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Paramnesia (Complete, 9 Parts)


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Part One:

“My dad tried to kill himself last night.”


“My dad tried to kill himself last night.”

Oh. He wondered what the appropriate response to such a statement was. “It’s hot in here. Are you hot?” Keeping one hand on the wheel, he slid down the front windows. A stop sign loomed ahead. Stop sign. Stop…sign.

“Did you hear me, Riv?”

Did he hear her? Yes, he did. Always did. “I’m listening.”

“No you’re not.” Those were tears in her voice. Half dead as he was, he knew that much. Not that it came as a shock. Journey cried most days.

But today wasn’t most days.

“What’d he do this time?” he asked flatly. Campus was just minutes away.

Journey pulled her legs up onto the seat and rested her chin on her knees. Her pink hair cut a jagged line at her jaw. “Okay, well he didn’t so much try to kill himself as threaten to kill himself…if I keep seeing you.”

Joys. “Yeah, well, nothing new there.” Her dad had hated him from day one. Most people did. His mom saw to that. He’d thought going to college and living on campus would get him away from her, but not so much.

“You don’t know what it’s like,” Journey was saying. “I can’t deal with it anymore. I want out. I’m gonna move in with you.”

She was going to…what?

Picking a spot as close to Rex Beach as possible, Riv cut off the engine and turned to her, saying, “I--I don’t think.” No. He didn’t think. And that was the problem. “Look, that’s not really a good idea. You know Emmett. He’ll…” What would the perv do? God, why was she making him think so much? It fucking hurt.

“Then my mom started in on how atheism is like a sin and I’m going to hell because I’m a sinner and how if she sees two guys kiss on TV one more time she’s gonna smash the screen with a baseball bat. I mean, I was looking online and I came across this thing that’s, like, me. I always thought there was something wrong, but I never really thought, you know, that it would be something real.”

“Journey,” he said. Was there a bee in the car? He thought, maybe, it was going to rain. When had it gotten so dark? Reaching out, he took her hand. “Everything’s going to be okay.”

What was he saying? No it wasn’t. He didn’t know why, but he knew. Something was happening. Rain pattered against the windows. Thunder growled overhead.

“Have you ever wanted to--?” No…no, not that. “Hey, you know, I can’t remember the last time it rained. It’s kind of musical isn’t it? Like…music.”

Now Journey was staring at him, a web of lines marring her forehead. “Riv, what are you talking about?”

He slumped against the window, watching the droplets of water chase each other across the foggy expanse. As a shiver passed over him, he pressed his fingers flat to the bridge of his nose. “Dunno,” he said, and tried to rub away the tingle. “The rain.”

Journey nibbled her thumb nail, still staring. “I don’t get it. Is this like a joke?” This weird, wavering smile tried to appear.

This girl was making zero sense today. Holding his nose wasn’t doing the trick. He could feel his breathing start to change, but it didn’t register inside his brain. “Hgxt!ntss!

“Bless you,” she said, her tone odd.

Resting his cheek on a fist, he nodded vaguely. She’d said something. What, he wasn’t sure. But he didn’t think it mattered. Nothing…mattered.

“You okay?”

The bee was back, buzzing in his ears.

He had been…hadn’t been…was…might have been…


“The rain,” he mumbled. That was it. “It’s…like music.”

“Riv.” She sounded so, so far away. “It isn’t raining.”

- - -

-x- The Previous Night -x-

“You’re a little weirdo. Always were.”

Why the hell had he decided to go home?

His mom took another swig of vodka and tripped over the coffee table. With a low-pitched squeal, she tumbled back onto the moth-eaten couch like a legless spider.

Right. Had to make sure she wasn’t dead. At times like this it was hard to remember why he cared. Did he care? Did it matter?

Fat tears dripped down her powder-pale chin. “You don’t love me. You’ve never loved me. It isn’t fair. It isn’t fair!” Moaning, she buried her face in one of the shaggy black pillows and banged her fist into the side of her head. Then, suddenly, she sat up, face cold and without emotion. “I’m going to tell them about you, little liar. What do you think they’ll do to you then, huh?” That smile he hated so much curdled her puckered lips.

It wasn’t anything he hadn’t heard before, but still he felt chills trickle down his spine. Only she could make him feel like this, twisted and dark and wrong.

“You do what you have to do, mom,” he said.

-x-Current Day-x-

“Do you like dead things?”


“I said, do you like dead things?”

Riv blinked. When had he opened his eyes? Rabid rats with bloody, meat-encrusted fangs and red-eyed corpses with blackened fingers curling out of their dead, maggoty lips stared at him from all around. Halloween masks. Where the hell was he?

“Are you going to answer the question sometime this year?” asked the gravelly voice.

He brought his hands up to his face, looked at the bitten-down nails. Real. He was in a dark room with gory paraphernalia strewn about haphazardly. “How did I get here?” His timbre matched his surroundings a little too perfectly. Hadn’t he just been in the car with Journey? How could he have gotten here without remembering?


“People think I’m strange. But you? You take the cake. I’m just sayin’.” A low chuckle. “But I’m cool with that. How ‘bout you?”

It was entirely possible he was going to start crying. His eyes felt gritty and hot, and his throat felt like it was growing a pet porcupine. “Why?” he croaked, leaning forward to rest his elbows on the countertop that separated him from the speaker. “Why is this happening to me?”

