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Blurry's The One I'm Not

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     This was my home. The lush woods, the towering trees. There was no one to bother me here. It was silent other than the soft hum of the birds and stream of the river.

     It was relatively calm here, or so I thought. I whipped my head towards the direction of black smoke lifting in the air from where a car I had seen until I ran off created a loud crash that drew the birds away.

     On instinct, I ran the opposite direction... but each time the pads of my paws hit the ground in desperation to scramble away, I felt a hinge of regret for flooding the scene. They must have crashed at the sight of me, after all.

     A wave of nostalgia hit me. My heart was pounding. I was scared to investigate what I thought must have been a fire, but what if...


     "I miss Tyler," Maddy said, her eyes scanning the colorful, chalk drawings of what looked like a small, furry animal with large horns upon the wood panels of the treehouse. Tyler had drawn them. He said they were of his imaginary friend.

     "Me too, I miss riding our trikes together," Zack replied with a sigh, then turned his head towards the small door which had been knocked upon, "Maybe that's him."

      Maddy nodded and Zack rose to his feet. He approached the door and opened it, stepping back to reveal their older brother.

      "Tyler! We've been wanting to play with you," Maddy had said in excitement, but her grin quickly fell when she noticed his piercing, red gaze.

      Zack became quiet once he realized what Maddy's expression meant. No, this wasn't Tyler. This must've been that red-eyed impostor.

      "What do you want?" Zack asked, crossing his arms and looking down. Maddy kept her gaze down as well.

      "...I wanted to play," Blurryface replied amid tension. "That's it."

      "We don't want to play with you. We want to play with Tyler. Now get out. You're not welcome until our brother is back," Zack replied with a slight tone of aggression, pointing outside.

      A frown became apparent on Blurryface's expression and he stepped towards them. Maddy immediately stepped back and Zack held out an arm to guard her. Luckily, Jay was too young to climb the treehouse. It was better for him not to be here.

      "Why is it always him?!" Blurryface asked, his eyebrows knitted in anger, "Why can't I play with you guys too?! I'm sick of being alone."

      The pounding out of fear in Zack's chest was loud, but it was the sudden crying that had erupted from his small sister that really caught his attention.

      "Just go away! You're making Maddy scared," Zack snapped back, "We don't care about what you have to say, just give Tyler back!"

      Blurryface's face flushed red in anger. He clenched his fists at the sight before him. Rejection, rejection, rejection. He was tired of it.

      Zack kept his guard and defensive side up. He was scared, especially since Tyler was taller than him by a couple of inches already. Did he have a chance?

      "You know what?" Blurryface said, "I'll leave."

       The younger boy's expression became confused at the older boy's reply. He did not expect Blurryface to cooperate.

       "I'll give you Tyler back too," he said, stepping back towards the doorway. Maddy visually became less tense as he distanced himself from them.

       "Really...?" Zack asked, raising an eyebrow. He was confused.

       "Of course! I don't matter anyway so why not?" Blurryface flashed a smile and stepped out of the doorway and onto the highest step of the wooden ladder. He reached towards the knob of the door and pulled it closed.

         It was silent for a moment and Maddy looked up towards her older brother in confusion.

         "Idiots," Blurryface muttered under his breath, his gaze falling upon the lock on the door. Reaching over, he clasped the lock shut and began to climb down the ladder.

         "That was weird, did he really leave?" Maddy asked, looking up to her second oldest brother.

          Zack looked towards his sister, "I think so."

          The small girl ran towards the window of the treehouse. Getting on her tippy toes, she peeked out of the glass to investigate.

          Blurryface was several feet away, but enough to be seen. He was digging through the bed of their father's pick-up truck.

          Zack stood behind Maddy, confusion written upon his face as he observed their 'older brother.'

          "What's he doing?" the younger sister asked as she tilted her head curiously.

          "I- I don't know," Zack replied.

           Emerging from behind the truck with a gas can in one hand and a box of matches in the other, the red-eyed boy approached the towering treehouse that stood before him.

          "I don't have a good feeling about this, Zacky," Maddie stuttered, clutching onto the older boy's arm as tears welled up in her eyes. Zack grabbed her hand and ran towards the door, lunging to the knob that refused to turn. Immediately, Zack's eyes widened in fear and he pounded upon the wood door, "Hey! Let us out! What are you doing?!"

