|posted on 11-Nov-2002 7:01:45 PM by goddessgurl5000|
|Chapter One: Unknown Reality|
I probably left you a little confused before, didn’t I? Well how about I start in the beginning. Would you like that? Alright, let’s go back to this morning when it all started. Or maybe it’s when it ended. How about this? Let’s just call it the beginning of the end. Well, let’s get going…
The headache was just the start of my problems. It just seemed like it was too early. I felt like I had just laid my head down and for the five seconds while my eyes were peacefully closed the sun and my alarm clock joined together in some nefarious plot to wake me before I’d even slept because when I opened my eyes it almost seemed like I was late getting up. That was judging by the harsh lights coming from my window though, not from everything coming from my body. Then, on top of that, I had this horrible feeling of dread like I had just woken from a nightmare, but I couldn’t remember even dreaming. If only that were all that it was… if only.
When I got downstairs my parents seemed almost surprised to see me up, but they didn’t say anything, so I didn’t mention it either. My mom seemed like she wanted to say something, but my dad stopped her and they had a hushed discussion while I ate my breakfast. It turned out that that would be only the start of the many whispered words aimed at me.
I was going to question them about it, but one look at the clock sent me running down the street to catch my bus which had decided to be several seconds early. Normally, I probably would have walked to school, but, as I already said I didn’t feel up to it. All I wanted to do was lay down and sleep, but since neither of those were an option I sat and read. That was when the second odd thing happened. You see, in the end of every year we have to read a book for English class. I chose Jane Eyre, but I hadn’t been reading it as much as I should have been and I was only a couple chapters into it, but when I opened it my bookmark was almost ½ of the way into the book. I brushed that off too though, assuming that I had let it fall out of my bag and had put the bookmark into the wrong place. I flipped back to my page and started to read.
I had read about a chapter when the bus pulled up. I got on and sat in the first open seat like always. That was when I got the odd glances, but I disregarded them, assuming people were wondering why I wasn’t in school yet.
When I got into school the hallways were already mostly cleared, with the exception of the occasional senior who had the period off yet was still at school for some reason. Quickly I got into my first class: history. As usual every eye turned toward the door as it creaked open loudly, only this time they lingered for a moment longer. I quickly found my seat only to have Mr. Jennings call more attention to me.
“Liz I wasn’t expecting you today,” he said, giving the class another chance to gawk at me. I slid slightly lower in my seat. I wasn’t sure why he wasn’t expecting me. No one had told me that I got the day off. “Your mother told me…” he let the sentence fall off. “Well, how about you just stay for a minute after class?” I nodded, completely confused but wanting to be out of the spotlight.
As I sat through class I couldn’t seem to pay attention. There was still the heavy feeling of dread that I had had since I woke up, but I was also starting to realize that there was something else mixed into it. I couldn’t quite place what it was, but it just kept drawing me back into its depths, calling out to me and drawing me away from class.
When class was over I waited patiently for Mr. Jennings to finish talking to Amelia, another girl in my class. When she finally left he came back to where I was sitting in my seat. I silently hoped that he would be finished quickly because I knew that we had break next, and I had a feeling that I would need a coffee to get me through the whole day. “Liz, are you sure you’re ready to be back in school? I mean, you can take off all the time you need. I’ve talked to all of your other teachers and we will understand if you need some time off. It’s perfectly understandable. Then again, if you want to keep busy, school could be a good thing. I just want to make sure that you’re ready to be back here.”
“Why wouldn’t I want to be in school?” I wasn’t even sure what he was talking about. I mean, what could be so bad that I would be exempt from school.
“Well just because of all that has happened this week. I thought you would need some time to mourn.” Mourn? Mourn is a word you use when describing dead people. No one I knew had died. So why was he telling me that I needed to mourn?
“For who?” I asked, trying to avoid sounding hysterical. I probably should have been a little worried about looking like a fool, but I really couldn’t think about that. Between my ever constant headache, my fatigue, and that horrible feeling that had nested in my chest, which was growing rapidly due to the conversation, I really wasn’t thinking about anything else.
He gave me a curious look. Then he said it. He just dropped the bomb and stepped back to watch the carnage. “You’re friends. Liz, I know that you knew. Why are you acting like you don’t?”
I ignored his question and asked him one of my own. I think that I already knew the answer, but I needed to hear it. So I asked him who. “Maria, Alex, Max, Isabel, Michael, and Kyle. Liz why are you asking me these things?”
I didn’t even hear him anymore. They were all gone. And then I knew what that awful feeling I’d had was. It was the void where my connection to Max had died.
