Catch Me, I’m Falling…
He couldn’t feel anything anymore.
He didn’t even realize he was conscious. Was he conscious? Was he awake? Was he even there? He couldn’t feel his legs, or his arms, or his head. He felt like he was floating, floating above everything else.
Someone had said something, but he wasn’t really listening. He couldn’t really listen. He felt dizzy, fuzzy, lightheaded. Lost.
“Holy shit, Richie! What the fuck are you doing here? Guys! Guys, they got Richie! They got Richie!”
He’d never really understood the phrase “in one ear and out the other” before, but that was what was happening to him right now. He heard words, whole sentences, but he wasn’t processing any of it. None of it was even entering his thoughts.
“Don’t touch him!”
“I wasn’t gonna!”
“What is wrong with him?”
“He’s not saying anything! What did they do to him?”
“They fucked him up!”
Three different voices, and he didn’t recognize any of them, and he didn’t care.
“Figure out what’s wrong with him! Ben, what the fuck is wrong with him? What did they do to him?”
“Calm down, Eddie, I’m trying to figure it out.”
“What if they killed him? It’s like that fucking movie, that one with Jack Nicholson! You remember, the one that Bev made us watch cause her Aunt really liked it?”
Someone might have been grabbing his arm. He didn’t know. He didn’t care.
“That one with the guy named Billy with a stutter and we thought it was cool until he fucking died? That wasn’t fucking cool! He fucking died and they lobotomized Jack Nicholson! They lobotomized him and the Chief guy smothered him with a pillow!”
He was dizzy again. The world was spinning around him, but at the same time, he couldn’t feel himself. He still couldn’t feel his body, and everything was blurry and every now and again it was black.
“Shit, shit, shit, what if they killed Bill? What if they killed Bill and now we’ve gotta smother Richie with a pillow? I don’t want to smother Richie with a pillow, I don’t want him to fucking die!”
“We’re not going to kill Richie. Now, shut up and let Ben focus. You’re not helping anybody by panicking.”
“How the hell am I supposed to not panic? In case you haven’t noticed, Stanley, we’ve been kidnapped by those fucking crackheads-”
He was tired. He was so tired. He felt like couldn’t keep his eyes open; not that it mattered. He wasn’t processing anything he was seeing, either.
“Okay, okay. I think I might have got something.”
“Well, what is it?”
“I’m not sure. It’s kinda hard to tell…”
“Spit it out, Hanscom!”
“Okay, fine. This kid’s been drugged outta his mind.”
He was floating. He was floating or he was falling. He was falling.
“Why would they kidnap Richie just to drug him? They didn’t drug us.”
“Well, there’s the problem.”
“What problem? What the fuck are you talking about?”
“This kid… this kid isn’t Richie.”
“What are you talking about? Of course it’s…”
“No, Ben’s right. Ben’s right, look. His hair isn’t as curly. His freckles are lighter.”
“But it looks just like him! Without the glasses, obviously. Why would they take his glasses?”
“Cause it’s not Richie! He’s got a different energy, it’s really someone different. Look, maybe his power is shapeshifting. Maybe he shifted into Richie.”
He was floating and falling and he couldn’t do anything to stop it. But he didn’t want to. He just wanted to sleep again. Why had he woken up? He wanted to sleep…
“Why would he shift into Richie?”
“What if… what if they think they have Richie, and this kid is pretending to be him?”
He wanted to sleep…
“Fuck! Oh fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck!”
“We have to take care of him. We have to save him, too.”
“Let’s save ourselves first. God knows how long we have before they separate us again.”
Why couldn’t he sleep?
“I don’t want to get separated again! Not if they’re gonna… if they…”
“We haven’t got a fucking choice, not until we can get out!”
“Then let’s get out! We’re only eleven floors up, Stan can probably fly us out…”
He’d heard something. Again, he wasn’t processing, but something stuck with him. He’d said something important, something that his mind had caught onto. Something that told him to fight, to stay awake. What had he heard?
“I told you, Eddie, I can’t. They’ve got something on my back, something that stops me from shifting. And I’m not jumping eleven fucking floors.”
Something was there. Something had been said. Something that made him want to fight. That made him want to stop floating.
“We can try to climb-”
“We’ll find another way out. We always do. They’re not going to win.”
It was slipping away from him again. He was slipping away…
“The others will find us. They will. Don’t worry.”
“They’re going to die. We’re all going to die. They’re going to kill us all.”
He was falling, and then his vision went black, and stayed black. He’d passed out.
He was floating.