A/N: The book "Candor" is by Pam Bachorz...Just thinking of the way that book ended...-shakes head- I couldn't let it go at that. I read it awhile ago, and immediately began fantasizing a "better" ending - better in that I wouldn't want to beat my head against the wall in frustration for Oscar at the unfairness, because I can't deny that the ending was rather brilliant and gripping - and this idea was born. Take it with a grain of salt, maybe.

Leaving Messages

Gentle music drifted smoothly from the speakers hidden somewhere in his room, and Oscar sat back, smiling to himself. He was doing an English assignment, and he was eager to get it done and do it well to make his father proud.

That's what students should strive for, after all.

The digital clock at his computer desk blinked that it was nearly time for him to turn in; his grin turned quickly to a frown. Sleep was important, but so was schoolwork. And he so wanted to finish the paper. He'd been sick recently, and in the hospital; he'd fallen far behind. Despite this, his father said it was important not to push himself too far, because his health wasn't something he should take lightly.

Slowly, he leaned forward and continued writing, squinting against a sudden headache that seemed to follow his decision to stay up later than he was supposed to. Nevertheless, it seemed to subside after a few minutes, and he relaxed gratefully.

In doing so, he managed to knock his pencil case over the edge of the desk; lunging out reflexively, he managed to catch it before it could hit the floor (the resulting noise probably would've been enough to alert his father), but several pens fell anyway and scattered across the hardwood floor and a few rolled under his bed.

He allowed himself a frustrated sigh before he set to gathering them together. They couldn't simply be left there.

Rooms needed to be kept clean.

It was as he was squirming under his bed, snatching up the last loose pen, that he noticed it; taped to the underside of the boxsprings was a CD in a plain white paper case. It was tucked out of sight; even if one looked for it specifically, they'd have to be at a certain angle to find it. Oscar blinked, curiousity almost immediately tugging him into action, and reached out to tear it carefully down.

He wriggled out and sat up, eyes fixated on his discovery. In the light of his desklamp, he could see the words scribbled in his handwriting on the front of the CD:

Just in case.

He was intrigued, fingers brushing across the clear plastic, and he was crossing the room to his computer before he'd made any conscious decision to move. The CD tray slid in, and a new window popped up accordingly, a music player that immediately started the first track. Oscar made sure to turn off the other music in his room; it was easy to tug on the wires tucked out of site near the baseboards nearest the window just enough to cut off the sound without breaking them, though doing so resulted in a slight pressure against his temples, like the start of a migraine.

Whatever he was expecting, staring tensely at the screen, it wasn't the soothing music very much like what already whispered through the community. He sat for a moment, a slight frown crossing his face. He was disappointed, despite having no real reason to be.

It was the same music he heard every day; but that didn't explain what it was doing hidden under his bed, carefully...

He'd hidden it; it was the only explanation he could come up with, since it was his room and his handwriting. But he couldn't remember...

He ended up turning off the lamp and going to bed, resigned to unfinished schoolwork tomorrow; he'd given up trying to solve the mystery he'd been faced with and his head hurt.

He left the computer on and the music playing, in no mood to realign the wires to the hidden speakers.

As he slept, he was unaware of the battle going on in his head, as a new onslaught of messages swept through his mind, doing battle against the messages already lodged there.

He dreamt of sidewalk chalk and M&Ms.



A/N: Aaaand there you have it. :3