The door opened and Audrey walked in. Her confidence nearly taking over the room and her beauty almost taking over his mind. If he hadn't been so lost to the darkness threatening his entire life he would have gone for it. He wasn't himself, that was all. He didn't want to be reminded that something about her scared him. Honestly and truly scared him. He wasn't even sure why. But it was there, nagging at him, conjuring up incoherent thoughts that he didn't know what to do with.
"You called?" She sang out with a smile on her lips as she sat down on the couch a few spaces away from him.
"And you came quick..." He noted, struggling not to fall into the haze rising up in his head.
"Maybe I'm waiting outside your front door? That would be fun, wouldn't it?" She lifted her eyebrows and let her voice jokingly play with the idea.
"Or just frightening." He replied, toying with a smile but he couldn't get it to feel genuine.
"Now why would you be scared of me?" She looked up at him from beneath her lashes, her hair falling lightly in her face.
He sank back into the couch, not wanting to gaze too long into her eyes in fear that something might stare back at him. What was it about her that seemed both terrifying and alluring? What was it in her smile that scared him but in her eyes that drew him in? He wasn't sure he was ready to find out. As if the world waited on him to be ready.
"That song...the one you played in the studio..." He hated to think about it, to go back to the moment when those notes had crawled up into his veins not allowing him release. He needed to know though, it ached nervously inside of him.
She made a noise for him to continue as she tucked her hair behind her ear. Had she always been this detached from being an actual person? Had she been this way when he had first met her at the label?
"What was it?"
She smiled brightly then and stood to her feet. She reached her hand out to him, eyes glinting as if she had thought he would never ask. "I'll show you." She whispered.
He hesitated but eventually let her warm hand clasp onto his. She didn't flinch at how clammy his hand was, didn't even seem to affect her. She threw open the door and led him to another room across the hall. She navigated her way around as if she had been here before, like she was familiar with the house.
She brought them to the room where he had placed the piano. Usually keeping everything in one place would have driven him insane but lately nothing mattered to him. He didn't give a damn what went where, or who did what, all he cared about was what was happening to him. He had never been known as the selfless type he supposed.
She let go of his hand, leaving him standing in the doorway and sat down at the piano bench. She looked up at him with excitement before focusing her attention to the keys in front of her.
"You seem to know your way around." He leaned against the wall, clutching his sweater closer to his body. The light was so dim she was almost a silhouette.
"Do I?" She looked up at him with a sideways glance, that same terrifyingly gorgeous smile on her lips. He shrugged a little causing her to look back down at the keys. She seemed to be trying to remember what it was she was going to play.
He had the thought to leave the room, to get the hell out before any song came on. He didn't want to be subject to nightmares again, to feel the deadly grip of darkness. He was through with all of it. But the itch inside his soul to know what was happening to him was too much for him to ignore. He needed answers. If suffering was the only way to do that then that was what he had to do.
"Are you ready?" She asked, her voice still ever so playful.
"As much as I can be." He said, shrugging again. It was almost easy to play off like none of this was about to affect him. He wondered if she could see through that.
She nodded and finally let one of her fingers hit at a note. He watched the delicacy that she treated the ivory and ebony keys with. He tried to block out all sound and keep only the image that he saw before him but once the music began every hope of blocking it out was lost. It soared high throughout the room, cutting Jared straight into the core of his already aching soul. His hands trembled where they were stuffed into his pockets. He wanted to see her face but his eyes could only see the images floating around in his head. Those terrible images that refused to give him rest.
The sharp smell of blood filled his senses, making his stomach turn wildly. He could hear screams, his name being called out and then the grunts of exertion. Something was happening. Somebody needed his help. Somebody else didn't want him to see.
Quite suddenly the music stopped and his thoughts cleared. Audrey lifted herself off the bench and slowly came to him. Her eyes held his the entire time and something was different about them. This wasn’t the same woman. Had she ever been since setting foot in this house? She reached her hands out to him and without a word wrapped her arms around his waist. She breathed out his name, bringing him closer to her. He couldn’t even breathe, something had reached down inside of him and had torn out his will. He felt frozen to whatever it was she was thinking of doing. He had abandoned his thoughts. He didn’t even know what the hell was happening.
“Don’t you even remember me?” She asked softly, her fingers caressed across his face with a delicately burning touch.
He looked down at her confused, his eyes trying so desperately to register her face. Nothing came to him except the pain. That dull, ripping pain all over again. But she lifted herself up, her lips brushed over hers and almost too quickly the pain left him. She looked up at him, a small smile on her lips and then she rested her head against his chest, her voice humming the delicate song she had just played.
Emma pulled her blanket up over her shoulders after reaching her hand out and switching off the lamp. She laid back on her pillow and sighed. A cold seemed to seep up from the wood floor of her bedroom and steal comfort from her. She hated laying her, wishing for sleep but rarely ever getting it. She had never had any problems before. The busy way she lived before all this enough to wipe her out every night. She had rarely complained, loving the life she had been given but it had been tough sometimes. That’s how it was when you worked for somebody like Jared. Or rather somebody like how Jared used to be. Now the days rolled on without an end it seemed. Night shifted into gear giving her a haunting feeling that it would never end. And whenever she laid herself down onto her pillow emotional exhaustion lulled her into a restless stillness. She began to anticipate it night after night. So many times she had given up and busied herself until her eyes could barely keep themselves open. She knew that everyone could see the toll it was taking on her but what did she care of opinions?
The door knob to her bedroom began to slowly turn causing her to sit up.
“Shannon?” She called out in a soft voice, not wanting to disturb the outward peacefulness that had settled within the house.
No answer came only the further turning. She swallowed harshly and swung her legs over the side of the bed, letting the blanket drift off of her. She made to stand up but before she could the door creaked open. Quiet patter of bare feet made its way inside, the darkness of the room only giving her the shadow of a person. All she knew was that it wasn’t Shannon. It was a woman and the familiarity of what she was looking at scared her.
“Emma!” The voice harshly whispered out, the faceless form walking towards the bed achingly slow.
The night swirled all around them, refusing to give her the identity of who was in her room. She could feel her heart nearly stop inside her chest, it ached sharply. She clutched tightly onto the blanket and drew back against the headboard.
“Emma!” The whisper got harsher, more angry.
“Who is it?” Emma croaked out, her voice a trembling mess.
“Kill him! Kill him! Kill him!” It whispered its shout, causing its words to echo about the room.
Emma tried to rise but almost immediately the figure slammed onto the bed, grabbing her by the neck and pulling her close. Its breath was cold, its hands ice. Emma cried out but its hand clamped over her mouth to stifle her voice. She dared to open her eyes as the grip on her neck got harder. Once she did a scream tore out of her throat as she met those same eyes, those haunting eyes that refused to let her rest at night. She let go of Emma’s throat causing her to drop down onto the bed and hurriedly rushed out of the room, letting the door slam shut rattling the glass inside.
Emma hunched over, coughing away the feeling of suppression. Tears were sliding down her cheeks and her shoulders began to shake. Fear crept up inside of her and the thought of insanity seemed to be reasonable just then.
“Em, what happened?” Shannon came rushing in having heard her scream. Worry was written all over his face as he flicked on the light.
She looked up at him from where she was on the bed, her hand trembling at the bruise on her neck. He rushed to her, kneeling down beside the bed and looked up into her terrified eyes.
“What’s the matter? What happened?” He demanded firmly.
She rubbed at her throat before pulling her hand away and praying he would believe her.
“It was Audrey.”