The Last Walk
By: Broken Angel

Chapter 1: See You Later Alligator! (Or Not...)

Now....

The air was like ice on Seth's pale skin, but he wore no jacket tonight. Everything already felt cold to him. His numb fingers were as cold his heart as the teenage boy walked up the deserted road that he had gone through so many times in the past- the past that was slowly melting away like the last snow of the year with every thump of his sneakers against the asphalt. The sounds of the cars and the city slowly faded behind him. Everything would fade away soon, and there would be nothing left, just the bitter aftertaste of what he lost. He had walked this way many times to try and get away from the lights and the cars. This was a place full of wonderful and horrible memories. This was the place where he and his little sister would ride their bikes when they were kids...

Then....

"Niki! Be careful!" Seth shouted, pedling faster down the deserted road, watching as his five year old sister riding a few yards in front of him, laughing her head off. It was a sweet, musical sound, and Seth couldn't get enough of their laughter together. It was so easy to watch her- so carefree, so beautiful, so... young and full of life. So fearless- always fealess. Their father had just taken off her training wheels that morning, and it was making her bother a little nervous.

"Hurry up slow poke!" she called over her shoulder. The long black hair peeking out from underneath her Barbie helmet flowed down her back and blew in the wind as she road.

"I'm not a slow poke!" he shouted back. "Slow down, I don't want you to fall, Niki. Be careful."

"I'm not gonna fall!" The wind whipped past his ears, making it hard to hear her. He squinted in the bright sunlight, keeping his eyes on her as her bike flew over the oil blackened roads.

Suddenly, Niki screamed and Seth jumped. It went by in slow motion. The bike jerked to the side as she tried to dodge a pothole. When that didn't succeed, the front wheel landed into the hole, and got caught. Seth squeezed the brakes on his handle bars, skidding to a stop. Niki's bike flipped forward, sending the little girl over the handle bars, and onto the hard ground. Seth heard the hollow thwack of her helmet making contact with the hard street. She rolled, and then landed on her back.

"Niki!" Seth screamed, jumping off of his bike and letting it fall to the ground. She was still laying her back, unmoving where the dying grass met the cracked asphalt. He dashed to her, and knelt down beside her on the sun warmed road. She seemed okay, but she was staring blankly up at the sky with wide green eyes. "Niki? You okay?" he asked touching her pale arm.

She blinked several times. Seth helped her sit up, careful not to touch her much in case she was injured. He looked anxiously at her, and suddenly the blank stare was replaced with an amazingly wide smile. Niki threw her arms up in the air and cheered. "Let's do it again!" she screamed. Seth's heart started beating again, and he laughed with relief. Niki laughed along with him, while they sat there under the never ending sunshine.

.

Six months and many bike rides later, they weren't laughing anymore. Seth's parents noticed that Niki wasn't eating well, and she was always tired. The little girl that used to devour everything in sight, and could fly across the yard like a bat out of Hell. Something was wrong, and they all knew it.

Their mother took Niki to the doctor repeatedly, telling him that her child was sick. But the doctors all gave different diagnosis. "Oh, she just under the weather. Give her a week, and I'm sure she'll be good as new," one said.

A week passed, and Niki started vomiting everything she ate. "Maybe it's just a stomach bug," their father had offered one night while they all sat in the living room watching T.V.

"A stomach bug that lasts for two weeks?" his mom asked. His dad shrugged. They heard the sounds of Niki running to the bathroom to throw up, and their father frowned. A few seconds later, there was a violent retching sound, followed by Niki screaming for someone to come help.

"I'm taking her to the doctor again in the morning," her mom announced, moving from her spot on the couch to go and assist Niki in the bathroom. Seth turned back to his homework, trying his hardest to block out the sounds of his sister that seemed to echo loudly through the house.

,

The sickness didn't get better. Seth's mom towed the sick little girl all around town to all of the doctors, trying to find out what was wrong. Finally, after one horrible night where Niki had spiked a fever of 105, their mom had rushed her to the hospital. Things only got worse from there.

None of the doctors knew what was wrong with her. They treated her for all types of diseases, and nothing seemed to work. Night after night, Niki wouldly in bed, facing up to any sort of test that they had to give her. She met them head on, and didn't back down. That was Niki for you. The girl had spunk, and nobody could acuse her of anything else. After two weeks in the hospital after the fever, with her condition slowly deteriorating, the doctors started preparing the family for what they all knew what bound to happen.

