Bran lives for a long time, more than he deserves he should have, he knows that. Everyone knows that, and the world—the world who abandoned him and played with his mind, twisting his consciousness around its little fingers through thin strings and silk layers that blinded him from reality, flashing beautiful pink flowers and angry dancing chickens instead of red-skinned demon with its heart of filth and snakes, in a literal sense of way—agrees with him for once.

It does not complain or get in his way when he starts picking up flowers and tearing them apart with his hands; deft fingers trailing thin lines across the soft petals, long broken nails scratch and dig and press into the small green leaves below its crown. His cheeks are stained with mud and dry blood and tears of fear and confusion and misery. His brain, sealed and slightly broken and painted red with dark secrets and knowledge that no one has ever known but him, cannot process the language his tongue used to speak with and as such, he is mute.

He screams, sometimes. Especially on most nights when the moon is full and all he can see is the tall red-skinned demon, facing the green wet grass with pained expression on his that turns into one of mild amusement and pure pleasure when his foot touches the ground and the earth starts dying. He sees white sharp teeth and thick crimson tongue, flicking at the bloody twisted lips as the corner of its lips curves upward into a sinister smirk, an image that has been carved permanently into his mind, enough to make his heart stops working and his stomach flips and knots until the entire content of his intestines jump up to his throat and he vomits for more hours than not.

The blue sparks that shoot from the tip of his fingers distract him from the nightmares. He does not sleep even when his eyes are red and surrounded with black bags and his skin turns so pale he cannot make out the difference between him (alive, well) and the man he keeps poking with his knife on the road (dead, but he pretends). The man does not draw red blood as much as he does even as little Bran pierces his skin slowly; the layers come out one by one, from the thin porcelain-like layer to the fragile-looking blue veins and crimson arteries and thick red muscles and pale silver tissues. Bran scratches at the bones with his nails, frustrated when it refuses to come off like the rest of the layers. He abandons the man and gives him black roses (he doesn't remember how he did it, but the red roses were too bright for his liking and his fingers moved and they weren't as bright anymore).

One night, his eyes snap open on their own and he sees a girl, with her beautiful red hair, bright orange streaks between scarlet locks, like the colour of the sky when the sun sets or fire that burns clear and bright through the darkest of night. Her eyes are bright as he remembers they are, two sparks of fire in the middle of topaz, shining in warmth and comfort and love as she looks at him, that honest ever-so-beautiful smile curls around her pale-pink lips. Bran wants to touch her, trail his fingers over her soft milk-skin, plant his lips on the smooth surface of her cheeks and watch as they turn bright shade of red, flick his tongue at the red thin scar at the nape of her neck, and thrown the dark worn-out materials of her coat, draped over her shoulders in a similar style before she—

before she gave him the last remaining of her magic to fix the twisted strings inside his brain and forced him to leave her inside the cave, scarred and wounded and dying and possibly scared for her life—

And he sees fire and blood, hears her scream and the beautiful smile dissolves into a horrified expression of pure unadulterated horror, something that even the most-intelligent gentlemen of his time, with all their passions for words and explicit descriptions of fear and death, cannot describe. He sees the half-dog and half-everything else demon grins its sadistic grin at him as it leans down and kisses and sinks its teeth into the flesh of her thin legs, the conjunction between her shoulder and her neck, and he sees the human-like demon with its sad face and playful smirk of mischief and more demons are coming and it's dark but he can see their grins their teeth and that she's crying and he's shouting her name and—

Bran wakes up screaming, his body bathed in hot sticky sweat, hands clench painfully tight against his chest, her name slips out of its tongue like a prayer as he gasps for air.

The nightmare never stops. He knows that too.