“I don’t know.” Blue eyes. He had blue eyes, like the sky just before dusk. “Did you happen to be a baby-eating serial killer in your past life?”

If he could just…focus. Blinking, his eyes managed to catch and hold onto the outline of a face: sharp jaw-line, nose slightly off-center, high, firmly pronounced cheekbones. He made out a pair of thick, dark, straight eyebrows, one marred by a silver piercing. Unshorn hair down to a dimpled chin.

“I like your teeth,” the guy said, sidling closer, his presence seeming to fill the room. “They’ve got real character. I like that.”

This made…no…sense…Riv tried to breathe, but it was like his lungs had frozen. Pain speared through his chest and he hunched forward with a wince.

“Want to see my spider?” the guy asked. “Or my human eye collection?”

No, no, no. Just leave me alone. I have to get out of here. Only he couldn’t move, just stare into those blue eyes like they were the only thing left that was real in this world of nightmares and ghosts. “Help me,” he said.


That was Journey. Journey! Where was she? He spun around, dizzily searching for her in the sea of ghouls and goblins. Nowhere. She wasn’t there.

Blue Eyes reached out for him, and his hand had to be the strongest, safest thing Riv had ever seen--but he knew he couldn’t trust that.

“It’ll be okay,” Blue Eyes told him. “Take my hand.”

Riv backed away. Shook his head. He couldn’t. It was a lie. All of it. Not right.

“River.” The face flickered, began to fade.

“RIV!” Journey screamed.

That strong hand, so close, calling to him. “Trust me, River. Take my hand.”

I can’t.

“Yes, you can.” Shadows wound through every syllable, the words like smoke, so fragile and yet…they hung there, entered him, ate at what was left of his mind.

“RIVER, NOOOOOOOO!” Journey wailed.


And Riv couldn’t take any more. He had to make a choice.


- - -

I...don't even know.

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So I was sitting just on the Stories page looking at the list off and on for...I think a couple hours before I realized this was written by you, at which time I immediately opened it up even though it's 12:30am and my class is early in the morning.

BUT! Totally worth it.

I'm not entirely sure what just transpired, but I'm excited for more, and I love your names! Journey...I like that. I love all of the pieces you've set up here already, and also the title! I dunno, it's all just really intriguing. Looking forward to the next update (and sorry I couldn't leave a proper comment with all the things I liked, but just know it's awesome)~ :D

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Hanging off my seat? Check.

Totally and utterly mind-fucked? Check.

Ohhhh yes, this is totally your story. hope you don't leave us hanging for too long! (I'll die first)

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You just get more and more confusing and complicated don't you, Scion? Not saying I don't like it though. I find this very interesting. Very interesting indeed. I hope you continue! :)

BYE! :bleh:

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ElementsofGray: Are you kidding? Any comment from you is a proper comment! You are awesome and you always know what to say to make me happy! Thank you so much. Oh, and don't worry, I had no idea what was going on even as I was writing it haha. But I do now! #badwriteradmitsherbadness And I'm glad you like my names. Whhhyyy am I so obsessed with names?

obsessed: Teeheehee. I SHOULDN'T do that. But I am not a nice person. You know this already. :twisted:

Salamander: Oh, thank you! I'm so glad you like it.

Ciuty80: I'm always so happy when I see a comment from you. I'm soooo glad I can write stuff that you enjoy, truly.

Emily: Do not die. How can I cause mental anguish in a dead person!?!?!? Haha. Ohh, how I've missed you. WHYhaveistayedawaysolong!? --stupid-->me<--stupid--

lovelylovexoxo: Aw, thank you so much!

VividBubbles!: Yes, yes I do. But I have no doubt you will figure everything out soon. You always do!

Part Two:

--took the hand, felt the warmth of it sink into his bones. The world blurred, turned to grey, shimmered, and opened up.

“Quest?” Where had the name come from? Riv spoke it aloud; it tasted of liquid starlight and brisk summer nights and mossy, snow-laced forests.

“Here,” Blue Eyes said--and he was. But where was here?

Some sort of dank alley. Overflowing dumpsters lined the dark street. City lights hung like metal fireflies in the distance. Somewhere, a rat squeaked in pain.

Footfalls pounded closer, echoed by out-of-breath shouts. “HURRY UP! I’D RATHER NOT HAVE MY BRAINS SUCKED OUT TODAY!”

That. Did not. Sound good.

Quest grabbed his hand, looked into his eyes. They were about the same height, but somehow the other man seemed so much taller.

Another voice, this one masculine, rung out: “I WOULD! I LOVE HAVING MY BRAINS SUCKED OUT!”

Quest’s mouth tugged into a half-smile. “I love feeling normal.”

Before Riv could ask, two people came barreling around the corner and straight toward them. One was a tall, lanky man of about twenty dressed in what appeared to be a pirate costume, complete with eye-patch and boots, the other a girl donning a pale pink faerie get-up, lacey wings and all, who couldn’t have been more than five feet tall.

“Riv,” Quest said when the newcomers came to a panting halt a few feet in front of them, “meet Tru and Myth, the Twins of Terror.”

“I’m going to sit down now,” Riv announced to no one in particular. He didn’t even care that the ground was cold and wet and sticky and smelled like vomit. Once he was down, he knew he’d never get up again. This was it. The end. Only his nose didn’t agree. “Hhh.” Pressing his nose as hard as he could into his knees, Riv squeezed his eyes shut tighter and tighter until sparks of yellow sprayed across the dark.

