All that blood. More than enough to indicate something horrible had happened. It had been pooled all over the floor, staining his hands. He could smell it, could feel the cold blade of death crawling up inside of him. And then he had seen her, that beautiful face from the picture. She had been gasping for breath, her hands reaching out for him. That was when he had woken up, trying desperately to separate himself from remnants that clung to him so vividly.
Finally he managed to strengthen himself, opening his eyes and looking about the shadowed room. Everything seemed to pulse with the intention of hurting him. He swallowed back harshly the coarseness of his throat causing him to wince.
He had been waking up this way for quite sometime, the pains echoing inside of him throughout the day. He never really remembered any of the images he had dreamed of but the effects usually stayed with him. This time was different. He had seen her face, he had taken with him a part of the dream he had always lost. It had been so real, so alive.
With a shaky hand he pushed his hair back and pulled himself off the bed. His legs were unsteady on the floor but he pushed onward, the cold causing him to shiver. He stuck his head out the door, listened to any sounds coming from downstairs. When everything seemed quiet enough he slipped out and carefully made his way down the stairs, his hand grasping blindly to the railing.
Flicking on the light the darkness was chased away but the feeling of darkness still stuck with him. He told himself over and over that it was only a dream but nothing could convince him away from the feeling of reality that he had felt.
He came into the kitchen, getting himself a cold glass of water and sipped at it until it was all gone. He rested back against the counter and looked at the time. He hadn't even been sleeping that long although it had felt like hours on top of hours. Setting the glass into the dishwasher he hugged his coat tighter around him and tried to just clear his head.
It was odd that the house was silent, it usually never was.
Just as the thought crossed his mind he heard footsteps come out of one of the rooms. He stood up away from the counter, alert.
"Shannon?" He called out, his voice shaky, weak and foreign to him.
"It's me." Emma came into the kitchen, her tired face looking up at him with all kinds of worry.
"Oh." He simply said making to move past her and perhaps hide away in his studio until the morning came breaking through his streak of hiding.
"Hey wait..." She reached her hand out and tugged at the sleeve of his coat causing him to give her his attention. "Are you okay?"
Jared felt terrible as he looked down at her, her worry filled eyes pleading with him to ease all of it. But how could he when everything in his life was falling apart? Was as fragile as broken shards of glass? He wanted to give her consolation, wanted to tell her that there wasn't any need to worry so much but there was only so far he could go on his acting.
"I'm fine." He gave her a simple smile and gently pulled her hand from his coat giving it a small squeeze of assurance.
She smiled wearily, obviously not believing anything that he was saying but she accepted it. She didn't want to press him. That had been done enough all to no avail.
He gave her a nod and went out of the kitchen leaving her there. He stopped though when he heard the turning of a key in the front door followed by a string of loud conversation. He cursed under his breath and tried to dart towards the door of his studio but the door flew open before he could leaving him exposed for everyone to see.
"Jared, you're up!" Shannon called out, a wide smile on his face. There was a glaze of drunkenness in his eyes which made the reason for his excitement obvious.
"Yeah..." Jared replied, trying to ignore the questioning eyes watching him from behind Shannon.
"You should've went out with us, it was great."
"And get drunk? No thanks. Got better things to do." He instantly regretted the snapping tone of his voice but tried to brush it off. He had moods before Shannon wouldn't care. He simply attempted to make his way to the studio doors but was stopped when Shannon took hold of his shoulder and spun him around. "Let go of me!" He called out.
"Calm the hell down!" Shannon yelled out into his face, fed up with having to protect his own words just in case something happened.
Jared looked up at him, stunned and trying to bury himself away from this moment. "Just let go of me." He ordered, letting the anger in his voice fall away.
Shannon watched Jared's face soften and then let go of him. "No one forced this on you, Jared. No one told you to hide away because of some stupid dreams!" Shannon slurred out, turning away from him.
Emma stared at Shannon like there were daggers coming from her eyes. He stopped, frozen and unsure of himself. He knew he shouldn't have said any of that. He knew that he wasn't being entirely fair but his frustration was enough to make him say anything. He was never one to hold his tongue especially not with his own brother. He just had to remember that he was the one holding back on him, keeping something so devastating a secret from him. He was the one who had done this to him. Him and Emma.
Shannon turned back to Jared who had already gone about unlocking the studio doors. "Sorry..." He whispered reluctantly.
And with that they parted ways. Shannon went upstairs and Jared attempted to make his way inside the studio but he was stopped when Audrey came up next to him.
"You're still here?" He questioned, his head a wreckage of a million thoughts and the pain of being so far away from Shannon.
She nodded and smiled. She was drunk too.
"Get some sleep, we'll work some tomorrow."
She shook her head. "I can't."
Heavily he sighed before pushing the doors opened and going on inside. He dropped himself down into the desk chair and gestured for Audrey to close the door. She slipped inside and quietly closed it. She was walking in a straight line, obviously not that drunk.
"You play piano?" He asked, reaching for his fedora and placing it on his head hoping the brim would cover the haggardness in his eyes.
"Yeah, for about ten years. Always loved it." She replied, standing behind him.
He could smell the alcohol coming off of her mixed with a sweet smelling perfume. He closed his eyes on the reminder of femininity. All that damn blood.
"Play something for me...I'll tell you if it's alright." He gave a shrug as he spoke, not even sure how to go about something he wasn't really keen on doing. Usually he would've someone else in here, would tell the label to screw themselves but his will had been dampened considerably.
She nodded and went to the table that held the keyboards. She turned it on, let her fingers whisper over the keys before she settled into herself. She was terribly nervous but she knew that she had to get this over with.
He closed his eyes, resting his head back as she began. The melody started out hesitant at first but soon enough it flowed with a delicate ease that almost soothed him. But it stopped for a brief moment causing his eyes to snap open, breaking the trance like state. Soon enough it started up again, this time more melancholic, more sorrowed. He felt it soar up inside of him the pain swelling to its peak. The notes became familiar, the melody sent the dream ripping inside his head.
"Stop." He gritted out but she wouldn't and he rested his head in his hands. The images took over. The blood, that pleading beautiful face. She knew him, she had whispered his name. Someone else was there. "Stop!" He yelled out, tearing himself out of the chair and glaring down at her.
She stopped, stunned, a bit scared by his outburst. Her hands trembled a little as they hovered over the keys. "What's wrong?" She forced out.
He turned away from her and let out a heavy sigh. His heart began to slow down and the stiffness of his body began to wear away. "Sorry..."
She didn't say anything. She tried to remember what song she had played but none of the notes came back to her. It hadn't even been her song. Nervously she looked to Jared, wondering what exactly had happened.
"Maybe you should just leave your demo, you go it on you?"
She nodded, reached into her purse that she had set down beside her. She pulled out a CD and set it down near the desk.
"I'll get it back to you."
"Do you want me to leave?" She asked, hoping that her voice didn't quiver too much.
"It'd be best." He replied.
She took up her purse, muttered a thank you and hurried out of the studio.
Once she was gone he looked back at the keyboards and tried to grasp what the hell had happened. A darkness crept up through him reminding him that he really had no way of knowing what was happening to him. Would he ever?