The Death Zone

By Emmaa x

Authors Note:

Again, it took forever! There's an apology and excuse :/ at the end... Hope you like it!

Chapter 29 – Clarity ties

"She's dead." Reed looked shocked, solemn even and if I wasn't so emotionally drained I would have had some retort along the lines of "well no shit".

I'd never seen a dead person, let alone someone I knew and so I was still kneeling by her... body. I didn't know what to do. Alice had been the leader of our group, the stable one and now that she was, gone...

"Look, we need to move, we need to-" I stood up so fast that Fortis stumbled back a step in surprise before regaining his composure. He gave me a hard stare before continuing, "I know this isn't...ideal, but we need to move, we have to get to the home zone."

How could he be so heartless? Alice had just dies, hell, she'd been murdered! I glared at him before taking one step towards his stationary form.

"Look guys I know you haven't always got along but now-" I sent another piercing glare his way and he shut up.

I took another step towards Fortis so I was within a couple inches of him. He looked down on me, his white pupils, dragon tattoo and muscular build aimed to intimidate me, but I didn't feel intimidated. I felt angry.

Looking into his eyes I saw my anger reflected back at me: the gold rings that found a home in my blue irises pulsed wildly throughout my eyes showing how crazy my emotions really were, but it wasn't my reflection that I was looking for in his eyes, and as I continued the search I saw it; his fear. He hid it well, but I could still see it. He smirked and I clenched my fists, hard against the realisation that Fortis wasn't my enemy; he was just like me, just another Freak. My anger shouldn't be aimed at Fortis; (even if he was an ass) it should be aimed at Spike, at Mr Frieda.

So I walked away.

From the shocked look on Reed's face he was expecting a fight, "What? Did Alice's death make you soft?" Fortis' voice called out to me and I rounded on him,

"Don't you ever talk about Alice to me again!" I was shaking with my anger and I was pretty sure my face was bright red, but I couldn't fight him, because if I wanted out -if any of us wanted out- then we'd need him on our side.

It was only the three of us after that, Reed, Fortis and I and since Fortis and I were on a 'no speaking' terms, he stalked ahead leading our tiny group through the forest while Reed and I followed.

"You know he didn't mean what he said," Reed had been trying to calm me down ever since that moment by the chasm. "He was just, upset."

I grunted, shifting the weight that I was carrying to the other shoulder. I couldn't leave her there, not in forest where the drones could have got her or whatever else was in there with us, so I'd decided to carry her. Maybe it was a stupid idea, after all she'd just be taken away when it all ended, but I felt as though she deserved to be out of that place and all the other freaks need to see for themselves, how evil Mr Frieda -and whoever else ran the godforsaken place- could be.

Fortis said that he'd take her body and of course, Reed had offered to carry her, but he was even smaller than me and as for Fortis... well, I wasn't going to let him touch her.

I'm aware I sound like an obsessed stalker, but I'd always been a stubborn person, I wasn't about to quit then.

"You know I can-"

"No." It was the first word I'd said since yelling at Fortis and the only one if I had anything to about it.

Reed sighed and opened his mouth as if to continue, but then Fortis yelled at us to hurry from up ahead.

In any other situation I would have complained, but it wasn't 'any other situation'. It was for Alice. So I gritted my teeth and increased my stride.

"You need a rest." Reed touched my shoulder gently but I shrugged him off roughly, "Alex you need-"

"I'm fine."

I wasn't fine. I was breathing heavily, my back was bent in an uncomfortable way in order to carry Alice's limp form, my arms were starting to cramp with the sustained position and small scratches dotted my face and arms were branches and thorns had whipped at me and torn through the jumpsuit.

"Fortis, look at her?! She needs a break. Stop- Slow down!"

He didn't stop.

While I desperately wanted nothing more than to rest for a couple of minutes, to get a drink and eat, sleep, I knew I couldn't because If I stopped I wouldn't be able to get back up again. I think Fortis knew that, he was stubborn and proud just like I was and so I silently thanked him for not giving me the option of stopping because I needed to do it, for myself as much as for Alice and if he'd stopped, I didn't know if I would have carried on.

While Fortis didn't stop, he did slow down. He wasn't heartless, even if I'd believed it before, I knew then that he did care for others; he could work in a team.

"Oh for God's sake! I'll go and make him stop." Reed started off but I quickly grabbed his arm (wincing at the sharp movement) before releasing him and walking onwards.

