How I Miss You
The mantra that repeated itself over and over in Dave's head, don't panic, don't panic, don't panic, simply wasn't working. Taylor was possessed by the ghost of a serial killer. A very disturbed serial killer (Was there any other kind?) who had walked out of the house in the middle of the night and bought supplies to hold Dave captive. Where else had the handcuffs come from? What other stuff had he purchased with Taylor's money?
Did he encounter anyone while out and about, besides the sales clerks? Had Nicky... did he already feel the itch to... to kill again? What if... and who would be blamed for that?
Dave couldn't help it; he panicked. He began to pull at the handcuffs as hard as he could until he was panting with the effort. No matter how hard he tried, Dave could not slip his hands out or get the chain to break. The metal bar in the chaise lounge's framework wouldn't even begin to bend or budge. Something popped in one of Dave's wrists and it hurt too much to continue. His wrists were already aching and rubbed raw anyway, so he finally gave up with an angry cry, struggling and kicking his legs in frustration.
"Goddamn motherfucking bastard damn you to hell suck my motherfucking cock you limpdick asshole! Grrrrrraaaaaarrrrgh!" Dave yanked at the handcuffs and flailed on the chaise angrily, screaming, until he collapsed in tears, sobbing bitterly for the situation he was in. And for Taylor. He wanted Taylor back... especially before Nicky used his body to hurt someone.
Oogly came back, walking up Dave's chest and rubbing her face against his chin, then licking at his tears, purring. Dave, sniffling, had to laugh. "Hey Oogly. What's that, girl? Timmy's trapped in the well?" The cat continued to rub against Dave's beard with content, rumbling purrs. Dave suddenly remembered the dream, and the two kids with the impaled beetle. "Hey Oogly, if Taylor does anything weird, like try to hurt you, I want you to run and hide, okay? He's not himself right now." He wished he could pet the cat and scratch her behind the ears, but a very strong pair of handcuffs kept him from doing so.
Spent and tired, Dave laid his head back and he and Oogly fell asleep together. He encountered the snow white bed again with Taylor out cold in the middle, nothing else there but a field of white light. Oogly jumped up on the bed just as Dave sat down on the edge and padded up to him. "Meow!"
Now he could pet her properly. Dave took a little time to do that, looking at Taylor with a sigh. "How do I wake you up? Taylor? Are you Sleeping Studly?" Leaning over, he kissed Taylor softly on the lips.
Nothing. Taylor inhaled sharply, but he did not wake up. The deep breath seemed to be more of a reaction to a nightmare he was having than the kiss, as he tossed in the bed right after. "Uh, no... don't..."
"Didn't like the kiss, huh? I can do better."
Taylor rolled back the other way and whimpered. "Leave him alone... stop it..." His breathing became more erratic.
"Taylor, I think you're having a nightmare. Wake up. Wake up, please!" Dave took him by the shoulders and shook him. "If you don't wake up, I'm either going to wind up the sex slave of an insane killer or dead, and he's going to use your body to do it! Please, Taylor, what do I have to do?"
Taylor gasped as he was shaken, but he remained limp and unresponsive. Although he hated to do it, Dave backhanded him across the face. In reaction, Taylor grunted, but still did not wake up.
Dave's face crumpled into tears again. He held Taylor close to his chest, stroking his hair and sobbing in fear and frustration. "I'm sorry I had to hit you, I'm sorry, I'm sorry." Kissing the younger man's face a few times, Dave tried to think of a way out of this. "If I can just get Nicky to uncuff me and subdue him, I can get some help and we can exorcise that bastard from your body. Then I'll have my Taylor back. Right?" He sniffled. "If I can get the gun away from - "
Somewhere nearby, there was a screechy little giggle. Dave looked around. No one else there. "Hello?"
Taylor almost whispered, "No, please, I don't want to see that. Don't, don't..." He winced in his sleep. Dave stroked his hair.
Oogly suddenly hissed and arched her back. Dave followed her line of sight to the bright red handprint on the corner of the bed, the handprint he knew hadn't been there before. A strange four-fingered handprint with claws.
There was another giggle.
His breathing quickening, Dave laid Taylor back down and slowly stood up next to the bed, looking all around. He wished Kurt was there. Someone to talk to. Not only was there serious danger in the waking world, but in the mindscape too.
"Kurt? I need your help." Dave crept away from the bed. He looked at that handprint again. Was that blood? "Kurt, please, I'm scared."
"You still want it, don't you? The heroin? It feels good."
Dave whirled around. Some sort of creature had snuck in behind him and was speaking quietly in Taylor's ear. "What would it hurt if you just had a little bit?"
