The dreams started when he turned 15. They were unpleasant to say the least, streaks of red and silver burning across his closed lids - Large, monsterous creatures whose very cries shook the ground, devastating entire buildings he vaguely recongnized. The whirring of strange machines filled his ears just before he woke up, muscles jostling uncomfortably as he sat up.
Eren was panting, forcing the air into his lungs as tears sprung in his eyes. The world spun in a dizzy haze long enough that he hadn't noticed the click of the doorknob. Mikasa stood in the doorway, a plate of scrambled egg's in her hand.
"Eren, why are you crying?" Eren turned his head fully just in time to see her surging forward, plate left on his dresser. She lowered herself on the foot of his bed, eyebrows furrowed with concern. "Did something happen?" Eren laughed it off as soon as his stomach growled, waving his arm that felt too light to be there. He threw off the crumpled sheets in a rush, reaching over for the scrambled eggs.
The following night came clearer in perspective- Sharp lines and dots of gore. The screams of the dying were louder, and the monsters seemed to tower over him in meters. He quivered in their presense, fearing for his life. He woke up with his fingers squeezing for triggers that weren't there, instead a pen. It was then he knew what these dreams were. Inspiration.
He hurriedly stumbled from his bed, limbs tangled in the sheets. His eyes trailed over the glowing red symbols displaying a shocking '2:30 am'. He sat down at his desk and yanked his sketchbook from the dresser drawer. He began scribbling messily, desperate to get the dark images down before they vanished from his mind entirely.
He had filled 13 pages with the insanity he called art, pressing his thumb to the paper to smear ink and create bigger splatters of dark ooze. By the time he was finished, the clock flashed '6:47 am'. His legs twitched uncomfortably and he convinced himself a walk would do him some good.
He got up and threw on some lazy day clothing, consisting of a light grey sweatshirt and some black jeans that left way too much space around his ankles. He was a bit clumsy with tying the laces of his tennis shoes, not even bothering to fix the part in his hair.
He left the apartment without even addressing Mikasa, who stood in their little kitchenette with a pan in her hand. The steps felt solid under his feet, something his dream never supplies. He landed on the asphalt with a hop, the chill morning air leaving his lips dry, ears red, and fingers numb.
He jammed his hands in his pockets and started walking along the road, drawn to the blank spaces that seemed to surround him in the too-stiffling city. He wrinkled his nose at someones attempt at a tag- messily scrawled white writing with yellow blotches covering where each letter ended. A few more moments of staring and his eyes flashed with interest.
He crossed the street to a particularly lonely wall, flattening his palms against the grainy surface and dragging his hands down to size it up. He stepped back and pulled out his phone to take a long anticipated photo of his new work space, mouth tingling as he briefly licked his frost-bitten lips.
He returned home with a new unpaying occupation- becoming a street artist.
It was hard work at first, picking out specific materials and colors and trying to put his art into intelligable meaning. He returned to his untouched canvas a week later, a red bandana with slanted teeth penciled in strung across his jaw to cover half of his face.
His hoodie was pulled up, eyes shaded as he mapped out stencils and lines. Spraypaint came next, each movement fluid until he got into the scarlet paint. He splattered it, reddening the dark image gloriously until it was one of the monsters from his dreams with an ever-growing grin. His hair was short and uncolored, blood staining his teeth and a half-eaten woman curled between his fingers.
It was terrifying indeed, he realized, teal gaze flickering over every minor detail until his stomach clenched. He began gathering his things in a rush, nearly tripping over his own feet in his haste. He opened the apartment door hard enough for the doorknob to slam into the wall and Mikasa looked at him from the tv.
All she saw was Eren, covered in black in red from head to toe, a duffel thrown over his shoulder half-assedly. She looked stricken, nimble fingers snatching the remote so she could put the TV on mute.
"Eren?" Her voice was quiet and uncertain. Eren decided he hated it. With an awkward huff, he threw his bag behind the couch and slouched beside Mikasa. He tucked his finger over the edge of his bandana and tugged it down so it hung loosely around his neck.
"Eren, it's 2 in the afternoon."
"Really? I didn't notice."
"Probably because you left 4 hours ago without stealing a glance at the clock and effectively leaving me worried sick."