He's shoved his hands into his pockets, cursing that he's not wearing a warmer jacket, dragging his old worn out black military boots through the snow, humming a song to himself. Or maybe it's a song he's hearing, or thinks he's hearing, and he's not exactly sure . With the amount of alcohol that he's had through the night, and the throbbing headache that is threatening to kill him, he's not so sure what he's doing. It's 2am and the bar is closed, he's said goodnight to his best friend, Bennett, after a rather strange conversation at the bar. He looks like hell, and Joe feels how Bennett looks, and it's been a strange night, and he doesn't even need the verbal confirmation to acknowledge that. But it's acknowledged all the same, because that's just how things are between them. They've been best friends for years now, and even if there are things that don't need to be said, they are just because of how things are.

But there is something not being said, as the headache is throbbing and the shots keep coming and Joe knows they're both looking at each other with a weirdness, as if something is off. They drink, they have a lot of shots, and they laugh. Each time he laughs, Joe feels the urge to turn it into a strange menacing cackle that frightens him, and he does what he can to hold it back. It bubbles in his throat, it threatens to burst out at odd times, and he does more shots to keep the laughter down, as if that is an actual thing that can happen. Because he feels like he's going crazy, that there is this voice in the back of his head that tells him that Bennett is not exactly who he says he is, and that there is something more there.

But why spoil the fun? You'll figure it out in no time… He hears a voice tell him, and the voice laughs, and it sounds frighteningly like his own and before he has a time to ask if Benny has really had as weird of a night as you've had, the bartender says it's last call and they're both kicked out.

Both of the head out, say their goodbyes and they part in different direction, leading Joe to walking through the silence of the city, the only sounds of the snow and ice crunching beneath his feet. There is absolute silence and that's when it starts.

But first, Joe starts muttering to himself. It starts off quiet, as it's not his voice that he's hearing but his and he doesn't know what that means. So, he's not paying attention as he takes a turn down the street, and a left down a public alley, as two men come up behind him. One of them taps him on the shoulder, and Joe turns around, looking a bit frazzled, and understandably still very drunk, "Oh sorry, I don't have any money," he says, and laughs at the end of it, a slight cackle that Joe immediately stops, his eyes going wide.

The men look at each other before looking at Joe, and one man throws a punch hard into Joe's face, knocking him hard onto the frozen pavement with a hard thump. Then the other man comes over and starts to kick Joe while he's down, and the two of them start taking turns on punching and going after Joe, over and over and over, as he tries frantically to shield his face and to find a way to get out of it.

Then suddenly, it stops. The first man turns to the second one, "Forget about it, it's clear he hasn't shifted, he wouldn't have gone down this easily. Let's go."

He hasn't shifted? His voice and his voice both question in his head, and he struggles to stand up. "Boys, hasn't anyone ever told you not to hit a man when he's down?" He asked, looking around the alley, finding a top of a metal trash can, and walked towards the men. His face was bloody, his nose most likely broken, and his ribs hurt like a son of a bitch but he swung the metal top hard against the first man, and as the second man turned around and punched Joe in retaliation of his man gone down, Joe laughed. The laugh he had been holding back the whole time, and he ducked the best he could and kicked the man in the leg, trying to get him down to the ground. The first man was trying to get back up, and Joe hit him in the head once more, and then lunged on top of him as the man fell to the pavement.

And he slammed the top into his head, over, and over, and over, until he realized the second man had run away and the man under him no longer had a face.

Well then.

His heart was pounding hard as he tossed the metal trash can top down the dark alley and got off the man, as he ran to the nearest snow pile to wipe the blood off his hands and face the best he could, though with no mirror, he wouldn't know how he looked.

He brushed off his knees, his jacket, and swallowed hard as he looked at his shaking hands. What had come over him? Nothing in that made sense, sure he wanted to get back for getting suddenly attacked for no reason, but did he have to beat the guy to a pulp? And if anyone found out...his career, it would be over…

As Joe panicked, a soft chuckle escaped his lips, and when he looked back to where the man was that he had essentially killed, the body had disappeared. The blood was gone. He was going crazy. He was going crazy.

That broke him, as the laugh went from a soft chuckle, to a laugh, to a deeper laugh, to an all out menacing and terrifying bellow of a laugh, as Joe threw back his head and looked to the sky, laughing out the thing he had been holding back since his headache started. It was uncontrollable, and it wasn't until it ended that he was hit with sudden fear.

Now, come on, Joe, we both know you enjoyed that. Didn't you?

Joe freezes, thinking someone is speaking behind him, but it's not. It's the voice in his head, that sounds like him and yet...doesn't.

"Who are you?" He finally mutters, his eyes wide, his voice tinted with fear as he does his best to get out of the alley.

Get home, and then we'll talk. Don't want people to think you're crazy, do you? The voice replies, and it doesn't do anything to make him feel better. Especially...

Then the laughter happened again, through Joe, as he walked through the snow on the main street once more, his now blood stained black military boots crunching the ice and hard snow below his feet.