LPfiction

Category Linkin Park

Truth Inside A Lie by Emma Shinoda

Truth Inside A Lie

A/N: Hey guys! So, I will still be updating Sometimes I Don't Make Sense (hopefully soon) but this idea came to me and I wanted to write it down, so here it is! This is drastically different from what I usually write, but I wanted to try something new. I'm really out of my element with this, so I would really love if you leave a rate/review and let me know your thoughts. Anyways, on with the story!


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"Hey, Mikey. It's about time you got here!" I smile as I greet my new friend and bandmate.


He laughs and shakes his head at my nickname for him. "Am I the last one here?"


"Yeah. Come on in, I'll show ya around before we get started." I motion towards the living room, reaching out to ruffle his hair when he walks past me.


I've only been part of Hybrid Theory for about a month, but it's been the best month of my life. After I flew out to Los Angeles for my audition, it took just two days before I was officially a member of the band. Since then I've been meeting with them five times a week to write new songs and re-record their old ones.


I've also been looking for a place to live out here, and today is our first band meeting at my new apartment. I have to admit, it's nice having people over. It's been pretty lonely in LA, since the only people I know out here are my five band mates. I offered to fly my wife, Sam, out here to stay with me, but she insisted on staying in Arizona to be close to her parents.


After showing Mike around, I wander back into the living room, where the rest of the guys are.


"So, guys, I have some new lyrics written down for-" I pause, looking around the room and noticing someone missing. "Where's Joe?"


"He went to the bathroom." Dave answers me.


I nod, deciding Joe can catch up when he comes back. "So I have new lyrics for Now I See."


I give Brad the paper, since he's sitting closest to me, gesturing for him to pass it around when he's done reading. I watch each of them scrutinize the words before silently handing it to the next person. My nerves begin to grow the closer the note gets to Mike. I fear his rejection the most, since he's pretty much the master lyricist of the band.


My hands are shaking while Mike reads, and I do my best to steady them when he hands the paper back to me. I watch them all stare at me, wondering why no one has said anything.


It's my wavering voice that eventually breaks the silence. "Well? It's just uh, just another idea for the chorus. If ... if you don't like them, we don't have to use them..."


Mike gives me a serious look, reaching across the coffee table and placing a hand on my knee. I close my eyes at the touch, preparing for a tongue-lashing.


"Chester ... those lyrics are fucking brilliant!"


My eyes snap open and my jaw drops in surprise. I was not expecting that at all. I guess I'm still getting used to the way these guys communicate.


I can't help but beam back at Mike as he smiles at me, before he pulls out our other lyric sheet, deciding how to blend the new words into our song. I look at the others and find them nodding their approval, all their smiling faces on me now and making me feel a little embarrassed at the attention.


My smile drops though, when I remember something. "Wait, hold on a minute!"


Rob looks up at me with a raised eyebrow. "What's wrong?"


"Nothing, just ... don't you think we should wait 'til Joe comes back before we decide to change the song?"


As soon as the words leave my mouth, the guys all turn to stare at me as if I've just sprouted a second head.


"Who?"


I'm not sure which one of them asked the question, but it doesn't matter, since they all share the same look of bewilderment.


"You know, Joe..." I venture, feeling nervous under their gazes. "Shouldn't we wait until he comes back from the bathroom?"


Mike shakes his head, like he's trying to clear his thoughts. "Chester, who is Joe?"


I'm starting to get irritated now. It takes a minute before I can talk without yelling at them, which I'm sure wouldn't be wise, since I'm such a new addition to the group.


"Joe, our DJ. He was here earlier, Dave said ten minutes ago that he went to the bathroom. Remember?" I throw my arms up, exasperated.


The guys turn to each other, shrugging as they search for any recollection of having a DJ in the band.


"Chester..." Dave says, looking scared now, "I never said that. Did ... did you invite someone else over?"


"Look," I start, hand shaking as I point at them, "If this is some kind of inside joke, it's not funny anymore. I get it, making fun of the new guy, but come on. Let's stop it now."


Dave just gives a helpless shrug and sinks back into the couch. We all stare at each other, unsure what to say, until an idea comes to me.


"Okay, I'm gonna go get Joe. I'll go get him and bring him back in here, and then you guys will remember. Right?"


