Tick Tock by Orin Drake
There would be another bruise for that one, he was sure. Every thought was a bruise. Every word a broken bone. Every refusal or question or denial... another day left alone in the dark.
And still there were so many days like that. Alone. In the dark. Sometimes metaphorical. Sometimes literal. Most times both. Most times he couldn't remember the words, though. It was just alone. Alone in the dark.
"I want to break free..." he would sing sometimes, a shaky voice from a shaky body in a shaky realm of in-betweens and never-beens and could-never-bes and things that had been taken away and god but the insanity was stinging. He was still far too sane.
Aching, aching. Tick, tock. Tick, tock, toil. Tick, tock, toil and lock, burn your tears away. Did everyone else get a savior while he'd been left behind? Wouldn't have surprised him.
Nothing surprised him. Not anymore. Never again.
He hadn't looked. He hadn't seen it. He'd been too scared. He was glad, though. Despite his situation, he was glad. Those that had seen it... were gone now. Here but gone. Gone but here. They weren't them, but they were as in the sense that they still existed, but not really.
"I want to break free..." came softer as he clutched at his knees and pulled himself into as tight a ball as he could manage. He knew the laughter would hit him again when he least expected it. That very symbol of his roving sanity. It hurt so much. It shook cracked ribs and broken bones and bruised flesh and a shattered mind. But not shattered enough. Not nearly as crushed back to grains of sand as he wanted. Embraced. Looked for.
He'd forgotten his name a long time ago. And time, for that matter. Sometimes, when he managed to sleep, he would wake with little flickers of something... but... real memories no longer followed them. The only thing he knew is what had happened to change everything. That was the one thought that played out, again and again, cycling and reversing and zooming in and out and around and etching itself into his flesh and blood and what little portions of mind he had left.
He had to live to tell. He had to live to warn.
Sobbing turned to laughter. He had to live.