Isaac landed hard on the hotel’s king-sized bed and closed his eyes. His breathing became shallow and labored.
Everything closed in on him, shrinking down to only a small opening where he could see.
An argument took place in the next room in Symbiotic’s penthouse deluxe suite. Isaac strained to hear, and judging from the context he knew the fight was about him. That didn’t matter.
He had taken too many pills—again—and he wasn’t sure he could recover this time. Isaac concentrated on inhaling and exhaling, trying to make sense of the loud argument.
*“We have a major problem.”*
*“No, YOU have a major problem.”*
*“Deny it all you want, Leon. He’s an addict, and now it’s noticeable onstage!”*
*“You’re full of it!”*
*“No, I’ve been paying attention, and if you were too you’d know it’s true.”*
*“Isaac’s fine! We all get wasted anymore before we go on! Who are you to judge, Jared?”*
*“That’s different. We can handle it. We DO handle it. He can’t.”*
*“LEON! You’ve known him longer than any of us! Don’t tell me you can’t see it!”*
*“See what? He’s fine! I’ve known him since we were 13. You don’t think I can tell when he’s crossed the line? He’s FINE!”*
*“HE’S NOT FINE! AND HE’S SUCKED THE LAST THREE SHOWS!”*
*“THE MAN IS ON KEY EVERY TIME HE TAKES THE STAGE! WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU?”*
*“HE COULD BARELY STAND TONIGHT! HIS GAME IS OFF!”*
*“YOU’RE CRAZY! MAYBE YOUR GAME IS OFF!”*
*“SCREW YOU, LEON!”*
*“Yeah, that’s real mature, Jared.”*
*“Guys, this is ridiculous. Let’s not turn on each other.”*
*“Shut up, Daryl!”*
*Voices had lowered by this point.*
*“Leon, take the stage sober next time and watch him. Something’s not right. He holds back now.”*
*“I don’t believe this!”*
*“Why? Because you know I’m right?”*
*“Just do it, Leon! He’s not giving 100 percent to this anymore.”*
*“So, you want him out? Because if he goes, I go with him.”*
*“Guys, I don’t want him out. I want him reined back in.”*
*“Again, who are you to judge?”*
*“I’m his friend. I just want…”*
*“YOU just want to mother him. It’s pathetic!”*
*“YOU’RE SO STUPID!”*
*There was a loud thud and the sound of glass breaking.*
*“WHAT? YOU’RE TOO SCARED TO FIGHT ME, DOUCHEBAG?”*
*“GET OFF ME!”*
*“I’LL KILL YOU!*
“Stop,” Isaac rasped, his voice gone and his throat parched. Something was wrong. He was losing consciousness and could feel his body losing sensitivity. “Just… help… me…”
He lied there, almost paralyzed with fear. His eyes searched the room, desperate to try and find something that could grab the attention of anyone in the next room. Death was not an option.
Not now. But death loomed over him like a rain cloud.
Then it came to him. His phone was in his pocket. That could work. Isaac reached for it, managed to send Daryl a two-letter text and then passed out cold.