“I’m Not Sleeping” by Counting Crows from Recovering the Satellites
“You’re free to leave whenever you want,” she whispered, her voice a smoke curl of implied threat. She smiled widely, letting Chazz see the shiny pointed canines, as if he had forgotten what she was.
He pushed backwards away from her until his back hit the natural stone wall, its protrusions biting into his back. He slid up with a grimace, feeling for the door, keeping his eyes focused on her.
He did not believe her offer of freedom, not for a moment. But what other choice did he have but to try?
The door gave way with little effort. Cold, wet air blew past him, filling his lungs. Winter? How long had he been here? How could it be winter already?
Then, finally, Chazz wheeled away from her and ran down the hall. Reckless, awkward, stumbling in panicked excitement. He scrambled forward, towards a hazy light he assumed was freedom. Or rather, if the freedom was real, it would be there.
“Chazz,” she called after him, calm and measured, the familiar playful lilt of her voice forcing his attention, “I said you’re free to leave, but you don’t have to, you know. You can stay too. Stay with me. I think you’d like that, Chazz, wouldn’t you?”
She was wrong. A little. A lot. Sort of. Chazz struggled with his own thoughts of it, finding it hard to make a final call.
For…however long it had been, she had fed on him, toyed with him, tempted him, and humiliated him. But she had also nourished him, nurtured him, shown him and made him feel things he would never have had the concept of if not for her.
But he knew who she was, what she was. He knew what it meant to stay, where it would end. It scared him, but not enough, not as it should. And somehow that was enough to propel him. The fact that he no longer trusted his own mind enough to protect him told him how bad things had become.
So he ran, everything on fire, everything cramping and aching and pulling painfully. He ran as he spit and coughed and wheezed. He ran until he hit the stairs and then he ran up them into the light, the hazy light that still almost overwhelmed.
He yelped in triumph, a sound so unlike any he had made before it shocked him for a moment. He rocked off his center of gravity and tumbled against a tree for support. He looked upward, through the leaves, spotting the rising sun. He was safe now, in the light. Safe at last.
Somewhere, nearby, below the earth, at the bottom of the stairs, she giggled. Clear as a bell. Without hesitation. He felt sick. Feverish. His insides going liquid and tightening rock hard all at once.
She whispered after him as he careened away, branches scraping his face, his arms, his hands, “Be seeing you Charles. Be seeing you real soon."