Yup. I've been dreaming again. Now... There are four reasons I've been having this same dream. 1: I'm not drinking enough alcohol. (I'm kind of proud actually, I haven't touched a drop since I've arrived at Haven.) 2: I'm not sleeping as well as I could be. (Woke up at 3 AM today.) 3: I could be going stir crazy with all of this standing still. This is the first time I've actually, you know, stayed in one place and felt safe. Or 4: It could be like the dreams I had before, back in the UK, the one where I was running through the forest. The ones that kind of happened.
I had one image from it that's stuck in my head. It's times like this that I wish I could draw. Just imagine a big pile of rotting corpses in a warehouse, their skin is flaking and sagging, browning, flies are everywhere. The stink is so rank I could taste it. Each and every one of them is a friend, a loved one. And I'm standing (barely) on top of them, battered, bruised, bleeding, and with that thousand yard stare. Like I'm the last survivor of a World War One era charge...
Then it jumps to a little later in life during the dream. I meet someone else, but it doesn't feel the same, it's less raw than me and Joel were. I'm drifting, seeing Slendy but not caring. No one kills them, but I live this half life, left alone. I'd be one of those left behind.
And that fucking terrifies me.
More than this. More than dying. More than anything.
Then a little later in the morning, I had just been teaching Lullaby how to use the Katana, my chest isn't great, but it's better than it was before. She'd decided that she couldn't continue and I was practising on my own. It was maybe half an hour later when I got distracted by some animal or other. Movement beyond the fence.
That's when I saw him. Wolf. On the other side. He was standing there, just watching me as I walked towards him... We were within a couple of feet of each other. Like someone visiting their lover in prison. I-we-it got to the point where I wasn't sure who was visiting who.
We just stood there, looking at each other for what felt like hours.
I was the first to speak.
"Wolf." He was quick to reply. It was my Joel behind the mask, I know that voice.
"How are you?"
"I'm good. I have more gifts for you Loverboy."
I just looked at him, stunned as he tossed over another zip lock bag. It landed next to me and I didn't look at it. I knew what was in there and I felt sick.
"Don't you understand Joel? This isn't how I want us to b-"
"I'M NOT FUCKING JOEL."
It's difficult to tell what his expression was like under the mask, but the fact he punched an electric fence gave me an idea of his state of mind. He yelped and fell back, clutching his hand to his chest.
I slumped to the floor, resting the sword on my lap, about a foot away from the fence. "The more you do this, the more of a monster it makes you-"
"And the more it makes you hate me. And the more it makes you want to put me down." He giggled, his arse still firmly planted on the floor. "Yes. I know that's what you want to do to me. But I've yet to see you try."
I pondered that for a moment and spoke again, taking a piece of paper out of my back pocket after standing again. "I have a letter from Cam you might want to read. Regardless as to if you're Joel or not." And so I posted the paper through the fence. He picked it up and read it.
"Cammy Cammy Cammy... You always were the idealist..." For a moment he seemed to be debating tearing it up, but he didn't. Instead he folded it up again and posted it through.
"So when we meet again... Will you try and kill me?" I don't know what, but something in his voice caught me off guard...
"When you were Joel I almost stabbed you for waking me up. Now you're not-"
"Joel's in here... Somewhere..." He spoke quietly. Guilt perhaps? "If he wasn't, I wouldn't-" He turned his back, tugging off the hoodie to reveal his head. His hair was messy, but that wasn't what I looked at.
The back of his neck was black and splotched, like something was growing under his skin, it looked almost alive, just writhing under his skin. "I wouldn't be serving two mast- It... It hurts Lukey."
"Joel?" I was stunned, standing up and moving to the fence, just staring as he turned around to face me again.
"Read the letter."
He looked at me for a moment and ran off into the undergrowth.
Lukey was his pet name for me. Joels pet name for me. I've not seen Wolf use it before. Is Joel still there?
I don't think I even realised I was crying, I just sat there, tears streaming down my face. Not too long later I felt a hand on my shoulder, it was Lullaby. I don't know what, or how much she'd seen or heard, but she just said;
"Let's go inside."