Oogly hissed at the thing. It hissed back and giggled, snickery.
Dave would have described it as some sort of hairy monster. It was short, barrel-chested, and covered with black hair, small horns sticking out of its temples, with feet like a goat. Its hands were just like the handprint, with four fingers and black claws. It turned to look at Dave with yellow eyes and massive buck teeth coming out of its snickering mouth. "Don't you want to escape this nightmare, Taylor?"
"What the fuck? Get away from him!" Dave kicked it in the shin.
"Owww! Oh!" The creature moved away, circling him. "That wasn't very nice. You need everyone to like you. How will you get me to like you now?" It giggled.
"Get the fuck out of here!" When Dave ran at it, the thing retreated, scurrying away.
"Maybe a beer with breakfast would taste good, yes?" it called as it ran off, passing Kurt on its way.
"Kurt!" Confused and heartsick, Dave hurried to Kurt's side. He seemed to have some sort of link to those with greater knowledge of the afterlife and what Dave was dealing with here; maybe he could help sort some things out. "I'm so glad you came back."
"Huh?" Kurt turned from the scene he'd been watching, a couple fingers to his lips. His expression was troubled. "Oh, yeah. Hey."
Dave noticed what Kurt was looking at all at once. A scene from Dave's memories had been inserted in the middle of this field of white; the edges blended into the light like an unfinished painting barely reaching the edge of a canvas. Center stage was Taylor, younger Taylor, with shorter hair, unconscious in a hospital bed. An IV and various types of monitors were hooked up to his body.
It was the overdose. Taylor's coma, when he overdosed on heroin in 2001. Almost two weeks of hell, keeping a bedside vigil, until Taylor woke up. Dave gaped at the scene. How did this work, that Kurt could access such a thing as his memories? "Kurt... what are you doing?"
Kurt looked over at him and broke out in an embarrassed grin. "I'm sorry, Dave. I... I shouldn't be snooping. It's just that there are greater powers than you and me at work here, trying to help me help you get out of this alive. They suggested that I could try to distract Nicholas Kelly in the mindscape with some of your memories. I know you don't want that guy rooting around in your mind, but it could occupy him long enough for us to get the jump on him. I was looking for some good shit to show him and I kinda... stumbled on some painful memories. I'm sorry, I shouldn't be watching this. I'm an asshole." Scratching his head, Kurt looked away, growing sheepish.
Dave looked, watching the nurse checking vitals and writing things on a clipboard full of papers. "It's okay," he said. "You can look."
Kurt did. He sighed. "I had no idea. Taylor had a problem with heroin too?"
Nodding, Dave wondered if he had ever heard Kurt refer to his own habit as a "problem" before now. "He's been clean ever since this happened."
Kurt nodded too, and they watched the scene in silence for a short time. Dave remembered the hairy creature and what it had said. "Kurt, what the hell was that ugly thing that just ran by here?"
"It's an imp. A type of demon, very low on the totem pole."
"Demons are real?!"
"Shit yeah." Glancing at Dave, Kurt flashed him a little smile. "They try to bring out our most self-destructive urges and weaknesses. Everybody's got at least one working on 'em." He suddenly became more serious. "Kelly had a bunch. Really big ones, badder demons, talking in his ear. All serial killers do."
Dave shivered. "Why?"
"Demons feed on pain. They want as much destruction as possible. Most of them, anyway." Kurt looked to one side with his cobalt blue eyes, thinking. Then he looked back at Dave with a determined seriousness. "You have to be careful. Those demons are here in the mindscape. Kelly's demons."
Wincing, Dave groaned, "Oh God. Those things are here, with Taylor out cold?"
Kurt, biting his bottom lip, made a promise that got Dave to relax a bit with relief. "I won't let them hurt Taylor. I'll keep them away as long as I can."
"You will? But, will you be okay?"
"They can't hurt me," Kurt laughed. He didn't explain any more.
"That's good to hear." Dave, full of questions, started to say, "Kurt, how does the 'mindscape' work? Why are we all linked together - "
But he was interrupted by the entrance of himself, his younger self, also with much shorter hair, to the hospital room. "Good morning," he said to the nurse.
"Good morning," she replied, speaking with a British accent.
Young Dave surveyed the scene before him. "Where's the ventilator?"
"We started breathing on our own last night," she said, patting Taylor's shoulder.
A grateful, almost happy smile came to Dave's face. "Really? That's a good sign."
"It's a very good sign." The nurse went to leave the room, patting Dave's shoulder on her way by too. "I'll be back, love. I have more rounds to make."
