Alex stammered, “What? How is this my fault?” he tried to shove me but I didn’t move.
I sighed. I didn’t like Alex mad at me and I didn’t know any other way to explain. “I didn’t say it was your fault. I said you are the reason I can’t remember.” I grabbed Alex’s hand and I dragged him over so I could relax into the wall and get lost in my dreams again without falling over.
I took Alex through a specific memory. We were playing like every other time we’d done in every other dream. I was building towers that spelled the word monster no matter the order I placed the blocks, but the whispers had died down. I truly hated myself in my subconscious. But I was happy with the little blue-eyed boy sitting next to me building towers and then we’d smash them together.
“Alex, I’ll see you tomorrow. I got to get to class,” I said calmly. My voice drifting into the dream. And we parted ways. And the dream drifted away into the darkness into the very next sequence. I knew Alex then. Knew his name. He was my Mushu, my best friend. He was the reason I made it through Garrett’s teachings. But then something happened…
I was standing in the darkness. Hands and feet spread and pressed against an invisible wall. My demon was beating me with tentacles of fire and air, earth and water, and tears slid down my cheeks but I never sparked. I controlled my fear. I controlled my hatred of the man. I didn’t spark.
But there was a boy in the dream and the demon turned towards him. Took hold of my Alex. And even though I couldn’t see I knew from the screams that Garret was holding him tight with bonds of air. And then he screamed and the pain ripped through me. I knew that pain. One lash. I was frozen in fear.
I heard the meat flayed from Alex’s back as a second strike hit. I was angry. I turned and I grabbed the fire inside. I saw it. I always saw it. I knew what to do with it. I grabbed it, I willed it into a fiery ball and as the third strike landed I threw the ball of fire at the Demon.
He laughed as he winked out and the fireball splattered across the far wall of darkness. I rushed over to Alex and he was bleeding and I wrapped my arms around him and I cried into his shoulder. He couldn’t come here anymore, if Garrett knew what he was. He’d find him. Hurt him just to hurt me. I couldn’t do that. “You can’t come back. He’ll kill you Alex. He knows what you are. You know what he is. He’ll find you and you’ll die because of me,” I whispered.
I was so afraid. I hurt so bad for Alex. He wrapped his arms around me and held me close. He was older than me. I knew that much. He acted older and was there when I needed him. Always there when I did… He was the reason I lived. There were other memories, ones where he’d saved my life just before the demon snatched me away again. But he always gave me the will to fight on. Without Alex I wouldn’t be here.
Alex spoke confidently to me, “I’ll make you forget me. I’ll make him forget me. No one will know. I’ve done it before. Kish will help me. Please don’t make me stay away.”
If I didn’t know, Garrett couldn’t use me to find him. And Alex would be safe, so I had nodded then. And my world was forever changed. I’d forgotten my best friend when I woke. I’d forget him every night and I’d bury the memories in the deep dark recesses of my mind someplace Garrett would never find him, but where I’d never forget him. He was my everything and he’d just ripped my heart out.
We were standing in an alley holding hands. Alex was staring at me and I was trying not to cry but I could feel the tears staining my cheeks. Alex wasn’t angry anymore but his voice was rough with emotion, “What the fuck just happened?”
“Margo showed me how to regress into my memories. Well I figured it out while she talked me through it. It was easy once I figured it out.”
Alex took a step back, “What the fuck was that, Nox?” he asked.
I looked at the ground, “My nightmare. The same dream I have every night. I’ve had had every night since I was six years old.”
“What was that thing?”
“That was my teacher. He taught me how to control the elements through pain and violence and obedience.”
“So he was beating the control into you.” Alex growled like he was going to do something about it right then and there.
I shrugged. “Yes. He is the reason I am the way I am.”
“Why you are submissive you mean?”
I didn’t really know. I shrugged again, “No. I was that way before. He took advantage of it. I want to please people, if you hadn’t noticed. He’s why everything is about control. I control my mind, my body, my soul and it’s very tiring,” I said softly. “It doesn’t matter anyway. I just wanted you to know I was working on remembering, and had seen our first kiss, our first time. I saw all the faces, the fun, the bad times. I’m still finding memories. You’re the reason I survived.” I shook my head and moved away from the wall and started to walk away.
But I stopped and turned around, I looked at those ice blue eyes one last time. He was so impossibly close yet I didn’t remember him moving. “Since you can’t say it to my face, I’ll say it to yours. It’s over.” Tears slid down my cheek, and my voice cracked as I continued, “I’m done.” I felt my heart shattering, my breath quickened as the panic started to set in. “There will never be an us. I’ll lose your number. You won’t hear from me again. Good-bye. Al…” As I started to say his name he grabbed my shirt and pulled me against him and kissed me hard and fast.