          Blurryface released the latch upon the gas can, chucking splashes of gasoline upon the floor beneath the treehouse and the structure itself until not a drop left poured back out. Dumping the last few drops, Blurryface threw the empty can nearby.

          "Do you know how tired I am?" the boy shouted towards the window, "I am exhausted! I am tired of being treated like I don't exist! I matter as much as Tyler does! I want to be known and none of you care!" he spat, eyebrows furrowing as anger fueled his desire to reach for a match.

          "W-What are you talking about! Just let us out!" Zack cried out as he ran towards the window to face the aggressive boy.

          "See?! Nobody understands!" Blurryface roared, "Nobody will ever understand! Oh, but I will make you. I will make you understand today!"

          "No! Please don't do this!" Zack shouted in desperation as Maddie began to cry, "Mom!! Dad!! Tyler!! Tyler, are you still in there?! Please! No!"

          Blurryface opened the box of matches, grabbing a single one and admiring the red phosphorus before he struck the match against the side of the box, resulting in a small flame.

          "Tyler! Tyler, no! Come back, big brother, please!!!" cried the boy in a fluster, tears streaming down his cheek as he desperately pounded his fists against the glass of the treehouse window.

           Blurryface released his grip upon the small match which had fallen onto the ground, the fire immediately crawling its way across the premises. Maddie began to shake in fear of her life, digging her face in her brother's shirt to avoid the sight. Zack couldn't believe what he had seen before him: a demonic boy possessing his older brother, the growing fire reflecting in the gleam of his eerily crimson irises. He knew from the first day that wasn't Tyler. Nobody could truly replace Tyler, and Maddie and Zack always felt a cold shiver crawl up their spine when Tyler would succumb to Blurryface's possession. Thick clouds of smoke slowly began to form as the fire crept its way towards the legs of the treehouse.

           The troubled boy watched in admiration as the flames grew, but a fuzzy sensation began to grow in his stomach.

           "Huh?" Blurryface felt his vision grow hazy as he held his forehead, his balance becoming wobbly. Suddenly, the fuzzy feeling overcame him, and it wasn't long before he collapsed onto the ground, the fire just inches from his now unconscious body. 

           "No," Tyler whispered shakily as he stared at the pitch-black that surrounded him, "I won't let you hurt them."

This is not what you're supposed to see.

Please, remember me I am supposed to be King of a kingdom or swinging on a swing.

Something happened to my imagination.

This situation's becoming dire...

My treehouse is on fire and for some reason, I smell gas on my hands.

This is not what I had planned.

This is not what I had planned.


 

          Josh's vision slowly focused as his eyes fluttered open. A sigh left his lips as he shut his eyes closed for a second, a sharp pain radiating throughout his body. A groan left his lips and he carefully rose to sit on his knees. It took a few moments before he realized where he was. An empty... pool? Suddenly, Josh whipped his head around to investigate, only to see Tyler's unconscious body upon the ground nearby. Jenna laid not too far away from him. Sickness pooled in Josh's stomach and he crawled towards their bodies.

         "Jenna! Tyler!" Josh shouted, coughing from the previous black smoke that he was engulfed in, "Please be alive, please be okay... Oh, my God..."

         Suddenly, the sound of small footsteps caught Josh's breath. He lifted his head to see nothing in the distance of the pool, but when he turned his head to peak behind him, he spotted a strange, furry creature observing him.

         "Ah! What the-?! What are you?!" Josh quickly moved backward in concern. The creature seemed just as surprised and as scared, running toward's Tyler's body in an attempt to feel more secure. He nuzzled his small body against Tyler's frame, peeking his eyes out every now and then to catch a glimpse of Josh.

         "H-Hey... Did you get us in here?" Josh asked, his eyebrows knitting in confusion, "How did you even do that? What are we even in here for?"

          The animal remained silent, simply cowering itself as much as it could behind Tyler's back.

          "Right, you can't talk..." Josh said as he rubbed his neck, hissing in pain, "Wait a minute."

           A large, opaquely black eyeball peeked out again, its focus upon Josh.

