posted on 1-Sep-2001 9:28:33 PM
Disclaimer: I don’t own anything, got it?
Category: A little bit of everything, and maybe even a little Kyle/Tess pairing. All Conventional Couples!!!
Teaser (Summary): Liz finally accepts the “destiny” concept, and fulfills one of her own.
Timeline: Takes place somewhere in the middle of season two, probably a few weeks after End of the World.
Rating: PG-13 for future suicidal reference.
Author’s Note: I’m going through “the black hole” and this is pretty much a dark fic, as dark as I can muster. I want to make this clear to everyone. I’m no fan of M/T and this fic won’t end up as M/T in any way so just rest assure. I need tons of feedback please, good or bad, I still would like you to write it down.
Email: darkwitch028⊕hotmail.com
Title: Fading to Darkness

Part 1

Liz sat there on her bed, staring at the black spot on the wall. She fingers the blade lightly, rhythmically if possible. All she could think about was the fact that Max and Tess was destined to be together. Destiny. How she despised that word. It was destiny that snatched her Max away from her. It was destiny that ruined her once near perfect life. It was destiny she had learned to hate.

But that was all in the past. She also learned to forgive and forget. It wasn’t their fault that they were the Royal Four. They didn’t ask to be. It wasn’t by choice.

She sighed. How did her life ever get screwed up majority like this? Max was the best thing that ever happened to her, but now, it seems to be almost a bad thing. Her mind’s too full of worries for everyone. She feels like she’s suffocating. She needed to find a way out before her air supply gets cut. But where can she go?

Spying her Eager Allen Poe poetry book in the corner of her bookshelf, she suddenly felt inspired to write. Grabbing a clean sheet of line paper from her binder, she sat herself down on desk and attacked the paper with a string of words. She placed the glittering blade in her drawer and whispered to it, “later.”

As she came to a near end of the poem, there was a bang and Maria came barging into her room.

“Babe,” exclaimed Maria, “everyone’s downstairs waiting.”

“Waiting for what?” confusion took over Liz’s mind. She couldn’t remember what was so important about that particular day.

Maria rolled her eyes at her forgetfulness. “Alex wanted us to have a picnic together today. You should remember; you were the first one to agree with him.” She pointed out.

The fog clouding her mind faded temporarily, allowing her catch a glimpse of the agreement made three days ago. “I’ll be right now, I just need to finish this first.”

Not hearing Maria’s response, Liz returned to her writing. Just as she added the period and mentally declared it THE END, Maria jerked her out from the desk and out the door. On the way out, Liz didn’t notice that her window was open, nor the fact that the gentle breeze had lifted the paper off of the desk and blew it onto the floor.

“Maria,” Liz said calmly, “you’re going to rip my new blouse.”

Maria’s eyes widened at the little rip beginning to form at the sleeve of Liz’s pink blouse. “Oh, I’m so sorry girl! I’ll buy you a new one, I promise.”

Liz laughed, but it sounded hallow to her. “Don’t worry about it. Today’s all about having fun right? Then let’s have fun!”

They walked down the stairs and saw everyone there, Max, Isabel, Michael, Tess, Alex, and even Kyle.

“We have arrived!” Maria proudly told the group, “let’s get the show on the road.”

“What took you two so long,” grumbled Michael as he trotted to the door.

Maria frowned and then stuck out her leg, intercepting Michael’s path. He went down with an OOF! Michael quickly got up at the sound of laughter and glared at Maria who just shrugged and sauntered pass him. Michael went close behind her, muttering obscenities at the blonde in front of him all the way to her Jetta. Liz hung back uncomfortably for some strange reason. Max noticed this and told Tess and Kyle that he would be with them shortly. He didn’t receive an answer from both of them; they were too absorbed in their argument over which baseball team was the greatest.

“Hey,” Max greeted the brunette awkwardly, “so, how have you’ve been?”

Liz swallowed down the lump down her throat and tried hard to find reply, “I’m… fine.”

Max snuck a peek from the corner of his eyes. She didn’t look fine to him. There were dark rings under her eyes and her skin looks paler than usual. But what really gave her “fine” health was the fact that she was glassy-eyed. He willed her to look at him straight in the eye, but she refused to do so.

“Liz! Max!” Isabel shouted from outside, “are you guys done making gooey-eyes at each other yet?”

Max blushed but Liz didn’t even bat an eye; her facial expression remained motionless. Maria flagged her over, and Max watched with a torn heart as Liz climbed into the Jetta without looking back at him once.

“Max!” Isabel yelled again in annoyance.

Shaking himself mentally and tearing his eyes off of Liz’s back, he jogged over to his sister and got into the jeep.

Part 2 –

Firing the engine, the two vehicles made their way to the park. At the park, the girls told the guys to go somewhere else while they set up the blankets and plates and food. The guys grinned and launched into an immediate game of touch football.

“Men,” muttered Isabel under her breath. The other girls heard this and laughed.

Liz took in the smiling faces around her, and tears began to swell in her eyes. Maria was the first to notice.

“What’s wrong Liz?” she asked as a concern look spread thickly on her face.

Liz quickly brushed away her falling teardrops with her sleeve and smiled faintly at Maria. “It’s nothing.”

“Nothing?” exclaimed Maria, “you’re crying! That’s not nothing!”

Liz smiled reassuringly again at her best friend. “I’m just happy that we finally got a get-together. This may be the last day we’ll get some free time to spend together.”

Maria’s eyes started to tear up also. She reached over and gave Liz a brief hug and whispered in her ears, “Hey, we’ll always be able to find the time. If not tomorrow, then tomorrow’s tomorrow, and if that doesn’t work, we’ll just have to wait until the day when we do.”

Liz buried her face into Maria’s long thick mane, holding onto Maria as if she was her lifeline. Maria allowed this until she felt her blood and air circulation slowly being cut off.

Tess noticed and said to Liz, “If you want your best friend breathing for the next few minutes, I advise you to let go.”

Liz did and apologized to Maria non-stop. Maria laughed and just tugged Liz to continue their setting up of the picnic.

“Guys!” Tess shouted to the sweating group of men on the field, “Time to eat!”

The guys stopped what they were doing and ran to the grass area where the girls had laid clean blankets for them to sit on. They took one look at the delicious food and began devouring them like hunger wolfs. The girls looked at them, some jaws were dropped, and waited for them to finish their meals.

In between bites, Alex noticed that his girlfriend, best friends, and almost-friend not laying a single finger on their plates. “What’s wrong? How come you’re not eating?”

Isabel gave him a look and said, “Are you kidding me? We can’t eat when you … you pigs are practically stuffing yourself full of it!”

Alex stopped his chewing, grinned, and just shrugged. Maria could stand it anymore and so, she took a deep breath and whistled sharply. Michael, Max, and Kyle stopped cold, with bits and pieces of food hanging from their open jaws.

