But I am too busy having a nervous breakdown to revise right now, so that'll have to wait until next week or something. Right now I'm just going to keep posting because I find it kind of cathartic.
Disturbing! Please remember the warnings.
by Josselin Kohl
So there can be no more delusions. The next morning, after double-checking that everything remotely dangerous is locked up and assuring that Justin’s in a relatively good mood sketching alien spaceships, Brian makes some phone calls.
He meets Jennifer Taylor at a cute café that is way too chipper for his purposes. She can tell right off that something is wrong. “You look horrible,” she exclaims, then apologizes. “Sorry. But are you all right?”
Brian clears his throat and gives a little nod. “Yeah, I’m all right.”
“Why did you need me to meet you here right away?” Jennifer asks. “Is something wrong with Justin?” Probably Brian’s complete lack of a response to that question is enough of an answer to that question. “Where is he?” She asks.
“He’s back at the loft,” Brian says, aware that his voice is rough and might crack at any moment. “He’s…” Brian starts, then fades off, closing his eyes and wondering if there’s any right way to put this. “He’s sick.”
“What’s wrong with him? Does he need to see a doctor?” Jennifer asks, all earnest mother-y and ready to go solve all her son’s problems.
“He’s insane,” Brian says finally, and that was perhaps a little too blunt, because Jennifer doesn’t even believe him, she’s giving a tentative little laugh and wondering what all this is really about.
Brian rubs his eyebrows, frowning, and stares at the wall wondering how to explain and hoping that Justin’s not trying to eviscerate himself with a fork right now back at the loft. Maybe he should have locked those up, too.
“You’re serious,” Jennifer says finally. Brian nods. “What do you mean?” She says.
“He thinks there are aliens after him,” Brian says, crumpling a napkin in his fist.
Jennifer gives this little surprised laugh, looking blindly around the café herself, as though in one of the elaborately named coffee drinks there might be an escape from the horrible seriousness of Brian’s expression.
“I’ve arranged for a psychiatrist to come over to the loft to see Justin in an hour,” Brian says. “Maybe you’d like to go see him now?” He suggests. There’s no way to explain.
Jennifer nods helplessly, and he drives the two of them back to his place. They ride in the car and the elevator in silence, and as he gets his keys out of his pocket and unlocks the door, Brian wonders vaguely what Jennifer is thinking.
He slides the loft door open, and hears Jennifer gasp as she takes it all in—the compulsive sketches of fluttering paper tacked up on every available surface, the alien mural Justin had begun one day on the ceiling, the wreckage of the dishwasher that Brian’s not sure he can ever explain, and in the wood floor of the kitchen, nicks in the finish from their scuffle last night with the knife. Jennifer can’t see that level of detail, but it’s all painted out for Brian, and he can’t not see it.
Justin wanders over, wearing his colander and his face rough with beard stubble since Brian didn’t want to bother with trying to shave him this morning after locking his own razor back in the cabinet. “Mom,” Justin says, narrowing his eyes in suspicion. He rounds on Brian. “Why did you bring her here? It isn’t safe! They might get her.”
“I didn’t have a choice, Justin,” Brian says softly.
“You at least need a helmet,” Justin tells his mother. “That will help protect you.” He goes off to the kitchen and returns with two saucepans, which he hands to Brian and his mother. Jennifer watches Brian take the saucepan and wordlessly put it on his head.
And she weeps.
* * *
Jennifer leaves, eventually, in tears again. The psychiatrists leave, with arrangements to come back the next morning with an ambulance and restraining devices—restraining devices, fuck!—and Brian’s left alone with Justin in the loft for the last time. Justin wanders off to bed fairly early, but Brian is still awake, and he wants so badly to have a drink, but he can’t, because he can’t afford the possibility of screwing this up.
By eleven, everything is prepared. He has the gun loaded and sitting on the counter, next to the note, which says simply, “I’m sorry, Jennifer,” and he hopes, for her sake, that it’s the psychiatrists that come in first the next morning.
Pillow in hand, Brian goes to stand by the side of the bed, looking down at Justin sleeping. He’s tempted to take the colander off of Justin’s head—it usually falls off during the night anyway—so that he could stroke that blond hair one last time, but he refuses to let himself. But he can’t help but study Justin’s features, holding his hand lightly beneath Justin’s nose for a minute, feeling the soft breaths of air moving, watching the minute movements of Justin’s chest, up and down in the night.
He realizes that the colander is actually probably going to get in the way, so he does take it off after all, setting it gently on the bed next to Justin. Justin’s hair is long now—he’s been too distracted for anything as banal as having his hair trimmed, so the longest bits of it brush his shoulders. It’s mussed, from the colander, and Brian wants to smooth it out, but won’t let himself. He can do that—after. Yes. Then he can straighten Justin’s hair and everything, so he’ll look exactly like the angel that he is. Justin will be forever beautiful, which is how it should be. Brian doesn’t imagine that he himself will look like much after the back of his head is blown off, but that’s probably appropriate.
He holds the pillow tight to his chest, wrapping his arms around it and shaking slightly, burying his face in it for a moment to release a noiseless sob. But eventually he pulls his head up again, just in time to see Justin stirring in the bed.
Justin wakes up, blinking his eyes open. When he sees Brian, he smiles the most perfect smile, sleepy and content. “Brian,” he says dreamily. “Brian, I’m so happy you’re wearing your helmet. I don’t want the aliens to get you,” Justin confides.
Brian nods, shortly, and can’t force himself to smile back at Justin. “Go back to sleep,” he tells Justin, who obeys, stretching a little bit and then dropping back to sleep with a little sigh.
END PART TWO
(There is a part three, just so you know. So there's more yet to come, of course.)