Jack doesn't get sick often, but when he does he's miserable. He hates taking care of himself and particularly can't stand the thought of asking anyone else to take care of him. Enzo's the only one he would — has — and Enzo's... gone. Somewhere? Jack doesn't know, can't remember, because everything in his head has been a blur since Sunday. He's had a fever for — a while now, he can't quite remember, but he's been mixing painkillers and alcohol and he's fairly positive you're not supposed to do that, but — please refer to the above, he's never been a fan of taking care of himself, and even if he was he wouldn't be very good at it. In between his moments of brief lucidity, where he messages Enzo again, and again, and again, Jack spends his time collapsed on the couch, dreaming.

They're those weird kind of fever dreams, half-real and half not, but sometimes the real seems so real, completely tangible, ready to touch. There's a place he keeps glimpsing, all bone and decaying flesh and dark skies. There are things there, monsters — things he'd declare were not real with a great deal of confidence. Some guy in a mask, probably. Some lost Halloween parade. But as the dreams keep coming, Jack wonders if — maybe — no, it can't be. It's not real.

He's standing up, finally, trying to make himself some coffee, fumbling through his cupboards for some form of food when the cabinet door catches fire. He doesn't even realize immediately because it's not — hot. Not really. It's just — there, against him, in him, apart of him, curling out from the inside of his palm and up and into the shitty plyboard or whatever these kitchen cabinets have been made from. He stares at it for a long few moments, not understanding or comprehending as it flickers and grows and burns and when he does finally register what the fuck is happening he yanks backwards, holds his hand to his chest, thinks oh fuck no, and the fire goes out, snuffed and sucked away and back into his hand like he'd — called it.

He spends the next half an hour staring at his hands, positive that he needs to call someone to take him to the hospital. But that requires figuring out how to find his phone, and he's dropped it down the side of his bed, so Jack just stumbles around and starts to pull himself together. An inside-out t-shirt, a sweater, a coat. His pack of cigarettes. He's almost out the door when he realizes he hasn't put on trousers or found his wallet — his healthcare card is in there, he needs that or the vultures will bleed him dry — and he turns back to his apartment to find it.

What he's greeted by is the smiling face of something horrifying. It's got too many teeth, and its all a dark winged shape, like it's been drawn straight out of the Bible and imprinted on his living room coffee table. Only its — worse, probably, than anything some schmuck with half an art degree could draw, because it's staring straight at him and the room smells like sulphur, and there's smoke searing up from some glowing marks on the table, like the thing has just — opened a door and stepped through.

Or Jack opened a door.

He's not sure why he thinks that, suddenly, but he knows he did, somehow — and that's not possible, because he can't do that, and demons aren't real, and the thing staring at him is absolutely a hallucination brought on by three days of above average fevers.

And then opens its slick mouth and asks in a voice that sounds way too fucking human to be normal, "John?"

And that's — well, that's not quite Jack's name, but he still lets out the most embarrassing shout he's ever going to give and throws himself out through his front door. Fuck pants. He scrambles away, staggers, nearly takes a nosedive down the stairs, out the front door, into the street where he's nearly hit by a fucking car, and when he whirls up, pale and sweaty and dark under his eyes, the thing is sitting at his window staring down at him with that same smile and then in a wisp of — of smoke, or ash, or fuck, something — it slips away into the wind and Jack vomits onto the middle of the street.

"Are you drunk, man? Get out of the road!" Someone shouts, and Jack turns around and spits, "Fuck you, mate," and — well, then the guy's car catches on fire. At least he's leaning out the driver side door when it happens and can leap away in time to avoid the flames, but the whole thing erupts with a woosh and Jack goes staggering back and lands on his ass in the concrete and stares, again, because he can feel it — the fire, like it's him.

It can't be real. It has to be a hoax. But Jack can feel the fire ebbing from him and knows, suddenly, how easy it would be to make it larger. And then he gets a big whiff of sulphur again, right up and into his nose, into the forefront of his brain, and he rolls over and scrambles to his feet and starts half staggering half running down the street. Running from what, he doesn't know, because the smell follows him and the warmth of the fire follows him because it's all — actually — coming from him, no matter what he does to try to contain it.

He's getting woozy now — running on adrenaline when sick is a surefire way to lead to fainting, and he catches himself on a corner and thinks maybe he should just — probably just pass out, actually, that would be better — and then he coughs sharply and some thing shifts in the earth a few blocks away, a groaning crackling to life, and then he sneezes and in the business district a guy on his phone stops shouting at his assistant and stares blankly ahead, and then Jack sinks down holding his aching head and a few more glowing lines start forming in the street, and the smell of sulphur gets so strong he thinks he's going to retch again.

Well, he does retch again, and that's not so helpful because the more Jack can't control himself, the more everything goes to shit. And go to shit it does — not far from him, people start crawling out of their graves at the cemetery. More things like the monster in his apartment start crawling from manholes and out of the shadows and they're all — well, they're all kind of looking for him, he can feel it, like a big target's been painted on his back, and he says a shuddered little, "Fuck" and a few lightpoles start to grow a little from flames licking around the wood.

Jack knows he's got to try to fix it — somehow. So he stumbles to his feet and tries to walk, to stop it all — somehow. But — fuck — he's got no idea how to fucking do that.