“Did you know that all but two species of spider are venomous?” Quest asked.

“Will you shut up?” Riv said. It was so cold. He could feel snow falling around him, peppering his bent head. Real or unreal? Was it possible to be both?

“You didn’t hurt his feelings,” said the lanky guy--Myth? “Don’t apologize.”

Riv was certain his head was seconds from exploding. There was something alive inside his brain, and it wanted out.

Tru elbowed her twin in the side. “Shut up, loser. You’re confusing him!”

“No I’m not!”

Verity put her hands on her hips, and what looked like faerie dust fluttered up in a cloud. “You are impossible.”

“No I’m not.”


Hhhmmgkt!-uh…” Please make it stop, Riv thought. I just want to go home.

A hand grazed the top of his head, then, a calming touch. “You can’t go home, Riv,” Quest said softly, sympathetically. “Not yet.”

“Don’t listen to him, Riv…”

“Journey?” Riv said, too tired to put much emphasis in it. “Is that you?”

“Riv, don’t,” Quest warned, fingernails cutting into the flesh of Riv’s arm. “Don’t listen. Stay here--with me. Did you know some spiders can make parachutes from their silk and--”

“SHUT THE FUCK UP ABOUT FUCKING SPIDERS!” River screamed. He raked his nails down his face, needing to draw blood. Blood. On his hands. So much red.

And…bees. Buzzing. Inside his ears.

You little weirdo. Weirdo. Weirdo. Weirdo.



He thought he might be falling. Something crawled across the back of his neck and he felt a pinch, then a flow of hot ice. How could ice be hot? “J-Journey?”

“Wake up, River,” Quest said, the gentle command settling the roar in Riv’s head. If he could just hold onto that voice, it would all be okay.

He was looking at himself in a mirror--only it wasn’t really him, because he knew his head wasn’t quite so huge, like a swollen balloon. When he tried to back up, he slammed into something solid and warm; hands landed on his shoulders, kept him on the surface.

A husky voice in his ear. “Have you ever seen a Black Widow, Riv?”

Wake up, wake up, WAKE UP!

Screaming, Riv charged the mirror--but instead of smashing into glass, he sunk through what felt like a gelatinous waterfall, sticky ooze clinging to him like spider-webs.

His head…hurt. Everything did. But at least he didn’t feel like he was floating anymore. The mattress creaked beneath his weight as he shifted his feet to the beige carpet. The walls were painted over with black and red and green and blue faces of him. Tripp.

Why…are my hands wet?

A crash echoed from down the hall, and he pictured his mom dropping to her knees, picking up pieces of scattered glass. She’d cut herself. There’d be blood.


His hands.

Were wet.


“Riv? You awake?” came a voice from the darkness.

He blinked. “Verity? That you?”

A head of auburn curls popped out from underneath the bed. “Who else?” A frown came to her face. “You okay, pal? You look like crap.”

Was he okay? No. Had he ever been? It was hard to remember. Flopping back down, he crushed his face into the pillow; it smelled like smoke and ash. “Hh…hh’nkshmff!

“Hey.” Verity perched herself next to him on the bed, laid her cool hand on his brow. “Don’t be getting sick on me. You know I don’t like that!”

That was Verity. She had a way of saying what she meant without sounding like she actually meant it, even though it was blatantly obvious she did. Riv had known her and Lore since pre-school, and having her here made everything…less. Just less.

Lore, on the other hand, made things so much more…complicated. Riv could never tell if he was making a joke or being sarcastic or serious or what, and it kicked him in the butt. But he loved the guy, loved the both of them.

They’d been there for him when…

…no…not that…

Verity kissed his forehead. “I know what you’re thinking about. I can always tell. You know I love you, right?”

“I know you love me.” He managed a smile. “You tell me often enough. Pretty sure the whole world knows.”

“Smartass.” But she was smiling too.

When the room started to tilt and twirl, he reached out to her, felt her reach out in return, clutch his hands. He didn’t want this to end. “Verity!” he called, desperately holding onto her--if he could keep the contact, maybe he wouldn’t lose her--or himself.

“RIV!” Journey was wailing.


“WHERE ARE YOU!?” Riv shouted back--and fell, fell, fell…

- - -

I promise I actually have a clue where this is going/what this means/why it is happening. <3

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I don't know how I got on board this crazy train, but absolutely nothing can get me off. I'm really liking where this is going, not knowing what is reality is half the fun! Can't wait for what's next.! :)

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If you can figure out something awesome after writing something without knowing what you're writing about, then that constitutes plenty of non-badness. xD

I feel like I almost grasped some piece of what's going on here, except I didn't, and now I can't wait for your where this is going/what it means/why it is happening. I'm so excited, I mean you posted a story, and I'm still not over it because reading things you write is ALWAYS wonderful. :D And your obsession with names just makes everything good that much better. I don't even know which is my favorite anymore, but I like Quest and Lore, and how you're connecting them here. It's just great, make more words, I love you. :heart:

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Is it possible to understand something but not at the same time? Because that is how I feel. It's like my brain is telling me what's going on but I can't really hear my brain. This is weird. And wonderful. And horribly delicious. (It also helps that you pick out the most awesomest names ever!) More please. :)

BYE! :bleh:

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Dude, I didn't think it possible for you to get any better at this but looks like hiding from us all for so long did something to ya.

does your legendarily fast updating skills apply to this story ; ____ ; I am just as lost as Riv is

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awwww thank you Scion! :kisscheek:

<----EXTREMLY hooked :yes:

<----EXTREMLY confused :lol: but what i like about your stories is the time-switching, it´s really confusing sometimes but yet so important to get the point later (really weird sentence :D)

and well yeah the names :inlove:

and i´m waiting patienly for much more sneezes :blushing:

please more :wub:

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Grey on a Sunday: Aw, that makes me so happy! I've never written something like this before, but it's kind of addictive! Thank you so much for commenting.

