And all the people say, "You can't wake up, this is not a dream. You're part of a machine, you are not a human being."
Who was he kidding?
Halsey's haunting tune played over and over again in his mind, an echoing sliver of his beating heart. Wind rustled through his soft, brown hair, a blissful caress amid the harsh sensations of his careening mind.
It's been three days, now, and the stars were mocking him.
Although the shining orbs in the night sky were obscured by the fog of pollution, he could hear them, clearly from this roof, satirizing his throbbing, gut-wrenching misery and romantic abstraction.
Granite lights, polluted air. Coarse roof digging into the graceful cords and fine angles of his back. Hyper-real, hyper-aware of what was happening, yet oblivious to the disenchanting aesthetics of detached realism.
The stars called him a fool. He agrees.
The dark marks from his infatuation still lingered like bruised thunderclouds, reminiscent of the time when his knees buckled, shaking pathetically on the pavement. He scraped his knees when he fell, fell for them, and now the scars were blackened blotches hampering his imperviousness. Yet, that was just the beginning.
A heart like electric beating, like energy running through his veins, purple and blue and tattered and tired. The anaphora was overwhelming, an overflowing and cloying stench not wholly different from that of burnt toast. The moon, beaming down at him like Cheshire cat, with his obnoxious pink paws and striped fur, the darkened night sky.
Footsteps, slow and meandering, without destination while inevitably closing in on him like an experience, lithe hunter. A panther, one could say. Surreal and metaphorical rippling fur, glinting like an ironic mockery of the moon.
"They send me away to find them a fortune, a chest filled with diamonds and gold."
These words escaped from him, lingering as a wraith of a greeting.
Dark eyes pierced his flesh. "Who is in control?" It came, a sensual hiss of breath from between parted lips, a sigh with the intention of Socratic seminar. A quiet crunch, a shadow cast across his dreamlike vision.
His name. That was his name. That was it, the syllables of waves in the air somehow arranging themselves into consciousness, into something he recognized.
"Hold my hand," he murmured. A cat-like, effulgent hand brushed his, setting every nerve jolting with the synesthetic aftertaste of hallucinations. It was not the product of euphoria but the effect of stagnation, a sort of numbing in his limbs from the cold cold night air.
They remedied it.
"The house was awake with shadows and monsters, the hallways they echoed and groaned."
That came from the base of Selinius' throat, a vibrating tribute to the sounds trapped inside his mind. He wanted to sing out, but his cords protested with a vigor that took him aback.
"I can't help this awful energy."
They said it. Murmured it, harmoniously, a flawless orchestra that made the breath hitch huskily in his windpipes. Once more, the stars mocked him for his wretched predicament, this lovesick fool, high on expired adrenaline.
"Why are the lights pointed towards the ground, Spike?"
There it was, the melody, the symphony, the rhythm and the nickname. He never could remember when Nia gave him that name, but it clicked like a lock and a key, a sword and its sheath. He strained to focus on the question.
"Because humans need the light to survive," he concluded after a fitful moment of howling wind, of a falsetto silence that would never last past the dreams that encircled them. Nia liked the practical. They liked the way his mind pattered onwards, ever filled to the brim with deranged vestiges of common sense. So he followed it, a weary traveler on a mud stained path.
"To survive," came the wry reverberation from the sitting being, gazing compassionately, possessively down at the teenage boy. "You, the technologically superior, the modernized-" this was scornful, "-race that has the entirety of life under your cold palms. You devote all the energy of lights to pointing on the ground, a prerequisite for survival, casting the insidious light on all that is already familiar. I wish to express my admiration, Spike."
"Sarcasm, is it, Nia?" He whispered in retribution. In their time together they bright up these dialectic debates, majestic fragments of ruined minds. His eyes were shut, the breeze brushing past his lids like receding slivers of moonlight. Nia traced the underside of his shut orbs, manifesting quite clearly black bags that shone out with a fierceness peculiar to the dark.
Nia drove his mind raging into the dark abyss of thought, yet they also took it away, replacing rationalism with maelstroms of emotion that achieved nothing but erasure.
Their cat-like hands traced the finely crafted line of Selinius' jaw, sending involuntarily tremors down his spine. Perhaps it was just the cold, the numbing cold, both in mind and in body, perpetuating his deadened lethargy, highlighting Nia as the brightest being in miles around. He was immobile, pierced by the creature that knew no bounds.
Nia did not reply. They sat in the silence that is mortal, listening to the laughing stars.
The sounds of cars, pounding on the pavement. Somewhere in the faint and faraway distance, a laugh and a sound he could only take as a moan. Branches, snapping?
Selinius sat up. A wind has sprung up, and he faced it, staring them in the eye. The dark, disenchanted, cold, dead eyes of Insomnia.
It was truly a nightmarish aesthetic dream with cherries on top. They were beautiful, the convoluted world zooming in and out, shifting in and out of focus around them, heightening every sense, dulling every other. Their frosty, pale hands like silk and lace traced bags of fatigue under his eyes, fetished into a corpse, an alluring corpse that was high on expired adrenaline and dopamine.
"Sleep," Insomnia murmured, honeyed, silvery, disembodied. Up above his head the stars laughed, laughed at the boy who fell for the nightmare of restlessness, who scraped his knees because he was, to put simple terms, too tired to remain upright.
Nia floated into oblivion, melded like a sphere, coalesced with the doleful heavens. The wind resumed its mournful melody, and the boy watched the stars on an abandoned suburban roof, his mind raging into a whirlwind future where he cannot belong.