I couldn’t stay at school after that. So I ran out of the class, out of the school. Heck, I almost ran out of town, but then I realized that I couldn’t escape anything that I was running from. I couldn’t escape truth… or fate. Fate… can you hate a word? It’s only four little letters, but it has screwed me over hundreds of times. Now, somehow, I can’t even remember losing my friends. I can’t even remember when this ache started, and now tat I know what it is it just seems to hurt more. It’s the constant reminder of the inevitable. It’s a constant reminder of the irony of life.
Max pushed me away to save my life, yet somehow I’m still here, and he’s not. He always did everything to keep me safe, and I didn’t even let him die with the truth. Maybe that’s why I don’t get to know what our last moments together were like. This is fate’s way of getting back at me for messing with it. This is how it tells me that it always wins. And it just has to be vindictive too.
Somehow I find myself outside Michael’s apartment. Slowly I walk up the steps. It’s the only place I have left. I can’t go to school. I don’t think I could function through the day. I can’t go home. Getting hushed whispers and secret glances from my classmates is one thing, but getting them from my own parents would be too much. So that left Michael’s place.
When I got to the top of the stairs I brushed my hand across the top of the door. I knew Michael had a key there because I remember Maria telling me that he had put it there so she could get it. She couldn’t decide whether she was happy because he was giving her a way into his house or mad because he wouldn’t just let her have a key. I think she decided on angry because she wasn’t tall enough to reach where it was. Fortunately, I am.
On the very corner my finger brushed something cold and then I see the key fall from the door and hit the floor. It landed on its side for a moment like a coin and then fell flat. For a moment I just looked at it. I realized that I’d never been in Michael’s apartment without him, Maria, or Max. I also realized that picking up the key meant that I was accepting it, all of it, but I also know that I don’t have it in me to lie to myself, so I picked up the key. It slides into the door easily and as I step inside I am bombarded by the smell of Michael. I walked over to the couch and sit down before I let my tears fall.
I cried for all of them, and the lives they had lost because of me, and then I cried for myself and the life I had doomed myself to live… without them. Maria and Alex had been there for as long as I cared to remember. I didn’t really know what life was like without them. As for Michael and Isabel… things hadn’t been as easy with them, but they had become two of the best friends I have. Then there was Max. I think that I can actually pinpoint the moment that I fell in love with him. He was in the biology lab working after school. I was going to talk to the teacher and I saw him through the window in the door. He had his back to me and was talking quietly to the mice. I slipped the door opened and listened as he told the mice his secrets and accidentally heard him tell them about how much he loved some girl. It was a long time before I realized that I was “some girl.” I don’t know why I fell for him then. Maybe it was because of how he talked about “some girl.” He said every word about her with adoration. It made me want to be her.
By the time I finally knew that I was her, it was already too late. I mean, I had always thought that even after everything, all of my lies and self-inflicted torment on both me and Max, he would still see through it. Every time I lied to him I was silently hoping he would tell me that he knew it was a lie, and that he knew that I had staged everything. I guess I can’t really believe that anymore.
There was a sickening lurch in my stomach at that thought and I rushed into the bathroom just in time to realize what a mistake breakfast had been. I heaved as I emptied my stomach until it could mirror the hollow abyss that was my soul. Finally there was nothing left to get rid of and I sat on Michael’s cool tile floor for a moment trying to get my bearings. I knew that I had to find out what had happened, and Michael’s was a good start.
I washed out my mouth trying to get the awful taste out of my mouth, but remnants still remained after toothpaste and mouth wash so I gave up. I walked out of the bathroom and back into the living room, glad that Michael wasn’t sentimental enough to keep pictures of everyone in his house. I walked over to the desk by the window and started to look through the piles of papers that were lying there. Most were just blank printer papers, but at the bottom I found one lined with Alex’s scrawling handwriting. The entire paper was filled with messy letters and some hieroglyphs that I didn’t know how Alex knew, but there was one word that was clear. In the center of the page was the word Tess in large capitol letters.
I folded the paper and put it in my pocket and then sat on Michael’s chair. I pushed all of my tattered emotions down. I had no idea what was going on, but I knew that to find out I had to try to stay calm, and then something that Mr. Jennings had said came to me. Or actually something he didn’t say. Tess was still alive. And in a horrible moment of bitterness I wondered why she had the right to live yet they didn’t. And that was my last thought before leaving Michael’s.
After about a half an hour and a thousand curious glances I was at the Valenti’s house. I had been able to think some things through on my way and I realized that I really couldn’t know what to believe until someone could tell me how my friends died… how they really died, and I knew that the Sheriff and Tess were the only ones who could still do that, and if facing Tess could help me get some answers, and maybe help me find a way back to the semi screwed up life that I knew, I was willing to do it.
