mercy... and they would save him, lunge him back into the hellpit he had tried to escape from.
"Okay... get me another doctor, I'm gonna need an extra pair of hands on this one and someone make that goddamn bleeding stop" the voice went on, paying no attention to Aaron's wishes what so ever.
Damn it... they should've just let him die, like he wanted to, no need to go back to the world, when the world hated you.
No need to go back to the people that pushed you over the edge in the first place.
If he could've opened his eyes, he would now have closed them again and he drifted off in thought, slowly losing consciousness again.
As he came to, he tried opening his eyes. The bright light seemed to blind him and hurt his eyes, so he closed them again, moaning.
He tried to raise an arm to put it over his eyes, blocking out the light, but he couldn't, he was strapped in.
Seizures, he thought, from what he read about losing consciousness and people that lost it, he knew that seizures weren't at all uncommon.
He looked at his arms, all strapped in, the brown leather seemed to have cracked throughout and the room was all but hygienic, blood stains on the wall that had turned brown, rats scattered across the cracked tiles on the floor, which presumably had been white a long, long time ago.
Desperately he tried to get his hands out of the straps, there had to be some way he could get out of here... Then he stopped... This could be hell... What if he HAD died?
Suicide was a sin and sins got your ass down in hell to suffer for eternity, or at least until you had payed for your sins...
The feeling he could be dead comforted him, he wouldn't have to face those bastards again and Hell couldn't be much worse than what they had done to him. Hell... He'd always wanted to go there instead of to Heaven... Heaven was boring, all the interesting people were in Hell, The Bloody Countess, Hitler, Genghis Khan... The president, he grinned, he had always wanted to kick the crap out of the president and this might just be his chance.
Suddenly the grimey doors swung open, inwards and a faceless woman-like creature stumbled in, the rags that clothed her looked like they were part of a nurse's uniform, or at least they had been... Now they were torn and blood-covered.
It was as if the nurse-creature tried to speak, but since her mouth was gone the skin only wrinkled and no sound, other than moaning, came out.
She seemed to stagger her way to Aaron's bed, knocking some stands over as she drew nearer and nearer, Aaron felt his breath stop in his throat and his blood run cold in his veins.
He started frantically to try to get his arms out again, but to no avail, the creature drew nearer and nearer. And Aaron noticed she was dragging along a giant butcher knife.
Aaron's eyes grew wide in astonishment and he tried to get as far away from the thing as possible, but failed to move, because he was still strapped in. Beads of sweat appeared on his forehead and trickled down his jawline. He closed his eyes and tried his best to take the blow that was about to follow, yet at the same time he tried to avoid it, to evade it. His body was torn apart by inner strife.
He started to have a seizure as he felt the cold steel land upon his chest, ripping it open and in fright he opened his eyes unvoluntarily, he tried to gasp for breath and erected his upper body.
He stared around a dark room, curtains shut around his bed... a dream... he was still alive... it'd been only a dream...
His chest was wrapped in bandages and so was his forehead, he noticed as he lift his hand and touched it. That was proof he was still alive... but where was this place... the hospital? Probably... oh he couldn't think clearly... he was so tired, he needed to rest.
He let his head crash onto the pillow again and a sharp pain shot through his spine... he shouldn't do THAT again... that was for sure, he closed his eyes, he was too tired to heed the pain.
Aaron found himself standing in an empty room, it was dark, the only source of light a lightbulb, strung on a thin wire from a ceiling that was too high up to see. Suddenly the lightbulb flashed on and revealed a figure in the corner of the room, a human figure.
Aaron walked towards the figure, hoping to find out where the hell he was this time. The further he got to the figure, the further the figure drifted away, always just out of his reach, each time he tried to touch it, it drifted away, as a leaf carried away on an invisible wind.
The figure was barechested and seemed to be hugging himself, nails protruded from his shoulders and blood had trickled down his arms and dried up a long time ago, leaving trails of red along his arms. It looked like the blood could start running again at any instant and drip from his elbows... As soon as Aaron thought this it did and it broke the seemingly endless absence of sound, the dripping echoed through the room as if a thousand taps were leaking at the same time.
