Fang's voice echoed inside her head and somehow, it seemed like it was getting louder and louder until her ears were ringing and her head hurt. She pulled up her wings and wrapped them around her like a cocoon, hiding herself from the world. The gesture was absolutely clear.
Leave me alone!
Fang looked at her worriedly and called her again. She scooted further in the cage, into the shadows. He looked at Angel whose crate was situated right across from his.
'Angel, can you pick anything?' He asked in his head.
'No.' her answer was quick. 'She's blocking her thoughts. Fang, what's going on? She looks scared, and Max is NEVER scared.'
Fang looked at Max again. 'I don't know Angel.' He said. 'But I swear everything's going to be fine.'
Fang kept calling Max, everyone did. They called her, tried to talk to her, told her to tell them what had happened, but she never answered. She never moved, never talked. Just sat their lifelessly. But it was too much to take. Max, like all life had drowned out from her, when she was the one who helped them to live.
Fang shook his head at the thought. Surely Max wasn't lost. She could never be lost. After all, she's Maximum Ride. And so he tried again....
"Max." He whispered so the others who were sleeping wouldn't wake up. "Max." She didn't even look at him. But he continued to speak. "Max, please just tell me what happened." He begged, for once he didn't care about his pride and begged. "You know everything's going to be fine. We'll be fine, just tell me what happened." He tried to touch her through the bars, but Max flinched away from him. He dragged his hand back, surprised by her reaction. "Max, you know I'll always have your back. Max?"
I'll always have your back.
Would he have her back if he knew the truth? Max wondered silently.
And the days passed like that. They would come in the morning, take Max away, and would return her by the end of the day. She would come and sit on her usual spot. She wouldn't look at anyone, talk to anyone. She'd just sit there; her wings wrapped around her, thinking about what might happen next. Fang tried to talk with her for few days, but she never responded, so eventually he had stopped too. The others tried though, Nudge had tried to comfort her, Iggy and Gazzy had made jokes about many things and Angel had tried to read her mind.
Just like that, Max was gone. She was right there all the time. Showing that she was still alive. Then again showing that she wasn't there, she wasn't alive.
A week passed.
They tried to make escape plans. But without Max, it was nothing. So eventually they gave up.
A week later, Marian Janssen came stomping back in the room, stood in front of the crates, and smiled at all of them.
Fang stared at her blankly. What did she want now? Didn't she just screw enough of their lives? And besides, she didn't come here for the whole week. If she had come now, then it meant that she wanted to do another filthy experiment.
"Gah." Iggy groaned. "I hate your smell. What do you want?"
The Director's smile had faded with the comment, but was bright again with the question. Max looked at her once. Afraid what she might say.
"Well, I've got a very big news for you." She said with so much sweetness in her voice that they all cringed. "I'm sure we all know of our sweetheart Max's present condition…"
"What condition?" Fang growled out the words as the anger built into him.
"Oh!" Marian looked at him with faker-than-ever shock. "She didn't tell you? Max?" She turned towards her and Max cringed. "Oh I did not expect that from you. Aren't they your family? Well whatever. I'll just tell them." She looked at him again. "You see, we were running a new experiment on Max, and at least once in her life she had done it right. We wanted to see if she was able to enhance a child in natural ways with another species, so we put her and Omega in a room and we told Omega to do it….."
She didn't even look at Fang as she took a few steps forward so she was standing right in front of his crate. "…But she just wouldn't listen and so we had to force her to do it, not that we wanted to, and as a result…." She knelt down in front of his crate. "…And as a result Fang, Maximum is now carrying Omega's child."
The next morning was the usual.
Two erasers came in the room carrying plates of food; they put a plate in front of each of them. They were about to leave when for the first time in a week, Max spoke.
"I'm not eating those."
She didn't look at the erasers when she spoke, didn't look at the others when they stared at her amusedly, yet, her voice was strong. Fang looked at her plate and noticed that it was full with foods while the other plates didn't even cover a one-third.
The erasers glared at her for a few moments, but eventually they had to speak because the glare wasn't really of use.
"Sure you are bitch." One of them growled from its throat.
This time Max looked up. "No, I'm not."
And it was decided.
Max wasn't gone. She was just lost. And she only needed help to find her way back.
She made them give others the same amount of food as hers. But when they were left alone again, she didn't talk. She just had her breakfast, stared at the white walls, and thought Fuck.
