Ethan sat up in bed staring at the moonlight . Sleep had evaded him once again. Next to him lie a naked Nicole. His foster sister. Her curly red hair in tangles on the pillow. Her chest heaving with each shallow breath. Her blue eyes begging to draw him in. He leaned in and kissed her on the eyebrow. His heart fluttered as he pulled away.

Standing up he rummaged through the nightstand for a cigarette. Cleverly disguised as a pack of playing cards. He slipped one behind his ear and grabbed a lighter amongst the other crap in the drawer. He quietly slipped out the back slider doors and sat himself on the porch. Pulling the cigarette to his lips he lit up and drew in a cloud of grey smoke as he sighed.

The evening had morphed into dangerous territory for him. Nightmares he could never remember would plague his mind until he woke up. Ethan tried so hard to remember any minuscule detail. He was disturbed with leaves crunching beside him in the autumn air. Ethan looked over in surprise. There before him was a burly man with a military haircut, dark hazel eyes, and a tank top and shorts.

“Trying to scare me Trent?” Ethan said pulling on his cigarette.

“Ha no man, just sneaking a bowl. Want a hit?” Trent asked.

“Nah man, you know nicotine is my muse!” Ethan laughed.

“And Nicole,” Trent added harshly.

Ethan’s face went instantly cold with disgust.

“Man, I’m playing you, chill!” Trent said in response to Ethan’s face.

“Don’t fuck with me man,” Ethan said sternly.

“We all have our muses,” Trent added.

“Bullying Ethan again are we? May I join?” A voice boomed behind them.

Each one leaping with fright as a scrawny man emerged from the glass doors carrying a six pack of beer. His jeans torn, and shirt in shreds as he leapt onto the grass.

“Scared the shit out of me Levi,” Trent said.

“I bring a muse, we can all agree on!” Levi said tossing each one a beer.

“We all know what Ethan is doing is wrong. But we ought not judge others until we have judged thyselves,” Levi said acting like some sort of master of literature.

“At least it’s not Brianna,” Trent and Levi laughed together.

“So what’s everyone doing up?” Ethan asked desperate to change the subject.

“Smoking,” Trent said.

“Drinking,” Levi added.

“You?” They asked in unison.

“Can’t sleep, nothing unusual really. I keep having these dreams that wake me up but the sick thing is that I can’t remember anything in them?” Ethan added snuffing his cigarette and setting it beside him.

“Yeah man, we all get to fight those nightmares,” Trent said stoned.

“I drink so I can pass out and avoid them all together,” Levi said as he crushed his second beer can.

“Well it’s been nothing but annoying lately, but I think I am starting to feel the alcohol. I’m going to go back to bed, thanks for hanging out with me guys,” Ethan said, as his draw to Nicole tugged at his mind.

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