Thursday, April 14, 2016


   He was good for two weeks.
  After the fourteenth day of attempted moral adjustment, he honestly just got bored. Ms. M was a nice woman. She sheltered and encouraged goodness, and he swore to himself that he wouldn't do the lady any future harm, but his time in hero-ville was over. The boy simply couldn't deny his true nature. He'd retreated back up to his room on the top floor while Marryam Miller slept through the night.
   The small fragment of a mirror still remained where it had before. Jasper found himself shocked by how different he appeared. With the dirt cleared off of his skin and the cuts practically healed, he almost could've looked normal. But the scar on his face made sure that wasn't a possibility.
  The rest of his days passed in an endless stream of mediocre events. He wanted more than anything to feel the familiar high of adrenaline, but with cops still searching after the Southbend High incident, he knew that his best bet was to lay low. And when the police drove by outside, arresting the balloon man, Jasper smiled. He'd meant for that fire to be fatal - after all, a man with a doll sticking out of his back pocket didn't exactly ease Jasper's suspicion that Bill was responsible for the death of the town's favorite young girl. The boy wasn't the noblest of people, but he certainly believed in punishment for killing somebody so innocent. Especially someone who looked so much like Sandra.
  The laying low part was easy. He could resist his chaotic ways for long enough. But it was the silence that caused him the most suffering. It was the lack of anything that caused him to think back to everything, including that day with his sister on the sailboat. The boy was tattered and scarred like hell, but nothing was more permanent than his irrational fear of water.
  Clouds began to clear in his view of the sky. It was getting closer to summer. He would've been graduating his junior year at Southbend. Instead he sat in his makeshift room, blowing saw-dust from one corner to another. There was a tension within him that he could't deny. It had been way too long since he had felt the warmth of the blazing sun. He was tired of eating whatever rations he could steal from the other apartments. He was tired at beating himself in hang-man. The temptation to leave was too hard to resist.
  He curled his fingers around his small, black lighter. The boy drooped a hood over his head, shielding his dark brown hair and hopefully hiding his face. He had a plan. Chaotic, dangerous - maybe even a little impulsive - but definitely a plan.
  He would start at the police station.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015



Brushing away the sweat on his forehead, Jasper shuffled awkwardly across the yard. He hadn't expected that mowing a lawn would be so damn challenging, but then again, he also lacked muscle. Prom was in seven days. If he was going to ask Emma, then he was going to have to raise enough money to buy her flowers - or fireworks - or something intricate. Something beautiful. Something that would make her look at him as someone other than the freshman who occasionally got shoved into the bottom locker. 

Jasper had it all planned out. He could picture her auburn hair perfectly in his mind, the way that her freckled cheeks always blushed when he smiled, and how she could talk endlessly about books that he now had a new appreciation for. One of his hands would grab hers. Gently - only if she let him-

"You!" somebody shouted, knocking Jasper out of his lovestruck daze. He spun around. A group of other teenagers stood only inches away from him - one of those people being Emma. His eyes went instantly to hers. 

"Looks like it's about to rain. Think we'll see him cry again?" Thomas, known for being the one to actually push Jasper into the locker, started to laugh. Everyone else echoed. The boy had been through this one too many times - but with Emma standing there, looking sympathetically at him, anger boiled through his veins. Thomas lit a cigarette. He was nothing but cool and collected - and Jasper was warm with embarrassment. 

"Could you guys just stop being assholes for once?" Emma questioned, her voice sounding louder than the laughter. Thomas instantly grew annoyed. He put his hand on Emma's shoulder, probably in some sort of scolding manner, but Jasper was already swinging his fists. An impulsive idea considering he boy was easily outnumbered. He screamed defensively - he screamed protectively towards her, but it was no use. Thomas took a hold of Jasper's shirt, first sending a kick to his stomach, and then pressing the tip of his lit cigarette to Jasper's cheek-- 

The mirror inside of the strange apartment looked like it was about to crack. Jasper brushed his finger lightly over the scar on his cheek, noticing it every time that he saw his reflection, but he practiced pretending that it didn't bother him. Not like he could get rid of it. There wasn't much time to sit around staring, as an odd looking woman soon appeared to his right. 

"What the hell is going on here? Who are you?" Jasper questioned, intensity in his eyes. The woman reminded him of how the two had met. Hours ago. The restaurant -- he didn't remember leaving--"Restaurant? I -- Oh. You know, paying for my food isn’t exactly an invitation to kidnap me, also."