Relief floods over me when they nod. It's a very hesitant nod, but I'll take it. I stand up, walking down the hall and through the bedroom that leads to the only bathroom in the apartment. I knock on the door and call out to him.


"Joe? You alright in there?"


No answer.


I press my ear against the door, listening for any sign of our missing DJ, but I hear nothing.


"Joe? Joe, I'm coming in there, okay?"


Again, I wait for an answer, but getting none, I grab the doorknob and try to turn it. I curse under my breath, finding it locked.


Shit.


I'm starting to panic now. I need to get in there and make sure he's okay...


I rush back into my bedroom, frantic in my search for the key to the bathroom door. By the time I've found it I've torn the room apart, but that's the furthest thing from my mind right now.


I find myself hesitating in front of the door, scared of what I'll find. With a deep breath and a firm nod, I push the key into the lock, twisting it and letting the door swing open on its own. And what I see makes my stomach churn.


Joe is nowhere to be found, the large window wide open and the bathroom a wreck. Towels are strewn everywhere, the shower partly running, a steady stream of water hitting the tiled floor. But worse, is the blood. There's blood everywhere. It's soaking the towels, it's splattered across the mirrors and shower walls, and it's pooled into little puddles on the floor. In the middle of the largest puddle sits a razor blade.


I don't remember screaming, but when I stumble backwards in shock, Mike is there to catch me, the rest of the guys peering around the corner wide-eyed.


"Ch-Ches ... Chester, what happened!?" Mike gapes at me, his fear and shock mirroring my own.


"I-I don't know!" I croak, starting to become hysterical. "Oh ... oh god, what happened to Joe?"


Brad pipes up from around the corner, "Chester, are you sure someone named Joe was in here?"


I shrug Mike off, stalking towards Brad and narrowing my eyes in an angry glare.


"Of course I'm fucking sure he was in there! And I'm fucking sick of you all acting like he doesn't fucking exist! He was there when I auditioned, he was with us in the studio, and he was here today!"


"Okay, okay." Rob steps in and places a hand on my shoulder, trying to calm me down. "We believe you. But maybe you should lie down for a bit, and relax, yeah?"


I nod, too drained to argue, and let Dave lead me back into the living room, helping me settle on the couch. Behind me I can still hear Mike, Brad, and Rob talking by the bathroom in hushed whispers.


"Should we uh, clean this up?" Mike asks.


"No," Brad replies, "Don't touch it. Someone call 911, maybe they can test the blood and find out who Joe is..."


Rob sighs. "I'll go call."


I open my eyes when I feel a dip in the couch, and I find Rob staring down at me.


"Hey Ches, where is your phone?" He murmurs, brushing some hair out of my eyes.


I try to answer, but it comes out as a choked mumble. Instead I wave my hand, directing him into the kitchen. He nods and stands up, his footsteps being the last thing I remember before drifting into a restless sleep.


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I begin to stir, sitting up from the couch when I hear a door slam.


"Guys?" I call, hoping someone will answer, but no one does.


Frowning, I stand up and walk over to the kitchen window. All of the guys' cars are missing from the parking lot. I guess they got tired of waiting for me to wake up. I wonder if they ever called 911? I pick up my phone to call Mike, but change my mind, deciding I'll wait until tomorrow.


My stomach starts growling, so I turn my attention to finding something to eat. I open my fridge, scratching my head in confusion when I realize all the shelves are empty.


Strange.


I could've sworn I went grocery shopping just yesterday. I open all of the kitchen cabinets, finding them empty too. I think about ordering takeout, but I don't know the number to any of the places out here, and I can't find the damn phone book anywhere.


With a frustrated groan, I grab a glass and fill it with water from the sink, too tired to do anything else. I make a mental note to go shopping tomorrow, then head to my room to get ready for bed.


I stop and look in the bathroom, finding it exactly the same as the last time I saw it. I sigh, knowing I won't be able to sleep until this mess is cleaned up. I grab some paper towels and soap, and return to the bathroom.


I turn the shower off, then gather up all the towels and stuff them in a garbage bag. There's no way those blood stains are coming out. Looks like I'll be buying new linens tomorrow too. I stop and scowl at the razor still lying on the floor; for some reason it makes me feel very unsettled.


