My first Criminal Minds story. I am a HUGE fan though, so I'm no stranger to the fandom. Inspiration from this came from a book I was reading, The Other Side of Dark. (Creatively ironic, I know.) I was going for creepy, suspenseful, and emotionally damaged Reid. I hope I did it justice.

The fate of this story rests in the reviewers hands. I apologize for any spelling or grammar errors I missed. Read and hopefully, enjoy(:

A/N: Just some back round knowledge. This takes place around the time of Season 6. JJ is still there, Reid's mother died, and he took a leave of absence without telling anyone exactly why. He's been gone almost a year. They assume it was because he was mourning his mother. (Which is very, very wrong.)

Disclaimer: I do not own Criminal Minds.


Here. Again. In this nightmare with no escape.

The temperature in the room had plummeted to frigid levels long ago and he shuddered like he was engrossed in the worst case of DTs. However, if he were to check the thermostat in the room it would read a toasty sixty degrees. Of course. Malfunction wasn't the cause of this. Not in the machinery, at least.

Power of the mind had always been something that eternally intrigued him - at the same time, frightened him to the bone. He saw what any genius could do with a little planning and insanity. Life in the BAU had taught him that, if nothing else.

Knowledge is a gift. Only to those who use it wisely. Otherwise, it is a curse.

Reid had feared for his own sanity all throughout his adolescence and adulthood. He knew all too well the statistics of inheriting his mother's paranoid Schizophrenia.

At the thought of his deceased mother, Reid chokes on his own thoughts. He missed her so much it ached. Guilt of not having visited as much, for putting her in a home, for not taking care of her and attempting to have his own life instead...

What life? Is this a life anymore?

Stop, Reid ordered himself. Stop thinking about these things. Just let me be. Let me be. Let me be.

He didn't want to think about the present. Didn't want to remember why he was here, why he wasn't at his apartment curled calmly around a cup of warm coffe on his couch, watching an episode of House, M.D. or History Channel documentary-

You can't forgot. You can't forget those faces. Disfigured and grotesque, like a tortured Tim Burton fiction. You can't forget. You can't deny.

Shut up! he silently begged, repressing every sickening image that sprang to his mind at the instigation of his rationality. I'm normal! I'm just your average, genius IQ, FBI agent. That's all!

Liar, liar, liar

Reid yelped when a large crash resounding from the other side of the room. "No..." he breathed, hands beginning to quake like that of a rumbling drum. "No..."

Shuffling steps patted across the glass-sharded floor from where the vase had been knocked and shattered. Whatever bare feet pranced over top the razor-sharp edges of death felt no pain. Bled no blood.

"Please," Reid gasped, wiring his eyes shut so tight the unshed tears burned against his icy skin. He wanted to scream until his throat was raw. But his teeth chattered so incessantly, all he managed was a slur of whimpers and broken pleads.

Never helped. Never listened to his earnest begs, not even when they turned to terrified wails.

Footsteps. How he loathed the sound of feet touching the floor in a rhythmic pace. Feet that weren't there. Feet that weren't real.

Not real. Not real. Go away. Go away.

If only he hadn't thought of it. If only he had shut down, shut up, anything to not think about it. Even if he was thinking about it now, but it was too late. Too late, too late.

Didn't matter. He knew, but he tried his might to deny, deny, deny what he knew was the terrible, frightening truth.

This isn't real. Can't be real. I'm just crazy! Hearing voices, seeing things.

While that was utterly unnerving it it's own very distressing way, it was a realistic reprieve from this...this hell.

Whispered voices in his ears. Hoarse rumbling echoing off the wall, everywhere, he can hear the despair, the misery, the blood dripping. There's no stop, no end, and it hurts, hurts, hurts.

Drip, drip, drip

"AH!"he yells, because it's all he can do to try and evade the voices surrounding, suffocating him. Suddenly the walls are too close and the cold is too chilling; he can see his ragged breath and feel every hair on his bumby skin raised in stiff shock.

"Please, please no-! Back..I- no! G-g-go-! Leave me alone!" The intruder is all too close, not just in his personal space; such boundry no longer exists. He can feel him in his mind, whispering words, words he doesn't want to hear, doesn't want to see.

Reid can feel his breath right in front of him. Sense the tortured soul just a few inches above him. His eyes are still shut.

I don't wanna look. I don't wanna see. Don't wanna. Don't wanna.

He babbles and stutters in child-like gibberish that sounds as insane as he is. Choking on his own sobs, like a baby, he thinks, disgusted. He hasn't cried this harshly since he was a boy.

Mom, he weeps, beseeching his own traitorous subconscious to conjure up the one ghost he doesn't want to bury.

Mom won't come back. Mom's dead. The dead haunt, not help. I know that better than anyone. Dad. He had never even considered Dad, not even in his greatest moment of fear. He had long since lost the right to be considered a figure of protection and comfort in his son's mind.