           "What's that?" Josh pointed to what appeared to be crumpled papers that he held in his paw. Ned's ears lowered as his gaze fell to Tyler's emotionless expression. It left his heart empty, and Ned hesitated for a little while before placing one of the pages upon the ground and scooting it towards Josh. He then quickly returned to his position beside Tyler, and Josh crawled closer, his expression revealing pain from the car wreck, but Josh exerted his body in curiosity. He smoothed out the page and his mouth slightly fell when he realized what he had seen.

          A drawing consisting of colorful crayon scribbles of a child and what seemed to resemble Ned was revealed. The two were drawn holding hands with smiles on their faces, and the text below was obviously written by a child: Tyler & Ned Bayou

          "Wait... Are you telling me Tyler drew this?" Josh asked, lowering the paper to stare directly at Ned in awe. The creature slowly nodded.

           Josh looked to Tyler's unconscious form, then back at Ned, then back at Tyler. "How can this be?"

          As expected, the concerned friend was greeted with silence. A heavy sigh left his lips, "Right... If only you could speak."

          Before Josh could further reply to the strange creature, he erupted into a coughing fit. His throat burned and tears welled in his eyes. The last thing he remembered was choking on smoke inside the car before losing his consciousness. He heaved and slumped against the empty pool floor, wishing that this was all just some nightmare he could wake up from. He curled up against the floor as pain radiated throughout his body and he squeezed his eyes tightly shut, praying to the God above that this would just end. Oh, please, God, let it end.

           Suddenly, the sound of Jenna's voice caught Josh's attention. He perked up, noticing the girl slowly rise in a sitting position as she held her pounding head. Ned had awoken her and stood beside her with what remained of one the papers that Jenna had kept inside of her purse which was beside her when he rescued the two from the car. Many pages were either destroyed or charred, but some pages were left with lots of Tyler's writings still visible. A specific page was found in Ned's hand, and he seemed to push that it was urgent she read it as he placed it near the front of her and scurried back to Tyler's unresponsive form.

           Jenna focused her attention on Ned, then slowly to Josh, then slowly to Tyler. An expression of puzzlement formed on her face, "Josh, what is going on here?" the woman asked in concern, scooting back at the sight of the snowy white mammal. She then whipped her head towards Ned, "What the... You can't be real..."

          "Just read the paper," Josh blurted, his voice urgent. He was curious to see what Ned had given her. It seemed that what Josh received was a puzzle piece, and Josh wanted to know what it was. Jenna remained silent and shocked, repeatedly looking in between the two in uncertainty. It was difficult to fully process the situation considering she just woke up from a daze and since Ned was an animal that she has never seen in her entire life with such demeanors. Jenna slowly unfolded the paper, squinting to read the writing that wasn't kissed by the flames.

          "I'm... a goner," Jenna read aloud. A frown immediately formed at the lyrics, finding the reminder of her husband whom she hadn't been in contact within months heartbreaking, "Somebody catch my breath..."

         Josh felt his heart sink as Jenna's voice grew shaky repeating the verse. She then looked towards Ned with a gaze full of tears, "Why are you making me read this? I just want to find out if we can get Tyler back. Are you telling me this is all that we have left of him?"

         Ned immediately shook his head and pointed to the paper again, suggesting that she continue reading. Josh seemed to catch on to what Ned was trying to imply and caught Jenna's attention by adding, "Jenna, just trust him. He proved to me he knows Tyler. Please. I think we're close to solving this."

         "But, Josh, I-" Jenna's voice cracked as she looked towards her husband's best friend.

         "-Do it." Josh urged, his voice stern.

         After a couple of quiet moments, the blonde wiped away the tear stains upon her cheeks and lifted the paper again to read. She scanned over most of the lines that she could decipher, but after reading over the page, she slowly lowered it to reveal to Josh an expression of confusion, "These are just lyrics to Goner."

         "What do you mean?" Josh asked, his tone full of surprise, "Goner? Maybe that's a hint," he implied, glancing towards Ned for approval, who quickly nodded. "Let me help you if it doesn't hurt too much to move," Josh said before forcing his body to muster through the discomfort of pain from the car accident to seat himself beside Jenna. She scooted closer as well in order to make it easier for him, and then they both investigated the paper. Their eyes continued to scan over the writings, but Jenna felt the frustration in not understanding what Ned was trying to prove.