ElementsofGray: Maybe I subconsciously knew what I was writing about! I have been meaning to use the name Quest for a while and it kinda fit here. (possible clue...just saying) ... Anyway...HOW can you say these amazing things to me that make my life about 98989898 times better? I can't even describe how grateful I am. Just...I love you more. And I will always make more words.

Alexys52: Haha, I would be worried if you WEREN'T confused! But I'm so very glad you are intrigued. Thank you!

VividBubbles!: I think it's possible that your subconscious understands something that you don't...yet...maybe...I'm not sure I know what I'm talking about, but yeah. And I love that you love my names thank you so much you are awesome as you know why must I repeat myself? Okay I'm done! :D

Emily: I'm merely indulging my knack for writing things that make no sense. Possibly. I'm not really sure. But YES I will write fast. I see the weirdness unfolding rapidly. Do I sound as creepy as I think I do?

Ciuty80: I just...it means so much to me when you comment. I know I keep saying this over and over but it's so true. Thank you so much! And yes your patience will pay off with lots of sneezing. I promise! :heart:

Part Three:

Raindrops tap-tap-tapped on the windows.

Rain, rain, musical rain.

“Riv?” Journey said. “Are you okay?”

He clutched the steering wheel, nodded once. This made sense. The car. Journey. Rex Beach--his dorm. His annoying, beanie-wearing roommate, Emmett. Who the hell wore beanies anymore, anyway?

Riv unbuckled his seatbelt and leaned into Journey, resting his head on her shoulder. He inhaled her familiar apple-pie smell and closed his eyes. Then her hands were in his hair, rubbing softly.

“My dad tried to kill himself last night,” she said.

Fire scorched the inside of his head. “Hhh…hh…nxgt!-uhh…what?”

“Bless you.” She nuzzled his hair. “My dad tried to kill himself last night.”

Panic came swiftly. “You already told me that.”

There was that look, like he’d grown a horn. “No I didn’t. Riv, that’s not funny.”

“Of course it’s not fucking funny!” he said, jerking away from her. “Why would it be funny? Why would any of this be funny? Nothing’s funny. It’s all wrong. Don’t you get that? Can’t you see how wrong all this is? It’s raining! And you’re not supposed to be here! IT’S MUSIC, CAN’T YOU SEE!?

“Why, Riv?” she asked, the words dripping from her mouth like blood. Scarlet liquid leaked from the corners of her blue lips. The skin of her face began to move, to flex, to peel away. “Why did you do this to me!? How could you!?” Bones peeked through her flesh. A spider crawled out of her left nostril, then into her mouth.

Riv screamed--

--and fell through the seat, through the pavement, through layers of earth and heat and into dark, dark, dark.

What was it about those blue eyes that made his heart ache?

“Where are we?” he asked.

“Wherever you want us to be,” Quest replied, and smiled. “Wanna see my spider?”

Riv took stock of his whereabouts--and nearly jumped out of his skin. They were on a Ferris wheel. Below them, multicolored dots painted a bright canvas of light. The scents of cotton candy and popcorn clung to the summer air. “If I say yes, will you shut up about spiders?”

“Probably not.”

If he played along, pretended everything was normal, then maybe everything would become normal. “Fair enough. So where is this mysterious spider of yours?”

- - -


Again, that feeling of floating, of hanging in space with nothing to reach out to--but, he told himself, it wasn’t real. He was just…he was…

…in a round room of mirrors, and he was spinning. In each pane of reflective glass that flashed by, he saw something different. Tru and Myth, waving frantically at him. Journey, tears of blood running down her face, her hand outstretched. Verity and Lore, holding onto each other, their mouths agape, their eyes sodden with horror. Quest, his face nearly invisible beneath a carpet of spiders, the blue of his eyes burning through the black.

And then a voice spoke, echoing all around, so deep and alive and charged with power. “Rivs, don’t do this to yourself. Not for me.”

It was him.


“TRIPP!” Riv shouted, whirling in circles; he had to find him! Where was he!? “TRIPP, WHERE ARE YOU!?”

A glimpse of something in one of the mirrors--black, pink, and blue - that green and gray striped shirt he knew like the back of his hand. Part of a snarky smile, so brief he couldn’t be sure, but…he was. He’d know that face anywhere.

He tried to run, to get to him before--but it was too late. Running around in circles didn’t help, and there was something wrong with him. Something…he couldn’t breathe. It felt like invisible hands were wrapped around his neck, squeezing.

Please, Rivs. LET ME GO! Before it’s too late!

After a long, painful struggle, the darkness finally won out, and Riv faded away, melted, evaporated…

- - -


“Riv, pal, wake up. Open your eyes, babe. It’s okay. I’m here.”

