sesshysshewolf asked: If Tanim and Daren were to have terrible, nasty, drug-induced (or otherwise) hallucinations, what sorts of horrible things would they each hallucinate about?

Oh my. You don’t waste any time getting to the dark stuff, do you my dear? Well, then I won’t shy away from the details in my answer.

There is no doubt that Daren would hallucinate about being violated. He already suffers from frequent night terrors in which he is attacked and brutalized; hallucinogenic drugs would only exacerbate his often tenuous mental stability. But unlike in Daren’s nightmares, where he can struggle until some physical sensation jars him awake and thus frees him from the dream, there would be no escape from the hallucination. He would be trapped in his own mind, being savaged and dismembered but unable to wake, to die, or to engineer any other sort of escape. He would be paralyzed in an endless, agonizing loop until the drugs finally worked through his system. Daren’s attacker(s) could take a variety of forms in the hallucination. Sometimes Daren dreams that there are monstrous creatures with ragged claws and foul, reeking mouths tearing him apart. Sometimes he dreams he is being devoured by wolves or picked clean by carrion birds. Most often, however, he dreams that his molester has taken human form. He dreams about a heavy body that forces him down, choking him with its stench of alcohol and sweat. I believe this last possibility is the form his hallucination would take; a monster with human arms, a human voice, but fingers that violate and a mouth that breathes fire and cigarette smoke. And if Daren were with Tanim during the hallucination, his disoriented mind would transform Tanim into his attacker. Any touch of Tanim’s hands, even to soothe Daren or keep him from physically harming himself in his panic, would be twisted by the hallucination into hands restraining him, clawing at his flesh, prying him open. In such a mindless state, Daren would be completely incapable of comprehending Tanim’s words, or of differentiating between a touch to help and a touch to harm. Engulfed in darkness and madness, he would lose all sense of time and space, and would have no idea where (or even quite possibly who) he was. To be honest, I’m not sure Daren could emerge from such an episode undamaged. I think it might break him completely, or at least further cripple him emotionally and mentally (and possibly even physically, given his body’s already weakened state). If the hallucination were strong enough and lasted long enough, he might not be able to completely return to reality afterwards. He might continue to believe the hallucination had been real, even when presented with evidence to the contrary.

[ An example of just such a dream ]

Unlike Daren’s hallucination, which would most likely be an amplification of his recurrent nightmares, Tanim’s hallucination could take on a number of forms. He might imagine he was drowning, icy black water closing over his head and flooding his lungs. He might imagine that a creature with the face of an angel and the eyes of a demon plunged its fingers into his chest and ripped out his hot, bloody heart. He might imagine the weight of great wings upon his back, and turn a knife on his own flesh to sever feather and bone. I believe, however, that Tanim would most likely hallucinate a strange mockery of himself. He would hallucinate a monster in human form, in his form, but subtly twisted. Wrong. Distorted. It would mirror his every feature, right down to his tempest eyes and gentle voice, but for one major detail: where in Tanim’s chest beats a strong and healthy heart, in his doppelganger’s chest there would be only a gaping hole, a ragged wound still oozing putrid blood. The monstrous reflection of Tanim would smile so softly as it revealed the identity of the heart thief – Daren, his beloved, his world. If Tanim were with Daren during the hallucination, his heartless otherself would strive to convince him that the only way to reclaim his heart, to be whole again, would be to destroy Daren. After all, Tanim’s love for Daren has always bordered on obsessive. He might easily be convinced not only that Daren will leave him if given the chance, but also that Daren is the source of his misery and madness and hunger (for every lie has a seed of truth, yes?). Take Daren’s life and he might both reclaim his free will and keep Daren as his own forever. Under the influence of any mind-altering substance, Tanim would lose his ability to separate reality from metaphor and longing; not a particularly comforting prospect, given his obsession with Daren and belief that death is not an end in itself, but a means of transcendence and transformation. He might even believe that they were any number of different people, such as the ill-fated Sun and Moon, slightly reminiscent of their different manifestations in various fragments. There is a good chance, therefore, that Tanim would try to physically harm Daren during the hallucination.

[ An example of Tanim’s twisted self ]

Both scenarios are just lovely, aren’t they? XD Thank you for your question; I hope I answered it!

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