Alex is twenty and confused. He always is. The world presses on him with its horrors and pain, with scintillating auras that bewilder his eyes and drive the migraines deeper. He hears the cries of the children, sees the brutal images of tortured victims. He feels out of control and his mind slips ...
Severely abused as a child, he is left with horrible scars on his body and even worse scars within his mind. Even though it puts him in danger, he’s compelled to help those who call to him. He’s driven, motivated by his visions to rescue them and hopefully uncover the killer. When he can, he helps the police; yet some detectives suspect he’s involved. Often, Alex finds himself alone and afraid in a world he doesn’t always understand.
Alex was drowning. His eyes were wide open, but he couldn’t escape the dream that held him on the mattress and crushed his chest. Blackness gurgled up from his lungs, blocking his air. He gagged, tasting Pat Gibson’s rank kiss, as if her madness had slithered into his mouth and down his throat. It was rising inside him now, wanting control.
The boy screamed in his head and suddenly he was kneeling by an open pit. The rich scent of freshly dug earth sent a frenzy of excitement through him. Licking his lips in anticipation of the fun ahead, he leaned over the hole and dropped a few clods of dirt on a child’s upturned, terrified face ...
Alex suddenly broke free of the nightmare and scrambled from the bed in terror. Jane still slept and he fled to the bathroom. The harsh light made him wince, but he went to the mirror and stared into his wide eyes. He couldn’t see any shadows in them. Just to be sure, he opened his mouth, but no black writhing mass escaped. He feared the thing was still inside him, though. He pressed his hands to his chest, over his thumping heart, and felt it there, twining about his ribs.
He sobbed in horror. In the dream, he’d been intoxicated by the boy’s fear and his own cruelty. He didn’t understand how Pat Gibson’s madness had gotten hold of him. But, damn it, he wanted it out.
Frantic, he clutched at his hair. Catching sight of the stitches on his wrists, he dropped his hands. Calmness stole over him as he remembered a sharp scalpel and the sweet bite of pain on his arms, bringing relief.
* * * *
Jane woke up to sunlight filtering through the bedroom curtains. She stretched languidly and reached for Alex. Her hand met a cold pillow and she sat up. “Alex?”
An unaccustomed uneasiness came over her. Slipping on some clothes, she went in search of him.
He wasn’t in any of the main rooms, so she checked his old room, where a glitter of metal on the bed caught her attention. She reluctantly approached and drew a hard breath. A bloody scalpel lay on the sheets.
Catching a low moan behind her, she turned to the closet. Blood smeared the door handle. It didn’t deter her. She grasped the knob and opened the door with apprehension.
Alex was crouched on the floor with his head in his hands. “I’m afraid,” he said in an emotionless voice as he rocked on his heels.
Her cry startled him and he cowered against the wall. Then he seemed to recognize her and put his hands to his bare chest to hide the start of an incision.
“I stopped,” he gasped raggedly. “You told me not to. I stopped!”
She ran from the room. Behind her, Alex scrambled up and ran after her, only to halt in the doorway of the bedroom as she grabbed her phone. He clutched his head as he looked around with desperate eyes.
“I know you’re afraid. I’m coming!” he screamed.
She watched helplessly as he suddenly darted down the hall. Continuing to dial Justin’s number, she heard a car engine start and hurried to the front door, in time to see her car tear down the road in a cloud of dust. She hadn’t even known he could drive.