God, his throat…had he swallowed a bunch of hot coals, or what? “V--” He cleared his throat and tried again- “Ver…ity? Hh--hihXFTsshh!

His friend’s face blurred above him, her hair tickling his face. “There you are,” she smiled. “Your face is seriously red right now, and it’s making me want lobster.”

“Nah, it’s not that red,” Lore said from somewhere to the left. Riv glanced over to see Verity’s twin leaning back against the wall by the open window, arms crossed. “I’ve seen worse.”

Verity threw him a disgusted look. “You so have not, liar.”

“Watch your mouth, child,” Lore shot back, swaggering over. Almost too tall for the ceiling, scraggly copper hair down to his shoulders, aquiline nose, piratical smug smirk - that was Lore. He was pretty much the opposite of his sister in every way.

Riv pulled the covers up over his head and buried his face under the pillows. “Go away. I’m--hh--sleeping.” He muffled a sneeze against the top of his hand. “ihMMktschh!

“Bless you. Since when do you talk in your sleep, pal?” Verity asked.

His ear. The bee was back. Why wouldn’t the damn thing leave him alone? Tossing the covers away, he sat up and grabbed Verity by the shoulders, demanding, “Do you hear that? Tell me you hear that!”

She said something in reply, but he wasn’t listening. He was looking at the clown standing behind her. It had big orange hair in the shape of bowling pins, an enormous watermelon forehead, yellow beads for eyes, and a wide, stretchy, gaping mouth flooded with shark teeth.

“Come with me,” it said in a childlike voice.

Cold fear froze his heart. “No,” he mouthed. “No, go away. Leave me alone.”

Verity and Lore turned to look at the clown, then at each other. “Who are you talking to?” they said simultaneously.

It was too much. Riv stood, swiped the spider paperweight from his desk, and charged the clown. “FUCK YOU, YOU FUCKING FUCKER!”

Bang. He smashed the paperweight into the side of the swollen white head. Then again. Bang! Blood sprayed everywhere, into his eyes and mouth, but he didn’t care. He just kept pounding and pounding while Verity and Lore grasped at him, screamed for him to stop.

Crunch! Crack! Crunch! Crack! Crunch! Crack! Crunch! Crack! Crunch! Crack!

It went on and on and on and on until suddenly it stopped.

And someone spoke.

“Did you know that the Brown Widow Spider is actually more venomous than the Black Widow?”

- - -

Did you catch the clues? :P

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Confusing. Delicious. Enticing.

I need more of this.

bye. :wub:

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you melt my brains, you do. carry on, maybe leave a squeegee or something so I can mop up the mess.

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Even though it's 12:30 in the morning (again), I feel like I MIGHT have picked up on a couple of those clues. If I didn't pick up on them or figure them out in any way, some part of me was aware of their presence, so I think I'll just have to read it again tomorrow when I've got at least half my brain turned on.

What I got, though, I loved. I like where it's going, assuming I have some inkling, and I'm so excited to read more~ I thought from the beginning that there was some connection between Journey and Quest, and I have vague theories, but I just want to see where it all ends up. As long as you keep making words I will leave comments and hopefully continue making your life all those numbers better because it's just not right to let your wonderful stories be without my feedback (in that "I really don't want you to NOT know how awesome this is" way).

I also looked up paramnesia a minute ago, and I think the definition and having more of an idea of what it is made this stuff a little clearer in my head. And I think it's wicked interesting that you're writing this sort of thing. More so than in the normal sense, I mean. XD

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:blushing: i really don´t know why my comments make you so unbelievable happy but you are welcome ^_^

i´m still a bit confused though but i think with the following updates i will see clearer :laugh:

like ElementsofGray i looked up paramnesia and now i know what´s going on with riv (i hope i do :sillybounce:)

this is great stuff, perfect scenario

I did not expect anything else from you :lol: <-- of course meant in a VERY positive way :yes:

please more! wub:

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VividBubbles!: Thank you!!!!! :D :D

Emily: Don't say these things! Your mind is the sharpest mind of all. Obviously! AP English. Ahh, high school, how I do not miss thee. *hands over a squeegee* (I have to congratulate you for making me write a word I've never written before! Squeegeeee!) That is all.

ElementsofGray: Is it weird that I'm all excited over your potential theories even though I don't even know what they are? And in that case I must continue writing on here until all my teeth fall out (not that you really needed that image!). Anyway, by now you know how awesome I think you are and how much your comments mean. For a writer, I'm not that good at coming up with new ways to say things. And, yes, the title is what inspired everything and I'm ridiculously happy you actually took the time to look it up. That goes for you, too, CIUTY80!

Ciuty80: Well, you've been here pretty much since the beginning, supporting me and commenting on my stuff, so...it's just great that you're still reading anything I write! Thank you thank you thank you!

Part Four:

Leaves crunched under Riv’s feet as he took the few steps necessary to crumple into Quest’s embrace. It was cold and dark and those invisible hands were still around his neck and he didn’t know what was happening to him and it scared him and he just--he wanted--

Quest rubbed the top of Riv’s head. “But Brown Widows are smaller, so they’re not as dangerous.”

Riv glanced around with vague interest. Groups of kids in costumes strutted down winding sidewalks under the watchful eye of a full moon. Skeletal arms of trees reached out as if to capture them. Jack-o’-Lanterns smiled and sneered at the ends of driveways and on cobwebbed porches. “Can we not talk about spiders for once?”