Michael sent Maria a glare and resumed his eating. Maria clenched her fists and Max knew instantly that Michael was in deep ⊕#%$. She marched right up next to Michael with Liz, Isabel, Tess, and her own plate and filled it with food. Giving Michael one last smug smirk, she marched back to the girls and stated in a loud voice so everyone could hear, “Let’s chow down ladies!”

Michael tried to snatch one of her fried chickens from her plate but Maria quickly swatted his hand away. He gave her his best puppy eyes but she gritted her teeth and looked away. Michael remained by her side, nudging Maria with his head.

Isabel took one look at him and said, “Michael, you’re so pathetic.”

“Isabel,” Michael replied from clenched teeth, “I’m hunger.”

Tess shook her head with laughter. She reached over to the picnic basket, took a piece of fried chicken, and cried to Michael, “Catch!”

Michael’s head snapped at the direction of her voice and his hand reached out to grab the flying piece of chicken. He managed to say a thank you to Tess and quickly began to devour he chicken. Before the group knew it, the food in the picnic basket was all gone and they all had a satisfied full stomach.

“What are we doing next?” Kyle asked and then burped.

Tess, who was sitting next to him, wrinkled her nose in disgust. Kyle rolled his eyes good-naturally and said sarcastically to her, “Excuse me.”

“Let’s go to Michael’s place,” Maria piped in.

“What? No way is everyone going over there,” Michael replied. He didn’t feel comfortable having so many people over at one time. If it were for a meeting to discuss which evil alien they should blast next, he would be willing to invite them over, but not for pleasure time.

Maria pouted her lips and pleaded with her eyes, “Please.”

One look into her eyes and he knew he was a goner. “Fine! Just don’t mess the place up!” Michael cried in defeat, earning himself a few sweet kisses from Maria.

“You’ve become too soft Michael,” Isabel whispered into his ear.

“Like you haven’t,” Michael said back, gesturing to the back side of Alex.

A dreamy smile crossed onto Isabel’s face and a long sigh escaped her lips. *I don’t even want to know what she’s thinking about.* Michael thought, seeing how Isabel just entered her own little dream world.

By the time they got to Michael’s not-so shabby apartment, it was already 6 PM. They each took turns on the phone calling their parents and explaining to them where they were and that they were going to be home late. Luckily, their parents were quite flexible and allowed them to stay at Michael’s until they wanted to go home. But, different from the others, Liz had something else in mind then staying at Michael’s for that long.

Part 3 –

Walking into Michael’s apartment, Maria went directly to his closet and dragged out some board games that the others didn’t even knew existed.

Michael saw their looks of surprise and told them with a defensive edge in his voice, “Hey, don’t look at me. Maria brought them over here a few days back ‘cause she thought this place needed some entertainment.”

“Yeah right,” Kyle mumbled under his breath sarcastically.

Maria kicked him lightly in the shins as she was walking by to set the games on the floor. Kyle’s eyes glazed over in a brief flash of pain.

Kyle wanted to say more but Maria’s sharp throwing dagger eyes quickly made him re-decide.

“What do we play first?” Isabel asked; shuffling through the many games lay out before her.

“There’s Twister, Limbo, Monopoly, and oh! Look, he even has Scramble!” Tess pointed out, trying to hold in her laughter.

“Let’s play naked Twister!” Alex yelled out, jumping off the couch.

He sat back down when he realized that the rest of them were looking at him as if he had grown a second head.

“Never mind then.”

“How about playing Monopoly in teams?” Kyle said.

“Why Kyle,” Maria said, looking in mock surprise, “that’s by far the most intelligent thing you have said the whole day.”

“Stuff it DeLuca.”

“Stuff this,” Maria threw a cushion into his face.

Kyle threw it back and it wasn’t before long that a full-fledged pillow fight broke out. Tess was at his side, helping him shower the others with explosion of feathers. Alex grabbed a bunch of pillows from Michael couch and launched it at anyone who came near him or Isabel. Maria picked up pillows fallen on the ground and would hurled it back, ducking behind Michael whenever an unsuspecting pillow is coming her way. Michael scowled at her but his lips twists into a playful grin as he attacked her with pillows of his own.

“Traitor!” Maria squeals, returning his attacks.

Max smiled devilishly and pounced on Liz with pillows attached to his hands. Liz forced her body to relax and play around with them.

While they were still caught up in the game of Pillow War, Liz managed to disengage herself from the group and asked Tess to follow her into the kitchen.

Tess walked behind her without question.

“What is it that you want to talk about Liz?” she asked, fingering her tight blonde curls.

Liz opened her mouth, but words failed her. She took some deep breaths, and began her well-rehearsed speech from the night before.

Few hours later…

“Hey guys,” Liz yelled over the noise, “I’m going to be heading home now okay?”

They nodded, but didn’t seem to acknowledge her words. They were now playing Play Station, a motor racing game. Michael was in the lead, but Kyle’s vehicle was catching up to him fast. The rest of them were cheering them on, occasionally throwing in some joking insults.

Hearing Liz’s announcement, Max and Maria stood beside Liz, and walked her to the door, hoping to persuade her to stay for a little longer.

“Want me to take you home?” Max asked.

Liz turned around fast, her eyes flashing with a strange glinted in it. If he didn’t know better, he could’ve sworn that he saw a small dose of fear in her brown doe eyes.

*Nah. It must’ve been the lighting.* He dismissed lightly when he noticed that it was gone a short second later.

“Don’t forget to call us when you get home,” Maria’s cheerful voice said.

Liz nodded, turning to her one time boyfriend.

“It’s okay Max,” Liz told him, praying that her voice didn’t betray her nervousness that was evident in her stomach, “stay here with Maria and them. Enjoy yourself.”

Max nodded, having nothing to say. She gave him one last small sweet smile, and closed the door. He wanted to chase after her, tell her that he knows that there was nothing between Kyle and she, tell her that he still love her. He felt a hand on his arm and sees Maria, shaking her head no.

“Let her be,” Liz’s best friend said, “She’ll be all right. You’ll get to see her tomorrow.”

Tomorrow. But tomorrow’s a lifetime away. Tomorrow. His stomach dropped to his knees. He could feel it in his bones. Something was going to happen. Something big. Another shake of Maria’s head forced Max to refrain from doing something drastically, like tackling Liz and hauling her back into Michael’s apartment.