"You and I both know that you have nowhere to go, hon. I figure it’s better for you to be somewhere safe and with food."
Jasper rolled his eyes. "I don’t know what you think you know about me, hon. But your assumptions are wrong."

She was stubborn. Asked a few times if there was anything else that he needed - but his attention only fell on her rather large collection of books. The memories of the scar had to be triggering this. He couldn't help but wonder where she was, right now. The boy put his hands around a tattered looking novel. "So... the Catcher in the Rye?" Jasper questioned, wondering if she'd allow him to keep it.

"Yeah, I think I have a copy of that somewhere. Never a favorite of mine, Holden was too whiny for me."

"I find him to be rather interesting," Jasper continued, "You’ve got a copy of the Bible?

"I’m afraid not, Evette never liked Christianity and she threw away my copy of it when we moved here. I’ve never gotten around to buying another one."

This lady was quite confusing - but he wasn't shy to ask questions. "Who’s Evette? And who are you, exactly?

"I lived with her when I was young, she died when I was 15. My name is Marryam. What’s yours?"
A smirk curled the corners of his lips, "Thought that you were supposed to know everything about me."

"I’ve apologized for that, and as I said, I am sincerely sorry. You’re welcome to leave."
Jasper only nodded and let his eyes search the rest of the house. He supposed that he should probably thank this woman for putting a roof above his head, but he wasn't exactly decent with expressing gratitude. He simply snatched a pack of matches that sat near her candles. Her fault for suggesting that he take anything that he needed.

"In exchange for the free dinner- I’ll try not to burn down your apartment with these," Jasper announced, taking one final look before exiting the house. He figured that it probably wasn't a good idea to stay in one place for two long. The outside world gave plenty more opportunities to hide. Busy streets. Moving people. Easy to blend in. 

Maybe he was growing delusional - or maybe that was his natural state - but only after a few minutes of walking, his eyes fell upon the back of a girl with auburn, almost blonde hair. The same exact color as Emma's. Curiosity instantly plagued him, and he couldn't help but follow her. It had to be her. Memories only resurfaced when something big was about to happen, right? -- He payed no attention to where he was, or really, where he'd ended up, but when he blinked, there was a broom in his hand.

"Better get workin', Joe. Doing nothin' won't pay you anythin'."

He'd somehow ended up inside of a beauty shop. Clearly, by the hair on the ground and the distinct smell of shampoo. The girl was somewhere in the corner of the store; her face still turned away from him. He definitely wasn't Joe - and he definitely never intended to work at a beauty shop, but this looked a little less like he was stalking her. A fake, friendly smile painted his lips. 

The boy swept his way over to where the mysterious girl was sitting. It didn't make much sense for Emma to be here, considering Southbend was a good few hours away, but hope was a disease. Always able to manifest and so easy to distract him. Whoever had handed him the broom went over to talk to the girl, and after a few seconds, he could see her face. 

And it wasn't a face that he recognized. 

It was her - Emma - but the side of her cheek-- She hadn't been at school that day. He'd made sure of it. He'd checked every single attendance list and asked her friends - he'd done everything to make sure that she wasn't there before he lit the flame, yet-- The boy stumbled backwards. More like fell backwards, really, considering he made a loud crash... 


"Well look who it is! Do you have my matches? I wasn’t able to light my stove all day because of you. Could I have them back?" The woman asked - her eyes barely visible from the other side of the peephole. Jasper was panting. He could hardly keep his breath under control, but that was probably more because of the painful feeling in his lungs.

"Your piece of shit matches don’t work!" he screamed, throwing his fists against the wall. A loud echo floated down the hallways of Collingwood Heights.

"Well that’s news to me. Did you throw them away?"

The moments before this were all just a blur. He could remember the look of recognition on her face. The anger and hatred in her eyes. The fear. Don't let her be afraid of you, don't let her be afraid... The one person, apart from his sister, who he'd tried so hard not to hurt. He could remember trying to spark a match inside of the beauty shop. Anything to get out his frustration with himself. Burn himself, burn another person, ruin something, follow habit-

"Throwing them away is an understatement. But they’re definitely gone now. Why keep something around that doesn’t work, anyways? Sorta’ like how you don’t own a goddamn Bible. My aunt used to keep that thing in the house all the time. She told me that it’d give me all the answers, but guess what? Things still don’t make sense! It doesn’t work!"

His words were hardly making sense anymore. He didn't even know what he was doing here, apart from the fact that he knew he needed help. He needed help.

"And you were wondering why I didn’t keep a Bible. ...Would you like to come in, or are you going to continue threatening to burn my house down?"

