The first part of this is a piece from the first time Alastair stole my consciousness. The second part takes place during Ruining the Moment, and describes the second time he stole my consciousness.
((This is now a pretty old thing. I just saw it, finished it up and now I'm posting it. Enjoy. I may go back in to polish this later.))
I opened my eyes to complete darkness... and immediately began to panic. I had always been afraid of the dark- especially total darkness like this. The whole world was black. It was even darker than when I had my eyes closed. True darkness. And it terrified me.
I scrambled to my feet and stumbled a few steps backwards, breathing hard. "No, no no no no no..." I muttered under my breath, "No, this is not happening!" My voice grew higher by the end of the sentence, but it was weak and panicked. I backpedaled for a few more steps, and then whirled around, as if I was certain something had been lurking just behind me.
A small, involuntary shriek escaped my lips and I raced forward, desperate for a way out. I ran into a wall that felt like a thin sheet of some strong alloy. Judging by the sound my footsteps made, I guessed the ground was made of the same thing. My fingers scrambled across the cold metal but I couldn't find any weak spot or opening, so I pounded my fists against the wall.
"Hello?" I yelled, trying in vain to keep the panic out of my voice, "Is anybody out there? Hello!" I heard laughter echo through the room behind me. I whirled around and pressed my back to the wall, my eyes darting about even though I couldn't see anything. I stayed like that for a moment, panting hard, then turned and banged against the wall again. "Please, please, someone, let me out!" I screeched at the top of my lungs. The laughter came from behind me once more, and I pressed my back hard into the wall and screamed.
"Well well well," Niccolo's smooth voice whispered in my ear, and even though he wasn't there I could feel his breath on my neck. I screamed, turned slightly sideways, and backed up so quickly I tripped over my own feet, then kept crawling backwards until I was pressed against the corner. Whatever container I was in wasn't all too big, after all. "It's true then," He continued, and I screamed again, tears forming in my eyes. "Aretha Tesla, the mighty assassin, is afraid of the dark."
"Who are you?" I said, my voice dark and demanding, but still trembling.
"You know me. You've known me for a long time. Niccolo Croatoan. You know, the one who's 'fallen hopelessly in love with you'."
"No, you're not. You're just stealing his voice."
"Well, his everything, really. I'm almost a better thief than he is, if you think about it."
"What's your name?"
"Alastair," he whispered softly, "Alastair Cruciatus. And I. Will tear you. Into teeny, tiny little pieces. And then laugh. And you get to experience everything inside your own personal worst nightmare. Well, aside from the deaths of everyone you care about, but that's already been done, so I'll have to get creative."
The moment he finished speaking I felt a searing pain in my chest, and when I coughed, even though I couldn't see, I knew I was coughing up blood. My breaths were ragged and uneven, though more from fear than pain. The tears were flowing freely now.
"Oh, and that whole insufficiency you feel? All those pretty little insecurities? 'I was supposed to be helping the war effort', 'I killed my whole family and the only friend who wanted to help me', 'I'm just a curse to everyone around me', 'I'm so sick of doing nothing', 'God knows how many times Niccolo's saved my life, but now that he needs me I'm useless'. It's pathetic." He spat.
"Stop using his voice!" My fear diluted all the anger that was meant to be infused in my words.
"Oh no, love, I'm just getting started," he promised, "The nightmare has only just begun. And all your little plans and discoveries are useless now. Your three hypothesis? Done. You are never, ever, getting out of this box."
I screamed again and lashed out, but my hands met with empty air. His deluded laughter sank back into the distance, and I pressed myself slowly into a standing position against the wall. I felt like my instincts were raging war inside of me- one part of me was desperate to run, to fight, and the other was paralyzed. Both were terrified. I screamed until my throat burned, pounded against the walls until I was sure I had more bruises than skin, and when all was said and done and I was still stuck in the box, I curled into the corner again, trying hard to hold on to my sanity.
My eyes snapped open and I flew to my feet, immediately assuming a fighting stance. Then I realized how thick the darkness was- I might as well have left my eyes closed- and the sound my feet made against the floor as I moved... It sounded like... No "No..." I muttered under my breath.
A feral growl sounded behind me and I whirled around, already beginning to shake. "Alastair!" I grimaced as sharp teeth tore into my leg and pulled off a chunk of flesh, but kept standing. "You can't do this to me anymore! You can't scare me! You have nothing on me now, I know your tricks!" I growled defiantly, but I still couldn't keep my voice from shaking.
"Fear not, my dear," I heard his voice beside my ear, low and smooth like dark chocolate, even though I knew he wasn't there. "I've had plenty of time to think up new ways to play with your lovely mind. I'll always have things to hold over you- that's the downside to caring. How about this, just to start? I'll give you a taste of what your precious Niccolo hears inside his head, every day."
Suffering beyond words took over all my senses, drowning out even the darkness, and for the first time ever the impenetrable black seemed comforting. I think I heard my scream somewhere amongst all the others, but I can't be sure. I might have sank to my knees and pressed my hands against my head, but I don't know. I couldn't feel anything. So many voices... So many screams... Please, please just be quiet... Please, please, please, please... SHUT UP! I must have been crying, because when I woke up again my face was wet with tears.
"See?" I heard his voice and jolted up, letting out a shrill involuntary scream. My throat felt like it was on fire, and soon I found myself coughing up blood. "I told you I could hurt you. Well, really, I didn't have to. You screamed so much, you actually hurt yourself. And still the others were louder." He laughed, and I ran at a wall and slammed my fist into it. That was Niccolo's laugh. "And you still don't have him back. Poor you. Perhaps I can distract you- let's try this one next."
It felt almost like I was drowning from the inside out. I let out an agonized half-scream, half-gasp and doubled over, falling back against the wall, one arm pressed tightly against my chest. "What-" I managed between labored breaths, and I could feel my heart failing. Suddenly I realized what he had done.
"This is my illusion, so I can make you feel whatever I want. This is what it feels like when your red blood cells stop carrying oxygen. This is what I felt when you killed me." He laughed a little more. "Enjoy it while you can- it only gets worse from here, and you know it." His voice grew softer, quieter, and closer as he finished. "I told you you were never getting out of this box. No matter what happens, no matter what you or anyone else does, you will always end up back here." I gritted my teeth, digging my fingernails into my arm, and stumbled forward, tripping over my own feet. I was conscious just long enough to feel my face slam into the cold metal floor.
When I woke again, I didn't bother to stand up. I didn't even bother to open my eyes. If nothing else, I had to learn from experience. Stop feeling, stop caring, stop hurting. Lie still and don't say a word. Don't scream when they hit you. Don't shiver when you feel all of them silently watching. Don't flinch when they scream inside your head. Maybe... Maybe like this I would survive. But the next scream I heard was eerily familiar.
I felt hot tears sting my eyes, and in an instant I knew he had me. Because no matter how well I could ignore pain, or the darkness- and even if I knew it was only illusion- I would never be able to stop caring for my friends. She screamed and I flinched, digging my fingernails into my arm until I drew blood without even realizing it. I squeezed my eyes shut, but I still saw her bloodied face. I couldn't deafen myself to her cries. So I made my own, and I prayed that I could be louder. I wasn't.