After hours of seemingly endless play, Dib and his small puppy finally fell asleep on the living room floor only to be awoken by the sun only a couple hours later. Dib groaned in annoyance as the rays shone in through the window, reaching for a blanket next to him to place over his face. Einstein stretched a bit with a yawn as he curled up under his neck where it was warmer. It seemed like nothing could disturb the two.
Dib lay silently now and enjoyed the peaceful moment, his mind almost completely clear of thought for the first time in quite a while. However, the thought of Zim still managed to creep its way into his mind, for he began to wonder where the alien was or what exactly he was doing since there hadn’t been a trace of him in a couple days. The thought was short lived though as he managed to push the thought aside and focus again on his small friend. Even though the small dog was a lot of work, he had no regrets in bringing him home; he provided both affection and means of distracting his mind from the horrors he had experienced.
After a few more minutes of lying quietly on the floor, Dib finally uncovered his face only to see the room in shambles. His jaw hung a little as he sat up and scanned the room, staring down on the puppy, whom had rolled into his lap, and shot him a glare.
Einstein had apparently been up after a while, as the living room was trashed. The throw pillows had been chewed to shreds, the carpet had been torn and dirtied with pawprints, and he had even gone through the trouble of leaving his master a surprise in his boot.
“Einstein!” Dib barked in a stern tone, “If you needed something why didn’t you just wake me up?!”
Einstein whimpered as he shouted at him, curling up in a frightened ball again. He wet the carpet once again, which only chalked up another mess he had to clean.
Dib’s expression softened despite of the extra mess since the screaming probably didn’t help matters. He sighed with the hint of a grunt and pulled Einstein away from the damp spot, rubbing his cheek softly before running to the kitchen and getting supplies to clean the mess. On his way to the kitchen though, he made his way to the end table where the open bottle of pills sat. He reached down for two of the small tablets laying on the surface with some hesitance and reluctance. He stared down at them intently, like he always did, before throwing them into his mouth and swallowing them down.
As he collected the cleaning supplies and made his way back to the living room where he began to scrub the recently dampened spot on the living room carpet. As he did this, he began once again to think about Zim, though it was through indirect thought.
He had started to question his own sanity now. Since taking the pills, there had been almost no sign of Zim. But even more so, there was no sign of Gaz either, whom he was sure was killed by Zim. Her disappearance, however, could easily be explained as a means to avoid her brother by remaining at a friends house for a while. What if Zim really was just a delusion of his own unsettled mind after all?
The scrubbing motions of the rag on the floor came almost to a stop now as he comprehended this conclusion, seeming to stare through the carpet as he began to bite his lip lightly. Perhaps that doctor wasn't quite as ignorant as he had seemed. Maybe he did really understand what was going on, and it was really Dib who had no control over this Zim.
If this were true, that could only mean one thing; Zim had never even existed in the first place. All these years he would have been chasing nothing and screaming at no one. Everyone would have seen that he was just talking to himself and grabbing at thin air when he would go to grab the alien by his collar... And even being the one to murder his own sister. These last few years would have been nothing but lies and deceptions; his own mind working against him.
And what about all of those crazy things that he had done? Were things such as when he piloted Mercury and saw the Plookesians with Dwicky things his sick mind had created to further satisfy this Zim character?
Dib began to tremble now as the thought became more realistic to him now as it sank in. His shaky hands slowly released the rag between them to tightly grasp the hair on the sides of his head. Zim couldn’t be fake... He had to be real...
After a few moments, Dib began to breath sharply in a slight panic as he rose to his feet and began to pace the room. He mumbled to himself as he tried to convince himself that Zim was real and that this wasn’t just a delusion.
Einstein watched him pace back and forth curiously as his master muttered. He lowered his ears and whimpered as he could sense his distress, sure that it was still toward his actions.
To try and appease this idea that Zim was real and that his sister really was dead, Dib stumbled for the phone on the end table across the room and began to dial his sister’s phone number furiously. He practically indented the number keys of the phone against his cheek now, waiting eagerly and desperately for an answer.The phone rang as it normally did, as if she would answer at any second in annoyance.
"This is Gaz, leave your name and number. If you keep calling me though, I'll punch your skull in, that goes for anyone trying to sell me anything. And especially YOU Dib." The growl of her recorded voice to leave a message threatened.