Outside the Apartment…

Liz hugged herself in the cold, shivering and breathing out icy air. Maybe it wasn’t a good idea to walk home by herself. She wanted to feel Max’s warm arms wrapped around her, to feel safe and that time was standing still just for them. But she knew that it would never happen again. He had a destiny to fulfill, and maybe she had one set of her own to fulfill too.




posted on 1-Sep-2001 9:46:19 PM
Part 4

Throwing down her coat on her bed, she reached for the phone. Her parents weren’t home; they were visiting a friend of theirs that had just recently had a baby boy. They wouldn’t be back until early tomorrow morning. Liz was glad they were gone, now she could really put her plan in action. By the time they return home, it would be too late.

Back at Michael’s Apartment…

RING RING

“Guys, turn it down!” Maria screamed more directly at Kyle since he was the one who turned the volume to maximum.

“Hello?”

“Maria? It’s Liz, I’m home.”

“Oh, hey babe. What you doing now?”

“Nothing, just watching some TV, eating some ice cream here and there.”

“Why couldn’t you stay with me? You just had to leave me alone with these… these doofus!”

“Maria!”

“What? It’s true. Can you guess what they’re trying to do right now? This instance?”

“No, I suck at guessing remember?”

“No you’re not. You always won, one way or another.”

“Fine. Um, let’s see. Isabel is looking through the current fashion magazine with Tess by her side. Max is probably laughing at Michael. Michael is scowling at Kyle or Alex. And Alex and Kyle are acting crazy and drunk. Am I correct?”

Maria laughs, “Almost babe. Everything except for Max.”

“Okay then, what, pray tell, is he doing?”

“He is begging me like a dog to hand the phone over to him.”

“I am not!” Liz could hear Max’s defensive voice from Maria’s end.

“Sure you’re not, dude. Then tell me why you were making puppy eyes at me?”

“I was just trying to test it out on you before I can use it on Isabel!”

Liz giggled. *I’ll miss that.*

“MARIA!” Liz yelled into the phone, trying to regain her best friend’s attention.

“What?”

“Put me on the speaker, I’ve got something to tell you guys, all of you.”

There was a click noise and then she could hear the whole pack of her friends buzzing around noisily, like a bunch of bees.

“SHUT UP! LIZ HAS SOMETHING TO TELL YOU!” Maria screamed.

Immediate silence fell. There was only Michael glaring at Maria and she returned it smirking.

“Okay, talk girl.”

Liz cleared her voice, hoping it won’t crack.

“Give me a minute here to prepare,” she told them, pressing the mute button of the cordless phone.

She placed her Dido CD into her portable mini-Stereo, pressing the play button.

She picked it up and headed to her bathroom. Inside the bathroom were many fresh flowers spread out on the sink and around the bathtub. The sweet aroma of flowers was refreshing. Scented candles were on placed on top of shelves and on the sink, near the flowers.

Putting down the Stereo somewhere safe and where it won’t fall over, she took out her journal, the knife and poem from the morning before. She grabbed some pillows off of her bed and made herself comfortable in the tub. The door was closed and locked, securing the thought of someone barging in.

Closing her eyes, she took a deep breath. To the outside world, it would seem to them that it was a girl, getting comfortable so she could talk to her pals. But, to herself, and herself alone, she knew better. It was her very own deathbed, something she created from a vision. Rest in peace was the theme, no alien interference, no rude interruption.

Part 5

Liz turned her attention back to the matter at hand. The need to express her feelings to the others was great and was need to be attended to.

“Ever since Max saved my life from the shooting, I’ve learned who were your true friends, and who were the enemies you had to fry. I learned love, hate, misery, and horror, every feeling possible in just 2 years. But, I don’t regret any one of them. In a sense, I have gone to hell and back.”

She paused, trying to sort her mind. She knew Maria or someone else would try to interrupt her and so she hurried on.

“I love you all like you’re my true family. But, the truth is, I can’t stand it anymore. I can’t stand the lies, I can’t stand running and hiding in fear. I just can’t stand it! I want out!”

“Liz!” Isabel and Maria yelled, “You’re not making any sense.”

Liz gave a short wry laugh. “Max.”

“Yes?” Warning bells rang in his head.

“Remember that little speech I gave you the night you were going to ask me to go to the Gomez concert with you?”

Max’s inside organs twisted. It hurt him to think about that night. It was the night all hell had broken loose.

“I may love you, but I don’t want to die for you,” she quoted from memory, “How true those words were. That goes for all of you. I am so fed up with all of this! I love you all too much to see you get hurt because of me.”

She cradled the phone on her shoulder and snuggled into the pillows more. Her journal was in her lap and the poem was on top of that. The knife was now in her hands and she slowly fingered the blade. She watched in fascination as a drop of blood seeped out of her little cut on her finger. The drop of red crimson blood splattered onto her poem. More blood emerged from the tiny cut. She slowly dragged the knife to her left wrist and made faint circles on her arm. With a quick flick of her right hand, a long jagged cut appeared on her fragile wrist made of delicate skin.

Liz was watching her dripping blood making their marks on the paper and white marble. The candle flames flickered and blinked. This went on for a couple of minutes. On the other side of the phone they were growing uneasy. Liz’s silence disturbed her friends, especially Max and Tess. Max because he still love her and was concerned about the words that were flying out of her mouth. Tess because she was baffled by Liz’s sudden change of heart for the group and what Liz had said to her earlier when they were in the kitchen.

- Flash -

“What is it Liz?” Tess asked, drumming her fingers on the counter.

“You love Max right?”

Tess was momentarily startled by her blunt question.

“I guess so,” Tess shrugged, her golden blonde curls bouncing from the gesture.

“It’s either a yes or a no! You can’t say I guess! There’s no in between answer!” Liz exclaimed, throwing her hands around to puncture and make her points clear.

Tess was once again taken backed by the brunette’s sudden reaction.

“Yes, I love Max.”

Liz closed her eyes. *Then I’m making a good decision.*

The moment Tess told Liz that she loves Max; the blonde regretted it. During the past few weeks, Kyle had showed her what love was, and she finally realized that the relationship between Max and her were strictly within the friend’s bordering line. Tess was about to say more and tell Liz that she didn’t mean to say it but Liz cut her off before she could open her mouth.

“Good! That’s good! Very good!” Liz babbled. “I’m leaving him in your hands okay? Take good care of him okay?”

Tess looked at her, suspicion in her eyes. “Liz, what’s going on?”

Liz ignored her. She went on as if it was a one person’s conversation. “He’ll be loved. He’ll be cared for. Nothing can go wrong. Nothing will go wrong. Everything will perfect. Tess will love Max. Max will love Tess. Happily ever after!”

*She’s gone crazy.* Tess said to herself, watching Liz carefully.

“Promise me you’ll never leave Max! Promise me!” Liz shook Tess.

“Okay! Okay!” Tess exclaimed, prying Liz’s hands off of her, “I promise.”

“Good.” Liz nodded her head in answer, convincing herself of the prosperity that would come in the near future for the couple.