Aaron continued staring at the figure's back, something was wrong here. Something was definetly wrong...
Suddenly the man turned around, revealing a faceless head, except for two eyes... no they were not eyes, definitely not eyes... there were two bright white marbles in his eyesockets. The man's bald head reflected some of the light from the lightbulb, making it look like he had a halo.
Aaron gasped and stumbled back, what he thought was the man hugging himself was in fact a straight-jacket, made out of the man's own flesh.
With a moaning sound the thing tried to stand up, but failed and fell on its face. The thing raised its head and pushed itself forward with its feet, slowly making his way towards a terrified Aaron, who found himself backing up into a wall.
He had to get out, get away somehow. He didn't know what the thing was or what it was capable of, then again... he probably didn't WANT to know.
He squinted, then closed his eyes and curled up into a protective ball, the thing crawled on top, choking him, suffocating him...
He opened his eyes again and inhaled as much air as he possibly could. It was sweet, almost intoxicating.
The sheets lay on top of his throat, pushed up by his position... the same position as in his dream. But what had he dreamt?
Judging from the sweat it couldn't have been very pleasant.
He tried stretching... a sharp pain shot through his spine again and this time he was awake enough to heed the pain alright. He grunted and stopped stretching.
Then from the corner of his eye he saw something move, the curtains around his bed were drawn and someone or something had just moved them... There it was again... on the same spot.
Voices, he heard voices, muffled voices, distant voices. There were 2... no 3.
Who were they? What were they discussing?
Could it be him they were talking about?
Then... it came... The sharp sound made his ears ring, the sudden yell... the sudden thud of something relatively soft bang against something relatively hard... more yelling... a door swinging open... hurried footsteps... a curtain being ripped away.
It probably was the Reaper, he was coming for him... for unknown reasons Aaron froze with fear, although he wanted to die.
Then a familiar voice.
"Aaron... you still alive man... talk to me fucking goddamnit!"
Aaron opened his eyes, the bright light hurt them and he tried to turn over without being subjected to excruciating pain.
"Mitchel?" he managed to bring out after some time... his brain seemed to have been slowed down and his tongue seemed made of leather.
"So it IS true... you ARE awake... Damn man I thought you'd never get out of that veggie state!"
"But... but how long?"
"Wha?... how long? At least a fucking week man..."
"A... a... a... wee... a... week?" Aaron's mind failed to fathom what it thought it heard... how could he have been away for a week, without even knowing anything of it? What had he missed in that week? What had happened to him in that week? What had happened to the world in that week?
A week... 7 days... for the first time he understood what relativity meant... 7 days awake seemed like an instant, while 7 days of absence meant an eternity... an eternity in which anything could've happened.
From the halls a series of hurried footsteps echoed and Mitchel looked over his shoulder nervously.
"I think that's my cue to leave man... I'll see you when you get your ass out of here" he called over his shoulder as he ran away through the door and sprinted across the hallways.
"A week?... 7 days?... that long?" Aaron murmured to himself, neglecting the fact that several doctors were about to check up on him. So long... yet so deceptively short... where'd the time gone? He scoffed... he sounded like some retarded old fool, looking back at his younger years... yet he was just 18 and damn unlucky if he made 19...
A week had passed and another would pass, before he would see someone else than doctors.
The Class Rep came to pay him a visit after that week, the Class's Representative, yet he wasn't as grand as the title indicates... he was of small stature, yet he was about the same age as Aaron.
He just dropped by and sat next to Aaron in silence.
"So... so how are you feeling?" Chris, the Class Rep, finally said after a long, uncomfortable silence.
"Like I've taken a plummet from the third floor 2 weeks ago" Aaron replied bitterly.
Chris managed a smile, then realised Aaron wasn't joking and hid behind a neutral expression again.
"Any idea when you'll be back in school?"
