drown it all out

rating: +7+x

The picture wasn't anything all that special. A tree from some Christmas long forgotten.

Except he didn't forget. Yes, he forgot the years in between, but that Christmas from so long ago was still drilled into his mind.

The gift he intended to give was honesty. He had just wanted to tell them how he felt, and that constant whisper in the back of his head reminded him of all the times they had made it clear that this was unacceptable. He just hadn't expected how hard that would hit when when those whispers morphed into the yelling of his father in front of the Christmas tree.

He had obviously planned ahead. His bag was packed in his room, and his window was open. Despite the fact that he was on the second floor, he had a very clear route of escape. The picture he had shoved into his pocket was entirely forgotten. As he slid as quietly as possible off of the roof, he felt the cold as it stung his face, attempting to freeze the tears that he had tried pitifully to wipe away. He landed in the frigid snow with a soft crunch.

To say he didn't look back would be a lie. On one hand, he had to make sure they weren't following him. On the other, he wondered if they would miss him. His father had made it excessively clear that he wouldn't. His mother's disgusted face confirmed the same. But what about his little brother? He would grow up, most likely blocking this Christmas out of his memory. He knew the feeling. He remembered when his sister had left. He had almost forgotten the sound of her voice. They only ever spoke through text now.

This year's Christmas was ironically beautiful. He looked up while walking, watching snowflakes dance through the air, lit by flickering yellow streetlights. He could feel the snow melting into his curly dark hair, and the sting of water was very much welcome to distract him from his thoughts. His eyes began to focus on the light he was approaching, and his ears focused on the buzzing, painfully droning on.

Eventually, he stopped hearing the snow crunch under his feet. His ears were filled as the manic buzzing continued. The yellow light morphed into a yellow ceiling. He was inside now, still covered in quickly melting snowflakes. His chest grew tight with panic. Whipping his head around, he saw and heard nothing but a sickening, nostalgic ambiance.

He was panicking. He was supposed to be at his boyfriend's. He had planned ahead, and now he was here, and he was lost, and fuck, would someone turn off that noise?


Now, he took his red thumbtack and pinned the picture to the wall of one of 6.1's many rooms (an empty one, he made sure). He had managed to get a decent Christmas feast set up this year and set it out in front of him.

He stopped praying years ago. It wasn't immediate, as he somehow still wanted to not disappoint them. Wanted to live up to his name.

"Christian".

It was obnoxious to name your kid after an entire religion, he thought.

He went by Chris, now, and it was freeing. Exhilarating.

He began to dig in, stuffing his face with vending machine snacks and downing one too many bottles of vodka he had snatched from a bar he had stumbled upon. Getting through this night sober had become more and more difficult until it became impossible. The morning after would hurt like hell, sure, but Chris could just lie here in this corner until it all went away. Every painful memory erased until next year came around, and then? He would simply do it all over again.

This pattern had Chris in a death grip, and Chris wasn't exactly fighting to escape. He found it calming, actually, as if it were some kind of routine. He wouldn't abandon this yearly ritual until the Backrooms finally claimed the last thing he had.

He sure as hell hoped that would be soon.

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