Quest appeared to consider this. A strange look came into his eyes, almost like fear, but more diluted. “I…don’t really know what else to talk about.”

Some stubby kid in a football uniform tossed a roll of toilet paper at a tree--it bounced off and fell to the ground, unraveling. His friends laughed.

Riv rubbed his eyes. “How about you start by explaining what the hell is going on, who you are, who I am, why I’m here, where here is, and why here is?”

“I can’t do that, Riv,” Quest said gravely, and scratched at his eyebrow piercing. “I wish I could.” A quick frown, then he pulled his shirt up to reveal his chest--and the enormous red spider tattoo residing there. “Guess what species.”

Annnd he’d lasted a whole five seconds. If Riv never heard the word spider again, he’d be thrilled, delighted, overjoyed--and he needed to stop with all the synonymous adjectives.

Riv’s nose began to itch, and he blurted, “I’m still sick. Why am I always sick? Can’t I not be sick for once? Isn’t it enough that I’ve totally lost it and am probably locked up somewhere in some mental ward with my hands tied to a bed and creepy doctors with needles smirking down at me like mad fucking scientists!?”

“I can guarantee you’re not tied to any beds,” Quest told him. His eyes held quiet laughter. “You’re completely free. You just don’t know it yet.”

“Oh, will you stop with the cryptic shit already? It’s giving me a headache. And I already have a headache, so it’s giving me a double headache.”

Quest arched his unpierced brow. “Sounds painful.”

“More than you know.”

“I highly doubt that.”

- - -

“I love the rain,” he said. “It’s like music.”

Riv looked at him with raised eyebrows. “You sound like a girl. You know that, right?”

The grass outside Riv’s ramshackle ranch was drowning as it continued to pour. He had to admit, the smell of freshly fallen rain did something for him. So did that snarky smile.

“Hey, I’m not the one who needs to be walked home,” he teased. “If anyone’s a chick, man, it’s totally you.”

Riv blinked rainwater from his eyes. They were feet from his front porch, and yet neither of them made a move toward shelter. “You do realize you just said ‘totally?’”

“Come on. Look at this.” He tugged at the hem of his t-shirt, which displayed a fat, hairy spider with at least ten beady red eyes--did spiders actually have ten eyes? “What girl would ever wear something like this?”

“Verity,” Riv answered right away. Halloween was days away, and the trees were colored with splashes of orange, yellow, and red. His clothes were plastered to his skin, and he should have been cold--but he wasn’t.

“You might be right about that.” A step closer. Sky blue eyes. A nose with freckles so light you had to be real close to notice them. “But guess what, Rivs?”

Riv swallowed hard, knowing he should back away but unable to. “What?” he whispered.

He was right there, now, so close Riv could feel the heat from his body, smell the rain on his skin. “I’m not a girl.” And then his lips were on Riv’s--only for a second.

Just one. Single. Second.


Riv closed his eyes, heat flying to his face. “Mom…” But he didn’t know what to say. She’d seen. It was clear from the disgust contorting her angular features.

It was all over.

“Rivs,” he said. “Don’t.”

He knew, Riv realized, knew what Riv was about to do. “Get away from me,” Riv made himself say. Then added with more steel, “DON’T EVER COME NEAR ME AGAIN, YOU FREAK!”

Pain. That was all Riv could see. So much of it. He couldn’t look--but he had to. After all, it was all his fault.

“Rivs, please.” He reached out. “Take my hand. Just come with me. Please.

Instead, Riv spat in his face.

And let Tripp walk away.

I’m so sorry, he thought, feeling like his chest was caving in. Tripp. Tripp, I’m so sorry.

- - -

“Can anyone give me a few examples of a homonym?”

“How about I’m board. B-O-A-R-D?”

“It’s accurate enough!” Snicker. “Your IQ is about the same as a board.

“Verity, you’re not as funny as you think you are.”

Was that…his English professor? Riv waited for his eyes to turn on. Yep, this was definitely his classroom. He hated having to sit at this stupid oval table like they were having some important meeting about zombie apocalypse prevention.

I’m not going to be sick this time, he thought. I’m not. I’m not. I’m not.

Someone sneezed. And it wasn’t him.

Riv lifted his eyebrows. Was it possible? Closing his eyes, he pictured Quest, the nightlight eyes, the face sculpted with shadow - I…miss you…and I don’t know why.

“You don’t know much of anything, do you?” Quest’s immaterial voice asked.

I know that I don’t want to be here.

“Then don’t be.”


Quest chuckled. “You ask all the wrong questions.”

Ignoring the staring faces of his classmates, Riv climbed up onto the table, raised his arms toward the ceiling. The table wobbled and squeaked.

“What in God’s name do you think you’re doing, River!?” his elderly, feather-boa-wearing professor squawked.


It started to rain…in the classroom. Clouds popped up out of nowhere, filling the air with gray. Quest, he thought, are you there?

Then he dove forward into nothing…and added, I WILL NOT BE SICK.

- - -

Ehhh…hih…hah’nnktshhahh! Thanks a lot, Riv. This is just what I needed.”

Riv couldn’t stop the smile. “So where are we this time?”

Quest spread his arms wide. “See for yourself. Do you need me to do everything for you?”