"No. You can't. He... He may not seem... compassionate at the moment, but-" I stumbled and almost dropped Alice from my shoulders, but Reed caught my arm , his black ringed eyes met mine as he righted my balance and I sent him a thankful glance before continuing, "He understands."

His eyes flashed with frustration and he rounded on me "He understands that you're torturing yourself! It's not right, why can't you see that? At least let me help you take some of the weight, you're practically falling over your own feet." He had a point there, so I relented and gave Alice over to Reed to carry.

He looked slightly relieved as I handed her over and despite being shorter than my 5'6'', he showed surprising strength as he hauled her over his shoulder before walking onwards to catch up with Fortis.

"I'm sorry, I know you're only trying to help but-"

"Look Alex, I know you're hurting and seeing Alice... die can't have been easy, but it's not on you. None of this is your fault, this" he gestured around us, "This is all Them and Alice's death, that's on Them. You're not responsible this and you don't have to try and fix it."

I was so tired that my usual snarky tone just wouldn't come and I found myself being sincere "You know, for a small and kind wiry looking guy, you're actually kind of strong."

He chuckled, "Um, thanks? And you know that is what training is for, to make us strong?"

"Yeah but, it's more than that, you just... I don't know, you don't seem bothered by it all, I mean up there," I gestured at the glass ceiling and the rooms that I knew lay above the whole cavern we were situated in, "You had a life, you created a... a job for yourself and even here, now, you're almost calm, at peace with this."

"I'm not okay with this" He said sharply, "Any of it."

I backtracked, "That's not what I meant..." I ran a hand through my hair, sighing in annoyance when it got stuck in one big ass knot, "I just meant that you seem... relaxed?" I supplied and then sighed again, "That didn't come out right, again." I roughly removed my hand from my hair and turned towards Reed who was smiling slightly, although I could see a slight strain shown on his face from carrying Alice.

"It's okay; I guess I sort of understand where you're going with this." We walked for a bit in silence before he spoke again, "I mean I guess I just adapted to it all. You know, to survive."

I did know. I just didn't understand. "But how could you even pretend like it was okay? I mean, at least Sam and Arianna and everyone, at least they were looking for an escape. Are you telling me that you just, I don't know, accepted your kidnapping into this wacked place?" I didn't mean to sound so accusing, but it all just came out in a rush and I knew I couldn't take it back.

He must have seen something in my eyes because he stopped and looked directly at me, not at my shell- the one I build to look strong and powerful, to give me hope to escape-, at the version of myself that I push so far down because I'm afraid that if I let her out, I'd never get home.

"I learned early on that escape was futile. Anger only brought you pain and disobedience often worse. It was better to build a life for myself than to risk even that by a slim chance of successful rebellion." We had stopped walking and up ahead Fortis turned and saw us before stalking on, ever closer to the tower and the home zone. "Look, I know you and your friends don't want to admit it, but the security is too tight. Even if you got through one of the service doors –and yes, I know about those- you'd be faced with dozens of doctors, scientists. You think I didn't consider that? Alex, I hadn't given up, I was waiting."

I thought about what he'd said and while I was still exhausted, I needed something to keep me going so I lifted Alice off his back against his protests and started to walk again, my muscles aching and complaining.

Reed easily caught up to me without Alice on his back and we walked in silence while I mulled over what he'd said to me. I couldn't help but wonder, if that's how Reed felt, then what's to say others didn't feel the same, that they hadn't given up and let the Freak Cell win, they were just... waiting. Hope began to blossom in me, but then I considered what he'd really said: " I hadn't given up, I was waiting" All in the past...

"Reed?" My voice was strained and he immediately faced me, "What were you waiting for?"

He smiled thinly at me before replying, "What we're all waiting for Alex. You."

Authors Note: Okie Dokie, i am a terrible person i know :'( first off i'm totally sorry for waiting so long to be honest it was a combination of exams, homework, Christmas, writers block and even kind of forgetting... its awful and i humbly beg for forgiveness!

For those of you who patiently waited for this chapter i thank you soooooooooo much, but you guys totally owe MerlinRocks101 for this upload, because it was their review, favorite and following that totally reminded and kicked me up the ass to update so yeah thanks again for that!

Anyway? Any thoughts on Reed and what did he mean at the end there? I want to know what you guys think . So, Any ideas :P

Emmaa x

Copyright © 2011 Emmaa x (Userid: 758535)