The boy closed his eyes for a few seconds. Maybe he needed God, or a girlfriend, or a better novel - or maybe he had just needed to see the pain that he'd inflicted.

Monday, September 28, 2015


Psychopaths are known to be fond of torturing animals.

Jasper had never been the type to hurt something innocent, but the constant quacking in his ear was drawing his fingers closer and closer to his lighter. He snarled. There were too many people walking around outside, and he knew for a fact that he couldn't cause much another scene. Not yet.

Slowly, the boy dragged himself down the street, occasionally kicking a duck or two out of his way. His energy had all but vanished. People were starting to give him the look. Good. If he looked tired and distressed enough, someone would feel bad and give him some money for food. All of it was a chain reaction. The boy made a point to sulk. Bending his back ever so slightly, he continued to drag his feet across the ground. 

But then it started to rain. To anybody else, this wouldn't have been much of an issue, but Jasper froze. His body went numb. The water soaked his hair and drenched his black sweater, yet he stood completely motionless. Like a statue. A loud, ripping noise erupted from the sky and he knew it to be thunder. Thunder topped his list of enemies. It was the only one that he couldn't fight. He was powerless to the way that it could turn everything dark. He was powerless to the way that it could turn a calm sea into a raging one. He was powerless to the shivering that had started to shake him. Water filled his glued open eyes. 

It burned. Burned exactly like the way that the salt water had when he felt it rip apart his lungs - when he watched it rip up Sandra's lungs -- She had grabbed his hands. Her grip was so tight that even the waves couldn't loosen it. Jasper was screaming her name - over and over, but it was impossible to hear over the cracking of thunder. She couldn't hear his honest attempts at comfort. She couldn't see the tears that stained his eyes that seemed to hurt him more than the ocean water. 

The boy found himself sprinting into the nearest open store. Pale fingers had curled into fists at his side, but he was trying desperately to calm himself down. Wherever he was was no place for a runaway. It was fancy. The lights were slightly dimmed, and the tables were set with some sort of Asian style food. 

"Can I help you?" an man's voice questioned. Jasper instantly turned himself around. The shorter man's face grew into one of sudden fear. You remember that, don't you, Jasper? That look of fear that you seem to like so much. You didn't like it on her face.

Jasper's feet tumbled backwards. Another body smacked into his own. A strong smell of floral perfume made him start to cough, yet he didn't bother to apologize. A feeling of ice had spread throughout him entirely - his familiar fire was somewhere tucked away, because all he could feel was bitterness. You're cold. Aren't you, Jas? 

"Excuse me, sir. Can I help you? Would you like a table?" 

The boy had to think quickly, but he couldn't even think at all. The water had soaked deeply through his clothes. It had sunk through his skin, really, because it felt like his brain was drowning in it. All he could do was follow his instincts. 

"Sorry, I-- I don't have money-- I didn't mean to--"

"I'll pay for him."

A woman stood from across the room. Jasper turned around. Rather interesting looking, she was. Friendly. She gave him a gentle smile, but he couldn't even bring himself to return the favor. All he could do was throw himself into a chair.

The manager didn't even bother to take his order. He simply brought Jasper small plates of what seemed to be everything - white rice, steamed vegetables. It all smelled heavenly. Enough to cause him to make an irrational decision, considering he downed all five plates within a matter of minutes. It only took a few seconds for his stomach to start to rumble. Eating too much after days of not eating was never a good idea. The lady kept her distance from across the restaurant, most likely because Jasper looked (and smelled) like hell. But he couldn't help the small feeling of gratitude that rose in his chest.

When the sickness felt like it was about to become too much, he left the restaurant in a hurry. Outside was still humid but the pouring had come to a temporary stop. Good. He could at least focus. He almost felt calm, really, until a curb on the ground sent him stumbling forward. Blood instantly rose from the new scrape on his knee. His toe felt like it'd been twisted in half - a mix between a cry and a whimper left his lips, but he simply bit down on his hand to keep himself from drawing anymore attention.

The alley that he'd fallen in had a wall that was painted into flowers. Roses. Like the ones that Sandra used to keep in her bedroom. The two of them would pick the roses when they were younger. Bring one each to mom and one to dad. It was such a childish tradition, but the memory instantly sprung warm tears into his eyes. He simply couldn't hold himself up. The blood was dripping from his leg in the same crimson color as the roses. It stained the water that rushed into the street drain. His back rested gently against the wall. Sickness rose in his throat. There was no point in trying to keep it down. Coldness once again filled his veins, and he dropped his head as he threw up, shutting his eyes rather tightly so that he wouldn't see the damage. Jasper was more than exhausted. He was bleeding, shaking, tired, though not hungry - but somehow his body drifted into sleep.

