“Hayden...Hayyyddeeennn....I know you can hear us!”
The dark haired boy in question squeezed his soulless, bloodshot eyes tightly shut. “Go away,” he whispered, his body sagging against the nearest wall. “Please…”
The boy’s prone figure pushed itself off the wall and stumbled on. White-knuckled hands gripped his skull, desperately trying to block out the unrelenting voices. It was worse than usual. Opening his eyes, the boy stared in despair at the thin, translucent puppet strings, barely visible, stretching from his fingers up into the sky. Hayden continues to drag his body down the busy streets of Tokyo. He just had to get home. He would be okay, just if he got home. Bock to his precious white bottles…
Sweat trickled down Hayden’s face as he leaned against the traffic light pole, panting. The light flashed green. Hayden set foot on the road, staggering like a drunk. To a passing stranger that would be exactly what he would look like, a drunk. The reality was not so. As he reached the middle of the road, the volume of the voices increased, pushing Hayden to the edge of consciousness. The pain was excruciating. Falling to his knees, Hayden pressed his fingers to his temples, dark splotches clouding his vision. As he attempted to get up the city lights danced before his eyes before a sickening thud mercifully turned his world black.
The limp form of the skinny, dark haired boy was lifted onto a stretcher. His face was serene and peaceful, almost child-like in sleep. The lines of pain that, seconds ago, etched his face were gone, melted away. He was transferred to a hospital bed, still oblivious to the world. “...body needs to heal...induced coma will be necessary...inform the family...yes...do it now…” The doctor’s words washed over him.
Hayden’s eyes opened to be greeted with nothing but pitch black, enveloping him in its cloak of darkness. Hayden felt suffocated. It was like there wasn’t enough oxygen in the air. Something was very wrong. The events of the previous night played on the insides of his now closed eye-lids. What was the point of keeping them open if he couldn't see anyway? It was strange, he thought to himself, why did he not feel any pain? Gingerly, Hayden tested all his limbs and softly prodded his temples. Nothing. The dark, bloodshot-eyes snapped open again. The feeling of ‘wrongness’ was back. His pills. He needed to take his pills.
Franticly, he groped around blindly. “I need light,” he thought to himself. Closing his eyes he took a deep breath, trying to calm his nerves. Opening them again, a candle flickered on the before unseen bedside table, casting an eerie glow around the room. Startled, Hayden panic returned. His head whipped around wildly, searching for a tell-tale white bottle. The one thing in life that gave him peace.
A low hum started up. Voices joined in with the melody, “Hayden, Hayden, Hayden…” Terrified, Hayden ran to the door and threw it open. He was greeted by a barren wasteland, littered with bloodied needles and thread. The place that he had only seen in his dreams. The place of his nightmares. The home of The Puppeteer.
Just as these thoughts crossed his mind, a dark, cowled figure appeared with a host of robed underlings in tow.
“Welcome back, Hayden. I’ve missed you.” The Puppeteer smiled, his white pointed teeth gleaming in the darkness, a shiny, silver needle in hand, threaded with pure white thread.
“We’re going to have so much fun together.”