Those thoughts were all really nice and true until I got to the Valenti’s house. Some of the worst nights of my life had been in that house, and yet one of my best friends lives- lived there. On what was the closest second I could find for the worst day of my life I had to ask Tess for her help. I was asking her again… was something new going to break this time? I had already lost my heart, so what else could she break?
I walked up to the door slowly, trying to postpone the inevitable. I knew that I had to see them, but I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to know how the sheriff was taking his son’s death. I didn’t want to see what Tess’ face looked like after she lost her supposed mate. I didn’t want to have to think about her hurting because of his death like I was. I didn’t want to know… but I had to. So I knocked.
I waited for so long that I almost thought there was no one home, but soon I heard a small shuffling and the door swung open to reveal a very disheveled man who I somehow linked to the sheriff.
I didn’t even think about what I was doing. I just threw my arms around his neck and hugged him. He didn’t deserve to be put through all of this. None of his family had done anything to deserve what they had gotten. First the secret had cost him his job and now it had taken his son. It just wasn’t right.
When I pulled back the sheriff looked down at me. “What are you doing here Liz?” he asked.
“I need to talk to you. Can I come in?” He stepped aside and let me into the house. I took a moment to look for Tess, but she was no where to be found. I walked into the living room and sat down. Now that I was there, I didn’t know what to say. I mean, I knew that Jim could handle pretty much anything I threw at him, but first I had to know what I was throwing at him.
“Liz, what’s going on? Why are you here? You haven’t been here in days.” Jim and I were sitting in the living room. I couldn’t help looking around. Kyle and I had had our first kiss in there. I had started the plan that broke my heart right in that room. It held almost as many memories as my own house.
“Jim,” I said, though the name felt awkward on my lips. “I don’t even know where to start.”
“Try the beginning,” he offered.
I let out a humorless laugh. “I can’t.” He looked over at me then, and I saw what Kyle’s loss must have done to him. He wasn’t the man that I had known. His hair was rumpled, like he had just gotten out of bed even though it was well after 10:30 by then, his eyes were sunken and tired, pressed back into his pale white face. The blue eyes that were so much like Kyle’s were dull and lifeless. The sheriff had always been the kind of man who wouldn’t give up, and for once I didn’t see the familiar spark of hope in his face. All that was left was a hollowed man of no more than forty, who looked somewhere around seventy.
“What do you mean, you can’t?” he asked.
“I don’t know the beginning anymore. I woke up today, and I don’t know any of what happened over the last week. I was going around, just like everything was normal.” I bit back the urge to cry. Jim had lost so much. I didn’t have the right to cry for something that I couldn’t even remember. “Then one of my teachers asked why I was in school. He said that he hadn’t expected me… considering.” I looked up at him, my eyes glossy with unshed tears. “How?” I finally whispered. “How could they all be gone, just like that?”
“You don’t remember? Not any of it?” I shook my head. “Consider it a gift Liz… treasure your ignorance, for it truly is a gift.” And then I saw something that I had never thought I would. I watched as Jim sobbed.
I wanted to comfort him, but I couldn’t. My mind was screaming at me to tell him something, to give him hope, even to just hug him. But my body refused to listen. So I watched as one of the strongest people I knew cried brokenly, and I refused to cry.
Jim’s tears slowly ceased and he looked anywhere but me as he wiped his eyes. I hated to ask what I was about to, but I knew that I had to know. “Jim…” He looked at me. “Can you tell me how it happened?”
“It wasn’t human Liz. Something took them out, one by one. There wasn’t any pattern or order. They were just drawing your names out of a hat. First was Alex, but they at least tried with him. They put him behind the wheel and threw him into traffic. Hanson called it a suicide. He still does. He just doesn’t know what else to call it. It wasn’t though. It was so much more than that.
“After Alex was Michael. They waited until he was alone, and we found him in his apartment the next day. Then they got Kyle,” he paused, but didn’t elaborate. “Then was Maria, then Max, then Isabel. Liz I don’t think that Roswell is safe for you anymore. I know that Max didn’t want to leave, but you should. Go home and pack your things, and just go. At least your family will know that you alive.”
But even as he said it the truth dawned on him. I was just a human. I had no powers to protect me, and without Max and the others, I was as good as dead if someone wanted me to be. At least in Roswell I could be with my family.
And then I remembered something. “Jim, where is Tess?”
