"Hi." Leland said. He was actually surprised that Alex had answered. "I-uh, Since we all just got back from being out all day, and there bein' so much runnin' around an' all, and meeting new people and all the..." he stopped to notice she was staring at him. He was rambling again. Leland cleared his throat and started over.
"I'm just tryin' to check in on everyone, make sure no one got hurt or anything..."
He took a peek through her door and caught a glimpse of a cotton bandage under her long sleeves.
"So yeah...Just asking questions, y'know?"
Alex raised an eyebrow while Leland continued to talk. She yawned, not caring about whatever the hell he was talking about. Alex rubbed her eyes and tugged on her sleeves, hiding her bandages and hoping that he didn't notice. Oh well, fuck it if he knows. If anyone knows.
"Why are you asking questions?" Who the hell was this guy again? Maybe she should pay attention to whatever the hell was going on in the apartment. Maybe she should be more active with everyone. Fuck it, not after what happened. Alex coughed and waved him off. "M'fine, Leland, I just need some sleep. And that's all I want to do."
"Well, okay…" Leland said, backing down. "Just glad that you're alright. If you do need anything you can ask anytime; I'm no Miss Billie, but…" She was still staring at him. "Well uh, I’ve taken up enough a’ yer time. I'll let you get back to sleep. Sorry for wakin’ ya." He stole one more glance at her arms before turning away.
“Stupid, stupid, stupid!” he thought. “Should just mind my own business.”
Leland crossed the living room once again and made a beeline for his room. He opened the door and went over to the lone window. There wasn’t much of a view; buildings, snow, and long dead automobiles. “This can’t be real.” He whispered. It had been months since it began, but in his weaker moments, it still didn’t feel real.
He paced his small room and gained a bit of pleasure from the running heater. He was starting to notice that the stress was getting to him, physical and otherwise. “I just need to calm down. Maybe Alex has the right idea; maybe sleep will help.” Leland flopped face first onto the single mattress. He tried to relax, to calm himself, but he couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong. He opened his eyes slowly.
A face. Blood. Green Eyes. Tousled Brown Hair. A Silent Mouth. A Choke.
“JESUS!” Leland jerked backwards and succeeded in falling off of his bed, hitting the ground with a solid THUMP. He scampered back towards the wall, under the window, and attempted to slow his heart below its current heart-attack speed. After a few moments of silence, Leland leaned forward, looked over his mattress, and as he expected: saw nothing.
“Christ…” he whispered. It was happening less frequently, but he was still haunted with flashbacks. He imagined that everyone in the house had similar problems, but it did little to comfort him. “Please let it go away.” He pleaded silently, to no one. “Just let me forget it! I can’t do this…I…I can’t even sleep anymore? Not even sleep is safe?” Leland fought back the memories of the past, and the tears that followed. He hated this, these occasional purging of emotion. They came with no warning, no schedule, and each one made him feel…less; less in control, less powerful, less respected. Less.
He stayed there, hunched over under the windowsill. He couldn’t sleep now. He couldn’t sleep, and Alex could. And he woke her up, for what? Curiosity? Boredom? Some perverted sense of Duty? Leland felt sick for committing such a heinous act: taking sleep, peace-of-mind for granted.