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Ghosts of Memoria
At first, I drifted into the nightmare. Silhouettes stood out from the dark. Then, everything was shoved into harsh light. I stood alone in front of a giant antique mirror. As I turned to look at my surroundings, shapes fluttered at the edge of my peripheral vision. I knew how this story would play out. Haunting laughter echoed in the my head as the scene changed. The ringing in my ears grew violent, pounding on my brain, just like the rain pouring down on her. Judy stood alone in the rain, wearing a long black coat, crying, “Baby, come home. Patrick, I need you!” Images of my past life with her flashed through my head as I sprinted through the downpour. Just as I was about to reach her, she disappeared.
I fell to my knees as the scene changed again. Snow landed on my hunched shoulders as I knelt down to look at the diamonds at my feet. I reached out to hold one, but it turned out to be broken glass. Right before a red droplet stained the shining shards, I woke up. I groaned and sat up as the knives and sorrow twisted my stomach. Another day of paranoia, fear, and worry. The painting of Our Lady of Sorrows hanging on my wall taunted me as I got ready for the day, whispering, “They’re watching you. Be careful.”
I went down to cafeteria to grab a grey tray and sit at my signature table overlooking the vast estate. The meal consisted of soggy maple oatmeal, pulpy orange juice, and a stale blueberry muffin. As I ate my unsatisfying meal, thoughts of the draculoids, Korse, and bl/ind vied for my focus. I couldn’t resist. Korse was the evil leader of bl/ind, also known as Better Living Industries, but those creatures only wanted to ruin things. The draculoids had sharp fangs, pale skin, and a thirst for blood. They took Judy from me because she was the Girl. I still remember the gunshots echoing in the hall, watching the draculoids take her away, seeing red and blue stars as I fell. A bell interrupted my thoughts. I nonchalantly threw away my tray and went off to class. The lunch lady glared at the food I tossed out, muttering, “You weren’t born to be a skeleton. Go on, you’ll be so starving by the time lunch rolls around.” I rolled my eyes and left, wishing the day would be over already.
As I went through my mind-numbingly boring classes, I planned out my next drawing. I knew it would be my best one yet. Finally, I got to art class, which was by far the best class. I began to sketch on the huge white paper laying on the paint stained desk. First I sketched the people: the Moon, who was wearing an elegant dress of pale blue; the Sun, who was sharply dressed in a gold suit; Helena, dressed in her red and black funeral gown; and Our Lady of Sorrows, wearing a mournful expression and blood on her face. Second, I added the background, with arching flames, bright colors, and collapsing buildings. Everything would look chaotic and crazy. I was beginning to add more detail when someone bumped my arm, causing my hand to slid to the left. Glaring, I looked up to see who had ruined my perfect picture and gulped. It was Caroline, the skinniest and meanest girl around. She sneered at me, and said, “Oh, not drawing your imaginary girlfriend, huh? Or your creepy ‘draculoids’ that don’t exist?”
I grabbed a scratch piece of paper and scribbled out, “They do exist, and so does Judy! And don’t say the name, it might bring them here and they’ll find me.”
“Patrick Gerard Urie. Boy, listen to me. Quit chasing cars. Those things aren’t real, neither is your ‘girlfriend. Seriously, grow up. Oh, wait. You can’t, ‘cause you ain’t even able to talk, since you’re such a baby!” Caroline spat.
“Caroline, I can’t help it. If I talk, they’ll come and hurt someone else,” I wrote, flushed with anger.
Caroline laughed, leaned close, and whispered, “The only one getting hurt around here will be you, Urie.” She was close enough that I could see the peach fuzz on her bony cheek. Just then, Ms. Jackson gently pulled Caroline away and chided her. I went back to work, loosely sketching and erasing.
When the bell rang, I rushed back to my room, eager to get away from all the mindless drones marching through the halls. I sat on the stiff mattress and flipped through my sketchbook. There was a wide variety of sketches, drawings, and paintings. I found that most of them were either of Judy, the battle, or my nightmares. Once again, I was drawn back into deep thought, this time about my nightmares. Judy was always in her signature black coat with her lip gloss red smile. Every dream I tried to reach her, and every dream I never could. Judy was always so close but so far away. How was I ever going to reach her? Suddenly, the perfect idea shot into my head. I bolted upright, reaching for my notebook so I could write out my plan.
Once I finished, I headed to the cafeteria for supper. The lunch lady from before, who was nicknamed Mama, gave me an extra handful of cherries. The ruby fruit fell like a waterfall from her white-gloved hands. I almost fell over because the sight of those cherries brought back a flood of memories. Shaken, I nodded my head at her in thanks and rushed toward my signature seat. I looked over the castle to distract myself. Oh, how I wish Judy were here. If she were, we would sneak away to explore all the hidden riches that must be there.
