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A Matter of Time

Dave wasn't sure what to say to make Chris feel better; he just kept sobbing quietly and pulling on the handcuffs. "Chris, it wasn't your fault. Try to stop crying, okay?"

"I feel like I just cheated on my wife," Chris said. He kept attempting to pull his arm down to wipe his nose and failing.

"That's how he wants you to feel," Dave said. "Don't give Nicky the satisfaction. Besides, you're all chained up, and he held you down. How could you be at fault?"

Sniffling, Chris admitted, "But I let myself get all hot and bothered from listening to you guys have sex. I wanted to get off, just not that way."

Dave shook his head. "It's not like you could get up and leave the room. Look, Chris, it's okay. We're in an extreme situation here. I understand, and I'm sure Cara will too."

"God, how am I going to explain any of this to her?" Chris fell silent for a minute, thinking. "You know, when Taylor was talking about Alison in the bustier, I was totally picturing Cara. It was a pretty sexy image."

Chuckling, Dave replied, "All the more reason to get out of this alive. I for one can't wait to experiment with Jordyn." It made him feel a little better, to make plans for his romantic future, sans Nicky.

Chris paused for a long time before speaking again. "Are we, Dave? Are we getting out of this alive?"

Dave also had to pause, thinking of all the horrible possibilities of what Nicky could be plotting now. "You saw what happened. Taylor was fighting for control of his body. It's only a matter of time until he wakes up."

"But all those scary things Nicky said... he sounded like he was about ready to... to start getting all your friends out of the way."

Sighing, Dave said, "I know. But I have faith in Taylor."

A hint of a smile ghosted across Chris's face. "You should, you know. While Nicky was over here molesting me, his eyes stayed blue the whole time. Every time. Taylor doesn't want me. I'm not sure Taylor ever wanted me. I think it's always been about you, and I was a convenient substitute."

"Chris, Nicky was forcing you into it. Taylor wouldn't be a part of that if he had a choice."

"Still, you just made love to him. Do you really question how he feels about you after that?"

Sighing, Dave said, "I don't want to assume anything until I can talk to Taylor without that asshole looking over his shoulder."

Chris looked up at the ceiling. After a short time, he yawned. "I'm exhausted. Are you tired, Dave?"

"Yeah, I'm exhausted too."

"Do you think it's safe to sleep? What if Nicky comes down here while we're sleeping?"

Dave started to say nothing had happened to him while he was sleeping, but it would be a lie, because not only had he been handcuffed down and molested while in a deep sleep, he had been carved into as well. "It wouldn't be that different from what he does to us when we're awake," he finally said.

Chris had to laugh, a little bitterly. "Is that supposed to make me feel better?"

"Hey, I gave it a shot," Dave said with a shrug.

They both had a good chuckle.

Within five minutes, they were asleep.

Dave became aware of the voices of children, calling to each other. He made his way through a thicket of trees at night, a forest he recognized from his childhood. As he came closer to where the kids were, the forest stopped, giving way to a sunny, grassy clearing covered in tiny wildflowers. Dave looked up at the sky. In the span of an inch, night gave way to day, as his memory bumped up against someone else's. It was surreal.

Here were the children. Four of them, grouped together in the clearing. Dave recognized little Nicky and his friend with the dark hair, and two other kids with light blonde hair. These kids were probably his siblings, or childhood friends. They each wore some piece of a pirate costume and carried a plastic sword.

Nicky, wearing a black pirate hat and an eyepatch, raised his sword. "Arrrr, me hearties! Are ye ready to storm the enemy's ship?"

"Arrrr, we be ready!" the blonde boy said.

"Are ye ready to steal the treasure?"

"Arrrrr!" the other kids cried together.

"Are ye ready to grab the booty?"

The two boys called, "Arrrr!" but the little girl giggled loudly. "You said grab the booty!" she said, a hand covering her mouth.

All the kids laughed.

"Are ye ready to mizzen the masts? Swash the buckles? Batten down the hatches?"

The children said, "Arrrr!" through their laughter.

"Then, members of the pirate gang with last names that are also girl's first names, follow me!"

The kids ran off, swords raised. A brown dog chased them through the field, barking.

"Come on, Fudgie!" one of the kids called.

Dave passed the scene. Between each memory, he could see the white light that formed the mindscape, the sort of lobby area where all their minds met. Next, he came upon an older gray-haired lady in a rocking chair with a children's book in her hands and a young, towheaded boy in her lap. The child couldn't have been more than four; he was sucking his thumb. She read some of the story to him, rocking them both gently. "My little Taylor... little Oll-eeeee..." she sing-songed, kissing him on the temple.

It was a memory that could have made Dave cry if he'd let it. Taylor with his beloved grandmother.

And here was the bed with Taylor in it, sleeping on his side with his thumb in his mouth, knees pulled up close to his chest. Dave sighed with relief to see him sleep so peacefully. It meant he wasn't trapped in Nicky's nightmare world. He was most likely experiencing the memory of his grandmother that Dave had just seen.

Strangely, Dave could swear he now heard the tinkling notes of "Pop Goes the Weasel" approaching. As he turned, an ice cream truck drove slowly past him with a bunch of children following it, crying, "Ice cream, ice cream, ice cream!" Chris, as an adult, was among them.

"Ice cream, ice - hey Dave!" he said. "This ice cream truck used to come by my house all through the summer while I was growing up."

"Yeah, I just came out of the forest near my childhood home in Virginia back there. We should probably get in bed with Taylor, just to be safe."

On their way there, Dave heard Kurt yelling somewhere nearby. He urged Chris to keep going and headed toward where the voice was coming from.

