Issue #27: This is How I Disappear

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I didn't get too far from Blackfire when I turned back into my normal form. I staggered to the ground as The Ghost cackled.

"(Y,N)? Oh my god!" I heard Tara say before I looked up and saw her run down the hall and to my side. "What the fuck happened to you? Did she-"

"Yes and no. She didn't physically hit me to make me bleed like this but-"

"T-the Ghost?" She asked. I nodded. "Come on, let me help you." She picked me up and helped me over to a bathroom that wasn't too far from where we were. She kicked the door open and propped me up next to the sink. She grabbed a bunch of paper towels and turned on the sink, running cold water. "I don't get it. He's a figment of your imagination, right? How is he able to make you bleed and almost pass out?"

"I've had a working theory. It's possible there's another factor to the fear gas where if certain chemicals are activated in my brain mixed with the gas that's now apart of my chemical makeup, it causes me to suffer neurological issues or cellular damage."

"So every time you get angry you're just a ticking time bomb closer to detonating?"

"Well, I'm also hoping for something else but I don't have a scientific explanation for it. Remember my video game analogy? That. Tara, I need you to keep your promise."

"What one? I make a lot of those that I don't keep." Tara joked to try to break the tension. I could tell she was worried.

"The one where if I let him take over, you run." I clarified. "Don't try to save me." She seemed upset by my request.

"Why the fuck shouldn't I?"

"Because you're probably his number one target considering I care about you the most out of anyone in the country. He sees you as a weakness and a betrayal waiting to happen so he'll try to eliminate you. I can't really fake my disinterest in you any longer." I said. A sad frown appeared on her face as she heard me spoke.

"I want you to realize how fucked up that is to tell a girl who's never had a real friend in her life before while also explaining why she shouldn't try to help you. There has to be some sort of way to like keep him at bay or something... it's only now dawning on me we're talking about a made up figment of your imagination like he's a real person."

"I assure you whore, I am very real and very much a threat."

I looked behind her and saw The Ghost standing as an intimidating figure looking down at us. "Threat not, Good Doctor, I am only here for but a warning."

"Wait, your eyes, they turn red when he takes over! That's what's been happening this whole time?" Tara asked. "And A warning? You're a fake voice in his head! What could you do!?" Tara said.

"Wait, you can hear him?" I asked.

"You're changing your voice and speaking as him now."

"Speaking of voices, why do you continue to fake yours around the Good Doctor, Miss Markov?"

"What the fuck are you talking about?"

"I'll leave that for you and the Good Doctor to discuss. I am here to alert the Good Doctor what will happen if he does not hold up his end of the deal."

"What fucking deal?" I asked.

"You promised that you would let me out tonight. Not tomorrow morning. Tonight. It is currently 10:30 pm. In less than 100 minutes I will be freed from the confinement of your mind and hallucinations and I will be let out into the world."

"Aren't you already out now, you fucking asshole?" Tara said with a little less venom and a little more helplessness.

"No, he's not. If he were out, we'd be in a cave. You would look up. You would see boulders. You would be dead." I explained. "When The Crimson Ghost is out in the world it changes for everyone around me, not just me. Up is down, left is right, you're living in a nightmare, and the only way out is death. Which is why I need you to run when I let him out."

"Yes. Run. Make it interesting." The Ghost said. "But as I was saying, you must lose control and let me out, or lose your life."

"What does that mean?"

"He'll kill me at midnight." I stated bluntly. Tara had fear appear on her face. I looked at The Ghost and his mask contorted into a smile. "Stop it."

"I never expected this fear to have grown so exponentially in but a few hours. I can only imagine the fun we can have together if you do not heed the Good Doctor's words. Now I will be off for now." He said before turning into a ball of smoke and dispersing leaving Tara and I again.

"H-he's just a voice. He can't actually-"

"I don't think you understand how schizophrenia works. He's real to me." I said. "Much like those feelings you told me were a one night thing."

"What are you talking about, dumbass?"

"What was with the kiss on the cheek earlier?" I asked her.

"I... it's complicated. It's nothing."

"Are you telling me that or are you convincing yourself?"

"Well I don't exactly have the best experiences with affection okay!? I don't know if this is really what love feels like and I'm not really jumping at the chance of feeling it for a psychopath serial killer who in one of our very first interactions used my fear to manipulate me into doing things for him!" She blurred out. She then covered her mouth "...I didn't mean it when I said I think I'm in love with you."

"Sure you didn't." I said standing up. "Look, I don't know how much time I have left and as much as I'd love to go over your attachment issues among all the other issues God decided to cram in a 5 foot 1 girl we really have to get moving on finding Rose and getting the fuck out of this country. Take care of yourself, K?"

"Stop doing that."

"Doing what?"

"You're phrasing this like it's a goodbye. It's not a goodbye. We're getting out of this shithole country! You'll kill some people and then come back and will be good to go!"

"I don't think that's-"

"It'll have to be how it works! You have to come back! I need you to!" She said. Her eyes were absentmindedly turning yellow and the ground started to shake again. I placed my hands on her shoulders.

"Tara, stop, you're being dramatic." I told her. The ground stopped shaking.

"See!? Did you just see that!? Before when I started to lose my cool someone got hurt before I snapped back to reality but all it took from you was a hand on my shoulder! I'm so unbelievably weak without you with me!"

"You're stronger than you think and stronger than anyone will let you believe. Don't let your anger control you anymore." I told her. She gasped and gave me a strange look.

"H-how did you...?"

"How did I what?" I asked. "You know what? It doesn't matter. Tara we really have to get going. If I promise to come back will you go get Rose."

"...You have to promise."

"Fine, I promise I'll be back for you, doll." I said. It looked like her heart skipped a beat. She simply nodded.

"Okay. I'll got get the bitch. You go find and get the other bitch back in control and take care of Dmitriev." She said. She started to lean towards me before hesitating and stepping away, leaving the bathroom. I looked at myself one more time in the mirror and saw most of the blood was washed away by Tara. I then let out a deep breath and looked at the door.

"Well Komand'r, it's been five minutes. How hard have you fucked us over in that time?"

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