Her: Chapter 34
I'm sitting in a chair. In front of people, and the words coming from my mouth terrify me.
The words that tell me I killed my friend.
As if on cue, the entire image turns watery, disappearing through my fingers until I'm in an alleyway, pointing a gun at a black vest.
I look up.
And this time, I see the face. I see HIS face, One of my ghosts has been given a body and eyes that seem to see right through me.
And I don't blink as I return him to the dead.
A girl and a boy stand on a roof. Their names-How do I know their names?- come to me on some invisible gust of wind, beating like a heart, the words Marlene and Hunter echoing in the space between me and them.
And I want to save the girl. So much so, I almost believe I will. But then I grab the boy as the girl steps off the edge and the beating sound stops.
I scream when it does.
A man. Not much older than me, is walking down the pavement. There's a look of pain in his stance; of loss and grief, but I know I know him. Because he turns to me and smiles a small grin. He lifts his hand up and waves.
And then he disappears, in an explosion of white.
I'm running down a hallway now. There's Caleb to my left and a man to my right-dad.
It is my father and I'm not sure how I know that, but his face feels like I've seen it a million times before. I spot the laugh lines that would be there if he were smiling. The way his eyes curve. The expression I catch when he's seeing a piece of himself in his children.
And then come the gunshots. Dad falls.
He doesn't get back up.
I am I'm front of that woman again, the one with the cold eyes that watch me, as if I am spmething broken she needs to fix. Or something unnatural that needs to be solved. And I feel everything as she tries. But then I'm put on a table, with a heart monitor nearby and I hear mine as it beats first frantically, and then it begins to slow.
I have a single, fleeting, screaming thought that I don't want to die. I want to live.
And then it stops.
I'm holding a gun to my brother's head. I don't know why, but it makes sense for some reason, even as he's pushed away and I run in the opposite direction, to a small room with many things inside. I seal the door shut and turn around.
I'm not alone.
He speaks to me. About my mother. Things that both do and don't fit but then before he can go on, I'm darting to a button and he's lifting something to me.
Two shots ring out. And this time it's not fake. I feel it. My blood seeping through my fingers. The shocking pain of it being too much for my mind to comprehend. The realization that I probably won't make it out of this. The realization that I want to live.
I guess it was a price I was willing to pay.
I don't want to be here anymore. Not in this world of reliving old memories, as of they were clothes and not ugly things covered in red. I want out.
Out. Out. Out. Out.
But they keep coming and I can't stop them.
He's kissing me. Tobias. My neck, my lips. And he whispers a single word to me. "Beautiful." For a second, I can't believe he's talking about me, but when I find his eyes, the way they look into mine confirms it and for a minute, I believe him. I believe that to him, I'm beautiful.
They come faster now, the images. Painfully fast. Before I can understand one, it switches, from a girl in grey to a fighter in black. From caring brother to a selfish traitor.
They flash by; a tattooed woman and before I think, I know her. Tori.
A boy. No, a man, not much older than me, shooting food off that girl's head. Uriah.
A girl with a dark complexion, standing over me.
Screaming down a pipeline that makes me feel alive and on the verge of death, flying over a city before dropping into waiting arms.
Zeke. Lyn. Marlene. Tori. Will. Christina. Uriah.
I feel my chest breaking, my breath making my body convulse in uncontrollable ways. And then.
And then they aren't just flashbacks and images, they are emotions.
Real, tangible things I feel as I watch them, as I live them, knowing what will happen before it does.
The girl in grey will jump. She will be the first to jump. The man will strike her ear with a knife and she'll be angry. He will kiss her at the edge of a roaring chasm.
They'll leave to Amity. They'll leave to the outside. And the girl will give herself up for her brother who betrayed her, and leave the man she loves behind.
Tell him I didn't want to leave him.
And I scream at her. I yell and I want to fight this girl, who gave up everything, who finally just wanted to die but no one would let her.
I scream and scream, not sure at who I should be mad at but I'll settle for being mad at her, for the decisions she's made. For knowing there was no other way for any of it.
I want to ask her why. Why would she leave him? All that pain I saw in his eyes. Months of torment and grief over her. Over me.
And then my questions cease and all that remains is my single scream, shaped into a question that I realize only I can answer, and the one that I alone will have to live with.