Something had deprived him of his sight, he knew that much. Or maybe it was just dark where he was trapped. Whatever the case, he knew something extraordinary had happened to him and for once it wasn't just because he was stoned or overworked. HE had finally snapped.
HE had always been controlling and pushy, always wanted to know where he was going and who with. Always wanting to bug him while he studied and hated his interest in video games. Maybe it really was all his fault. Maybe he had pushed HIM too far. He never thought the idiot would actually go and do it though. Who knew that a narcissist's need for attention could drive him to do something so reckless? It was the kind of thing reserved for horror movies and video games, something no-one in their right mind would ever believe possible in reality. But then, HE wasn't in his right mind, was he?
"All your fault," came a sneering, familiar voice every now and then. Not content with simply hurting him physically, depriving him of his sight and torturing him emotionally had apparently become one of Ben's favourite past-times over the last few months. Although, of course, he had to remember that it was BEN now, in all-caps. That was how he had signed his name before… before… "You made me."
He wasn't sure if those were tears or drips of blood he felt on his face, or it could have been spit, knowing BEN's tendency towards childishness. The student tried to speak, and his voice cracked like that of a man who had lived without water for weeks.
"BEN," he started, trying to look, to see anything, but he saw nothing, not even a change in the light. "BEN, please…"
It almost felt as though the other hesitated, but then maybe he was simply toying with him again. It was so difficult now to tell what was genuine.
"Spare me, Jad," the voice came bitterly, using the affectionate nickname that had spawned his Internet username. He couldn't even remember how it had come about, really. All he remembered was that it had meant something special before. Now it seemed to have taken on a much darker meaning. Not that any of that mattered now. "I don't want to hear it." After a short pause, the voice, seemingly satisfied that Jad had shut up, continued to accuse. "Your fault. Your turn."
"They're coming for me," he managed to choke out, thinking back on all of the people who followed his story, who tried so hard to help him before BEN could imprison him. He only half-believed it now, but there was a tiny glimmer of hope, a glimmer he had to hold onto or else he'd never survive… whatever this was. They were coming. They were trying. Dozens of them, hundreds maybe, sitting at their computers, desperately trying to figure everything out. A chuckle could be heard from somewhere close behind him.
"Who is? Those faceless meat bags on the internet? How many times, Jad? They don't care about you!"
There it was again. That notion that, because he couldn't see them face-to-face, they didn't care. That wasn't true. He knew it wasn't true. Wasn't that how they'd met in the first place…? A pain coursed through him then, as though someone had pressed exposed, live wires against his bare flesh, and in spite of himself he cried out. That same chuckle from before sounded again, closer than the last time.
"Stop thinking about that, Jad," demanded BEN, venom in his words. "That's not how we met properly. And besides…" The familiar sharp breath that occurred whenever the Ben he remembered got upset was loud, as though next to his ear. "…I'm not him anymore. I'm better than that. Better than you. Better than all of them. And it's all. Your. Fault."
For days the student had tried to convince himself that BEN was lying; it wasn't his fault that HE was insane, not his fault that HE was so stubborn… but he'd known all that about HIM… and done nothing to help. Maybe it was his fault. Another chuckle in the darkness.
"I knew you'd see it my way," HE sneered, like a child taunting another child who had fallen and scraped their knee. "All. Your. Fault!"
A lump was rising in Jad's throat; he tried to suppress it painfully. "No, you're wrong," he insisted weakly, his words coming out in a low whine. "They care; they're coming for me, they'll stop you, BEN… They care, they're coming for me! They care, they're coming for me!"
Another surge of pain and he stopped chanting, exhausted and weary. He didn't know how BEN was doing that and frankly, he didn't care to find out. If it was the same as what had turned him into… whatever he was now, he could live without knowing. If he were to live past this at all.
"So naïve. You always were a bit slow, weren't you, Jad? Even if people did care, do you think I'd let them just come in here and take you? Did it never cross your mind that, if people were paying attention to the site and the YouTube channel… did it never occur that I was the one who had control?"
A snort of laughter seemed to echo. Jad felt something cold run through his hair, and though he felt frightened by it, he felt like he knew that touch, something intimate from long ago… He was rewarded for this thought again with pain, and this time he could almost taste the entity's anger.
"I always had control, Jad," BEN snarled as the student writhed helplessly where he lay. "I never lost control. And now I control everything. And it's all. Your. Fault!"
Suddenly, there was silence. No presence could be felt; BEN was done for the day. Or maybe he was really still there, playing with him again. Jad wasn't sure which was worse. He wasn't even sure if he should try… just try to sleep… He was almost certain this time that he was shedding tears rather than bleeding. Ben drowned… all his fault…