Chapter 34: Rosalie
I woke up to an argument. Prying my eyes open, I could faintly see Violet and Candy staring each other down. “We need to go up there,” Candy announced firmly.
“No, we don’t!” Violet shot back, more forcibly.
“Yes we do!” Candy replied, “The fact that the sky is constantly shrouded in mist is unnerving enough! There are transparent walls and water illusions keeping us trapped inside the city with no food and too many malicious creatures. We have to at least try to see what’s going on up there!”
“Girls, girls, calm down!” Edwin added in, coming to stand behind Violet. “Rosalie is asleep and our main priority right now should be finding out what happened to her. Brandi just dropped her at our doorstep- literally. She’s been asleep for hours, she doesn’t have a pulse-“
“Of course she doesn’t have a pulse, Edwin.” Candy interrupted, “She’s dead!”
“Yeah,” Edwin replied, “But only because she’s a mutant! She might still be alive in her own….mutant-y way.”
“I’m here,” I said softly, propping myself up on my elbows.
“Good, Rosalie, you’re awake,” Violet said as she came over to me. I sat up straight now, my energy quickly returning to me. “Do you think we should stay down here and not do anything,” Candy rolled her eyes, but Violet continued, “Or go to the top of the building and see if we can penetrate the fog?” she asked. I thought back to the last time I’d been anywhere above this floor- I had seen a bloodied, limping zombie that had been coming for me. I was terrified, but I hadn’t made a sound. I had tried to attack it with ice, but that hadn’t seemed to work. Eventually, it left and went to a different floor.
“Wasn’t there a zombie up there?” I asked.
“Yeah,” Edwin nodded, “You screamed, remember?”
I shook my head, “No I didn’t,” I replied.
“Yes you did,” Edwin replied in confusion, “You must’ve. I heard a scream on the floor above me that night.”
“Well that wasn’t me,” I said, starting to feel a bit uneasy.
“Come on!” We all turned to see Violet running toward the stairwell. “There might be someone else up there! Besides,” she looked directly at Edwin, “Don’t you want to see if you can find out anything about that picture?” It was clear to see that she had peaked Edwin’s interest and had potentially won him over. He eventually made his way over to her and stood beside the black-haired girl. I looked up at Candy, who wouldn’t meet my gaze. I knew she was acting this way more out of hunger than opposition to Candy, but I still couldn’t bring myself to defend her. I got up wordlessly and joined Violet and Edwin at the stares.
Candy sighed, “Fine,” she complied, “But only because I don’t want to be stuck down here alone.” As the four of us trudged up the stairs, I thought of how different Violet was now from when we first met. The first time we’d united she’d been brave, kind, caring, and even a bit out-going. Now, she was reserved and angry, unwilling to listen to anyone but herself.
“You know what?” Candy finally broke the silence after we’d gone up about twenty floors.
“What?” Violet asked, a clear challenge in her voice.
“It’s stupid to take all these stairs,” Candy said, a little exasperated.
“Come on,” Edwin attempted to persuade her,” We’re almost there!”
“Let’s have a race,” Candy suggested, eagerly looking at Violet, “Rosalie and I will take the elevator the rest of the way up and Violet and Edwin can continue taking the stairs.”
“Candy,” I said, the energy rapidly being sapped out of me, “If we took the elevator while they took the stairs, we’d obviously win. Besides, didn’t we decide a while back that taking the elevators was dangerous?”
“Nah,” Candy brushed off my warning, “It was that zombie thing that dropped that safe with the intention of killing us, and they’ve been long gone!” I did not want her to persuade me. “Come on,” I automatically tensed up when she grabbed hold of my arm and started pulling me toward the door that led out onto the twentieth floor.
“Candy!” I tried to whip my hand back, but I wasn’t strong enough.
“Rosalie,” Edwin said behind me, “Just go with Candy and we’ll meet you up there.” I didn’t have time to respond before I found myself being swept into the darkness of the twentieth floor.
The floor was completely dark and disheveled, much like the floors above. A few blank papers were scattered here and there and dust had begun to cover some of the desks. A window had been opened, causing a slight breeze to blow through our hair. “Should I close that?” I asked, thinking of what could get in. Candy laughed a little and brought me over to the elevator. “Are you… feeling okay, Candy?” I asked. The other girl turned around to look at me.