Though he wasn’t expecting a call back, Dib began to choke out a few words after the message had finished playing. “G-Gaz... Call me back.. P-please..” he pleaded before slowly returning the phone to the receiver. Afterwards, he began his pacing and murmuring once more, glancing over at Einstein every now and then.
Einstein would perk up at the glimpse, then lower his ears again as he turned away again. He whimpered a bit at him, wondering why he was so distressed.
Two more minutes passed before Dib came to a stop in front of his dog and leaned down, reaching a trembling hand towards him and running his thumb down his cheek. He forced a weary smile on his face and spoke eerily. “D-don’t worry about me... I’m just worried is all..” He whispered before the smile on his face disappeared and he stood again to continue his pacing.
Einstein tilted his head as he continued to pace. He panted and began to walk with him, nipping his ankles when he turned to pace back to the same spot again.
Fifteen minutes passed and there had been no phone calls or any sign of his sister. This had to mean that she was dead... That Zim really did kill her. He couldn’t have been imagining something as horrific as that...
Dib turned his attention back to his dog, staring a moment before speaking up. “You.. Want to go for a walk?”
Einstein looked up at him, yipping excitedly as he bounced around in happiness, which was an obvious sign that he was more than fond of the idea.
Dib’s weary smile returned to his face as he watched the other hop around. Moments later, he wandered upstairs to grab a new shirt, his trench coat and another pair of black boots. Once he returned, he clipped the leash on Einstein’s collar and made his way eagerly out of the door and down the sidewalk.
Einstein matched his eager step as he wanted to splash around in every puddle the rain last night had made. The puppy’s happy attitude seemed to settle the boy now as he began to giggle at the other’s playful splashes. That is, until they had gotten close to Zim’s house.
Dib came to a halt, his eyes widening at the sight of the chilling house. His hands began to tremble now the longer he stood here, shaking the leash connecting him to Einstein as well. Einstein immediately would not budge and whimpered as he looked to the house. A dog could sense danger a mile away, and he knew there was not safe.
At the sound of the whimpers, Dib looked down at the dog with almost a look of sorrow. “I’m sorry... I shouldn’t have brought you here..”
Einstein whined and cried more as he reared up on his hind legs, trying to convey that they should be running away. He didn't like where he was and he didn't want his master there either.
Dib leaned down and pulled Einstein close to him, holding his head in his hands and rubbing the sides of his face tenderly with his thumbs with means to settle him.
“I.. I have to go in there, boy..” He whispered silently. “But I’ll bring you home and then I’ll be back for you, alright?”
Without the puppy’s consent, Dib scooped him in his arms and jogged back to his house swiftly. Einstein seemed relieved to get out of that area, not squirming in Dib's arms as he let him carry him. However, when he sat him down and tried to leave without him, Einstein began to whimper and cry again as he bit into his pants leg.
At this, Dib leaned back down at pulled the other to his chest in a small hug, closing his eyes for a moment before speaking lowly. “I’ll be back, Einstein. I filled your bowls and I left you a few blankets to sleep on and newspapers for you to use.” He paused a moment before speaking again. “I promise you I’ll be back.” He pulled the puppy away and leaned forward to plant a kiss atop his forehead, then stood and headed towards the door and down the sidewalk towards Zim’s house once more. When he shut the door, he could hear the dog howling inside sadly for him. There was desperate scratching on the other side of the door and unhappy barks protesting for him to come back.
Though it was difficult, Dib ignored the cries and barks, pressing on towards Zim’s base hurriedly. Once he had reached the house, Dib repeated the same routine of glancing through the cracked door, though he wasn’t quite as quiet for he was more anxious today to reassure himself of Zim’s existence.
There was still dried blood caking every surface of the living room. He could clearly see a trail even where his sister had surely been dragged and killed. It didn't seem like a delusion after all.
The overwhelming sensation of fear quickly hit the boy now as he stood in the front of the house, breathing deeply and inhaling the horrible stench within the house now. He gagged a bit, but collected himself as he slowly made his way to the bottom of the stairs and looked upwards, listening intently for any sounds from the rooms above.
There weren't any sounds from the deranged Irken, and there weren't anymore screams of horror or pain. For now, there was only silence.