- End Flash -

Max nudged Maria and told her silently with his eyes that he was going to go over to Liz’s place. Maria nodded in agreement, her green eyes full of fear. Her sixth sense of danger was going haywire within her body. She urged with her own eyes to tell Max to go as quick as possible. There’s not a moment to waste.

Max got up from his seat and tiptoed to the door. Unfortunately, Michael had missed the silent communication between his best friend and his girlfriend and asked, loud enough for Liz to hear, “Max, where are you going?”

Maria cursed and slapped Michael upside down on his head. Michael glared and her, until realization finally dawned him, but it was too late.

Liz, with her excellent hearing and brilliant mind, figured it out in 5 seconds flat. Besides, Maria’s shrill voice screaming, “Shut up Michael or else Liz will find out!” tipped her off.

Anger slowly coursed through her veins and she saw red. If Max came over, all will be ruined. She can’t let that happen. Too much was at stake already.

Part 6

Her eyes flooded with the color of her blood, red of all red, and she could feel the anger radiating from her body like heat. Her ears became aware of a buzzing sound, similar to a bee. Liz tried to shake it off and take back the anger in but it wouldn’t have it. The anger was alive itself, unmoving, unwilling to succumb to Liz until it did what it want to do. A current of crystal blue washed over her like a tidal wave, suffocating her to an extent. Her stomach rumbled and dropped. Dizziness plagued her mind, coming at her like a shark on frenzy.

Everything intensified in the next two seconds. Her skin itched, electrified, tingled. Her eyes were full and became blurry. Her brown silky hair felt electrocuted, standing up on the tips of their ends. Her breaths came in short gasps. Her hands were curled into two tight fists, each coated with the same redness that had drowned her in the tub.

Faintly, on the other end, she could hear her friends arguing. Maria was killing Michael, Isabel trying to rescue them both from death, and lastly, Alex telling Max to go to her now.

Her thoughts swerved to Max, the once love of her life. Thoughts of him and his brown soulful eyes, his soft light hair that constantly covered his forehead and made her want to brush it away. Then the thought of him interrupting her only chance of last happiness slashed through. All she has worked for, gone. All she believed in would be gone. Future Max’s visit would be a waste. All her love ones will be gone. It would be the end of the world.

*NO! I WON’T LET IT HAPPEN!*

With a strangled choke, she let it out, lashing out with everything she got. The blurriness from her eyes disappeared, as did the dizziness. Her skin still felt tingly and a bit itchy. Through the red haze she could see the mirror that was hanging a few feet away shattered into million of tiny pieces.

Back at Michael’s Apartment…

Maria had repeatedly smacked Michael on the head while Max was trying to get her off of him. He didn’t want her to cause his best friend brain damage and also he was afraid she might kill him. With him gone, they’ll be one less an alien. That’s not good.

“Come on Maria, let go!” Isabel yanked Maria’s hands out of Michael’s hair.

“Max,” Alex turned to the leader, “go to Liz, now.” He emphasized on the word “now.”

He rushed over to the door. Grasping the cold doorknob in his warm hand, he turned pulled it. Suddenly, the knob in his hand grew hot and he let go of it with a yelp of half pain and half surprise. He inspected his hands for any burns. Finding none, he tentatively tried to open the door again. The door yield to Max; it opened an inch or two. But as Max tried to open it more, the door held its ground.

Michael and Maria stopped pulling out each other’s hair and were now watching Max in amusement as he battled with Michael’s wood made door. Alex and Isabel slowly let go of Michael and Maria once they were sure that the danger was over and that they themselves wouldn’t get hurt. Kyle and Tess’ attention was drawn to the television but it quickly averted to Max fight with the door.

Max was tugging and yanking the door. Michael snickered, as did everyone else. But they didn’t snicker anymore after they realized that the door began to glow a bright red. They looked alarm and wondered what was going on.

Max’s actions froze as he feels the door heating up, again. He groaned mentally. *Not again!*

All of a sudden, the door gave way and since Max was already pulling it, it flung open, sending Max to the floor because of the jerk it gave off. The door then proceeded to shake and tremble. Michael thought that it was going to explode, but it did anything but explode.

The red glow surrounding it grew and shone brightly against the walls and dim lighting. Max jumped off the floor and walked to it again. He had only came close to 5 inches of the door when it suddenly slammed shut with an enormous force.

Max didn’t give up though. He continued on with a determined face.

Michael clambered to his feet and rushed over to Max. Making sure he was all right, he helped Max over to the couch. Max batted Michael and Isabel’s worried hands away in annoyance.

*This is not a good day.* He thought to himself.

Massaging his arms and legs; he made sure they were still in working order. He tried to go for the door again but Alex and Kyle blocked his way like two tough bodyguards on a football field.

“Let me go!” Max struggled against the two guys.

He would’ve break through them with his strong muscular arms but the remaining three girls in the room jumped onto him, adding to the weight in which pinned him to the couch where no movement whatsoever was possible.

Michael decided to test the door and figure out what the red glow was all about despite Maria’s hysteria. First he tried to pull it by the knob but when it didn’t budge one bit, he gave up quickly.

Telling everyone to stand back, he held up his palm and let loose a small energy fireball. Max had his palm raised just incase they needed a quick shield to protect themselves when the door splinters into two. Isabel was on hand; ready to fix the door to repair itself as if nothing had happened. And Tess, she was focused and full of energy. The fourth alien could help contain the blast so that only they would hear the explosion and not the neighbors.

The little alien blast did nothing of that sort though. The door absorbed it like a sponge. Michael gave it another try; one blast after another, each time the ball larger, more powerful than the last.

They watched in amazement and horror as it all dissipated on impact. Not even the smallest dent or scratch appeared. The door was left unmarred.

Somewhere else…

“Sir! We found her! We found her!” A man dressed in a clean, sharp, deep blue suit said in a rush, causing his words to slur together and make no sense.

They were in a small room surrounded by high-tech computers. Men dressed similar to him were running around with papers flying behind them.

“Shut your babbling and speak clearly.” Another man said, his authority ringing in his voice. He was clearly the group’s leader.

“There was an energy outburst sir. It’s her! It’s Kalien!”

The leader’s jaw muscle twitched. “Are you positive?”

The man kneeling in front of him swallowed visibility. “Yes sir, my lord. I am certain it is her.”

The leader smiled, showing his pearl whites. “Excellent. Where is she?”

The man snapped his fingers and someone gave him some papers. He read them quickly and told his leader, “We have pinpointed her location. She is in Roswell, New Mexico sir.”

Part 7

Back to Michael’s Apartment…

They settled back into the couch, after finding no way of escaping their confines. Stinging silence invaded the room, infecting all of them. The only noise was the deep breathing Liz was making. Through the speaker, they heard her yawn.

