Chapter Four
Jasper POV
Song- "Worlds on Fire" by The Butterfly Effect
P.S. This might be a bit, um, emo. Well, each chapter gets the tone of the person, and Jasper is slightly sad, tortured. But don't worry, this is not an angsty story, it's just Jasper, and who knows, maybe he'll meet someone who makes him happier, it could happen :D And anonymous reviews, love you. But I really wish I could reply, so make an account! Haha :)
P.P.S. Not mine, it's Steph's.

Oh, the sky. The colors, the mingling of the orange fire and dark, cold empty blue, the dark edge of violet, the emotionless black. It was the most beautiful, most tragic, least important thing Jasper had ever seen. The longer he watched it, the emptier it became, losing its life, slowly fading away. He could stare forever and it would never become light again, not for his eyes. It would shiver and hide, stealing the light and the colors, soon the words and the music and the smell of the desert dust and his mother's annual chocolate pumpkin cookies. The night could take away the meaning, take away the emotions, take away every good part of life. But it could also, finally, take away the pain.

"Jasper?" His mother called timidly from downstairs. He made no move from his window, watching the sun set. He wondered how many people saw this as pretty.

He heard the creak of the stairs as she walked back down, to the kitchen where they played the charade of a happy family, only missing one part, just one teeny tiny part. There was the mother, the son, the happy, golden collared mutt. Only missing one part, the smallest part imaginable, hardly noticeable, and hardly mentionable.

The sky was leeching away the colors of the desert outside his window. The red and yellow of the flowers, the brown, the blue, the dusty green. All fading to hardly noticeable, hardly mentionable, grey. As grey as ash, as a mourning dove.

The scars were healing, the car was fixed, the headstone weathered, but where it mattered, where you could really see it, it was as fresh and new as if it was yesterday. The squeal of the tires, the flash of the headlights, it happened every night, it happened every day, it happened every time he closed his eyes. The splinter of glass, the screams, the hollow feeling, the nausea, the disbelief. It was never ending, it was always, and it was nearly inescapable.

He absently rubbed at the scar down his left arm, the one that had almost killed him, that should have killed him. He could hear the sound of microwave popcorn, the unsteady popping, the chaos.

The sky was fading, so quickly this time, so quickly, as if it was tired of its audience, as if it was giving up, wanting to be over, done with. He pressed one hand against the cold glass, holding onto the last minutes of the light. He wondered how many people saw this as romantic. It was death, he wanted to scream at them. It was death's cold breath, his last wintery laugh, taunting, teasing, flaunting. The gory passion, the struggle of light and dark, the chaotic, incomplete dance, climaxing with the sudden realization that it was over, that the darkness had won, that all life had be extinguished.

He wondered how many people were fucking in the dark, the fading light filling them with the belief that their intentions were pure, that their touch was real, that the hot breath and swollen lips were symbols of love, groaning and moving with an animalistic need to reach their own satisfaction, whispering words under the red, aching sky, thinking of forever and beyond, and what they should say, how they should say it, thinking of selfish love when the world was dying, falling to destruction all around them. The fucking ignoramuses. Can't they see that there is no tomorrow, that there is no such thing as yesterday, that the past and future is one big hoax, just a conspiracy, nothing real, nothing measurable. It's all the same day, the same stupid, fucking day.

He broke away from the window, the sky darkened, lost and dead.

He walked around his room, the empty ache familiar as he paced his small bedroom, the same as when he was fifteen, ten, and two. His long legs were cramped, they didn't fit as when he was younger and content. He was old, older than the world itself, older than his mother, older than me, older than you. He was taller than the roof, he could walk stand up at touch the sky, the part where everyone looks, all the children try to jump to, the gravity and their parents concerns weighing them down, only rising a few inches, while looking desperately at the edge of the sky, just above the perfect clouds, little short fingers, sticky with juice, reaching out, to grasp a corner of the ribbon of blue.

The door was closed, so he opened it, and walked into the bathroom next door, which was nearly as empty as his bedroom, lacking in personal items other than a red transparent plastic toothbrush and a plaid robe to stand out from the beige. Jasper saw himself in the mirror for the first time in a while. He was shocked. The face that stared out at him from the dark had the same impossibly light blue eyes that his father had shared with him, the same summery blond hair. But there was a shadow across his face, bruises under his eyes, cheekbones prominent, the bone white scar running across his cheek scratched at and bleeding. His wide, dark lips were cracked, and his hair much longer than he had thought, tangled, with strands of what once had been silky hair reaching chin length, blending it with golden fuzz darkening his jaw.

