Chapter Four: Dark

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It was hideous.

It didn't shine, or glow, or anything. The tree was dead, all of its wondrous petals fallen to ash. I cried, for it was once beautiful. But it crumbled at my touch. The light was far gone, along with the lavender scent. It smelled of blood.

I woke up heaving, breathing heavily, hurting. I glanced down, and found myself in a hospital bed. My hands were wrapped in cloth, and the awful stench of blood sent bile up my throat. I was confused, and frazzled.

Synthia, along with some nurses and doctors, stalked into the hospital room, silhouettes of nightmarish faces. I could only stare.

One week later, I sat across from a very concerned Synthia in The Roasting Rooster, a cup of black coffee clutched between my bandaged hands. A dreary, depressing gray sky hung low outside, and heavy drops of rain fell to the ground. Droplets clung to the window, like glass orbs refracting and distorting the view of the sodden roads on 5th street and Main.

An uncomfortable silence stuffed the space between us.

Synthia coughed to break the wall of silence, and murmured with a sad smile, "Why didn't you get hot chocolate? You always get hot chocolate."

I didn't reply.

"How's your job?"

"Stopped going."

"What?" she choked, "Why?"

I didn't reply.

The silence continued as I stared deep into the hot ebony drink, steam rising to my face.

After a stretching wait she chirped, "Do you wanna talk about it?"

I. Did. Not. Reply.

"Sebastian..." she cried, her heart in her throat.

She kissed my lips. That's when I realized.

"It was you!" I screamed, shoving her away, "You were the one to set it all off! You drove me mad!"

I abruptly rose from my seat, knocking the coffee over onto my lap. I cursed, and ran to the bathroom in a panic. I could hear her calling my name, but I still ran.

I stumbled through the door, and whipped towards the sink. The faucet creaked to life and as I was prepared to rinse my sweatshirt, I caught a glimpse of my reflection in the mirror.

Horrified, I gasped as I witnessed deep, dark circles enveloping my eyes, my face pale as sheet rock, my hazel hair swirled in a chaotic mess, nasty stubble sprouting from my upper lip down to my neck. I looked horrible, like a madman... but I guess that's what I was.

Numerous sleepless nights gave me this costume of insanity, this mask of such deranged disheveledness. No wonder I've been getting strange looks.

As I tore my eyes away from the mirror, I remembered the reason I stood up in the first place. That woman made me insane. I feel in love with her, and that drove me mad, making this awful music which was no longer beautiful, but something out of a horror movie. A screeching, dying shrill, and echoes of my pounding fists upon a bloodied piano. She was the one who did this.

Before I knew it, I was towering over Synthia. When did I leave the restroom? I can't remember.

My fist was raised. Since when?

She was crying, covering her eyes. Did I hit her?

Blood rolled from under her shielding hands. Oh my word, I hit her.

I frantically spun around the room, searching shocked faces and prying eyes. My hands were now just as red as the piano.

The music rose to a high-pitched screech like a scream of death as the police dragged me away. The handcuffs bit my bandaged wrists, and water filled my eyes as the police car drove me farther and farther away from an angry, damaged, bloodied, crying Synthia.

What have I done?

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