An indigo moon hung in the pink and ebony sky. Fireflies danced in bright yellow scatters. A field of the greenest grass Riv had ever seen, greener than his mom’s eyes, stretched on for what appeared to be miles. Riv’s feet were bare, his toes sinking into the moist earth, almost as if he were part of it.

Only one thing was missing…

…a sprinkling of rain began to descend. Riv could feel the rhythm of it in his bones, like it was alive, like it belonged to him.

Quest seemed suddenly closer, though Riv couldn’t remember him moving. “Enjoying your cotton candy?”

“Huh?” Riv glanced down at the blue sugar cloud in his hand. Where the hell had that come from? Deciding what the hell, he took a bite. “It tastes…” He licked his lips. “Like air.”

“Exactly,” Quest said. Had he gotten even closer? “And we need air to breathe.” The space between them evaporated.

Riv decided to move away. He was going to…back…off…had to…remember…

…but Quest’s mouth was right there…

What was “space” anyway?

“You’ve got sugar on your lips,” Quest murmured.

It had been so long since Quest had mentioned spiders, so long and--

Ahh!” Quest grabbed his head, went to his knees. Lines of pain streaked across his face; he curled up into himself, moaning.

“What the--Quest!?” Riv dropped down beside him, fear cutting off his airways. “What’s wrong? What’s happening? Talk to me!”

“N-nothing. Hh--hehh…” Some of the tightness eased from his expression, only to be replaced by one of desperation. “Th--this--hih--is all your--hh--fault…hihh…

Riv felt a rush of…he didn’t know what, but it made him want to fix this, to fix Quest, to make it all better, because somehow…it was his fault. “I’m sorry,” he said, placing his hand on the back of Quest’s neck. The skin on his palm tingled.

“Did you know s-spiders have…h-hah!…” Quest sat up slowly, rubbing his nose with his knuckles. He took an uneven breath, eyes drifting shut. “Ehh…MXGT!uhh…” Keeping his hand in places over his nose, Quest stared at him from midnight eyes.

Those eyes.

Something about them…

ihNGK!ahh…” Quest blinked the dazedness from his gaze. “What was I saying?”

“Spiders,” Riv replied, and weirdly didn’t have the urge to roll his eyes. “Something about spiders.”

- - -

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Ah, so many clues. So many possible meanings. Like my Algebra teacher would say "this is an equation with indefinitely many solutions". I hope I know where this is going. I think I know where this is going. I probably have no idea where this is going. You're a master of twisting words, Scion. But also a master of confusion.

I want more of this.

BYE! :bleh:

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My mind's rather dulled by sleep right now, but I probably still would not have gotten any of your carefully placed clues. :( I feel like I'm analyzing The Odyssey or something when I try to make sense of all this. e ___ e and just now I thought he was time-travelling LOL

please keep messing with my mind forever :heart:

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you are too kind to me yes.gif and it makes me happy that i´m able to support you in some ways happy.png

so riv can influence his "journeys", weird but...uhm...well good for him but bad for quest heh.gif

Then he dove forward into nothing…and added, I WILL NOT BE SICK.

- - -

Ehhh…hih…hah’nnktshhahh! Thanks a lot, Riv. This is just what I needed.”

i get this kind of travelling but my mind won´t reach where this is going twitchsmile.gif

i really need more of this fantastic stuff!!! yes.gif

please more! wub.png

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VividBubbles!: Haha, I bet you have some idea where it's going! I'm excited to find out if you're right! And THANK YOU!

Emily: The Odyssey? Now that is a comparison I never expected LMAO. What are you doing to me, woman? And hell yes I will mess with your mind forever - don't you worry! You know I live to mess with you.

Ciuty80: Aw, thank you so so so much! And I promise things will make sense eventually. Sometimes I confuse myself, too. :lol:

Part Five:

“Right,” Quest said. “Spiders have retractable fangs. It’s pretty awesome.”

Riv nodded. Mud soaked through the knees of his jeans. “Yeah, sure, retractable fangs, that’s…” That’s…weird… He scratched the back of his neck. “So what now?”

Quest’s mouth shaped some reply, but Riv couldn’t hear it. The bee was back. And his neck…he felt a crawling sensation. It moved around to the side of his throat, where the sensation heightened to one of pain. Riv put his hand to the spot and felt a bulge, felt the skin start to break, felt wetness trickle between his fingers.

A spider scuttled down his arm. Riv watched it in frozen horror as it skittered over to Quest, who held out his palm to receive it. He smiled sadly. “Riv. Have you met my spider?”

- - -

“Hh’tschhmkk!” Wetness tracked down Riv’s cheeks. Tears. Why was he crying?

“Riv, you okay?”

That was…Journey…right? Riv waded through the darkness, finding himself in a sunny kitchen with black and white tiles and an obvious rooster theme. The smell of pancakes and maple syrup made his stomach growl. A plate stacked high with oversized pancakes slathered in whipped cream rested in front of him on the rooster-patterned tablecloth.

“Aren’t you hungry?” Journey asked. She sat beside him, toying with a lock of fuchsia hair. “I can’t eat without you, so make up your mind.”

“I--I’m…” Sick, he thought. Why was that…strange? He picked up his paper napkin, which had tiny roosters dancing across it, and tried to stop himself from sneezing. Didn’t work. “Hhh…hehh…MPGTshh!uh. Sorry.” Journey’s parents already hated him. Now he was sneezing all over their breakfast table.