 

I'm a goner

 

Somebody catch my breath


I'm a goner


Somebody catch my breath


I wanna be known by you


I wanna be known by you

 

I'm a goner


Somebody catch my breath


I'm a goner


Somebody catch my breath


I wanna be known by you


I wanna be known by you

 

Though I'm weak
Beaten down
I'll slip away
Into the sound
The ghost of you
Is close to me
I'm inside out
You're underneath

 

I've got two faces
Blurry's the one I'm not
I've got two faces
Blurry's the one I'm not
I need your help to
Take him out
I need your help to
Take him out

 

Though I'm weak
And beaten down
I'll slip away
Into the sound
The ghost of you
Is close to me
I'm inside out
You're underneath

 

Though I'm weak
And beaten down
I'll slip away
Into the sound
The ghost of you
Is close to me
I'm inside out
You're underneath

 

Don't let me be gone


Don't let me be gone


Don't let me be gone

 

Don't let me be!

 

          After trying to decipher the page for what felt like forever, an idea formed in Josh's head. What is this page's connection to the other page? He placed what Ned had given him besides what he gave to Jenna and looked between both pages. Something was similar between the two, but Josh couldn't quite put his finger on it. For another time, he looked towards Tyler's childhood drawing in hopes that he'd gain creative inspiration from the colorful scribbles to be able to solve the situation. As Josh pondered and pondered, while soft singing left Jenna's lips as she attempted to jog her memory of the song.

          "I wanna be known... by you," Jenna spoke out loud, repeating the lyrics, "I wanna be known... by you."

          Suddenly, a flicker went off in Josh's mind. He quickly looked to Jenna, "Wait, did you say 'by you'?"

          Jenna nodded, then her eyebrows furrowed in curiosity, "Yeah, why?"

          Josh pointed to Tyler's old handwriting which revealed Ned's last name: Bayou. "Do you think he has something to do with this?!"

         Jenna's gaze lightened up for the first time in what seemed like forever, "Well, maybe. Tyler talks about being double-sided, and that Blurryface is underneath."

         "You're right," Josh replied, his entire aura shifting from depressed to inspired, "Perhaps, Blurryface is the 'ghost' he is referring to. He keeps talking about wanting to be known 'by you.' Is that a reference to Ned?"

         "Maybe," Jenna replied before adding, "He also said he needed help to take Blurryface out in reference to 'you.'"

         "Is that our answer...?" Josh asked out loud, slowly turning his head to Ned. Jenna also turned her attention to the jackalope and they both fixated their gaze on him, which caused him to cower behind Tyler's body again. Jenna felt feelings of desperation rise within her, "Please, Ned, please tell us you can help Tyler. You're what can take Blurryface out, right?"

        Ned slowly shook his head, but before Josh and Jenna could reply in dismay, he held out his paw to signal them to be patient before they erupted in complaints. It was at that moment that the jackalope nuzzled his head against Tyler's, and the two stayed silent for a long while as they watched the animal remain still before looking at each other in absolute confusion after several minutes passed. Tyler still remained unconscious.


 

        It was dark here, or at least it was for an unimaginable amount of time before the scenery around me morphed into swirls of bursts of color and light. The sight was described to be what the feeling of creativity would if it were in a physical form. I knew what this was. It had been so long since I last visited this place. Blurryface was here too. I watched his attitude crumble once the pitch-black faded. He can't stand the overload of color. He never could because the feelings on the outside reflected the scenery on the inside, so it was dark when he was in control, but light/colorful when my state of mind was inspired and positive. Something from the outside world was causing this ripple effect. I, on the other hand, loved the sights before me. This must have been what it looked like and what it felt like to Blurryface when my pen coated several pages full of verses I poured my heart into. He couldn't stand my flow, my vitality, the positivity of my being, and it was in those songs that Blurryface told me would never be on the radio. At one point, I realized... why should I listen? My upbringing is his weakness, after all.

       Suddenly, my old imaginary friend, Ned, appeared in the distance. It had been several years since I last saw him. A gasp left my lips and I couldn't help but reach out to him. "Ned," I spoke in surprise, holding out my hand and kneeling so that our heights were closer, "is that you?"

