Seeking Solace – Zak

Zak sat in his dungeon. It was the only place where he felt normal. Only in here was he himself. Outside… out there everything was different. He didn’t feel like he owned himself anymore. His soul had abandoned him to live in this dungeon and it had been replaced by those that he chased.

But the voices never stopped. It was a constant cacophony in his head: male, female, child, demon. They made him want to do things- hurt himself… hurt other people. Aaron never understood why Zak would disappear for a whole day down into his dungeon. He would try to drag him out only to be met with an emotional mess or a completely distant person. Either way, Aaron would hold him and tell him stupid stories and jokes that he had told him a million times. Zak smiled because he knew he should. That’s what Aaron wanted. But the voices were worse when he was this close to someone he cared so deeply about. Sheer willpower kept him from doing the things the voices suggested. He couldn’t tell Aaron that. He didn’t want to scare the man away. It was this closeness that kept that willpower strong.

Nick, on the other hand, would keep his distance. He knew. He had his own demons that he couldn’t share with anyone. Zak had no idea how he did it- going home to a wife and kid and acting like Mr. Happy Dad. There were days where he barely held himself together. Nick would come over on the days when he just need to escape, as he put it, and they would lay in Zak’s bed, just staring at the ceiling. Sometimes Nick would try to talk to him and Zak was never actually sure if he answered him the way he wanted him to. Nick would just nod or move on to the next question or topic of conversation. It was a silent agreement almost that their conversations never lingered on the things that haunted them.

The voices were the strongest when he was around them. Zak could go out to the Vegas casinos, over to his mother or sister’s house and be perfectly content, happy almost. But once he was with Nick or Aaron, the voices returned. It was almost as if they recognized them. When the three were together, it was nearly unbearable. There were times when Zak wasn’t sure that the voice coming out of his mouth was his own.

So whenever he could, he locked himself away in this dungeon. His own soul lurked down here somewhere. Maybe one day he would find it and somehow bribe it back into his body. Until then, he was left with those of the already deceased, needing comfort or needing to feel the flesh surrounding them again. Either way he didn’t like it. So he sank himself into his chair in the deep darkness, feeling the souls leave his body, returning to the sanctuary he built for them. Sighing, Zak closing his eyes to the world around him, wondering when he let his body become an empty vessel for the damned.

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