He pulled absently at the matted hair, wondering when he had last gotten his hair cut. He couldn't remember. He couldn't think of a single time when he had ever gotten a haircut, even though it must have happened, at least once in his life. He sighed, and broke away from his ghostly reflection, to walk back across the small landing that constituted the fourth floor in their ridiculously large house. It was the smallest part of the house, with only three rooms, and a strip of thick champagne carpet connecting them. It was the only part of the house where Jasper felt less pretentious.

But his feet took him away from his sanctuary, and down the weaving staircase, through the elaborate third floor and down to the second, the first floor underground, with only a stainless steel kitchen and a few bedrooms for the help.

His mother was in the family room, which was both hers and Jasper's favourite room in the house, with a large, but average, television, and a red sectional couch, the rest of the room filled with the tacky decorations that Jasper's grandmother would never have allowed in the rest of their gold and beige house.

When she saw him standing in the doorway, Jasper's mother had to fight back a grin. "Oh, honey," She said, her words fading away. He came, and sat down awkwardly on the furthest edge of the couch, his legs stretched out, too long.

In silence they both looked up to the screen, a hospital drama playing. Jasper watched, restless, the blood and the sterilized white making him feel sick, feverish, too warm. There was glass in his head, and one big slice of glass protruding from the victims chest as he made soft gurgling noises, trying to breath as they rushed him through the hallways, blood staining their hands, the blankets, the air itself. He could smell it, mingled in with the buttery popcorn his mother was eating from a wooden bowl. He could smell the metallic scent of the blood, taste it in the back of his throat, mixed with the salt of tears, drowning, trapped.

He stood up, his legs shaking. He tried to leave the room, but the sound of the man's breathing, catching in his throat, blood filling up his lungs, they've been punctured, not just one, but two, they're leaking the air he needs to breath, filling up with blood, scarlet and deadly. He's going to die, there's nothing more we can do, it's too late, it's the end, it's over, he's gone, time of death, 3:43pm, just after school, just driving his son home, just driving him from school, he's dead, say goodbye, you're lucky to have survived, you could have died, we patched you up, his injuries were worse, there was nothing we could do, just wait and watch as his lungs filled up with fucking blood, watching him drown in his own fucking blood in front of his own fucking son, his own fucking fourteen year old son, the light of his life, the reason he was there, he's dead, the reason he's dead, gone, goodbye. Say goodbye to your dad.

Jasper knocked over a table, a table lamp crashing down, the splinter of glass, it cut him, he was bleeding on the carpet, and everyone knows that blood stains never fade away, blood stains never go away, hard to wash out, harder to forget.

His mother gasped, raising up, grabbing a sweater, wrapping it around his hand, the blood soaking through, the white cotton, so like the sheets on the television, stained with burgundy, scarlet, crimson, red, blood.

The man was dying, the man was dead, they watched as he slipped away, the machines telling them that his heart had stopped, there were no machines for his dad, no machines, just guessing, they just guessed he was dead, but he couldn't be dead, he was pale, smeared in blood, his chest cut open, his clothes ripped, he wasn't bleeding anymore.

Jasper grimaced, the pain from his arm better than the pain in his heart, he took the destroyed sweater from his mother, wrapping it around the cuts, deeper than one would think, but not too deep, not deep enough to die, not even close, he knew those kind of cuts, he knew just how deep you could go. He squeezed his arm, digging his fingers into the shallow cut, his knuckles white.

"Stop!" His mom shrieked, worried, overreacting, what's a little pain, what harm can it do? He loosened his grip, blood coming out again, faster, but it's just a little blood, you should see how much blood a person can lose before it's dangerous, you should see how much blood a person can lose, how much can drain out freely, without any effort at all.

He tried to turn to his mom to tell her that it's alright, that he's alright, but she's already got a phone in her hand, she's already dialled, she's calling them, the people that helped him kill his dad.

"No, no no. I'm fine, I'm totally fine." Jasper tried to say, smiling, his dry lips cracking, bleeding. His eyes were blurry. "I'm fine, Mom."

But she just looked frightened, giving them their address, telling them their name, explaining that they were important, and if they knew what was good for them, they'd come right away.

Jasper felt woozy, and very small. His mother was towering over him, and he couldn't figure out why. Everything was bigger, everything looking down at him, waiting for him to die, but he wasn't going to die. He laughed bitterly, everything swimming in and out of focus, getting lighter and darker. He wasn't bleeding nearly enough. He was sitting on the ground, but he couldn't remember sitting down. He couldn't figure out how he could sit on the ground, he was so light, so empty that he floated, he never sat like this, heavy, sinking into the floor, wanting to go deeper, to fall right down to the centre of the earth, right down where it would burn him up, turn him to ashes, turn him to dust.