When I finally looked down at my tray for the first time, I realized that I had foods that all reminded me of Judy. I had Dr. Pepper which was the only soda Judy would ever drink. There was also chicken alfredo and a breadstick; the meal we had on our first date so long ago. Of course, there was the cherries. Not only did they remind me of the battle, they reminded me of how she always smelled like cherries. Slowly, I ate each portion of the meal, savoring every memory-filled bite. Mama grinned as I put away my empty tray. I gingerly smiled and headed back to my room. Once I reached my room, I got ready for bed. Tomorrow was going to be a big day. I was finally going to put my plan into action, but I had to face the night first.
The nightmare came much faster than usual. I immediately was able to see everything. A different mirror--much larger than the last night’s--was propped up a few feet away. I shakily stood up and walked over to stand in front of it. My brown eyes were surrounded by thick rings of black paint, and I was draped in a large white sheet, much like a hospital gown. Piano notes began to play in the background, beginning with a lone G, creating a repetitive eleven-note pattern that echoed around the small room I was in. While that was playing, a sharp metallic scent wafted through the room. I turned to see blood oozing from the top of the wall opposite the mirror. With my back to the mirror, I watched as the blood formed a sort of screen over the wall. Judy was shown laughing for a split second then everything changed.
I was now standing in a large coliseum. Tapestries hung from the walls. In the center was a shining guillotine. I walked over to the closest and largest tapestry. It was an elaborate painting of a pale blue woman and a vivid golden man. They were in a garden, and they shyly smiled at each other. I immediately thought of Judy, but I tried to shake away the thoughts of what could have happened to her by turning to the next tapestry. It was a painting of Our Lady of Sorrows. Her close-cropped black hair was like the night, matching her dark mourning dress. The jagged stitches on her neck bled slightly, and there was blood smeared on her face and arms. I jumped when she started to speak, flicking blood on my face and overlapping the piano. “Turn, dear. Turn.”
Her hypnotic voice enchanted me, and I could not help turning back to the guillotine. An executioner clad in black stood next to it. Judy’s head was enclosed in the lunette. Tears of blood were streaking down her pale cheeks. I rushed forward to save her, but I hit an invisible wall and could not go any further. Deep, guttural screams echoed in the wide space as the executioner prepared the guillotine. Right before the blade was dropped, the executioner removed the black veil hiding their face. I gasped as Our Lady of Sorrows was standing before me, about to kill the love of my life. With a howl, I lunged forward right as the blade dropped. I heard the sickened crunch of Judy’s spine being separated. Her warm blood splattered across my face. Right as my hand closed around Our Lady of Sorrows’ throat, everything changed again.
I was back in the familiar foggy clearing where the battle had taken place. Resting in a cherry tree was Judy, the train of her white dress draped over a lifeless branch. All of the trees in the clearing were dead, reaching their white skeletons to the sky. The sky was an endless dark abyss with a handful of diamonds sprinkled across the wide expanse. My fellow Killjoys were standing beside me. Gold Authority had one hand on his shining gun while the other was resting on his hip. On my other side, Brite Star was pulling her sequined gloves on. As for me, I was no longer Patrick. I was Toxic Purgatory, the greatest Killjoy of them all. Korse would fall, and it would be because of me. Judy stared at me, her dark eyes filled with a mixture of love and fear. Her gaze was torn away when the first draculoids landed in the clearing. More and more draculoids came in pairs as the sun went down. Then, the battle began.
Blood and bullets flew everywhere. Fangs and knives flashed in the fading light. The Killjoys appeared to be winning, until I was bitten by a draculoid. Even though this was a dream, I could still feel the venom making it’s way to my heart. Judy leapt down from the tree as the sun went down, casting her in a brilliant, heavenly glow. I had told her what to do if this happened. She knew to take the spike on my belt and stab it into my heart, which would release the jet-black venom pooling in my veins. I was fading in and out of consciousness, and I knew there wasn’t much time left. Brite Star had fallen beside me, her limbs swollen and black. I watched as Gold Authority was struck down. We were the last of the Killjoys, and we were all going to die.
Judy kneeled over me, her eyes glassy with tears. Suddenly, a draculoid came up behind her, his white fangs poised above her neck. I raised my gun while she stabbed my heart. Black venom mixed with blood gushed from the wound in my chest as the scene changed. I was kneeling over a huge well, tossing rice grains and roses down at Judy’s twisted form. A small trickle of blood dripped out of her mouth, landing on the mound of bodies beneath her. I looked down at my hands in horror. They were wet with blood. Without a sound, I toppled over the edge of the well. Pounding drums and throbbing guitar riffs crashed together in my head as I fell. I abruptly sat up, jerked out of my dream by the sound of my alarm. I took a deep breath and fingered the star-shaped scar on my chest. It was time to put my plan into action.
After I got dressed and had breakfast, I headed to the makeshift doctor's office set up in the wide gymnasium. I hummed a frnkiero andthe cellabration song as I got in line for shots. Shots were mandatory, even for those who were terrified of needles, like me. Although shots petrified me, I would do anything to get Judy back. Mr. Brightside waved me forward as Destiny shakily got out of the chair. I sat down where she just was, and I mentally prepared myself for what was to come. As Mr. Brightside pressed the needle to my skin, I opened my mouth. When I felt the long needle enter my vein, I whispered, “She was Golden in my eyes.”