One month. That's how long the doctors gave her to live. One month! How was that fair? Why Niki have to die so young, and so horribly. She didn't deserve to be struck with some fatal disease that nobody knew about at the age of six. Just to lie in bed for the rest of her life, getting stuck with needles while the doctors did everything to figure out what was wrong. To save her life.

There were horrible people out there, doing horrible things, and you didn't see them being struck by lighting, or contracting deadly diseased. This little girl had never done anything to anyone... and his happened. Why did that have to happen?

Is that how life worked? Where you simply given things, just so they could be taken away? Seems like a pretty cruel way to go about things. Did the innocent suffer and the guilty go free...

The doctors gave her one month to live. Well, Niki just wasn't going to settle for that. She fought for her life, laying in bed for eleven months. During that eleven months, Seth watched Niki go from that beautiful girl, into the skeleton in the hospital bed while she took her last breath.

He remembered that night like it was yesterday. The hospital room was white and clean. The buzzing florescent lights above the bed gave Seth a headache, and the glow made Niki look even more pale.

She was laying there, looking tiny and frail under the white sheets that seemed to swallow her up while she looked up and pretended to be watching T.V. He watched the light and color flicker across her sunken cheeks- the only color on her.

"Seth," she whispered, her voice as dry as the desert sands.

"Yea?" he asked, scooting his cold metal chair closer to her bed.

"I'm gonna die aren't I?" she whispered, her emerald eyes filling with tears.

Seth's stomach tightened and his own throat constricted with emotion, "Don't worry about it," he whispered, taking her tiny hand. He could feel the bones beneath the paper smoothe skin- skin only old, horribly sick people had; viens were visible beneath his fingers "You're gonna be fine, no matter what."

Her hand tensed in his, and she moved away, putting her arms across her stomach and curling her hands into little fists. "Please don't treat me like a little kid, Seth," she ordered, her tone shaper. "I know it's going to happen eventually. Don't coddle me and lie to me."

Seth felt tears sliding down his cheeks, and he rested his hands on her mattress. "Don't you even think about dying!" he said feircly. "You focus on getting stronger, and getting healthy again."

She smiled through the tears, "I'm not going to get better, Seth," she whispered. "I don't want to fight anymore. I just want it to be over with. It's time to go." A big fat tear slid down her face and landed silently on her pillow.

"Don't say that," Seth sobbed, reaching out and taking her hand again. "I'm not going to let you think like that, Niki!"

"It's true." She turned to look at him, her eyes were alive with more emotion than he had seen them in eight months."You and I both know it's true... and there's nothing we can do to fight it." She smiled brokenly. "I want to go live with God like Mommy and Daddy said I would. They said I wouldn't hurt anymore when I was in Heaven."

Seth put his hand in a fist and brought it to his mouth, biting down on his knuckles."Don't do that, Seth," she said, reaching out feebly and touching his hand. "Mama says you're gonna bite a hole through your hand one day. And then we'll see if you cry then." Her grin was weak, and it didn't last long.

Seth gave a short laugh, and captured her hand with his.

"I love you, kid." he said, but the words came out brittle and weak, withered by the scorch in his tight throat.

"I love you, too," she said. Seth couldn't help the emotions that were running through him, and he couldn't stop the tears from gushing out of his eyes. It felt like there were a thousand tiny hooks sticking into his chest, and strings were pulling at little bits of his heart. Tearing him from the inside out. Niki smiled weakly and pulled at his hand.

"Come here," she whispered. Seth scooted up even closer to the bed, and Niki rearanged the tubes going into her arms to where she was moved all the way to one side of the bed, the side closest to Seth. She put her tiny arms around Seth's neck, pulling him down. Seth leaned his head against her chest, and Niki cradled him against her. She was so tiny and sick, and she was trying to comfort him. Seth was fifteen years old at the time, and she was comforting him.

It was so hard to remember that she was only a kid sometimes; she was wise and strong and beautiful and smart- so far beyond her years.

They cried together that night, until Seth had to go home. He kissed Niki goodbye on the nose.

"See you later Alligator," he said firmly, pointing at her as he walked out the door with his dad.

Niki waved goodbye from the bed, smiling.

"After while crocodile," she called, trying her best to be loud so he could hear it.

She died that night, in her sleep. There was no reason for it. Her heart just stopped beating. Like she said, it was time to go...

.
AN//

Sniffle. I hate killing my characters, especially ones like Niki. But, it's important to the story. I think that this is my least favorite story out of all of the ones I've written because it's just so dang depressing, even for me. So you have been warned. It gets worse. But, the ending has a twist, so I'd like for you to keep reading and if you don't mind leave a review and tell me what you thought or how I can make it better.

-Broken Angel