       The jackalope approached me. He had always been naturally wary, but this time, he seemed more willing to be in my presence. There must have been a good reason for him to be so confident. Before I knew it, he was just inches away from me.

       "You were asleep. Time to wake up," Ned spoke before stretching his small arm in my direction, "We must leave, quickly, before Blurryface tries to berate you to keep his control over your vessel."

        Before I could speak, Ned grabbed my wrist and I rose to my feet. We ran in a direction I wasn't familiar with. It felt aimless- I felt that I was going nowhere, but Ned seemed to know how to navigate the map of my mind better than even I did. I hoped that he was guiding me to consciousness, but before I knew it, I was grabbed the back of the collar of my shirt and yanked back. My hand slipped from Ned's paw and I fell to the ground below. The scenery's mood fell to a cloudy gray, and I was lifted into the air by my throat. Deep red eyes peered into mine. I felt myself start slipping as his grip tightened on my throat. The black from his hand was smeared upon my neck and continued to spread and darken the longer I was in his grasp.

        "Let him go!" shouted Ned as he stopped in his tracks.

        "Why should I?! So I can let him walk free? So I can continue to suffer as some 'thought' in the back of someone's head? Fuck that! I'm a person too!" Blurryface spat, his eyebrows furrowed in anger. His expression was full of fury, and Ned could feel his negative energy, but this did not stop him from trying to save Tyler.

        "I understand that you feel that way," Ned replied firmly, then pointed for Blurryface to set Tyler down, "but ultimately, this has always been Tyler's life. Don't you think that you'd always be in control if it weren't? I believe you have a reason to be here, one that has not been revealed yet, but there is one and we will find it. You can hurt him all you want, but at the end of the day, it's both of you as a duo or nothing. Tyler said it himself. It's Tyler and Blurryface, not just one or the other."

         Blurryface's form appeared shaky, and after a long moment, he released his grip and Tyler collapsed to the ground, gasping for air and rubbing his neck which slowly began to return to his natural skin tone. Tears welled in Blurryface's eyes, but he still was furious. He clenched his fists tightly, "You're telling me that we need each other?! I can't stand him!"

         "-He can't stand you either, but it's the truth and you've always known it. Now, accept it. Both of you accept it. You must both exist to balance out, or else, you wouldn't be you, and Tyler wouldn't be Tyler. It's yin and yang," Ned replied, watching as Blurryface's expression contorted into disbelief and more anger, "I know you want to be upset and try to destroy Tyler, and in a sense, that is your job, but if you drive him to his death, you will drive yourself to your own death. Let me give him back to those who miss and love him. It's the right thing to do," Ned replied, moving his gaze to Tyler who rose to his feet, rubbing the mark that Blurryface had left upon his mental form's throat.

         Suddenly, Blurryface's exterior crumbled to pieces. He fell to his knees, streams of hot tears evident upon his cheeks that he so desperately tried to hide. He couldn't hold back any longer. Blurryface had finally been beaten down, for the first time in a way that Tyler's mouth was left slightly open in shock. Blurryface lowered his head and dug his face in his hands, choking back sobs, "I can't let it happen. I want him to stay low. I need control!"

          "It is over, Blurryface. Your torment is over, at least for now," Ned stated, watching as surroundings returned to its bright and colorful state, "You are necessary for Tyler to survive, but I will make sure you will not cause his ultimate demise. We are taking the high road," Ned held onto Tyler's hand once again to continue to lead him away from the negative entity, "We will see you again, but hopefully by then you will have realized that the only way to obtain the 'life' you so desperately want is not by ripping it away from someone else because, ultimately, you'd be ripping it away from yourself. You are selfish, and all you care about is your own well-being, obviously, but aren't you Tyler? Doesn't that mean you should technically be caring for Tyler? Re-evaluate yourself, Nicholas Bourbaki, and we will meet again."

           Blurryface was left in silence by Ned's comment. He was stunned as each word that Ned told him sank in, like a penny falling to the bottom of the pool floor. He watched the two walk away with vision hazed from his previous crying, and within minutes, Tyler and Ned faded from his line of sight.