Jim’s eyes fell to the floor. “I don’t know. After Michael died she told Max that she was leaving. She didn’t want to wait around for death like everyone else. She was gone the next day. She hasn’t contacted me at all. I don’t know what happened.” Then he looked back up at me, and I saw pleading in his eyes. “Liz, please, you need to go. Run! Just get out of Roswell.” And then I realized why. Jim had lost almost anyone who meant anything to him in the span of a week. At least if I was gone they wouldn’t have to find me.
But… “I can’t. I’m so sorry. I just… I can’t.” I looked at the clock on the wall and decided that I should go. I was only hurting Jim. “I should really get home.” I kissed him on the cheek. “I’ll try to come back tomorrow, ok?” He nodded at me, but I don’t think that he really believed me, and looking back, I don’t think that I do either.
I left Jim’s house slightly in a daze. I really hadn’t learned much. All I knew was that the deaths weren’t human, but I really think that I knew that before.
I walked home, wanting the time to think and to avoid the traffic of the busses. When I got home my dad was working out front and my mom was making lunch for the two of them. When she saw me come in she just smiled weekly. I could tell that it hadn’t been a good week for her either. Granted, she hadn’t lost a child, or any of her best friends, but some of her best friends had lost children, and I think that she feared for me too.
“I thought that it was too soon,” she told me, still setting up the table in our apartment for her and Dad’s lunch. That was ritual for them. No matter what, they always had lunch together, and not in the Crashdown… or at least when it was possible. It was their haven from the world. I only wished that I could find one…
I decided to have lunch with my parents. I sort of knew that I wasn’t going to have long with them, and I wanted our memories to be good ones. Well, I at least wanted them to remember me as their pride and joy. I wanted to be their pride and joy. I wanted to tell them everything about the past two years and then cry on their shoulders as they told me that they wouldn’t let anyone hurt me… but some wishes just can’t be fulfilled.
When lunch was over I got up and hugged my parents before they could get back to work. I whispered “I love you” to each of them, as they stood their, slightly surprised, and then walked back into my room.
And I guess that’s where I am now, only I’ve been here for hours, trying to figure out how to say all of this just right. I guess I should consider myself lucky though. I mean, most people don’t get to say goodbye to their loved ones before they go. I just hope you find this, Mom and Dad. I’d hate for it all to have been in vain. I’d hate for you to have not known the truth.
Speaking of the truth, could you show this to the Evans, the Whitmans, and Amy? They need to know this too. And Jim can read it too, if he wants. I don’t think he needs to be hurt anymore though, and I think that this might cause more pain.
I’m giving you my secrets. I suppose they probably cost me whatever life I might have had, but then again, the only reason I have secrets is because Max Evans saved my life. So I guess I’m not really losing anything… If only that made this easier.
I guess that there’s not much more to say. I do love you guys. I really do. And I hate that this is how I have to tell you, but this is what my life is… was.
Please don’t pursue whatever happened to the others. I don’t want you to end up like us. Burn this book and all of its secrets after you read it… if you read it. I hope you understand now… please don’t hate me.
I guess that all that’s left now is to sign my name and put this away.
I love you all.
Liz put the journal down beneath her lawn chair and looked up at the stars. She didn’t know quite when she had decided to write the journal page to her parents, but she knew that it was right. After everything that they had gone through for her, she owed them the truth.
At the sound of a door opening Liz turned around, only to find her door still closed, and looking untouched. She dismissed it thinking that she had just been hearing things, but when she turned around she realized that she had only been hearing what someone had wanted her to. In the time it had taken for Liz to look into her room, Tess had appeared on her balcony.
“Tess what are you doing here?” She smirked at Liz, and before she even answered Liz knew.
“What, you thought that I would stop at Isabel? Well I guess I could have,” she added after a moment. “I didn’t really have to kill any of you humans. That was for me. That’s what screwing with destiny gets you. You should know about that though, right? I mean, it only got you killed the first time. Did you think that it would be different now? What, maybe if you waited a little bit longer, then just maybe fate would overlook it?”
And Liz couldn’t say anything. She didn’t know how Tess could have known about Future Max. She hadn’t told anyone but Maria about that, and she knew that Maria wasn’t going to tell anyone. “Are you confused Liz? Having a little trouble keeping up? Well too bad. You messed with the wrong person. I’m the queen. I get what I want, and unfortunately for you, what I want is you dead.”
Tess’ eyes slipped closed and after a second a bolt of energy came from her hand, hitting Liz directly in the chest. She staggered, and fell to the balcony, never noticing as her blood stained the pages or her treasured journal, destroying her goodbye.
TBC... I thought that these parts could go by the days... and don't worry. This isn't the end!
[ edited 1 time(s), last at 11-Nov-2002 7:03:17 PM ]