Carly Carmine X Jack Atlas (in other words, The Reporter and The King of Games)

Chapter Five: A Scream in the Night

I was wakened out of a peaceful night's sleep by a wild scream. It had been a week since Jack arrived and no such thing had occurred earlier. What in the world was going on? I couldn't help but wonder. I scrambled out of bed only to realize I was missing my glasses when I slammed face first into the floor. Moaning in pain and covering my ears to the horribly loud and real screams, I scrambled for my glasses until I found them, scraping my knee and banging my shin in my panicked fumbling. I stood quickly, righting my wobbling some with a bit of time. Stumbling dazedly out of my bedroom in my pink pjs, the ones printed with toy cameras, my eyes widened as a sight that I pray I never have to see again met my eyes. It scared me right down to my core.

Jack was thrashing, howling and snarling at imaginary assailants. The scary thing was his eyes were OPEN and he was standing up with the bed sheets twisted around his nearly bare body. But they weren't the eyes I knew.

Widened by fear and twisted by hate, these amethyst eyes were utterly alien to me. Smoke and fear scent saturated the whole room as Jack clawed at his imaginary attacker. Fires of all sizes were starting all around the room was what clicked a moment later. I started to panic ever so slightly and ran for the sink to get water. Anything to douse what I was seeing. My hands shook as I dropped the bowl in the sink. Terror filled memories flashed in front of my eyes with the speed of a camera flash. A burning house, a burning room, full to the brim with glittering voracious flames devouring everything in sight. A screaming child, begging her father to go back and save her mother. A baby's terrified wails as a fire claimed it. The faces illuminated by firelight, dripping tears for loved ones departed. The screams of the trapped as they perished in the greedy flames filled my ears. What ripped me out of the horrifying memories of "stories" I had covered was a wild scream from Jack. A sound I had never thought to hear from Jack, it was high and keening.

Inhuman.

I remembered the fire at hand finally. I filled one of my biggest bowls with water and ran to dump it over the biggest patch of glittering flames. I wailed in shock when the freezing water splashed over my bare toes and didn't do a lick of good to put out the fires. My heart pounding, I stared around the room, which was beginning to fill with the unquenchable flames.

"Jack! J-J-Jack! We have to get out of here," I wailed pleadingly, grabbing his flailing arm. I was greeted by a snarl and flung off his arm into a wall, landing funny. I felt my head smack into the wall, but I didn't fall unconscious even with the shooting pains in my arm nearly crippling me. Instead, I stood up, my arm hanging at an odd angle. The fist of the arm clenched as I felt something dark and unexpectedly angry well up inside me. Of course, it demanded exit.

"JACK! LOOK AT ME, NOW!" I heard my voice roar.


Jack's POV

Shadows.

Shadowy, malicious gremlins were appearing everywhere, swarming me, wanting to kill me, wanting me to follow them into the darkness. Into the madness.

I would not go! This is MY LIFE! I WILL NEVER SUMBIT! Fires blazed out of control all around me as I tried to hit out at the gremlins with the only weopen that I could use that actually hurt them the glittering fire of the dragon far above my head. Red Dragon Archfiend. I remembered that name. Flashes of memory washed through me. Duels. I was turbo dueling on a pure white Duel Runner. Winner. Master of all I surveyed. Sultan of Speed, Master of Faster and the King of the Riding Duel. . . I was all of those. Pride surged through me. Why couldn't I remember if I was this cool? Wouldn't I remember if I Turbo Dueled, let alone this well? Who would erase the memories of someone this awesome?

NO! You are nothing! HE defeated you!

More memories flashed through my head. A boy, about my age, with black hair and yellow streaks was glaring angrily at me, demanding something I couldn't quite hear. I recoiled angrily as words drifted from my mind.

Rival.

Bad. Need to beat him. Conquer him like he conquered me, SHAME HIM LIKE HE SHAMED ME! The maddened ranting continued in this vein as I almost looked on with conflicting emotions.

Some part of me yelled in horror at the idea, and another part… Got excited. Shame colored my cheeks. How could I be beaten by him? A boy like that defeat me, the invincible Jack Atlas? A boy from the Satellite….

A boy I had once called friend.

A boy I had betrayed for gain. More people I had turned my back on, stolen from, been so cruel to it made me hurt. All because I couldn't abandon my pride, my damnable pride... The miasma grew and grew and spun out of control. I was sinking, flailing, trying to get loose but failing miserably. The stinking, revolting muck of memory was dragging me down without mercy. I howled angrily, clawing upwards and trying, trying to save myself... But my efforts weren't enough.

They would never be enough.

A piercing noise made me pause in my mad struggle for survival. The mud, astonishingly, stopped sucking me down.