His mom watched him, her eyes scared, her carefully picked out clothes seeming out of place, on this tiny, sad eyed, scared woman, running her hands through her hair, hiding tears, watching, watching him, wondering, they all wonder.

This is so dumb, he wasn't going to die. All this scared faces, and pacing, he was fine, he needed what, five stitches, maybe more, but not much, he'd be fine, it would just be another scar, another secret. This was all so fucking dumb.

The ambulance was there, it was taking him away, they had to get two people to carry him, he was surprised it wasn't more, he was so heavy, he was so small and heavy and tired, so tired. They put him on a gurney, wheeled him out under the cover of the sky, across the stones, the path that he always thought led towards the house, but now he understood, now he saw, it led away from his house, it was an exit, not an entrance.

They tried to make him breathe from a plastic thing, but he was fine, he wasn't going to die. Everyone overreacting, had none of them ever seen someone die before, had none of them ever seen the amount of torture a person can go through before dying, the blood, every drop life and death, the biggest questions wrapped into one single particle, and nothing to answer it.

The world went away slowly, and painfully, pulling itself from his skin, his hair, his veins and muscles.

When he woke up, there was considerably less pain. Which seemed like a good thing at first, but when his eyes opened, to see the white walls and the IV drip and the machines all in a line, watching him, contemplating him, he wished it was back.

His mother was there, her dark blond hair falling in front of her glass green eyes, with little tiny lines around them, as they watched him, carefully. The pain was evident on her face, she didn't like it here either, she wanted to leave as much as he did.

He opened his mouth to apologize, to tell her that it wasn't her fault, that he was fine, that they'd be fine. He never noticed the pain on her face before, but now he saw it, he saw his own face reflected in hers.

The door opened, and a woman came through, with silver hair twisted up in tight bun, her face smooth, without any of the wrinkles one would expect, smooth and youthful, with a hint of steel in her eyes.

"Oh good, he's awake." She said, floating through the room ethereally. taking her place in an arm chair beside his mother.

"Marianne," His mother said, reaching out towards the woman before taking her hand back. "You didn't have to come, he's fine, we're fine."

"Nonsense, when I heard that my grandson was in the hospital, I had no choice, I had to be here, otherwise what would the others think?"

Ah, those omnipresent others, the ones that Jasper's grandmother constantly worried about, what would the others think, would they judge?

"Now, seeing as there is a story out there that Jasper did this to himself on purpose," she said, gesturing to the white gauze covering the stitches holding his wrist together, "we're going to have to do something, to keep him out of the public eye, I mean, we can't have people talking about a mentally disturbed relative of mine, it would destroy the family reputation."

Jasper lay back down on his white bed, not wanting to listen anymore. Mentally disturbed. I'm fine, I'm totally fine. What is wrong with her, with her facelifts and personal trainers, she's sixty seven fucking years old, she should know how to act her age. If only she liked baking and gardening, and actually knew what love meant. She's the one who's mentally disturbed, she's fucking insane, especially if she expects him to hide in his bedroom for three months until it all blows over, until the stitches are gone and the scar just a line.

"I was thinking of maybe getting Jasper a therapist, you know, someone he could talk to." His mother said, unsure, timid.

"A therapist? What would he even talk about?" Marianne said with a short bark of a laugh.

His mother just stared at her for a moment, "His father."

"His father? Why would he even need to talk about him, it was ages ago, it's been almost three years, no one cares about him anymore, they've all forgotten."

Jasper stared at the ceiling. It was cracked, broken.

"I haven't forgotten." His mother said, softly, echoing his thoughts.

"That's not what I mean," His grandmother said with a wave of her hand. "I was thinking, that as it's nearing the next school year, he could attend a different school, one where he could recuperate away from the public eye. It would be good for him, and for us."

"You want to send him away?" His mother said, her eyes round, fearful.

"I already have the paperwork done, you don't have to worry your pretty little head about it. It will all be fine, helpful even. He'll come back a new man, you'll see, he just needs to spend time away from the past, so he can focus on the future. It will be a good experience for you both."

It was silence for a moment, and then he heard his mother nod her head.

"Fine, I'm sure you're right Marianne." She said softly, sadly.

Jasper continued to stare at the ceiling, wondering why he wasn't as sad as he thought he would be. He wasn't dumb enough to think this would be a new start, he wasn't naive enough, optimistic enough. Maybe he was really dead, he pondered emotionlessly. Maybe he was dead where it counted, right where it hurts the most. Maybe it's the morphine or maybe he's given up. Maybe he's just confused.

The world slipped away, every unfair, meaningless particle, until it was only black, hot and dark. Maybe he was alive, but he just hadn't realized it yet.