Steven showed up at my doorstep around 3. He had brown hair, brown eyes, and he seemed to have the absolute friendliest disposition of anyone I've ever met. He had this certain smile and glint in his eyes, and as I stepped onto the front stoop to meet and greet with him, he pulled me into an embrace. At first, I was alarmed at the sudden physical contact. But it all melted away as soon as he said:
"You're not alone anymore. You're not going crazy. And you're not going to lose yourself in this. I promise."
I believed him, and I reciprocated the hug. It felt like everything was going to be alright.
He let go of me and he nodded towards his car. Just as we jumped in, my mother comes to the front door. She asks me who this boy was and where I was going. I ignored her, and told Steven to go. Steven seemed worried and hesitant, but he listened. He sped off with my mom screaming after us.
"Is that... alright? What we just did?? Uh..."
I rolled my eyes and looked out the window.
"Yeah, don't worry about it dude. Anyways, so you know about the... the thing inside me?"
"Yeah, more or less."
"How do you know about it?"
"Because I have the same thing inside of me, too."
I looked over at him, and he looked back at me. He smiled.
"I told you you weren't alone."
"I... you. You really do??"
"Yes. It started about a month ago."
"Does it call itself Grey to you too?"
He shook his head.
"No, it has a different name. But, it did say something about a Dying Man thing too."
Oh yeah, he read this blog.
"So you know about the Dying Man and what Grey's been saying."
"Kinda. I only kindasorta skimmed your blog to be honest. I recognized what was happening immediately with the nightmares; they happened to me too. The River..."
Did he see anything about the Fear Mythos?
"So how are you handling the nightmares?"
"I don't really have those anymore."
I couldn't believe him. How did he escape it-
"Open the glove compartment."
I opened the glove compartment. It is filled crumpled notepad paper and bottles of pills. I take one out. The prescription information is blank. It only said "Madelyn" on the front of it.
"What are these?"
"They're what keep the ghosts away."
He smiled. We're stopped at a stoplight. He took a bottle and looked at it.
"This is what keeps it buried, Owen. I don't have the nightmares anymore."
His hand was clenched around the bottle.
"Actually, the nightmares were nothing compared to what came afterwards. My demons... they bled into my reality. My life became a living dream. And I couldn't escape."
He threw the bottle back into the compartment and closed it.
"But those pills saved me. And they'll save you too."
The light turned green and ten minutes later we were at Steven's house. His parents weren't home, but it was clear that his life is entirely different than mine. We went into his room. He shut the door and it' was as if we were in our own little world from then on.
"So here we are. Here, have a seat on my bed."
He shoved a few papers and a textbook off and I sat down reluctantly. He sat down at his computer desk on a broken spinny chair.
"You want the pills, right? You want my help?"
"Yeah, I guess. I don't know.... umm... I've never taken meds before..."
"Don't worry. They aren't... there aren't any huge drawbacks to them. The important thing is, they put an immediate stop to the nightmares."
I nodded in agreement. Oh happy day. The moment the nightmares stopped I'd leap in joy.
"Question though... has Grey talked to you yet? In the nightmares?"
"....Huh? Yeah, of course. There's never been a moment he hasn't interacted with me, um..."
His eyes widened a bit in shock.
"Whaa...? Are you sure?"
"That's uh, ...strange. Mine, and others, only addressed us directly near the end. That's a bit worrying, to be honest."
I started shivering. Another thing wrong with me, huh?
"Don't worry too much about it. We'll figure that out later, dude."
In the back of my head, I could feel Grey scratching at reality. I looked out Steven's window.
"...Is he bothering you right now?'
"He's... he's always bothering me. It feels like my mind has become a... a fucking dam."
My voice cracked noticeably.
"I know exactly what you mean. Sincerely."
He got up and sat down next to me. He patted my shoulder.
"I'm going to get you some pills... I have to make a call for them though. You can't have mine. Prescription has to be made special by a friend of mine. I'll be right back."
He goes, and I'm left alone in the room. Grey kept screaming in the background of my universe. The screaming continues to get louder and louder until I'm consumed by it.
Steven shook me by the shoulder.
"Hey, you okay? You seem a bit dazed..."
"Yeah. Did you make the call yet?"
"...Yes. The old man wants to meet you first, before he adjusts the pills for you."
"I'll do it, alright. When's he get here?"
It's around 7 when the old man arrives at the parking lot. He gets out of his car and he approaches us. He's tall and menacing. He's between "middle aged" and "old." Kind of looked like a poor man's Liam Neeson. His eyes were a piercing gray, unlike any eye color I've ever seen.
"Steven, good evening."
Damn, he even sounded a bit like Liam.
Steven nodded and made a little wave at the old man.
"So I suppose this is the boy?"
He looked at me and seemed to study me.
"Yes, this is him."
The old man reached out with his hand.
"What's your name?"
"O-Owen. It's Owen."
I shook his hand. He had a firm grip.
"I understand you need my help."
"Then I will help you."
I felt relief sweep over me.
"Don't mention it. I'm Norman. From now on, I will help you fight off your demons."
Tears came to my eyes. I wiped them away. I'm not alone anymore, I thought to myself. People were helping.
But then it all came crashing down.
"Unfortunately, I cannot give you reprieve at the moment. I have to formulate a prescription for you. It'll take at least three days."
"...Three days? But..."
"You have to hold on. I'm sorry. I'll keep you updated through Steven."
And I collapsed to my knees.
Steven tried to console me.
I don't remember much afterwards. I just remember two things.
Getting home, and my mother screaming in my face.
Grey laughed throughout it all.