I reach down to pick it up, and as soon as my fingers make contact with the sleek metal, a vision begins playing in my head, like a scene out of a movie.


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"Chester!"


A strange voice, calling my name. I try to look around for the source of the voice, but it's completely dark.


"Chester!"


It sounds closer now, but somehow distorted; like it's not human.


"Chester, have you forgotten about me already?"


A shiver runs down my spine at its mocking tone. It sounds like the voice is above me. Like it's coming from the ceiling. This thing is definitely not human. I get out of bed, feeling along the wall for a light switch, but I find nothing.


"You have forgotten about me, haven't you?"


This thing is scaring me now. Its sinister tone cuts into me, making my blood run colder at every syllable it utters. I feel all around the room for a door, a light ... hell, anything. But there's nothing here. Nothing but me, the voice, and a room full of darkness.


"Who are you!?" I scream.


It just laughs at my question. "Me? I'm your best friend, Chazzy. And I'm also your worst nightmare..."


How the fuck does this thing know my nickname? Only Samantha calls me that...


"I know everything about you, Chazzy." It chirps, as if it's reading my mind. "I've known you a long time..."


My legs buckle underneath me, sending me crashing down to my knees. I stare up at the ceiling through the darkness, as if that'll help me figure everything out.


"H-how have you known me so long?" I venture with a trembling voice. "I don't remember you!"


"They're trying to make you forget me, Chester. They don't want you to be free. They want to keep you prisoner. But I'll never leave you, Chazzy. I'll always be here!"


Just as the voice fades, a door opens, letting light flood the room. A woman stares at me with a look of confusion and concern. Maybe even a little fear. She speaks something I can't hear into a walkie-talkie, and a minute later a man enters the room.


He doesn't say anything, just enters the room and glares down at me with a look of disdain. He shakes his head, grabbing my arm and jerking me up to a standing position. He takes a needle from the woman, causing me to gasp and try to break away from him, but his firm grip doesn't give me much leverage.


I scream and plead for him to stop, to leave me be, but he doesn't listen. He stabs the needle into my neck, ignoring my hysterical crying, and he grunts when my fist comes in contact with his stomach. He narrows his eyes at me, twisting my arm behind my back and making me yell in pain.


He drags me towards the bed and roughly pushes me onto it, before leaving the room and slamming the door shut behind him. I hear it lock from the outside, then footsteps walking away. I quiet down and lay on the uncomfortable bed, silent tears still streaking down my face.


I wish for the voice to come back, just so I wouldn't feel so alone, but it's gone. Everything's gone...


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I shudder as I stare at the razor in my hand, a whimper escaping my lips at the strange vision I just had. What was all that? What the fuck is happening to me?


I get rid of the damn razor as fast as I can, throwing it across the room and trying to stop myself from shaking. I lean back against the bathroom wall for support, sliding down it since my legs refuse to hold me up any longer.


I look around in a blank stare, watching with mild interest as the blood still slides down the tiled shower wall. I can hear the faint ringing of sirens, but they sound blurry and out of focus, so my brain doesn't fully process them. My eyes begin to close, and suddenly I'm tired. I'm so tired...


I slump further down against the wall, giving in to my fatigue and falling asleep amidst all of the mess; which somehow seems very appropriate.


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When I wake up again I'm laying in an unfamiliar bed. I open my eyes and look around, a silent gasp escaping my lips when I realize where I am. A hospital. I'm about to yell out for help, but the sight of a policeman and a doctor in my room stops me. They have their backs to me, engaged in a serious conversation.


The doctor turns around to check on me, and I close my eyes, pretending I'm still unconscious. After he turns over both my wrists, he walks back over to the police officer, resuming their conversation.


It's hard to hear what they're saying over the beeping of the machines I'm hooked up to, but I make out a few phrases.


"Alone in his apartment..."


"Slit both his wrists..."


"Neighbor heard him screaming..."


No.


No, that can't be right. I sit up when they leave the room, shivering and trying to remember what happened; only bits and pieces coming back to me. I ... I was with my band. I invited them over to my new apartment, and then ... Joe went missing. And then the bathroom...