HER voice pierced through the haze of pain. Through the swamp of memory, her voice was a clear sunbeam. Her voice sounded angry and I inwardly cringed. What had I done to earn her ire? Carly was never angry at me…. My eyes gradually refocused upon her as the sound of her rapidly beating heart drew me out of the hell my memories had created especially for me.


Carly's POV

Jack stopped hitting at shadows, freezing and slowly turning to look at me. His amethyst eyes were wide and glassy as he stared at me. The fires died down as he stared at me in the long, tension fraught moments it took for him to register me really being there. Weak moonlight shone through the glass doors in the front wall of the living room. Memories fluttered at the back of my mind, of a time when Jack had looked at me with the same blank shock as he did right now. I remembered a darkness, a haze covering my mind, pain and death…. Death. Jack and I would be dead if those fires didn't stop soon! Then, I realized, the fires had indeed stopped. And I felt no pain in my arm any longer. I moved it, surprised to find it unbroken.

"C-Carly?"

I blinked, coming back to myself as I heard the tremor in Jack's voice. He was looking at me with wide, slightly scared eyes and trembling slightly. I walked over to him, easing him back onto the couch bed and sitting with him, pointedly ignoring the fact all he had on underneath the sheets was his boxers. I stiffened in surprise when I felt his body almost collapse into mine. I relaxed slowly, but was really startled when Jack wrapped his arms around my waist and buried his face in my chest. He was shaking like a leaf. My cheeks were red and I was trying to get out of the dazed state this move had put me in he's hugging me he's hugging me and he's hugging me near my-! I shook my head to clear it. Not the time for fan girl nosebleeds. Too tired for fan girl nosebleeds. DEFINENTLY NOT THE TIME FOR GETTING EXCITED.

"Yes, Jack?"

"Scary. . . . Monsters were chasing me. . . Big ones. . ."

I tried to make sense of this, "What kind of monsters Jack?"

"I don't know! They were men sized but they looked like monsters. . . All twisted and ugly. . . Dark and cold feeling. . . Still feel cold. . . Brrr," Jack mumbled, nuzzling into me.

I stroked his blond hair, mussed from the nightmarish hallucinations. Still trembling, Jack looked for all the world like a scared kid. He glared fearfully around at the darkened room, causing flickers of the flame to flare up again. I realized, finally, that those fires were illusory. I mentally face palmed. Jack had made those fires because he was scared of the dark…. Oh, Carly, you are such an idiot sometimes….

"Jack."

A quiet sniff and then, "Yeah?"

"Are you scared of the dark?"

"NO!" Jack reddened and clutched me tighter. I smiled faintly. A definite indication of fear was vehement denial; at least, with Jack it was. I petted his hair to calm him down a bit, my own heart still pounding madly. I had figured out a day or two ago that something about me being near him soothed Jack, even when he was at his most upset. Ms. Wilson had been helping me out by keeping an eye on Jack on the rare days I was actually called into work this week. Mostly, I emailed my articles from home. And lucky that it was like that because just this week there had been several incidents with Jack that had involved attempted cooking accidents and some slips with my balcony. This new, memory-less Jack was just as accident prone as me!

"Just in case, then, do you want me to leave a light on in here?" I had a battery powered nightlight for just such an occasion. Don't ask what it's left over from.

"Y-Y-yes."

"Alright then," I murmered soothingly, heart finally calming to a more regular pace. I realized I was clutching Jack just as tightly as he was clinging to me, but some part of me refused to be embaressed by this nesscesity. Jack needs me now. A kind of serenity settled over me at the thought. I had always needed to be needed. Mother had needed me to smile for her. Other people needed me to make them laugh or smile. Others also needed me to document their success. To make them matter. I guess that's why I became a reporter, really. To see other people smile and bring the attention each and every smile deserved.

Stroking Jack's blond hair to soothe the rest of his and my severely frayed nerves, I slowly relaxed into the couch. I hoped that I could get Jack to actually sleep again. He seemed pretty sleepy now, relaxing his grip by fractions as he grew drowsy again. Jack was still clutching me like a favorite doll. Even so, serenity looked to be making a comeback for tonight.

Which abruptly ended when there was sharp, semi-panicked banging on the door of my apartment


I'm sorry for updating with such a cliffie! ^^' I couldn't keep you waiting anymore. :) So how did the nightmare go? How did I play a feaful Jack? What do you think of the mysterious fires that Jack seems to be causing? Please review! And I am also sorry it's such a short update :( I haven't felt like typing lately because my Grandfather passed away November 28... I miss him alot :''( He was one of the people who encouraged my creativity. You reviewers also encourage me :) You guys are the reason I write. I like having freinds online ^^ And I also like posting. Well, I like fanfiction in general. Anyway, cutting off my rambling, please review!

Thank you to all my dedicated readers and reviewers for reading another chapter! And hopefully reviewing! :)

-June