"I'll be right here." Dave watched her go, then pulled up a chair and sat by Taylor's bed. "Hey Tee. Breathing on your own, huh? Good going." He nudged Taylor's chin with his fist as if to say way to go, champ.
Taylor did not respond.
Dave took Taylor's hand out from under the sheet and kissed it, then rubbed it against his cheek. "Come on, Tee. You gotta wake up so you can catch me doing this and laugh at me. I'm a big fool. I went and fell in love with you." His voice broke with threatening tears. "I knew I cared about you a great deal, but I didn't realize that... that I loved you like this until I almost lost you." He began to cry. "Please wake up and tell me I haven't lost you for good. I'm afraid this is all just false hope, that you're never going to wake up, and the doctors will say you're brain dead, and..." Dave was crying harder now, almost unable to speak. He choked out, "Oh God, I love you, Taylor," and wept against the back of Taylor's hand, holding it between his two. "Please don't die."
Visibly saddened by what he saw, Kurt swallowed hard and asked, "You've been in love with him that long?"
Older Dave, sheepish, embarrassed, just nodded, looking down.
"Why haven't you told him?"
Shrugging, he said, "He calls me his brother. I didn't think he wanted me, and I was afraid if I told him the truth, he would leave the band."
"Now how do you feel, knowing Taylor thinks of you that way too?" Kurt asked.
With a deep breath, Dave ran his hands through his hair and replied, "I want the chance for me and Taylor to talk about it and explore these feelings without some insane murderer ruining the whole thing. I want Nicholas Kelly gone."
"Then we'll figure it out, together." Kurt moved a little closer to him. "Dave, I'm sorry for everything I put you through with the heroin and all. I've had a lot of years to reflect on the pain I caused everybody, and it was really selfish of me. Can you accept my apology?"
Astonished, Dave pulled him in for a hug. "Of course, Kurt. Of course. It's so good to hear you say that."
Kurt's breath quavered, and he stroked Dave's hair. "Do you know what kind of memories I'm looking for to distract Kelly?"
Dave pulled away far enough to see Kurt's face. He opened his mouth to take an educated guess, but noticed something he hadn't seen before. Kurt had a spiked leather collar around his neck. Attached to it was a chain, a chain that trailed off into the white field of light 'til Dave couldn't see it anymore. It occasionally rattled with a musical, metallic sound as whatever was on the other end gave the chain a little tug.
Dave's face grew concerned. "Kurt, what's with the collar? Have you been hiding it from me?"
Kurt shook his head to say he wasn't going to talk about that right now. "You've got enough to worry about without thinking of me. Let's talk about it after this is all over. Okay?"
Shaking his head again, Kurt said, "I'm okay. Just remember, try not to upset the crazy bastard. You may have to do some things you don't want to do to keep Kelly from flying off the handle. Just pretend he's Taylor, that it's only Taylor in there, when he asks for sex. I'll do what I can from in here." A little grin touched Kurt's lips. "If you want to, you could pretend he's someone else when he asks for sex."
Dave almost blushed. "You?"
With a nod, Kurt took Dave's head in his hands and pulled him in for a deep kiss, a kiss Dave hadn't felt for over twenty years.
He woke up from the dream with a small moan. Dave could still feel the feathery touch of Kurt's lips for several long, sensual moments; he didn't realize how much he had missed those intimate experiences until now. Of course, Kurt was right. If Nicky was shown some of the memories of Kurt and Dave making out, touching, pressed against the wall, hands madly groping his ass... well, he'd become just as lost in them as Dave was right now.
Dave looked down at the warm, furry weight on his chest. Oogly laid on her back on his chest and stomach, front paws hovering as she twisted her head up to look at him. "Mrow?"
"Hey Oogly. Oh... you're hungry, aren't you?" Dave shook his wrist, rattling the chain of the handcuffs. "Unfortunately, I'm a bit tied up right now. Maybe we can get..." He looked up the stairs.
The door into the kitchen was open. Daylight from the kitchen windows streamed in through the doorway. Dave listened and heard sizzling, and realized he could smell bacon frying. If he hadn't found himself still shackled up, he would have thought the whole Taylor being possessed thing had all been a horrible nightmare.
But that wasn't Taylor up there cooking breakfast. Taylor was sedated.
There came the sound of the can opener. Oogly sharply raised her head and looked at the stairs.
"Kitty kitty kitty?" Nicky called.
Oogly jumped off the chaise and raced up the stairs.
"Oogly, wait!" Dave frantically whispered. But Oogly was already gone. Beginning to pant with fear, he waited to face Nicky, now knowing what he was and what he was capable of.