The graveyard in his dream was occupied. People filled the place - dressed head to toe in different articles of black clothing. Somebody's father was speaking. His words told the story of a family with children whom continued to pass. Six dead. A young, blonde girl had been killed, and this must've been her funeral.
He didn't know why he was here. A bouquet of roses fit perfectly into his hand. The crowd of people around him started to give him sympathetic stares. The casket on the platform was left open. Somebody pushed Jasper forward. The bottom of his black suit was stained with blood, but nobody seemed to notice. There were no worries here. Simply nothing. Jasper knew that he needed to pay his respects. He inched closer, closer, closer-- But the body was not the girl named Alice. It was the body of his younger sister, torn apart by the ocean waves, dark hair spilled into some sort of beautiful mess, He was not a beautiful mess. He was not any sort of beautiful - But he was a rose. Red, pink and orange like fire - covered entirely in thorns. 

Thursday, September 3, 2015


The more time that he spent in seclusion, the easier it was to notice his impending insanity.

Collingwood Heights was like a badly written version of the Shining. It had everything that a Stephen King novel needed - gloomy scenery, a signature villain (in which he awarded himself with the title), and some strange, quotable murmurs from the people around him. Jasper stared deeply into the mirror. Two days of hiding out had already stripped the color from his cheeks. His green eyes were red, irritated from the constant dust, and his dark hair was sticking out in several different directions. The boy was naturally skinny, but two days lacking food had made him into some sort of skeleton. He cringed. There was something rather haunting about seeing a disaster in a reflection. It made the burn scar on his cheek appear to be more prominent.

Jasper needed sunlight. He needed people. He needed a challenge. There was no way in hell that he was going to be able to sit another day in this stuffy room. Rationality was never his strong suit. It seemed that some sort of adventure was worth the risk of being jailed. Jasper shrugged. His ragged fingers slipped the hood of his black sweatshirt over his head, and he bitterly pushed the mirror to the ground. It broke into several more jagged pieces. One of them he slipped into his pocket.

The boy crept down the back staircase. Today was Sunday, which meant that the construction workers had the day off. He was free to wander around the place. Not that there was much sightseeing to do. Every room looked totally identical. He hummed a tune under his breath as he walked, something like an old children's song,

"Ring around the rosies..
A pocket full of posies.."

Eventually, he managed to find the front door. People were hurrying in and out of the building. It mainly surprised him that anyone was actually living here, considering how much of a dump it was, but he didn't mind too much. The people probably weren't rich enough to afford any sort of television. They wouldn't recognize his face. Jasper Black - seventeen years old - set fire to the old Southbend High School yesterday. Many students were harmed - some are still in critical condition..

He embraced the orange and yellow of the sunlight like an old friend. It warmed his cold skin and breathed fresh air into his lungs. Jasper had to squint to see. It almost hurt to look around, but he always remembered that pain was just a state of mind. Easy to control.

"Would you like a balloon?" some foreign voice questioned as Jasper made his way down the street. There was a festival going on. Something about dogs - which meant small children - which meant less of a chance of recognition. New parents were too busy to care about the local crime headlines. It was the elderly that he needed to look out for. They had nothing better to do but worry.

"No thanks," Jasper grumbled. His voice sounded raspier than usual. Maybe because he wasn't used to talking, or maybe because he was on the edge of dehydration. Though he wasn't planning to get anywhere near water. The boy looked up at the older man. His name tag read Bill - but the more pressing detail was the fact that his face had taken on a look of recognition.

"You. You're the boy who set that school on fire, aren't you?" Bill questioned. Jasper couldn't distinguish the tone in his voice - it was something between praise and disgust, but Jasper was too prideful to turn down the question. Praise fueled his fire. The boy gave a smirk and a small nod.

"My daughter went to Southbend. Elena Cash."

It seemed like everything fell totally silent. Jasper's fingers started to tremble. There was something beating furiously at his chest - and he had no doubt that it was his heart. A familiar feeling of sickness rose in his stomach. The feeling that he associated with complete and total panic. Bill had dropped his balloons. His hands had curled into fists. Only two ways out of this situation - fight or flight. Jasper chose the latter.

He instantly whipped his body around, thankful that he used to run track, and slipped into the crowd of people. There were people everywhere. Different sizes, shapes, and he couldn't help but wonder what would happen if this park went up in flame. So many of them would scream.