Nudge kept staring at Max; she didn't know how it was possible that she still hadn't woke up from this nightmare. Everything was so weird and freaky. They got caught and found out that the School wasn't totally destroyed and there were still erasers with developed powers and Omega and Marian Janssen were still there doing their evil work and Max was being raped and she was pregnant and Omega was the father and Max wouldn't talk and wouldn't look at them and Angel couldn't read her mind and everything, it was all so freaky.
Nudge really didn't like it. And none of them did. Even Iggy didn't make any more jokes. He would just sit there all day listening others trying to make Max talk. And for the first time, he was really grateful that he didn't have to see Max like this. Gazzy was also as quiet as Iggy and Angel was always trying to get into Max's head. Though last night Fang had told her not to, assuming that Max would want her space and obviously he didn't want Angel to see what that bastard had done to Max. And obviously Angel wasn't listening to him.
So yeah. Though Nudge didn't know the last few things, it still sucked and she still wondered why she hadn't woke up from this nightmare.
Later that day, the Director again came in with a few erasers and again she stood in front of the half circle with her oh-I-am-so-powerful-glory and glared at them. Nudge stared at her and wondered what was up. Because to be truthful, she hadn't come like this with so many erasers since the first day. Even yesterday, there were only two erasers.
"Get him!" Her fingers snapped just like her voice. And before they could understand anything else, they unlocked Iggy's crate and pulled him out by neck.
"What?" Max reached through the bars as if to stop them. "Where are you taking him?"
"To run an experiment." The Director answered bluntly.
"But you said you wouldn't do anything to them if I listened to you."
"Did I?" She smirked.
"No! Don't you dare to touch him."
"Duh. I am touching him. Well not me….but you get it right?" She came closer and stood in front of Max's crate. "Don't worry Maximum. We're running a test on enhanced vision, it is a dangerous one and we are running it for the first time so it's a bit risky too. The reason we chose him is because if it is successful than he can get his vision back. And if it fails, oh well, he has nothing to lose." She took a few steps back and smiled. "You will see him by dawn hopefully."
Nudge's heart squeezed with fear as she saw another one of her family being taken away.
She didn't like this. She didn't like this at all.
He was back by dawn. His eyes were bandaged and he was unconscious. The white coats with him were discussing how the operation was fabulous and how he had a good chance of getting his visions back.
Max never found out if he did.
After a few days they took her to run tests again. Everything was the same. They still hadn't opened the bandages of Iggy's eyes because it was a difficult surgery and his eyes weren't fully healed yet.
Everything was the same except the slight bulge of Max's stomach which she had noticed that day.
They put her in a hospital bed and strapped her hands and legs after running a few tests. Then they massaged a jelly like transparent thing which seemed like some kind of cream on her stomach and put some machine in there which she didn't feel like observing. And an image of the inside of her stomach started on a monitor. It was showing something weird in it which was beating and making a heart like noise.
A beating heart. She thought. What the heck?
"Heart- beat is fast." The female doctor stated as the male on wrote something in a clip-board. "Faster than an avian-hybrid. It's strong and it's growing fast."
Max was determined about not interrupting but she didn't know when the words left her mouth.
"Why is it growing fast?"
The female doctor stared at her awkwardly while the male one was preparing to snap at her. But she raised her hand and silenced him.
"It is a combination of two different species." She said. "That is why you conceived too fast and though it has been only two weeks, you're almost half and a months pregnant." She turned her head towards the monitor again and went through the test reports. "It isn't settled yet about the fetus." She started to describe it again. "After born, it can be a normal infant or it can be inhumanely weak or strong…"
"What…what do you mean by that?"
At first Max thought that she would get angry and would snap at her, but instead she looked at the male doctor and gestured him to go outside. When the male doctor was gone she looked at the monitor and ignored Max's gaze.
"The Director is running this test to see what kind of baby you produce." She said in a calm voice. "If it is normal, or weak, or strong. Which is hard to say now. We can only be sure about it after the baby is born. All we know is that the baby won't be normal. It would either be really weak and harmless, or it would be inhumanely strong and harmful. Which, by the way, the Director wants. If it is strong, it's going to be dangerous to everyone and to world and may be it's also going to be uncontrollable."
Max breathed heavily and asked the next question. "What if it's weak?"
This time she faced Max and looked right into her eyes. "It would be of no use and they are going to kill it."