“I’m getting tired now,” Liz stated, her voice sounding far away and weak.

“There’s one last thing I would like to ask you Max,” she paused, “can you do me a favor?”

*A favor? I’ll jump off a three-story high roof at the drop of a pin for you!* Max fought the comment down. “Sure, what is it?” His voice was steady, that was good.

“Promise me to love Tess the way you loved me. Can you do that for me?” Liz’s sweet voice was now barely above a whisper. Max had to strain to hear her, and when he did, he could tell that there was an unmistakably a large amount of pleading in her eyes.

*Loved? I still love you Liz! I will always love you, only you and no one else!*

“Anything you say Liz,” his voice cracked as he furiously wiped the swelling tears from his eyes. There was something in her voice that told him that this was the last time he would hear from her, ever.

“Come here,” whispered Isabel, hugging the sobbing Max in her arms. Her face was streaked with tears also, as was everyone in the room listening to Liz. Liz tried to stifle another yawn.

“Tess, remember what I said. You promised, don’t break that promise.”

“I won’t Liz. I won’t.”

Max shot Tess a look from the side of his eyes. *What did they say?*

“Maria, Alex,” Liz addressed her two best friends, “we’ll always be the Three Musketeers, no matter what. I’ll be waiting for you guys up there.”

“Up where?” Alex asked.

“You know where,” her quiet calm voice laced with tremors. “I think I should-”

“Don’t go!” Maria screamed this, afraid that if Liz continued on, she would lose her best friend.

Alex grabbed onto Maria’s hands, trying to give her comfort through their physical contact. Michael was stroking Maria’s hair, drying her tears with his soft kisses, and whispering words into her ear. Tess was crying openly to Kyle, and he was hugging her close, closer than friends should be.

“I’m sorry Maria, but I have to. I’m so sorry!”

Max’s heart dropped to the floor and shattered when Liz said no more and hung up. He banged on the door, desperately wanting out.

“Michael! Isabel! Tess! Help me!” Max screamed out.

They combined their powers and did everything in their will to reach Liz. 2 hours later, they were all exhausted to the bone, their efforts done in vain.

“We should call our parents,” Kyle spoke up, sinking his fingers into Tess’ blonde soft curls.

“And what do we tell them?” Alex asked. “That we’re stuck in Michael’s apartment because some god-know-who aliens locked us in here?”

“No idiot,” replied Kyle, “we tell them that we’re sleeping over and won’t get home until tomorrow morning or afternoon.”

“You know what Kyle?” Maria said.

“What?” He expected to her another smart-ass comment coming from her mouth.

“That’s a great idea. Who wants to go first?”

Kyle was mildly surprised at his friend’s willingness to his idea. He volunteered to go first, calling his father and of course telling him what really happened since he was already admitted into the “I Know Aliens” club. Maria went second, followed by Alex, and Isabel and Max went last.

“What do we do now?” Michael asked Max, scowling a bit.

It was often that he had company over, and if he did, they didn’t stay that long. This was quite uncomfortable for him.

“We wait.”

Part 8

Sitting in the tub with the curtains drawn, isolated from the outside world, Liz felt faint and drained. Her limbs were jelly, jiggling like Jell-O. She couldn’t see. It was all a blur. The only thing she could make out were the candle flames and swirls of blue, green, red, yellow, orange, and pink. The blood was flowing out of her one drop after another.

Looking down on the bathroom floor, she could see vaguely spots of red, the size of dimes and pennies. Her breathing had slowed to gasps of air. Her lungs were beginning to burn. A shiver came over her. Cold chills ran down her back. Something was going to happen. Something bad.

At the mysterious headquarter…

“Roswell?”

“Yes sir, Roswell sir.”

“Aren’t the Royal Four in Roswell?”

“Yes sir, the last time we checked, they were still there.”

His lips curled into another reckless wicked grin.

“Good. We can kill two birds with one stone then. Nicholas!”

The small boy appeared, bowing his head low in greeting and respect.

“Yes sir?”

“You stay here and watch this place while I’m away. I need to go somewhere.”

“Sir?” Nicholas asked, raising his eyes from the ground to look at his king in the eye. “Is it true? Are the rumors true? Is Kalien still alive?”

“Yes Nicholas, she is.”

Something flickered in Nicholas’ eyes, love, happiness, joy, and even a dash of fear.

Back to Liz…

Her heart was pumping less and less blood. The oxygen was getting cut off from her head, not traveling far. Black and gray spots danced in her eyes. It was like watching a slow paced film. Each shot flashing into her mind 5 minutes apart. Her hands were stiff and tight, she could barely move her fingers or toes. Pictures were swimming in her eyes.

Pictures of her parents hugging, former Sheriff Jim Valenti with his gun drawn, Maria in their work uniform with those silly antennas bouncing on her head, Alex strumming his guitar with a grin on his face, Kyle dribbling a basketball and balancing it on his index finger, Isabel painting her nails and changing the colors with a wave of her hand, Michael with that oh-so familiar scowl on his face, Tess

*Sweet Max.* Her brain whispered. *Whose heart I crush with my bare hands whenever I got the chance. Sweet Max who gave me everything. Sweet Max, how I love you but can never tell you so. I love you. Forgive me.*

Outside the tub, she could hear faint footsteps approaching.

*Mom? Dad?*

The bathroom door opened.

*No, they would knock first. This is someone else, but who?*

Her brain was getting fuzzy, she couldn’t think. The pain in her body and lungs was fading. She couldn’t feel anything. Numbness had taken over. She didn’t know if it was a good thing or not. Regrets were beginning to form. But it was too late. She had gone too far already to take it all back.

The curtains were parted by a man’s hand. Liz’s mind gave one last sign before succumbing to the demanding darkness where she would be protected. Or so she believed.

*Max.*

Next Day…

“Liz, honey, we’re home!” Mrs. Parker said, knocking on her daughter’s door.

When she got no answer, she knocked harder. “Liz, are you awake?”

There was still no answer. Mrs. Parker turned the knob but it didn’t budge. Liz doesn’t lock her door, something’s not right here.

“Jeff! You better get over here now! And bring the screwdriver with you too!”

Mr. Parker came running up the stairs to assist his wife. They unscrewed the knob and opened it, expecting to see their daughter still sleeping in bed. But there was no one in the bed. It was made, sheets tucked in carefully, though the pillows were missing.

They looked around the room, spotting the bathroom door a jarred. Mr. Parker went to Liz’s balcony and Mrs. Parker was left the job of checking out the bathroom.