Journey’s mother made a noise, but it wasn’t one he’d ever heard before. He glanced up at her in concern--and choked on a gasp. She had…no face. It was just…blank. Her short black bob hung on either side of her empty expression. Beside her, her husband looked exactly the same. Faceless. He reached out for his glass of orange juice and brought it to the mouth he didn’t have. Pulpy orange liquid splattered onto his white shirt.

“What…is this?” Riv whispered, and felt his eyes roll back in his head. It was like he was conscious and unconscious at the same time.

Cold spread throughout his body. Water spilled down his throat as cold blackness enveloped him. He inhaled water as terror spiked through him. This was what death felt like--then he was being dragged up, up, up into sweet, fresh, beautiful cotton candy.

“Like I’d let you drown yourself right in front of me,” Tripp said into his ear.

Ocean waves lapped at him; clumps of seaweed tugged at his ankles. Nothing but raven sea stretched on for acres. The rocky shore was a white spot in the distance.

“H-how did we g-get here?” he chattered; his legs felt like blocks of ice. “And w-why would we w-want to b-be here?”

Tripp frowned at him. “Exactly how much salt water did you swallow?”

“Not enough.” Something’s wrong.

“I can fix that.” Tripp grinned like a shark, and splashed about half the ocean up into Riv’s face.

“You fuck!” Riv returned fire.

Tripp ducked.

After a deep breath, Riv dove under the water, latched onto Tripp’s feet, and dragged him down. Tripp struggled against him, nearly kicking him in the face.

Murderer!” Tripp choked when they both broke the surface. He was laughing.

But Riv wasn’t.

Murderer. Murderer. Murderer.

“Rivs, you--ihihh--y’all right?”

No. Please. Not now. Now this.

Tripp braced his hand on Riv’s shoulder; heat like none he’d ever felt erupted where their skin met, and Riv swore he was about to disintegrate--but he didn’t move.

“Shit, I think I’m getting sick,” Tripp said.

No. No you’re not. Riv didn’t know why he was freaking out inside, but he was absolutely certain he didn’t want to be here. Something’s wrong.

“Huh’mmpnxksshhuhh! Hh…damn, Rivs, I think I just squirted seawater outta my nose. I blame you.”

“S-sorry.” Riv brushed the strands of dark wet hair from Tripp’s face. No, stop it. This isn’t how it’s supposed to go. His thumbs traced over the droplets clinging to his friend’s jaw. You can’t change it. It’s too late. You’ll only make things worse.

The corner of Tripp’s mouth pulled up. “I always knew you had the hots for me.”

“And I always thought you were a pink-and-black-haired weirdo.”

“You’re not wrong.”

Yes I am. About everything. About nothing.

“Let’s head back.” Tripp sniffled. “I need a tissue or somethin’ - unless you want me to use you instead.”

Riv tried to focus on the conversation. “I’d rather you didn’t.” Bzz--bzzz--bzzzzz! Scratching at his ears did no good. That goddamned bee!

“Hehh---hihIHXGt--IHXGt!--hh--hehGXKshh!” As he started to sink, Tripp clasped onto Riv’s elbow, then choked as he sucked in the murky water.

Riv gripped Tripp under the arms and held his friend up, his heart pounding so loud, his anxiety a noxious cloud in his mind. “You okay?” he said, voice breaking.

Tripp felt so…light, like he might float off at any minute. His personality was so vibrant, so much, that it was easy to forget he was just a boy with pink-tipped hair and peircings. A boy who used to get teased mercilessly before everyone realized it just wasn’t fun to mock someone who didn’t give a crap what some brainless drones thought of him.

Riv wished he could be like that. But Tripp had always been better than him.

Hhh…Rivs? You still on planet earth with the rest of us? Ihhih…

Nodding in reply, Riv began to kick for shore. Tripp followed, pausing intermittently to hitch his breath, make a funny face, then massage his pinkening nose with no results.

Not this not this not this not this notthisnotthis!

When they reached the gravelly sand, Tripp bent over, hands on knees, and continued in his quest to find relief. Riv put a hand on Tripp’s back; usually he’d find a situation like this hilariously amusing, but not this time. This time it felt…bad.

Hihh--hih--hehhhh…dammit, this sucks.” He shook his head to dry his sopping hair; beads of water flew every which way. “Ihh…” With his eyes half shut and his face so slack and open, he looked disturbingly, achingly vulnerable.

Riv, feeling protective, inched closer; his feet left faint prints in the moist sand. Water lapped at his ankles. Wind tugged at his salt-stung cheeks. They were alone, and yet…

Hih! Hih! Hahh! Hah-eh!…ugh…” Tripp’s hand was held at the ready as his chest jumped with each sharp, erratic inhale of fishy air. “Hihh…ISHHeeew! FINALLY.” Blowing a sigh of relief, he rubbed between his eyebrows.

“Tripp?” Riv said, eyeing his friend with an intensity whose source he could not--nor did he want--to identify.

Tripp peered at him, sniffing wetly, eyebrows cocked.

“Am I…are we…?” Did he even know what he was asking?

It was Tripp’s mouth that moved, but it was Quest’s voice he heard loud and clear. It said, “Time to come back, Riv. Time for you to meet my spider.”

And Riv thought, I thought I already had.

- - -

There's a lot in a name...(or in this case, every name). Just saying. ;)

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