He also doesn't know what the fuck he's supposed to do about it. He's not a hunter, not really. Oh, he knows standard lore and enough protective measures to have freaked every single one of his, at last count, nine roommates right the fuck out, but Adam isn't. . . he's not into that shit. Doesn't want to be, hasn't ever, and will never be especially after these last few years and seeing what that kind of life has done to. . . his brothers, his father, Bobby.
Adam isn't a hunter, and he hates the whole life and how everything about it just fucks up the people living it. All of this, though, is also why he now finds himself freaking out over some used-to-be-just-dreams-but-now-hallucinations. He hates hunting, but what do you do when something needs. . . well, not hunted, but definitely figured out and addressed? Rectified. Remedied. Sorted out and put to bed, so Adam can get on with living his normal life in peace only disturbed by terrifying stories and reminiscences and not. . .
Eight o'clock rolls around and the crowd starts picking up. Things get busier, and it's 9:03 when Adam's shouting down to Carrie that he's going into the back for more Heineken. He's out in the hallway and it's loud, but still such a relief when compared to the shouting, singing, laughing, and talking of the main part of the bar. Adam keys himself into the storeroom and quickly heads down the small aisle to where he knows the beer's gonna be. It's on the shelf, and he stretches out his hand to--
Like that time he got real sick as a kid and stood up too quickly; he fell down face first onto the floor.
Like what he imagines migraines must feel like, or what a hangover would be if he ever had more than three beers in a night.
Like that lost feeling whenever someone died.
Like that terrified shame he doesn't even think about lest someone clue in.
Like someone's just jacked into Adam's head and is messing around with the filing system it's taken almost 20 years to get right.
Such a thing is not Wrong, Adam, the stranger says. The tone of it is odd, almost amused.
But also somehow most definitely not.
He's on the floor again, face first into the grime of the storeroom cement and panting from the shock. It hurts. It's excruciating.
"Wha-- wh. . . ?"
Love is a beautiful, Heavenly thing, the stranger tells him. Again, the voice seems to be hinting at or referencing something, but Adam has neither a clue what the hell it is, nor enough wits about him to attempt to figure it out.
To Love is to See the Face of God. Now, wouldn't that be a treat? the stranger muses.
"God. . . !" Adam cries out, scraping his fingernails against the cement in the hopes of recovering some ability to think past the pain.
Yes, and when you're ready you and I shall meet. Or perhaps not. But just in case, Adam, and it's as though the stranger in his head leans closer, let me confide in you a Truth. Love is not Wrong, no matter where it Manifests. Never allow any Man to Speak otherwise to you.
Adam pounds his fists against the cement, scraping and bloodying himself in an effort to just get away. He manages a deep breath, the first one in what feels like forever, but then the stranger is closing in again. There's the sense inside of a caress or at least an acknowledgement of some kind.
Something wet rolls down Adam's face and it's only when it falls to the cement and he sees it that he realizes his eyes are open. Blood, from his mouth, is now slipping and sliding to the storeroom floor, and Adam is hearing a voice inside his head.
Chewing on his lips and mouth to the point of dripping blood suddenly seems a lot less worrying in the face of just how fucking insane he must be at this moment.
We Know what it is to Love, don't we, we two? it says, in that same nearly-soft way. Certainly the stranger is understanding at least. Empathy, but not necessarily sympathy. Sometimes unwillingly, the stranger goes on, when All would be easier if we were to just. . . stop our Love. Sometimes we wish our brothers to be different, or ourselves. Such a thing is not Wrong, Adam.
All Adam can do is whine and cry in the back of his throat and drool blood down onto the floor. It still hurts, and it's not becoming numb. He tries and tries to move away or curl in on himself, but the flexing of his hands is all he can do.
Keep what I have said in mind, the stranger tells him, and should the day come when I Call on you. . . remember it was the Truth I Spoke and that I Spoke it to you, Adam, and not. . . aloud or to anybody else. And it is within my Power to do so. Never mistake me.
I leave you as a Blessing. I can just as easily stay, should I so choose.
And with that, the stranger's gone and Adam's face down on the floor once more. He comes to later, and one of the first things he does besides sit up is check the face of his watch.
9:04. And the second hand is still ticking in time, but now it's moving counter-clockwise.