She opened the door cautiously, wondering where her daughter was when she suddenly grew pale white and screamed. Mr. Parker caught the falling Mrs. Parker as she went into a dead faint. He looked into the bathroom and his own face grew white, whiter than the white of ghosts.


posted on 1-Sep-2001 9:46:46 PM
Part 4

Throwing down her coat on her bed, she reached for the phone. Her parents weren’t home; they were visiting a friend of theirs that had just recently had a baby boy. They wouldn’t be back until early tomorrow morning. Liz was glad they were gone, now she could really put her plan in action. By the time they return home, it would be too late.

Back at Michael’s Apartment…

RING RING

“Guys, turn it down!” Maria screamed more directly at Kyle since he was the one who turned the volume to maximum.

“Hello?”

“Maria? It’s Liz, I’m home.”

“Oh, hey babe. What you doing now?”

“Nothing, just watching some TV, eating some ice cream here and there.”

“Why couldn’t you stay with me? You just had to leave me alone with these… these doofus!”

“Maria!”

“What? It’s true. Can you guess what they’re trying to do right now? This instance?”

“No, I suck at guessing remember?”

“No you’re not. You always won, one way or another.”

“Fine. Um, let’s see. Isabel is looking through the current fashion magazine with Tess by her side. Max is probably laughing at Michael. Michael is scowling at Kyle or Alex. And Alex and Kyle are acting crazy and drunk. Am I correct?”

Maria laughs, “Almost babe. Everything except for Max.”

“Okay then, what, pray tell, is he doing?”

“He is begging me like a dog to hand the phone over to him.”

“I am not!” Liz could hear Max’s defensive voice from Maria’s end.

“Sure you’re not, dude. Then tell me why you were making puppy eyes at me?”

“I was just trying to test it out on you before I can use it on Isabel!”

Liz giggled. *I’ll miss that.*

“MARIA!” Liz yelled into the phone, trying to regain her best friend’s attention.

“What?”

“Put me on the speaker, I’ve got something to tell you guys, all of you.”

There was a click noise and then she could hear the whole pack of her friends buzzing around noisily, like a bunch of bees.

“SHUT UP! LIZ HAS SOMETHING TO TELL YOU!” Maria screamed.

Immediate silence fell. There was only Michael glaring at Maria and she returned it smirking.

“Okay, talk girl.”

Liz cleared her voice, hoping it won’t crack.

“Give me a minute here to prepare,” she told them, pressing the mute button of the cordless phone.

She placed her Dido CD into her portable mini-Stereo, pressing the play button.

She picked it up and headed to her bathroom. Inside the bathroom were many fresh flowers spread out on the sink and around the bathtub. The sweet aroma of flowers was refreshing. Scented candles were on placed on top of shelves and on the sink, near the flowers.

Putting down the Stereo somewhere safe and where it won’t fall over, she took out her journal, the knife and poem from the morning before. She grabbed some pillows off of her bed and made herself comfortable in the tub. The door was closed and locked, securing the thought of someone barging in.

Closing her eyes, she took a deep breath. To the outside world, it would seem to them that it was a girl, getting comfortable so she could talk to her pals. But, to herself, and herself alone, she knew better. It was her very own deathbed, something she created from a vision. Rest in peace was the theme, no alien interference, no rude interruption.

Part 5

Liz turned her attention back to the matter at hand. The need to express her feelings to the others was great and was need to be attended to.

“Ever since Max saved my life from the shooting, I’ve learned who were your true friends, and who were the enemies you had to fry. I learned love, hate, misery, and horror, every feeling possible in just 2 years. But, I don’t regret any one of them. In a sense, I have gone to hell and back.”

She paused, trying to sort her mind. She knew Maria or someone else would try to interrupt her and so she hurried on.

“I love you all like you’re my true family. But, the truth is, I can’t stand it anymore. I can’t stand the lies, I can’t stand running and hiding in fear. I just can’t stand it! I want out!”

“Liz!” Isabel and Maria yelled, “You’re not making any sense.”

Liz gave a short wry laugh. “Max.”

“Yes?” Warning bells rang in his head.

“Remember that little speech I gave you the night you were going to ask me to go to the Gomez concert with you?”

Max’s inside organs twisted. It hurt him to think about that night. It was the night all hell had broken loose.

“I may love you, but I don’t want to die for you,” she quoted from memory, “How true those words were. That goes for all of you. I am so fed up with all of this! I love you all too much to see you get hurt because of me.”

She cradled the phone on her shoulder and snuggled into the pillows more. Her journal was in her lap and the poem was on top of that. The knife was now in her hands and she slowly fingered the blade. She watched in fascination as a drop of blood seeped out of her little cut on her finger. The drop of red crimson blood splattered onto her poem. More blood emerged from the tiny cut. She slowly dragged the knife to her left wrist and made faint circles on her arm. With a quick flick of her right hand, a long jagged cut appeared on her fragile wrist made of delicate skin.

Liz was watching her dripping blood making their marks on the paper and white marble. The candle flames flickered and blinked. This went on for a couple of minutes. On the other side of the phone they were growing uneasy. Liz’s silence disturbed her friends, especially Max and Tess. Max because he still love her and was concerned about the words that were flying out of her mouth. Tess because she was baffled by Liz’s sudden change of heart for the group and what Liz had said to her earlier when they were in the kitchen.

- Flash -

“What is it Liz?” Tess asked, drumming her fingers on the counter.

“You love Max right?”

Tess was momentarily startled by her blunt question.

“I guess so,” Tess shrugged, her golden blonde curls bouncing from the gesture.

“It’s either a yes or a no! You can’t say I guess! There’s no in between answer!” Liz exclaimed, throwing her hands around to puncture and make her points clear.

Tess was once again taken backed by the brunette’s sudden reaction.

“Yes, I love Max.”

Liz closed her eyes. *Then I’m making a good decision.*

The moment Tess told Liz that she loves Max; the blonde regretted it. During the past few weeks, Kyle had showed her what love was, and she finally realized that the relationship between Max and her were strictly within the friend’s bordering line. Tess was about to say more and tell Liz that she didn’t mean to say it but Liz cut her off before she could open her mouth.

“Good! That’s good! Very good!” Liz babbled. “I’m leaving him in your hands okay? Take good care of him okay?”

Tess looked at her, suspicion in her eyes. “Liz, what’s going on?”

Liz ignored her. She went on as if it was a one person’s conversation. “He’ll be loved. He’ll be cared for. Nothing can go wrong. Nothing will go wrong. Everything will perfect. Tess will love Max. Max will love Tess. Happily ever after!”

*She’s gone crazy.* Tess said to herself, watching Liz carefully.

“Promise me you’ll never leave Max! Promise me!” Liz shook Tess.

“Okay! Okay!” Tess exclaimed, prying Liz’s hands off of her, “I promise.”

“Good.” Liz nodded her head in answer, convincing herself of the prosperity that would come in the near future for the couple.

