Search For Solace
Chapter One

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God, he was tired. Exhausted, more like. The absence of sleep and the constant need for relentless energy could do that to a person, so he'd discovered. The others, also exhausted, had gone up earlier to get some rest. He, on the other hand, had stayed another hour to sign autographs and take pictures. The charming smile and the silky blonde hair had been quite popular that evening, and he was always able to draw energy from the fans.

That particular thought struck him as ironic, present condition considered, and he rubbed a tired hand across his face to clear his head. He sighed heavily and recalled his surroundings only ten minutes before.

The great Nick Carter. If only they knew...

He shook his head as the elevator dinged, indicating his stop. He cast a weary smile in his bodyguard's direction, and the two parted as soon as the metal doors opened. Nick frowned thoughtfully.

Billy looked tired too, and Nick smiled briefly at the thought. He loved the fans, but their persistence annoyed and exasperated his bodyguard to no end. It had been cruel to keep the man for an hour after he had fought back hordes of teenagers for the entire show, but the fans had been great that night. Nick's smile returned as he realized that it had been a great show all around.

He was still exhausted, though.

He wasn't at all far from his hotel room when he heard it--blood-curdling screams and the cracking sound of a successful slap. For a moment, he felt rooted to the spot, and his eyes began scanning the hallway for the source of the noise.

When he heard the sickening thud of a body against the wall, his breath caught in his throat.

My God, I should call someone...

For a moment afterwards, everything was silent, and he wondered if he'd been hearing things. Before he could continue on his way, though, another scream ripped through the silence, and a flash of light erupted from beneath the door on his left. He turned towards it immediately, and moments later a woman emerged, shutting the door gently behind her. His eyes widened, and he felt a strange churning in his stomach. Instinct took over, however, and before he could stop to think, he found himself calling out to the woman.

"Ma'am, are you all right?"

She turned to face him and, for a brief second, the two locked gazes. She turned away just as quickly, though, and her hands shook as she walked speedily away from him. The walk became a jog and then a sprint, and then she vanished. She hadn't turned a corner--of that he was sure. She had simply vanished into thin air.

His blue eyes widened again and he blinked a few times to clear his vision, dipping his chin in disbelief. He stood that way for awhile, just staring down the hall where she should have been, and then slowly shook his head and continued to his room.

He was tired. No, he was exhausted. Exhausted and delusional.

He was seeing things, he was sure. He was hallucinating. 

I HAVE to be hallucinating. If I'm not, then that would mean...

He shook his head. No, he was definitely hallucinating.

Either way, he barely slept at all that evening.