"No... I'd preffer not going anyway..." Aaron didn't like this... why was he so... so irritable and aggressive towards Chris? Chris'd always been nice to him.
"'Cause of Ed?"
"Yeah... the Slave Driver and his sidekicks..."
"They've been looking for new targets... they might leave you alone now."
"I doubt it...", only now did Aaron notice the bruises and swellings on Chris' face, "they got you too, huh?"
Chris turned away and prepared to leave.
"No... fell from the stairs... well I better get going" he mumbled.
Aaron grabbed his sleeve and tugged it slightly.
"I'll get them for this... If there is a God, I swear to Him I'll make them pay for what they did to you..."
Aaron felt anger rise up inside of him... he didn't give a damn what they did to him, but he wouldn't let his friends suffer the same... He astonished himself by using the word 'friends'... even if it was just in his mind and he let go of Chris' sleeve.
Yes... he'd always had friends... he just failed to realise it... he'd make them pay... make them pay dearly.
He was left alone with his thoughts as Chris hastily left the room.
Another week past... or at least another week... And then she came.
The same girl as he'd seen on the roof, the girl that looked like Galina. She took a seat next to his bed and all went quiet for a while.
"Hey" she managed, while looking at the floor.
"Hey..." Aaron responded.
Another silence, even more uncomfortable this time.
"So... so how are you?" she started again.
Aaron tried to shrug.
"Not too bad... Shoulders are busted for the time being though."
"Huh? Why are you being sorry... it's not YOUR fault you couldn't help it" Aaron was amazed... how could she be sorry?
"But... but... I tried to help you.. and that's where it went wrong."
Aaron was too flabbergasted to respond.
"I can't let them do things like that to you."
"But you don't even know me" Aaron managed to get over his astonishment at last.
"Yes I do... You're Aaron, Aaron McSheffield..." she said.
"You're... you're MY Aaron..." she added under her breath.
"What do you mean YOUR Aaron?" that amazement again... Aaron was ashamed of himself, why couldn't he even have a normal conversation with her?
She blushed and turned away.
"Forget that... it's nothing."
"No tell me... please just tell me... are you crying? You're not crying are you? Please tell me you're not crying."
She sniffed and rubbed her nose with the back of her hand.
"Nah... not really."
"Not really? What happened then?"
"Nothing happened... it's just... they... well... they can't just do this to you... it makes me so mad, frustrated."
Aaron erected himself off his bed painfully and embraced her, a stinging pain shot through his spine, but he didn't care.
She was the first... the first ever to accept him. He couldn't bare seeing her like this, it hurt... hurt like someone stabbed a dagger in his chest, it was nothing compared to the electric shots sent up his spine.
She grabbed the hospital shirt and cried... she just cried.
"It's okay... it's okay" Aaron said to her, his eyes widened... his dream… this was just like in the dream, but that would mean... she.... she'd die. He clinged to her, like a baby would cling to his mother, she was his saviour. She couldn't die, he wouldn't let that happen.
They just sat there for a while, then she pushed him away gently.
"I... I have to go" she said as she stared at the ground.
"Oh..." Aaron was disappointed, why'd she have to go now? WHY?
"I can't come anymore either..." she said still not looking at him.
"WHAT? Why not?" Aaron could feel the world crumbling away around him.
"I... I can't come here anymore... it's... my... my mom..."
Aaron stared at the wall as he let his head tilt backwards, resting it against the wall, he closed his eyes, he couldn't cry... not now.... not with her around.
Then suddenly he felt her draw near, he could feel her warmth, he could feel her kissing his cheek. But before he could open his eyes she was gone, she'd sped out the room.
He could feel the warmth just remain in that spot for a while, as if the warmth had lingered on. Carefully he raised his hand to touch his cheek, in wonder he stared at the tops of his fingers as he lowered it again.
Two weeks later he was released from hospital, or rather they were unable to contain him any longer. He started to loathe the place, hate every niche and corner found in that forsaken building, where they'd robbed him of his dream... yet where he had found another dream... a new one.