- End Flash -

Max nudged Maria and told her silently with his eyes that he was going to go over to Liz’s place. Maria nodded in agreement, her green eyes full of fear. Her sixth sense of danger was going haywire within her body. She urged with her own eyes to tell Max to go as quick as possible. There’s not a moment to waste.

Max got up from his seat and tiptoed to the door. Unfortunately, Michael had missed the silent communication between his best friend and his girlfriend and asked, loud enough for Liz to hear, “Max, where are you going?”

Maria cursed and slapped Michael upside down on his head. Michael glared and her, until realization finally dawned him, but it was too late.

Liz, with her excellent hearing and brilliant mind, figured it out in 5 seconds flat. Besides, Maria’s shrill voice screaming, “Shut up Michael or else Liz will find out!” tipped her off.

Anger slowly coursed through her veins and she saw red. If Max came over, all will be ruined. She can’t let that happen. Too much was at stake already.

Part 6

Her eyes flooded with the color of her blood, red of all red, and she could feel the anger radiating from her body like heat. Her ears became aware of a buzzing sound, similar to a bee. Liz tried to shake it off and take back the anger in but it wouldn’t have it. The anger was alive itself, unmoving, unwilling to succumb to Liz until it did what it want to do. A current of crystal blue washed over her like a tidal wave, suffocating her to an extent. Her stomach rumbled and dropped. Dizziness plagued her mind, coming at her like a shark on frenzy.

Everything intensified in the next two seconds. Her skin itched, electrified, tingled. Her eyes were full and became blurry. Her brown silky hair felt electrocuted, standing up on the tips of their ends. Her breaths came in short gasps. Her hands were curled into two tight fists, each coated with the same redness that had drowned her in the tub.

Faintly, on the other end, she could hear her friends arguing. Maria was killing Michael, Isabel trying to rescue them both from death, and lastly, Alex telling Max to go to her now.

Her thoughts swerved to Max, the once love of her life. Thoughts of him and his brown soulful eyes, his soft light hair that constantly covered his forehead and made her want to brush it away. Then the thought of him interrupting her only chance of last happiness slashed through. All she has worked for, gone. All she believed in would be gone. Future Max’s visit would be a waste. All her love ones will be gone. It would be the end of the world.

*NO! I WON’T LET IT HAPPEN!*

With a strangled choke, she let it out, lashing out with everything she got. The blurriness from her eyes disappeared, as did the dizziness. Her skin still felt tingly and a bit itchy. Through the red haze she could see the mirror that was hanging a few feet away shattered into million of tiny pieces.

Back at Michael’s Apartment…

Maria had repeatedly smacked Michael on the head while Max was trying to get her off of him. He didn’t want her to cause his best friend brain damage and also he was afraid she might kill him. With him gone, they’ll be one less an alien. That’s not good.

“Come on Maria, let go!” Isabel yanked Maria’s hands out of Michael’s hair.

“Max,” Alex turned to the leader, “go to Liz, now.” He emphasized on the word “now.”

He rushed over to the door. Grasping the cold doorknob in his warm hand, he turned pulled it. Suddenly, the knob in his hand grew hot and he let go of it with a yelp of half pain and half surprise. He inspected his hands for any burns. Finding none, he tentatively tried to open the door again. The door yield to Max; it opened an inch or two. But as Max tried to open it more, the door held its ground.

Michael and Maria stopped pulling out each other’s hair and were now watching Max in amusement as he battled with Michael’s wood made door. Alex and Isabel slowly let go of Michael and Maria once they were sure that the danger was over and that they themselves wouldn’t get hurt. Kyle and Tess’ attention was drawn to the television but it quickly averted to Max fight with the door.

Max was tugging and yanking the door. Michael snickered, as did everyone else. But they didn’t snicker anymore after they realized that the door began to glow a bright red. They looked alarm and wondered what was going on.

Max’s actions froze as he feels the door heating up, again. He groaned mentally. *Not again!*

All of a sudden, the door gave way and since Max was already pulling it, it flung open, sending Max to the floor because of the jerk it gave off. The door then proceeded to shake and tremble. Michael thought that it was going to explode, but it did anything but explode.

The red glow surrounding it grew and shone brightly against the walls and dim lighting. Max jumped off the floor and walked to it again. He had only came close to 5 inches of the door when it suddenly slammed shut with an enormous force.

Max didn’t give up though. He continued on with a determined face.

Michael clambered to his feet and rushed over to Max. Making sure he was all right, he helped Max over to the couch. Max batted Michael and Isabel’s worried hands away in annoyance.

*This is not a good day.* He thought to himself.

Massaging his arms and legs; he made sure they were still in working order. He tried to go for the door again but Alex and Kyle blocked his way like two tough bodyguards on a football field.

“Let me go!” Max struggled against the two guys.

He would’ve break through them with his strong muscular arms but the remaining three girls in the room jumped onto him, adding to the weight in which pinned him to the couch where no movement whatsoever was possible.

Michael decided to test the door and figure out what the red glow was all about despite Maria’s hysteria. First he tried to pull it by the knob but when it didn’t budge one bit, he gave up quickly.

Telling everyone to stand back, he held up his palm and let loose a small energy fireball. Max had his palm raised just incase they needed a quick shield to protect themselves when the door splinters into two. Isabel was on hand; ready to fix the door to repair itself as if nothing had happened. And Tess, she was focused and full of energy. The fourth alien could help contain the blast so that only they would hear the explosion and not the neighbors.

The little alien blast did nothing of that sort though. The door absorbed it like a sponge. Michael gave it another try; one blast after another, each time the ball larger, more powerful than the last.

They watched in amazement and horror as it all dissipated on impact. Not even the smallest dent or scratch appeared. The door was left unmarred.

Somewhere else…

“Sir! We found her! We found her!” A man dressed in a clean, sharp, deep blue suit said in a rush, causing his words to slur together and make no sense.

They were in a small room surrounded by high-tech computers. Men dressed similar to him were running around with papers flying behind them.

“Shut your babbling and speak clearly.” Another man said, his authority ringing in his voice. He was clearly the group’s leader.

“There was an energy outburst sir. It’s her! It’s Kalien!”

The leader’s jaw muscle twitched. “Are you positive?”

The man kneeling in front of him swallowed visibility. “Yes sir, my lord. I am certain it is her.”

The leader smiled, showing his pearl whites. “Excellent. Where is she?”

The man snapped his fingers and someone gave him some papers. He read them quickly and told his leader, “We have pinpointed her location. She is in Roswell, New Mexico sir.”

Part 7

Back to Michael’s Apartment…

They settled back into the couch, after finding no way of escaping their confines. Stinging silence invaded the room, infecting all of them. The only noise was the deep breathing Liz was making. Through the speaker, they heard her yawn.

