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."