Everything erupted into chaos. Mrs. Butane was freaking out, begging me to speak again. The line behind me inaudibly chattered amongst each other. After Mr. Brightside let me go, I shoved away from everyone and ran through the empty hallways. I made my way through the clean and sterile hallways of the new facility. Draculoids began to chase me, so I lead them to the twisted ruins of the old castle. I closed my eyes and let go when I felt their bony hands close around my arms. The last thing I felt was a sharp pinch, and then I slipped out of consciousness.
I woke up strapped to a steel table. The room was empty; no draculoids were in sight. Most likely, Korse was going to kill me in front of Judy. I eagerly tried to sit up when the door opened, but the restraints held me down. When Caroline’s thin frame slipped in, I stopped struggling. For the first time ever, her high and mighty facade was gone. Instead, Caroline seemed scared and flighty--only for a second. When she noticed me watching, a snobbish expression masked her features.
“Patrick, why? Because you pulled that schizoid stunt, everybody is freaking! People were placed on sedatives, like you. They’re thinking of moving you to a different facility now, one for the criminally insane. Patrick, you have to get a hold of your delusions,” Caroline said in a harsh whisper. I looked at her for a moment, and then everything hit me all at once. Now, I remembered everything. My heart rate speed up as I realized how severe my disease was. This wasn’t some college like I had thought. This was a place for schizoids like me. “So...this is like a psych ward?” I tentatively asked Caroline.
“Yes!” She said exasperatedly. “It’s called the Biersack Facility for the Mentally Ill, but everyone here has named it “Death Valley” ‘cause the suicides.”
I looked at her nervously, and asked, “Are you…like me?”
“Nope. Diagnosed with anorexia, obviously. Not everyone here is like you. We’re all just the kids from yesterday, the kids who aren’t alright,” Caroline said shortly. Just then, two scrub-clad nurses armed with syringes burst in. Caroline screamed as one pushed the syringe into her bony arm while the other came for me. The sedative knocked me out in seconds.
Unlike the other time I was put under, I started to dream, or, more accurately, have a flashback. I was reliving what actually happened at the so called battle. Instead of an empty clearing, the “battle” happened at an elegant ball. Everyone was in suits and gowns, including me. Judy was wearing a pure white ball gown covered in lace and was standing at the top of a ornate staircase. It was like watching a terrible movie. I watched myself pull out multiple guns and begin firing. The doors were locked, so everyone was trapped. At first, I wasn’t exactly shooting at people, just the delicate chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. The partygoers were so drunk that they didn’t realize what was happening at first. Once the chandeliers begin to fall, everything erupted into chaos. I wanted so badly to turn away, but all I could do is watch as bullets ricocheted everywhere. My heart dropped when I saw a bullet shining in the light. It was headed straight for Judy’s heart. Everything seemed to slow down as the bullet pierced her skin. A brilliant crimson stain spread over her angelic dress. Time sped up again as she gracefully slumped over the railing, falling to the soft carpet fifteen feet below. One red shoe had fallen off her now broken left leg. The white bone had broken through the skin and more blood was spilling. I tore my gaze away from Judy to watch a police officer shoot a sedative in my neck. The past me slipped a long black spike out of the tuxedo jacket, and I watched as the spike pierced the exact spot where Judy was shot, two inches below the collarbone. Red blood gushed from the wound as I twisted and fell. Everything went red as the scene oh so typically changed.
Now, I was on an empty stage. So many bright lights casted shadows all around me. I fell to my knees in defeat. How I could I continue knowing what I did? I don’t want to go to jail, yet I don’t want to live with this guilt. If only someone could just get me out of my mind and help me escape this torment. Small footsteps made my head shoot up.
“Hello, Patrick. I’ve missed you so, so much,” Judy said in that soft way of hers. She wore a red and blue gown, similar to the one she wore when she died.
I gasped. “Judy, baby, I’m so sorry. I-I don’t know what to say. You should hate me. I...hurt you. I can’t tell you how sorry I am. How can you miss me when you know what I did?”
She shook her platinum blond curls. “Patrick, you were mentally disturbed. You might not have realized, but we were communicating through your dreams. I remember you once told me that if I was gonna be the death of you, that’s how you’d wanna go. I stuck with you then, and I’ll stick with you now.”
“Wait..so all those dreams, you were talking with me? Like necromancy…” Judy nodded. “Is this what you would have looked like if you were alive?” She nodded once more. I drank in the sight of her. It had been four years since she died. We were twenty-three then, so I was looking at her at twenty-seven. There were some noticeable changes. Judy was taller and her hair was much shorter and lighter, but some of her features were still the same. The dark mole above her lip was still there, her hair was just as curly, and her perky nose still had a small diamond stud.
Judy whispered, “Baby. Come home.” I took her outstretched hand. We were star-crossed lovers once more and forevermore.