She clasped my hands in hers and replied, “Rosalie, I’m fine.” She said, “I just want to get to the top before they do!” Before I could ask why, Candy had pressed the “Up” button on the wall. When the doors slid open I was relieved to see that the elevator car wasn’t the one that had had the safe thrown through it. But as I looked closely at the elevator car’s floor, something went off in the back my head.
“Candy, wait!” I swung my arm around to block her torso before she could enter the car. “I don’t think you should go in there.”
“Step aside, Rosalie,” Candy shoved my arm out of the way and continued to walk forward. The second she stepped into the elevator, the floor slid open. Quick as lightening, I threw my hand out at Candy, throwing her against the wall and attaching her now ice-covered arm to the wall with the frozen sheet. Breathing hard, she looked down in complete shock at the dark pit of death that awaited her. “Oh my God…” she whimpered, her face drained of all color. I could only gawk at the trap door that had almost killed Candy- the dark, metal abyss to be exact.
“How…” I trailed off, not able to finish my sentence.
“Rosalie! Help!” Candy screamed, looking at me through terrified eyes. Thinking quickly, I shifted all my weight into my left hand and leaned it against the side wall next to the open doors. I led my body across the open space with my free hand and attempted to stretch across to the other side of the car.
“Grab hold of my hand!” I commanded. Candy remained dangling there, paralyzed. “Do it now!” I thought of how strong that ice would really be now that my attention had been taken away from it. At the sound of the ice beginning to crack, Candy broke out of her mini-trance and raised her free hand to meet mine. “Okay,” I said as I tightened my grip on her hand. “On the count of three I’m going to melt the ice and yank you out of the elevator. But you have to push yourself off against the wall at the same time, got it?” Candy nodded, her breath getting shallower by the second. “One….two….” the ice cracked apart. I pulled as hard as I could, but without Candy being prepared I didn’t think we’d make it.
Thankfully, momentum was on my side and I soon found myself face up on the floor with a terrified Candy lying on top of me. “What just happened?” I asked to the best of my abilities- it was a bit hard to breathe with another teenage girl lying on my chest. But Candy didn’t respond. Instead, she slowly looked up with eyes as big as the moon and pointed behind me with a shaky hand.
“That…” she whispered hoarsely, “That just happened,” Candy scrambled off of me, allowing me to get up and whip around to face our newest enemy. At first I didn’t see anything, but then I saw it: it was a shadow figure of a man with piercing, pupil-less green eyes. His head was slightly cocked to one side, a shadow of what resembled a hand stuck out from the top of his skull, and, to top it all off, he held an axe in one hand. But what was most disturbing was the fact that while he seemed to be looking at us, his feet were pointed backwards, as if his legs had been screwed on the wrong way. It started walking toward us slowly, arm outstretched. A growling sound emitted from its general direction and I suddenly felt like I couldn’t breathe.
Somewhere in the Middle East
Dr. -------- smiled triumphantly down at the US map. He had just unleashed a relatively new program he’d created after gaining insight to the average nightmare. Not only would these strike a fear into people’s hearts that would stay with them forever, but they would also have the ability to take their opponent’s breath away. “Dr. --------?” A voice broke the doctor out of his victory mind-dance and forced him to turn around.
“Yes?” he asked, trying to suppress the venom in his voice.
“One of the bombs didn’t detonate,” the new-comer said, trying not to show his nervousness.
“Which one?” Dr. -------- asked. The new-comer shrugged.
“One that was planted under an office building in Washington state.” They replied.
The ground shook suddenly, throwing me out of eye contact with the shadow figure and onto the floor. When I looked up the shadow was gone, just to be replaced with shaking walls. “What’s going on?” Candy called out. An ear-splitting boom suddenly came from the ground and waves of heat shot up from the elevator shafts. The building started to tilt to the side and Candy and I were flung up against the wall that would soon become the floor. My heart was caught in my throat and I couldn’t scream.
“Candy!” I called out her name and tried to signal to her to follow me. Not knowing if she’d heard me or not, I dashed over to the open window I’d seen earlier and threw it open. I was staring directly at a fast approaching road accompanied with the whistling sound of a tall building tumbling over. I jumped out head first, throwing my hands out in front of me in an attempt to make a slide of ice for me to descend down. But the heat of the fire below quickly melted my train of ice, leaving me to fall in a cold cascade of water. The ground rushed up to me before I was ready.