Close by, Dave found adult Nicky, dressed in dark blue scrubs, playing cards with an old lady in a hospital bed. "Are you sure this is how you want to spend your Saturday night?"

"You say that because I'm winning. Go fish."

The lady chuckled. "You're a good boy, Nicholas."

Dave was torn away from the scene by Kurt running in, yelling something about things not being fair. "Nicky has too much control. How am I supposed to save them?"

When he saw Kurt was being followed by the demon, Len, Dave ducked behind the hospital bed, peeking through the frame at them to see what was going on.

"Cobain, have you completely lost your mind? Why is this something I'm supposed to care about?" Len asked.

"You only care about yourself, you big meanie!" Kurt ran at Len and began shoving him, grabbing at his coat and shaking him. "If he threatens anyone's life again, I will hold you personally responsible!"

Annoyed, Len pushed Kurt as hard as he could, knocking him down. "I think you've flipped your lid, Cobain. Don't touch me like that again." He straightened his coat and walked away.

Once he was well out of earshot, Kurt began to laugh to himself.

Dave came out from behind the bed and went to help Kurt up. "What was all that about?" He noticed Kurt still wore the collar but had been unhooked from the chain, probably for ease of movement through the mindscape.

"Dave! Get to the white bed, okay? I'll explain on the way."

They made their way to the big bed where Taylor was sleeping. "You see all these memories lying around?" Kurt asked.

"I had noticed them, yeah."

"I've been looking for some we can use against Nicky Kelly. The only problem is, the doors aren't labeled and they're all mixed up in here. I kinda just have to slog through them 'til I find something useful. However, two helpful things just happened. I found one of the memories I was looking for, and..." Kurt held up a set of keys on a ring and shook them, making them jingle.

"What're those?"

"I just lifted them off Len. They're keys to memories Nicky doesn't want anyone to have access to." After hiding the keys in his jeans pocket, Kurt urged Dave to get in the bed next to Taylor, who had stopped sucking his thumb and was now grinning and giggling in his sleep. "I have a plan." He looked at Chris and Dave, who were both still awake.

"Yeah, go Kurt!" Dave said when he realized why Kurt had shoved Len around and grabbed his coat. "What's your plan?"

When he was done, both Dave and Chris nodded to each other. "It's worth a shot."

"You'll know it's happening because... uh..."

Kurt stopped as the memory of Alison in the bustier came walking up to the end of the bed. Instead of panties, she wore a strap-on dildo, a blue, sparkly, transparent dildo covered in silicone veins. Alison whacked her hand with a fuzzy, firm paddle lined with stuffed fabric. "Taylor Hawkins, you've been a bad boy. Turn over."

In the bed, Taylor giggled and smiled. "Yes, mistress," he said in his sleep.

Kurt put a hand over his mouth and chortled loudly. "Seriously, Dave, you have got some kinkyass friends, I hope you know."


There were strangers in his house. Men in suits with police badges strapped to their belts. Officers in uniform. One was taking pictures.

"The murder weapon was in the master bathroom," one of the plainclothes cops said to another. He held up a butcher knife in a plastic bag. The inside of the bag was smeared with blood, as was the knife.

"I knew it would be a knife like that, from these stab wounds." The cop pointed out the multiple marks littering Chris's chest. A chest that did not rise and fall with his breath. Blood had run from many of those wounds and stained the side of the couch. Everything around the couch was splattered with Chris's blood, from the wall to the statue to the Mondrian hung above it.

"No! Noooooo!" Dave screamed. He attempted to lift his arms, but they were still handcuffed down. "Uncuff me! Get me out of here, please!"

"Give me the sequence of events as you see them."

The homicide detective who seemed to be in charge walked the room as he ran through what he thought had happened. "Hawkins somehow got the jump on these two and cuffed them up, or maybe it was supposed to be some kind of sex game. I mean, they're both half dressed." He pointed at Dave. "This one's in his underwear. And that word carved into his chest, and the one carved into Hawkins' arm... kinky."

"Stop talking about me like I'm not here!" Dave yelled. "Why won't you uncuff me?"

The detective continued, "For reasons we may never know, Hawkins came down here with the knife and stabbed this guy to death, ahh..." He looked at a sheet of paper in his hand. "...Chris Shiflett."

Dave began to cry. "Noooo, Chris, noooo!"

"Have all their families been notified?"

"They're on a flight back from Hawaii right now."

"So what happened next?"

The lead detective stood near the end of the chaise lounge and sighed, looking at Dave. "This one was the biggest star of the group. David Grohl. Dave. Do you remember Nirvana?"

"Barely. I wasn't a fan."

"He was the drummer. This band was his second chance at stardom, and as you can see by the sheer size and location of this house, it worked out for him." The man clucked his tongue. "Damn shame. Hawkins came to him next, slit his throat, and went back to the master bedroom to shoot himself in the head."

Dave, devastated, tried to convince them they were wrong. "I'm not dead!" he tried to say, but the words got choked up and hung in his throat. He looked down to see his chest covered in his own blood.

Someone had turned on the television over the fireplace. "TMZ" was on with a live update. Harvey and Charles were delivering the details of what had happened here. "Breaking news, police are currently on scene at the home of Dave Grohl, the lead singer and guitarist of the rock band the Foo Fighters. You may remember that Dave was the drummer for the ultimate grunge band of the '90s, Nirvana. What we're hearing is that three members of the band were found dead in Dave Grohl's home in what looks like a murder/suicide, and Dave was one of the ones killed."

"A source close to the police force says it's an absolute blood bath."

Dave woke up, gasping.

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