Jasper raced forward. His back hand reached into the pocket of his torn jeans and grabbed the piece of glass from earlier, but he used it only to press against the throat of a rather pretty girl. Bill was somewhere behind him. But Jasper was more focused on the fact that he'd dropped his lighter on the floor of the school..

The boy kept the glass pressed to the girl's skin. He moved his back so that he'd be covering her from the crowd, and then his eyes fell straight onto hers. "I won't hurt you if you don't scream. I need a lighter. And you - no offense, look sad and miserable enough to be a smoker."

The boy slipped his hand into the bag that she was carrying. Fear practically reeked from her. It only gave him more adrenaline, because as soon as he felt the cold object in his hand, he smirked and continued running. This was when he felt the most alive. When wind sprayed his hair, and his heart was pounding, and there was nothing to remind him about the memories that he had so carefully tucked away. For once in his life, he was free.

"You know? I remember your daughter," Jasper laughed, turning around when he reached some sort of clearing. Bill was directly behind him. The older man was fuming with rage, but all Jasper felt was bliss. He must've been crazy. "Blonde girl. Big, blue eyes. Took her on a date once, actually. But it was more of a one night stand type of thing, you know?"

Bill snarled. He looked almost dangerous without the balloons around him. Strange.

"She was more of a water sign, and I'm a bit more of a fire sign. We just weren't really compatible."

Jasper had spent his alone time thinking through most of his decisions. And he'd come to the conclusion that jail wasn't exactly his ideal place to be. The boy desired freedom too much. Chaos was better than money, or power, or sex; it was something better than all of that. Bill launched himself at Jasper. But the boy was smart. He grabbed a hold of the shirt of the balloon man and used his other finger to spark the lighter. Cloth was more than flammable.

Almost instantly was the man screaming loudly in pain. Fire traveled quickly. Jasper readjusted his hood, put his head down, and sprinted in a direction where nobody could see him leave. Chaos was coming to Collingwood Heights. And he was going to be in the middle of it.

"Ashes, Ashes. We all fall down."

Saturday, August 8, 2015


     The day started with smoke.
     Enough smoke to fill up his lungs entirely - causing his breathing to grow into a rather uneven pattern. Not that his breath wasn't faltering already. Sprinting could take a lot out of you.
     Jasper laughed, his voice echoing like music around him. Somebody was screaming. It was exactly the type of chaos that he would've cooked up in his mind - minus the fact that the police seemed to be catching up to him. He turned the corner. This particular hallway, where the air conditioning normally sent chills down his spine, instead was now burning with heat. A smirk turned his lips. The boy pulled the small, black lighter from his pocket - not even bothering to destroy evidence of fingerprints, and dropped it on the ground. Laughing. Screaming. The sound of metal against cold concrete. A symphony. 
  The front parking lot of the high school was already crawling with police. He was going to have to be more clever than what he'd intended, but the boy was quick to adjust. In the blink of an eye, he'd pulled his hood over his head, knowing that nobody was quite sure enough of a suspect already to instantly put him in handcuffs. He acted like the other students around him. Racing out the front doors of the school into the blaring sun - even allowing some fake tears to pour from his eyes. That's what everybody else was doing. Crying. Why cry over a little bit of smoke?
      Nobody even gave him a second glance.

     Buses were a blessing. Buses didn't require any sort of real identification besides a pass. Buses could take you to the ends of the world and back with no questions -  and you could sleep the whole trip through. Jasper Black only took buses. And bus line two could take him wherever he wanted - even if he didn't have an exact destination in mind. So the boy simply took it to the end of the line. Some piece of shit town in the middle of nowhere, but it was the perfect place for someone to hide whose face would soon be plastered over every newspaper in the country. His green eyes traced the town. A tall, dark brick building seemed to be calling his name. Collingwood Heights. Convenient.
       It seemed that the top floor was being renovated. But the commotion was more of a positive than a negative to him. He grabbed a random pair of keys that a worker had dropped, quickly finding out that they fit perfectly into a staircase door. Feet creeped silently up the concrete steps. The fourteenth floor was a disaster. Dust and wood lined the ground, but he was quick to lay his eyes on a room that seemed to be untouched. The perfect place to hide out.
       He listened closely to the conversations of the construction workers, who stood only inches away from him, yet still unaware that he'd just declared this place as his hideout. One, it seemed, had broken into a local store earlier that day - leaving glass all over the concrete floor. Who would've thought that Jasper, a criminal on the run - would find himself hiding from other criminals?