“I’m getting tired now,” Liz stated, her voice sounding far away and weak.

“There’s one last thing I would like to ask you Max,” she paused, “can you do me a favor?”

*A favor? I’ll jump off a three-story high roof at the drop of a pin for you!* Max fought the comment down. “Sure, what is it?” His voice was steady, that was good.

“Promise me to love Tess the way you loved me. Can you do that for me?” Liz’s sweet voice was now barely above a whisper. Max had to strain to hear her, and when he did, he could tell that there was an unmistakably a large amount of pleading in her eyes.

*Loved? I still love you Liz! I will always love you, only you and no one else!*

“Anything you say Liz,” his voice cracked as he furiously wiped the swelling tears from his eyes. There was something in her voice that told him that this was the last time he would hear from her, ever.

“Come here,” whispered Isabel, hugging the sobbing Max in her arms. Her face was streaked with tears also, as was everyone in the room listening to Liz. Liz tried to stifle another yawn.

“Tess, remember what I said. You promised, don’t break that promise.”

“I won’t Liz. I won’t.”

Max shot Tess a look from the side of his eyes. *What did they say?*

“Maria, Alex,” Liz addressed her two best friends, “we’ll always be the Three Musketeers, no matter what. I’ll be waiting for you guys up there.”

“Up where?” Alex asked.

“You know where,” her quiet calm voice laced with tremors. “I think I should-”

“Don’t go!” Maria screamed this, afraid that if Liz continued on, she would lose her best friend.

Alex grabbed onto Maria’s hands, trying to give her comfort through their physical contact. Michael was stroking Maria’s hair, drying her tears with his soft kisses, and whispering words into her ear. Tess was crying openly to Kyle, and he was hugging her close, closer than friends should be.

“I’m sorry Maria, but I have to. I’m so sorry!”

Max’s heart dropped to the floor and shattered when Liz said no more and hung up. He banged on the door, desperately wanting out.

“Michael! Isabel! Tess! Help me!” Max screamed out.

They combined their powers and did everything in their will to reach Liz. 2 hours later, they were all exhausted to the bone, their efforts done in vain.

“We should call our parents,” Kyle spoke up, sinking his fingers into Tess’ blonde soft curls.

“And what do we tell them?” Alex asked. “That we’re stuck in Michael’s apartment because some god-know-who aliens locked us in here?”

“No idiot,” replied Kyle, “we tell them that we’re sleeping over and won’t get home until tomorrow morning or afternoon.”

“You know what Kyle?” Maria said.

“What?” He expected to her another smart-ass comment coming from her mouth.

“That’s a great idea. Who wants to go first?”

Kyle was mildly surprised at his friend’s willingness to his idea. He volunteered to go first, calling his father and of course telling him what really happened since he was already admitted into the “I Know Aliens” club. Maria went second, followed by Alex, and Isabel and Max went last.

“What do we do now?” Michael asked Max, scowling a bit.

It was often that he had company over, and if he did, they didn’t stay that long. This was quite uncomfortable for him.

“We wait.”

Part 8

Sitting in the tub with the curtains drawn, isolated from the outside world, Liz felt faint and drained. Her limbs were jelly, jiggling like Jell-O. She couldn’t see. It was all a blur. The only thing she could make out were the candle flames and swirls of blue, green, red, yellow, orange, and pink. The blood was flowing out of her one drop after another.

Looking down on the bathroom floor, she could see vaguely spots of red, the size of dimes and pennies. Her breathing had slowed to gasps of air. Her lungs were beginning to burn. A shiver came over her. Cold chills ran down her back. Something was going to happen. Something bad.

At the mysterious headquarter…

“Roswell?”

“Yes sir, Roswell sir.”

“Aren’t the Royal Four in Roswell?”

“Yes sir, the last time we checked, they were still there.”

His lips curled into another reckless wicked grin.

“Good. We can kill two birds with one stone then. Nicholas!”

The small boy appeared, bowing his head low in greeting and respect.

“Yes sir?”

“You stay here and watch this place while I’m away. I need to go somewhere.”

“Sir?” Nicholas asked, raising his eyes from the ground to look at his king in the eye. “Is it true? Are the rumors true? Is Kalien still alive?”

“Yes Nicholas, she is.”

Something flickered in Nicholas’ eyes, love, happiness, joy, and even a dash of fear.

Back to Liz…

Her heart was pumping less and less blood. The oxygen was getting cut off from her head, not traveling far. Black and gray spots danced in her eyes. It was like watching a slow paced film. Each shot flashing into her mind 5 minutes apart. Her hands were stiff and tight, she could barely move her fingers or toes. Pictures were swimming in her eyes.

Pictures of her parents hugging, former Sheriff Jim Valenti with his gun drawn, Maria in their work uniform with those silly antennas bouncing on her head, Alex strumming his guitar with a grin on his face, Kyle dribbling a basketball and balancing it on his index finger, Isabel painting her nails and changing the colors with a wave of her hand, Michael with that oh-so familiar scowl on his face, Tess

*Sweet Max.* Her brain whispered. *Whose heart I crush with my bare hands whenever I got the chance. Sweet Max who gave me everything. Sweet Max, how I love you but can never tell you so. I love you. Forgive me.*

Outside the tub, she could hear faint footsteps approaching.

*Mom? Dad?*

The bathroom door opened.

*No, they would knock first. This is someone else, but who?*

Her brain was getting fuzzy, she couldn’t think. The pain in her body and lungs was fading. She couldn’t feel anything. Numbness had taken over. She didn’t know if it was a good thing or not. Regrets were beginning to form. But it was too late. She had gone too far already to take it all back.

The curtains were parted by a man’s hand. Liz’s mind gave one last sign before succumbing to the demanding darkness where she would be protected. Or so she believed.

*Max.*

Next Day…

“Liz, honey, we’re home!” Mrs. Parker said, knocking on her daughter’s door.

When she got no answer, she knocked harder. “Liz, are you awake?”

There was still no answer. Mrs. Parker turned the knob but it didn’t budge. Liz doesn’t lock her door, something’s not right here.

“Jeff! You better get over here now! And bring the screwdriver with you too!”

Mr. Parker came running up the stairs to assist his wife. They unscrewed the knob and opened it, expecting to see their daughter still sleeping in bed. But there was no one in the bed. It was made, sheets tucked in carefully, though the pillows were missing.

They looked around the room, spotting the bathroom door a jarred. Mr. Parker went to Liz’s balcony and Mrs. Parker was left the job of checking out the bathroom.

She opened the door cautiously, wondering where her daughter was when she suddenly grew pale white and screamed. Mr. Parker caught the falling Mrs. Parker as she went into a dead faint. He looked into the bathroom and his own face grew white, whiter than the white of ghosts.