Bells will be ringing
The glad, glad news
Oh, what a Christmas
To have the blues
My baby’s gone
I have no friends
To wish me greetings
The next time Jason opened his eyes, he did so slowly, peeking out from beneath his lids for any type of strange look from his penthouse or perhaps a strange person wandering near the couch. When he only saw the dark empty space, he breathed a sigh of relief, opened his eyes fully and started to sit up.
Standing near the door, hidden by shadows a figure stood. Jason jumped, startled. “Who are you?” he demanded.
The figure said nothing. Jason squinted to see him more clearly but could only make out the dark cloak they wore. “I guess you’re the representative from the Ghost of Christmas Future,” he muttered. He scrubbed his hands over his eyes and swung his legs over the side of the couch to stand. “Let’s get this over with.”
The figure held out his hand and Jason frowned before crossing the room and reaching for it. A little silence after the headache of Brenda was actually nice. He wondered what the future could possibly bring that would be worse than the present he’d just visited.
The swirling mists were familiar to him by now and he recognized the location that materialized as they faded away. It was Kelly’s diner and his sister was sitting at a table across from Sonny. Jason frowned–he would have thought that friendship would have faded once Carly came home. He blinked. Maybe Carly hadn’t come home at all.
“I’m worried,” Future Emily said softly. She reached for Sonny’s hand and Jason noticed the sparkle of a ring he didn’t recognize on her finger. “He’s been so…lost.”
Future Sonny took her hand and covered it with his other. “He’ll find his way back, Em. He’s stronger than he looks.”
“I suppose.” Emily smiled down at their hands. “Our first Christmas together,” she murmured. “It would be so perfect if he were there.”
“It’s too much for him,” Sonny told her. He stood and kissed her hand. “I have to get back to the warehouse. I’ll see you at home?”
“Of course.” Emily tilted her face up and gave Jason a jolt of shock as Sonny leaned down to kiss her.
“What the hell?” Jason demanded of the shrouded figure. “When did that happen?”
The figure didn’t answer. He only extended his hand again. Casting a dark look back at the scene, Jason took it and gratefully let the two people fade away.
An apartment faded in next–he didn’t recognize this one and felt almost closed in at the small size. It was little more than one room with a kitchenette in the corner, an open door leading to a very tiny bathroom and a bed in the opposite corner with a small crib next to it. A shabby couch and battered television completed the look and Jason began have to a very bad feeling about the whole thing.
It was confirmed when he glanced at the newspaper addressed to Elizabeth Spencer and realized it the newspaper for Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He frowned and looked back at the irritatingly silent figure, “She moved?” he demanded.
The door opened and Elizabeth walked in, tugging Cameron the toddler behind her. Her son was crying loudly and Elizabeth, looking thinner than he could have thought possibly, tried to pick him up but her weak arms only got him as high as the couch where she left him, too exhausted to think straight.
She collapsed next to him and closed her eyes. The faint shadows he’d seen earlier that day were now dark. Her eyes were nearly sunken in and she looked so unhealthy he wanted to lift her in his arms and take her to the nearest hospital.
“What happened to her?” Jason demanded. “Lucky had life insurance, didn’t he? She has friends and family back in PC. Why is she here all alone?”
The figure didn’t answer and Jason began to wonder what the ramifications might be if he applied just the right amount of pressure to the neck of the representative of the Ghost of Christmas Future.
Elizabeth looked at the still crying Cameron and sighed. “I’m sorry, baby. I know you were looking forward to a tree but Mommy’s last check bounced and we can’t afford it.”
“Presents?” Cameron sniffled. “G.I. Joe doll?”
Elizabeth bit her lip and shook her head. “No, I’m sorry, baby. Maybe next year.”
Jason shook his head. He wouldn’t let his happen to her. The future wasn’t here yet, he could keep her from going to Pittsburgh, he could give her anything she needed. She didn’t deserve this –she deserved anything but this.
The figure held out his hand again and Jason took it, resolved to keep at least this from coming true.
He took Jason to a cemetery next. Jason felt a chill go down his spine. “Why are we here?” he asked. A thought occurred to him then and it nearly made him pitch to his knees. “Have I died?” he asked.
The figure gestured to a nearby gravestone and Jason stepped towards it to read the letters.
It wasn’t his.
April 12, 1973 – March 29, 2005
Jason sank to his knees and stared at the headstone. “She’s dead?” he whispered. “How?”
When no answer was forthcoming, Jason got to his feet and grabbed at the cloaked figure. “Damn you!” he growled. He yanked the figure towards him. “Give me some damn answers!”
The figure wrestled himself from Jason’s grip and took a few steps back. He lowered his hood.
“Well, well, little brother,” an unfamiliar man sneered. “It’s so nice to see you lose that legendary control.”
Jason scowled. “And who the hell are you? I’m getting a little sick and tired of all of this–”
“You don’t know your own brother?” the man remarked. “After all, I’m the one who smashed your head into a rock and turned you in the fine upstanding citizen that you are now.”
Jason exhaled slowly. “AJ.”
AJ nodded. “That’s right. They thought it would be…” he smirked, “amusing if I were the one to give you all this happy news.” He gestured towards the headstone. “Carly committed suicide by the way. Couldn’t have happened to a more deserving bitch. Emily nursed Sonny through his neverending guilt and he was there for her when you became incommunicado because that whore of yours cheated on you. You disappeared from Port Charles and haven’t even come home once.” He shoved the cloak off and put his hands on his hips, making a circle around Carly’s grave. “As for poor Nurse Spencer, after her husband died, she found out she was pregnant–again. She miscarried–again–and this time, she found out she can’t have any more kids.” AJ’s eyes were sad now. “She was devastated naturally. And then her grandmother died. Nikolas was caught up in his own grief, in his own life and so was Emily. She had no one. So she took a low paying job in Pittsburgh after cut backs at the hospital here made her lose her job.” He shrugged. “You see what being selfish does to you, Golden Boy?”
“Go to hell,” Jason muttered. He looked away. “I want to go home.”
“Home to what?” AJ shrugged. “A cheating whore? A suicidal insane best friend? Another best friend who’s so wrapped up in his own life and seducing our little sister that he doesn’t care about your pain? Or how about to the widowed mother who lost her entire world because the life you lead?” He snorted. “What’s there to go home to?”
He walked away from Jason and bled into the mists until there was only Jason left in a cold cemetery with Carly’s headstone peering up at him in the moonlight.
Jason exhaled slowly and stared at the stone, wondering what had finally driven his friend to this ending. She’d always seemed stronger than this–how could he have let this happen to her? How could he have let any of this happen to the people in his life?
None of this was really happening, Jason decided. He would wake up and he would call Sam, and she’d be asleep. In her hotel room, like she was supposed to be. Emily and Nikolas would get remarried, Carly would come home healthy…and Elizabeth would have the life and family she deserved.
None of this could be happening.
He closed his eyes and willed himself to wake up.