They must have mistaken the blood in the bathroom for mine. But if that's the case, then does that mean they didn't find Joe? And what happened to the rest of the guys? I groan in frustration and fall back down on the bed, closing my eyes at the migraine clawing its way into my head, jumbling my thoughts even more. Just when I think I'm about to lose it, I hear footsteps. I open my eyes, finding Mike and Rob staring back at me.


Thank God.


"Hey guys..." I sigh in relief, offering them a weak smile, which they return.


"How are you feeling?"


"I could be better," I chuckle. "Where are Brad and Dave?"


They exchange an uncomfortable glance with each other before turning back to me.


"Who?"


Oh fuck, not this again...


"Our band mates, Dave and Brad." I sigh, exasperated. "Did they ever find Joe?"


Mike holds up his hand to quiet me. "Hold on, Chester. What do you mean, band mates? What band are you talking about?"


I gasp, staring at Mike wide eyed. He can't be serious? He's the glue that holds our band together, and he's forgotten about it?


"Hybrid Theory!" I yell desperately. "Our band, Hybrid Theory!"


Mike just shrugs and looks at Rob. "Never heard of them. Have you?"


Rob shakes his head. He actually just shook his fucking head. What is going on!?


"Okay, if you've never heard of Hybrid Theory then how do you know me?"


Ha, that should stump them.


"Uh, Chester," Rob sputters, "We've been best friends since high school."


My whole body goes limp at that statement. Why is everyone suddenly going batshit crazy!?


"NO WE HAVEN'T!" I scream, stunning them into taking a few steps back, but I'm too upset to care.


"I just fucking moved here a month ago! I only came here so I could audition for your stupid band!"


Shit, they look really scared now.


"Um, maybe we should leave now..." Mike mutters.


Rob nods his head in agreement, and before I can say another word they're gone.


I shake my head, jamming my finger into the button that calls the nurse and wiping away angry, frustrated tears with the back of my hand. It's only then that I notice the bandages suspiciously wrapped around both my wrists.


I look up when a nurse comes rushing into my room.


"Sir?"


"Uh, I had visitors in here a minute ago. Two guys, one with black hair and one with red hair. They just left a minute ago, could you call them and ask them to come back?"


Fuck, now the nurse is looking at me like I'm crazy.


"Sir, there haven't been any visitors to this room today."


I immediately shake my head at her, struggling not to lose my temper.


"Yes, there was. My two friends, Mike and Rob. They were just here!"


"We monitor any visitors from the nurse's station. I assure you, no one has been in here besides doctors and other authorized personnel."


Okay, this is going nowhere. "Oh, well um ... thanks for checking." I mumble, trying to get her to leave.


I need to get out of here.


She hesitates, giving me an uneasy look, but I smile my most innocent smile and she shakes her head, walking away.


As soon as she's gone I stand up, quickly unhooking all the machines I'm attached to. Once I'm free I find my clothes in the corner and change into them, trying to look as inconspicuous as possible. I pull up the hood on my jacket, walking out of the room and past the nurse's station, praying that no one will recognize me.


Once I'm outside I breathe a sigh of relief, letting my tense shoulders relax. It's raining, but the water is refreshing after being in that damn, stuffy hospital.


For a few minutes I feel lost, wondering where to go. I need to find Mike and Rob, and the rest of the guys too. The studio we record at sounds like a good place to start, and if I remember right, it's only a ten minute walk from the hospital.


Okay, so I was wrong. Ten minutes turn into twenty, and then thirty, before I finally find the damn place. I'm exhausted and dizzy for some reason, the rain that earlier felt refreshing now seeming to pour down just to spite me. I almost limp into the studio, stopping at the front desk to ask if my band mates are here.


The secretary looks up at me with a sympathetic smile while I shiver in my wet clothes. "Name and studio number?"


"Chester Bennington, I'm not sure which studio number. My band is called Hybrid Theory."


"Okay, let me check."


She types a few things into her computer, frowning a few seconds later. I watch her backspace and type something else in, her forehead creasing at the screen.


"I'm sorry, but there's nothing coming up for 'Chester Bennington' or 'Hybrid Theory'. Can you confirm the spelling for me?"


I glance at the screen and verify the already-correct spelling with a sigh.


"Can you try my friend's names?"