He'd forced himself to swallow his pain and go back to school again, his shoulders were still bandaged, nothing much they could do about it, just support it with bandages. He'd seen her again a few times in the halls, but he was too scared to approach her. He had tried... and he had failed.
Ed found out and decided to use it against him too, so he wouldn't only have to face his own torture, but hers as well. It was almost too much to bare.
And then... that fateful day, he approached her, he swallowed hard.
"H-H-H-hey" he stuttered.
She shifted her weight on her feet uncomfortably and looked at the ground.
"Hey" she whispered more than she said.
"Uhm..." Aaron scratched the back of his head uncomfortably "I uh... I ehm... I was wondering if you'd like to uhm... like come over to my place this afternoon, maybe, perhaps"
She looked at him, with a slight amazed look in her eyes.
Aaron looked away, trying not to let their eyes cross, but he couldn't help it, they just wandered back on their own, like a mouse being led to cheese through a maze, he couldn't escape those eyes. Those deep-green eyes.
"Well... if you have nothing better to do of course" he added, thinking he should at least say SOMETHING to get over this void of silence.
"Yeah... I'd like that" she said as she looked away again.
Then from behind Aaron a familiar voice bellowed: "well, well, well our little pooch found himself a ***** to accompany him."
Aaron turned around abruptly, facing Ed.
Ed simply ignored him and moved past him, walking up to her. Aaron lift his hand to stop him, but Ed's goons dissuaded him from doing so, by 'gently tapping' his shoulder. Aaron kneeled in agony as pain shot through his entire body.
"She's too good for you, ain't she?" Ed said as he turned around, looking down at the kneeling Aaron. Aaron looked up at him, his face a mixture of rage, hatred, agony and pain.
Ed wrapped an arm around her and pulled her closer.
"Now tell me... what's your name?" he asked her, bringing his face close to hers.
"Go to hell" she replied, not facing him.
"Go to hell... such a crude name for someone such as yourself."
She faced him in a look of utter hatred.
"Hey what the fuck do you think you're doing to my sister?" a voice suddenly yelled from across the halls. Ed faced in the direction of the voice, as did Aaron. He saw a large, muscular, young man run towards them. The epitome of goth.
He ran at them at full speed, his long, black coat trailing behind him, much like his long, black hair did.
He joined them in what seemed like an instant and even faster he let his gloved hand make contact with Ed’s face, which twisted horribly and Ed fell down after he had spun a circle.
Out cold with one hit, Aaron stared at the guy in a mixture of reverance and astonishment.
The guy simply turned to the goons, who were about to run off. He grabbed them both by the collar and forced them to the wall with their faces.
“Now next time you SHITHEADS lay a finger on MY sister” he really emphasized the words ‘shitheads’ and ‘my’, shouting them through the hallways” I WON’T let you get off this easy… ”,again with the emphasis on ‘won’t’,” understand?”
The goons simply nodded in fright, rubbing their faces against the wall.
The guy grabbed them by the hair instead of the collar and forced them back to Aaron, who at that time had managed to get up.
“Now I want you two to apologise” the guy went on.
The goons swallowed hard, but didn’t speak.
“I TOLD YOU TO APOLOGISE” the guy bellowed.
“Sorry” the goons muttered.
The guy let go and they ran off, leaving Ed behind, still out cold.
“You okay?” the guy asked Aaron, a completely different person than before.
“Yeah… I will be in a sec.”
“Good. And you sis?”
“I’ll be fine…” she replied.
“Good. Now are you going to introduce me to your friend yet, Sarah?” the guy said, tilting his head slightly and a smile crept on his face, with it’s broad chin and strong jawline, he towered over the rest of the students easily, Aaron noticed, standing at least 6 feet tall.
“Of course” his sister, Aaron’s savior replied. So Sarah was her name, huh? Aaron liked the sound of that. “This is Aaron, bro.”
Her brother stretched his hand and Aaron shook it slowly.
“Travis, here” he added, directing his warm smile at Aaron.