For reasons that twisted his quivering heart into unimaginable shapes of pain, he thought of his team. Morgan. No one was tougher than Morgan, and he was always safe on the job with him as back up. Hotch, the big boss, not afraid; never afraid. Prentiss always calm and insightful, JJ a warm, friendly presence. Rossi, the tough and knowledgeable grandfather of the team. Garica there to lift his spirits, and Gideon, the closest thing his mind can relate to a father; always a nice comfort.

This thing, whatever it was - a curse, a demon, I'm a monster - what would they say? He's crazy, needs to be institutionalized. Yes, away. Away was good. Far away where they couldn't see him like this or see the things he sees. They were his team, his family - he wanted nothing more than to walk into work tomorrow - 'Hey guys, I'm back! Temporarily indisposed, but back' - see all their smiles and faces; he didn't care if they told him to shut his annoying rambles or if Morgan called him 'Pretty boy' in good jest. It would be a welcome, welcome escape from this...he yearned for it so bad.

But, he had to push. Push them all away and leave. Let them think he is still grieving for his mother. Let them give him space. Wait until they give up and forget, let himself fade from their lives like bad memories did. All just a bad memory, he wishes. Protect them from this wretched life he lives - live? how is this living? - and all the atrocities he sees.

It's a lonely sacrifice, but one he is willing to take.

Alone? I'm never alone.

Because they are all incredibly good-hearted and caring people. No doubt they would try, like they tried every single case, with such ferocity to save him. It was a vain attempt that he would not allow. It could only hurt them in the end - traumatize them, horrify them, torture them until all they want is...

A whimper escapes his parted lips as he shudders at the expense of his own humanity, when the ghost of fingertips graze the fringe of his hair. Hallucinations can't touch you. Can't hurt you. Right?

Wake up, Pretty boy.

He wants to scream himself bloody and turn, and be the brave man he wishes he were, lash out at the specter and force himself to face reality. To let himself accept, heal, and go back to the way things were.

And ruin the closest people he had to a family?

Reid shakes his head, chokes back the ferocious sobs tearing at the back of his throat. He feels sick, bile rising within him. But he won't let it pass, won't let it out. Won't let anything out. Not the lies, not the truth.

Lock it all up and throw away the key.

All his statistics and intelligence have dwindled down to nursery rhymes. Mock he would receive for reciting anything of the sort brings back fond memories to his mind. It pushes backs horrific visions of bloodstained faces and flesh as white as snow.

Those fond remembrances are what give him the strength not to scream, run, or sink into the depths of his corrupted abyss. His friends, they always managed to give him courage he never thought he possessed.

Reid breaths - in out, in out, in out - and tries to gather that courage. It won't go away; no he, won't go away. Reid doesn't want to personify him, because that just makes him all the more real. He wants to pretend this is still a nightmare and he is just a crazy, voice-hearing, dead-seeing freak. Unfortunately, Reid was never that great at 'pretend.'

Reid remembers his mom, his friends, and a boy far exceeding his peers in grades and IQs but regretfully lonely all the same, and he tries to recall the happiest memory he owns.

He opens his eyes.

So dark, outside and in, and he hates it. Loathes the absence of light, because the dark is where he sees them perfectly with so much clarity it's disturbing. His heart is throbbing in his chest so erratically he's about to burst and his tongue is bleeding - it doesn't hurt, 'cause he's a freak, he's weak, he's afraid - because he's bitten right through it.

Fresh blood, not his own. It's. Crimson running down the whole right side of it's face, a mess of goo and gore with one eyeball hanging from the socket like a crude imitation of a paddle ball. The flesh of his cheek is rotted and torn, chipped yellow teeth and bloodied gums visible; and God, he even smells it - the rotting of flesh, stinging his eyes and he realizes he's crying, harsh pants and gasping like he can't enough air.

And Reid's immensely ashamed to say - he soiled himself. The onslaught of apprehension, fear, hate, sorrow, disgust and grief was too much.

An eye like the devil itself stares at him, unwavering. Never blinking, never leaving his own. He wonders what the dead man sees with his one eye when he stares at him like he can see the very core of his soul. Reid's confused and sickened and most likely very much insane by this point - but he has a ghastly notion that that isn't so far from the truth.

Hair is still present on this animated corpse, brown locks tousled and short atop a dead field of flesh. There is one bald spot though where the hair is ripped out and his skull is literally cracked open, God; there's a mesh of brain protruding from the wound.

Dead hands reach for him. It was an incredibly slow, arduous movement and Reid watches it like a frozen reflection of himself, stiff and aghast. Touch him. With hands that were rotted jokes of what an arm is supposed to be, index finger missing from the left. Raw bone stuck out and for a measely second of time he swears a fly attracts to the mess of dead skin and old blood. No way. Not real. Go away.

His pants are soiled. His dignity all but lost. Courage has fled. His fond memories hide, too scared of the present to peek from under the bed. Sanity is fleeting. No one is listening. No one is here but him, the dark, and the dead.

Reid screams from the depths of himself and pours it out for all the world to see. A world that forgot him. Because he knows no one will hear, no will come.

No one but the whispers.


Good? Bad? Should it be a one shot or should I continue? Review button is at the bottom. Please, don't let it starve.