She nods, and one by one I list the names, none of them coming up in the computer system. My hands start to sweat more with each name that she tries. I can tell she's starting to get impatient with me, but I decide to ask one more thing.


"Okay, can I just speak to Jeff Blue? He's the one who signed us, so he should remember me."


She gives me a skeptical look, bordering on suspicious. "Sir, there is no one in the company named Jeff Blue."


"Yes there is!" I argue, "I know there is! I've met him, he signed my band-"


She tries to interrupt me, but I persist. I can't leave here without talking to Jeff...


"I have his business card!" I almost shout, and dig into my pocket for my wallet.


I feel her glare on me while I search through my wallet in a fury, cursing when I find it completely empty.


"I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to ask you to leave."


"No! I won't leave until I talk to Jeff! Please, it's really important that I talk to him!"


She shakes her head and calls for security. Shit. I growl in frustration, rushing out of the studio and down the street before the guards can have their way with me.


Fuck. Now what am I supposed to do? Stuck alone in this God-forsaken city, the only people I know suddenly just vanishing...


I keep walking. To where, I don't know. But I feel like I have to keep moving. The thought occurs to me to return to my apartment, but as hard as I try I can't remember where it is anymore.


I groan, starting to become dizzy the longer I walk. I think I've seen these buildings before too. God, I'm probably walking in circles. It's getting hard to breathe now, this damn rain that won't stop pouring, almost suffocating me. I need to find some shelter. Fast.


I glance across the street, even that action now exhausting me, and the first thing I see is a police station. Well, it's better than nothing. I trudge towards the place, feeling my steps starting to stagger. Not good.


I walk inside, finding it strange that I'm the only person here. Isn't LA supposed to have a high crime rate? My gaze drops into a glare when I notice how the man at the front desk is looking at me. Confusion. Irritation. Disgust.


"I'm sorry, but the homeless shelter is down the street." He sneers.


What a condescending prick.


I gather up all I have left of my patience to get the words out, "I'm not homeless, sir, I'm here to file a missing persons report."


I swear I hear him snicker, his eyes traveling over the bandages covering my wrists. "Let me guess, wife walked out on you?"


That does it. I storm towards him and slam my fist down on the desk, ignoring the sharp pain that shoots up my arm. "Listen, you sick bastard, either you can file my fucking report for me, or I'll hop over this desk and do it myself!"


He just stares at me in shock, irritating me further. "Well?" I press, narrowing my eyes.


He shakes his head, muttering something I can't quite make out. "Name of the missing person?"


"Michael Kenji Shinoda."


Finally, we're getting somewhere.


"There's no one registered within the Los Angeles city limits with that name, sir."


There's that condescending tone again. I scream out in frustration, startling the guy into silence. Tears are threatening to spill, and I refuse to let this bastard see me cry. I turn without a word, leaving the building in a huff, somehow knowing that the other names won't turn up either.


Now I'm back to walking the streets. I'm not sure if I've been walking for five minutes or five hours, but it seems endless.


Ha.


It seems endless, but what else am I supposed to do? I can't remember the way back to my apartment, I have no money, and my only friends disappeared like this is the fuckin Twilight Zone or something.


I feel dizzy, my mind getting more clouded by the second. I feel like I'm going to collapse, but I can't stop walking. My eyes close momentarily, but when I open them again all my senses come rushing back. Up ahead of me, he's walking under an umbrella.


It's Mike.


"Oh god, Mike... Mike!"


I yell out to him, but he doesn't hear me. He just keeps walking, getting further and further away from me. I continue to call his name and try to chase after him, but my legs won't stop shaking.


Shit!


No, I'm not fast enough... Damn it Mike, please just stop...


My whole body is shaking uncontrollably, loud sobs escaping me in my desperate attempt to catch him, but before I can get his attention he steps out of my sight, getting lost in the crowd.


No...


With Mike gone, all my strength and determination fades, and my knees buckle underneath me, sending me crashing down against the cold cement. I can't even tell anymore if I'm crying, or if it's just the rain streaking down my face.


I'm officially lost. Broken. Helpless.


Another exasperated yell escapes me, and I pound my hands against the ground repeatedly, blinded by fury and confusion. The last time my hands hit the pavement I hear a loud rip, followed by blood soaking through the bandage on my left wrist. I feel the dizziness return, and I realize what it's from. Blood loss.


I begin looking around, frantic in a search for some kind of help, but the people walking down the streets are completely uncaring. I notice a pay phone a few yards away and decide that's my best bet. I struggle to my feet and stagger towards the phone, but halfway there I remember I don't have any money on me.


I snap my head up, looking for someone, anyone, that can help me. I notice a man wearing a nice suit, holding a briefcase and walking under an umbrella.


"Please!" I call out to him, "Can you help me? I need money for the phone." I whimper the last few words, pointing over at the phone booth.


He stops and gives me an uneasy look, his eyes transfixed on my wrist, which is at this point dripping blood.


"Please!" I choke out, fresh tears forming at the corners of my eyes.


He gives a heavy sigh, looking like he wants to say something, but he just shakes his head. I'm afraid he's going to walk away, but he digs into his pocket, pulling out a handful of coins. He dumps them into my hands and continues walking without a word.


I let out a shaky breath and stumble into the phone booth, my wrist stinging in sharp pain just from holding the coins up. Once I'm out of the rain I count up my bounty, deciding I have enough for three calls.


I decide to call Mike first. I start slipping coins into the machine, having to stop and pick up a few that I dropped because my hands won't stop shaking. Once enough money is inserted I pick up the phone and punch in his phone number; another painfully slow process. The relief of completing the task is unbelievable. It's fleeting, though.


"I'm sorry, the number you have dialed has been disconnected. Please hang up and try again, or press 1 for more-"


I growl and slam the phone back onto the receiver. I start over, except this time I call Rob; only to have the same result.


Is this their sick way of telling me I'm out of the band?


Well shit. This is going nowhere. And now I only have one call left.


I stare down at my wrist, pushing it against my leg in a lame attempt to stop the steady stream of blood pouring from it. I'm running out of time...


My mind races, trying to come up with someone I can call. I shove the last of my coins in while I think, quickly deciding on calling Samantha. I enter her number, the sound of the phone ringing being the most beautiful noise I've ever heard.


I hope she actually answers-


"Hello?"


I gasp, comfort coursing through me at the sound of her familiar voice.


"S-Sam?"


"Oh ... oh my god, Chester!?"


"Yeah, it's me baby." I chuckle, wincing when it sends pain down my arm.


"Chester, where the fuck are you? It's been two years!"


"What?" I frown. "No it hasn't, I've only been in LA a month..."


"You're in Los Angeles!?"


"Yeah, I flew out here to audition for a band, remember?"


"Chester, no... You've been missing for two years! I gave up on finding you, I thought you were dead!"


I groan in pain, my legs struggling to hold me up. God, I'm dizzy...


I slump back against the wall, sliding down it to sit on the floor. That alleviates some of the pain, and I try to focus back on what Sam is saying.


"Chester? Chester, are you there?"


"Yeah, I'm here..." I mumble.


"Chester, I need you to listen to me okay? You need to trust me."


I nod, fighting to keep my eyes open. "O-okay?"


"Okay, Chester, you live in Phoenix, Arizona. You were staying at a rehabilitation center, receiving treatment for schizophrenia and psychosis. Two years ago you left, and ... and I searched for you, for months. I tried to find you, but you were gone... I-I thought you died..."


I can hear her crying through the phone. I squeeze my eyes shut as it all comes rushing back to me, like moving pictures in my head. The hospital. The confusion. The voice. The screaming. The meds. The depression. The escape.


"Chester? Are you still there? Answer me!"


I drop the phone, letting it hang by the cord, my arm too tired to hold it up to my ear any longer. I can still hear Sam's voice, her sobbing, but I can't comprehend what she's saying. It all sounds distorted.


I look up above me, mesmerized by the raindrops hitting the glass window of the phone booth. A wetness seeping into my pants draws my attention, and I realize I'm sitting in a pool of blood. I just smile at it, too far gone to know if that's a bad thing or not.


I close my eyes, everything starting to fade out. My last thought before darkness takes over is of my band. My friends. Does this mean that none of it was real? It was the best time of my life, and now I'm left with nothing. Nothing but the truth inside a lie...

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