She couldn't breathe. Her lungs felt like they were trying to burn their way out of her chest. Scratches and burns covered her body, making it painful to move any one of her limbs. A thick green fog covered the world, making it impossible to see any more than a couple inches in any direction. She had no idea what the green crap was, but it wasn't normal fog. It was so thick she could feelit seeping into her skin and lungs, it burnedthrough her veins. Or maybe she was just delusional from lack of air.. It was funny, she hadn't remembered falling, but she could feel the cold hard concrete beneath her. That she could even feel that was a miracle. Her limbs were slowly becoming numb, whether it was from lack of air, or the poisonous fog, she didn't have the slightest clue. Nor did she care anymore, suffocating has such an odd effect on you. She literally did not have enough energy in her brain to care about anything other than the one small command running through her mind. Survive.
Survive. Such a small word packed with so much power. It meant everything, because without it, there was nothing. It was written into the code of every creature to ever walk the earth. Before anything else, the will to survive was always the strongest. With that will she forced herself to take a small breath. It was the most painful and shallow breath she had ever taken in her life, but it was air and it felt wonderful. Concentrating, she took another, and another. Feeling slowly returned to her as she forced more air into her throat. With each breath she took the task became slightly easier, but the action still caused her pain. And she still couldn't see worth shit. A small voice in the back of her head told her that she didn't want to. The ominous gas couldn't be hiding anything good. The air was thick with more than just the fog, there was a sense of doom that was so strong it made her tremble. Megan Thayne, trembling with fear. If her friends saw her, they might have laughed. But then again, they might not have, considering the circumstances. Hell, she wasn't even sure if they were alive.
'Be alive …' She thought desperately. The idea of her friends dying scared her more than anything else ever had. 'Please, be alive.'
A distant scream tore through the night. She felt her heart stop for a moment as she heard the voice underlying the scream. Her nails dug into her skin as she forced herself to stay calm. She had to stay sane. Her skin was slick with sweat, from either fear, exhaustion, or both. Looking around in desperation, she tried to find something, anything really, but all she could see was the damn fog. It made her lungs cry out in pain and stung her eyes, but she forced herself to keep looking.
The only thing her search revealed was that the fog was thick. Which was nothing new. Gritting her teeth against the pain, she slowly crawled forward. The entire place had grown silent other than the sound of her jeans rubbing against the concrete and a ominous crackling noise she had no explanation for. One of her friends had to be around here somewhere, she hadn't been that far away from them went everything went to hell. Suddenly, her knee landed on a jagged piece of glass. It tore through her jeans, leaving a painful gash in her skin. Inhaling deeply, she toughed through it and kept going. Only a few feet and several cuts later, she had to admit defeat. Her breathing was shallow and uneven, but she was just glad it was still there. If her friends were out there, she wasn't going to be able to find them in the fog.
She coughed weakly a couple of times, her body doubling over from the pain. She didn't want to die here. She refused to die here. With great effort, she managed to pull herself up into a kneeling position. Which was when she noticed it.
When they had left that night it had been cold, freezing actually. Of course she had refused to take a jacket. But it was warm now, uncomfortably so. She squinted a little, trying to see through the fog. What she saw made her eyes widen in shock and horror. A violent orange light glowed around her, spreading through the building at an alarming rate. She fell back, moving away from the fire as quickly as she could. More screams tear through the night, each one coming from a different direction. It was a million times worse than any horror movie she had ever seen in her life. Somehow the movies fail to capture what it really sounds like when someone is being burned alive. She clapped her hands over her ears, desperately trying to block out the sounds, but it barely helped at all. Eventually the screams turned into pathetic whimpers, and then into an eerie silence.
She sat there, sobbing. Scratch her earlier thoughts, she wanted to die here. Why wouldn't she die! Had she been able to conjure enough energy to do so, she would have screamed in frustration. As it was, she just continued to sit there in horror, wondering what the hell she had done wrong. She wasn't a bad kid, sure she got into a little trouble with the law, but she had never hurt anyone. So why was this happening to her? Why was this happening to any of them? Her tears burned as they ran down her cheeks and across her various cuts.
It was pathetic, really. The famed Megan Thayne, the fearless rebel, a bad influence to young children everywhere, reduced to a whimpering mess on the concrete. But she supposed it didn't matter anymore. Her reputation wasn't worth shit if all her friends were dead. And they probably were, she thought with an almost detached sense of apathy.
Dead. The word echoed through her head as she sat there, feeling the air start to get warmer and warmer until the green gas slowly cleared away, only to be replaced by a thick black smoke. As the smoke entered her lungs, she choked on it, the struggle to breathe beginning all over again.. There didn't seem to be any oxygen left in the air. Air which happened to be very hot at the moment. She coughed, and tried to pull herself away from the flames that encircled her, but there was nowhere left to go. A brick wall stood directly behind her, and the fire was in every other direction. Panic flooded through her. A quick death would have been nice. Burning alive didn't seem like it would be a pleasant way to go. Hell, she would rather suffocate, but at this rate the fire would reach her faster than her lungs would give out.
But the fire stayed where it was at, and she didn't suffocate. That was the first time that night she began to seriously question her sanity. 'Am I asleep? Or have I completely lost it?' If anything, the fire moved away from her. She sat there for God-knows how long, in a state of shock while the fire slowly burned itself out. What it left could only be described as hell. There was no way that there could be a place, whether in the afterlife or not, that was worse than what she saw before her.
Corpses lined the place. Nine of them, she counted twice to make sure. Ten of them, including herself, had broke into the lot that night. She couldn't even recognize most of them. The fire had burned off the skin, making it hard for her to even tell what gender they were. There were a few bodies that, for some reason, hadn't been touched by the fire. They lay in the ground, their faces contorted in various expressions of pain, and their limbs were stiff and bent at odd angles. Her stomach churned painfully at the sight. Each one of the bodies had been a living breathing human only hours before. Her friends. They had talked with her, laughed with her, telling her about how this place was going to be so easy to break into. They'd mess up the place and go for ice cream afterward.
She screamed hysterically, scooting back until she was pressed up against the wall. She wanted to close her eyes, but she couldn't. They were frozen open in pure horror, unable to look away from the gory scene in front of her. Her screams were the only noise to be heard in the cold night, echoing off all the walls like some sort of sick twisted scary movie. She knew her reaction was irrational, the term 'loud enough to wake the dead' wasn't meant to be taken literally. She had seemingly lost control of her body. It simply had no other way to cope with what it was seeing. Eventually she buried her face into her knees, huddling into herself, and successfully muffling her screaming. But she still couldn't escape the images. They were burned into her mind, and she clawed at her head in an attempt to dig them out of her skull.
Her hysterics continued until she felt a firm but hesitant grip on her arm. She yelped and pulled away from it, sobbing incoherently.
"Hush, now," a distinctly male voice told her gently, refusing to let go of her. "Calm down, it'll be okay." After a few seconds she stopped struggling against him, but she still refused to look at him. He didn't seem to mind, continuing to whisper soothing things to her as she cried, telling her that she was fine, and that he wouldn't let anything happen to her. Eventually she calmed down, reluctantly relaxing into his grip. The only thing that remained of her earlier fit was a slight case of the hiccups.
"Lemme go," she mumbled, her voice devoid of emotion. She just wanted to be left alone. Preferably forever, until she was nothing more than a skeleton, the same as all of her friends.
"I'm not going to leave a traumatized teenager all alone in the middle of a scene the cops are going to be all over in a few minutes," he replied in a calm tone, gently pulling at her.
She scowled in anger, her head shooting up to look at him. He looked a couple of years older than her at most, but he was easily a foot taller than she was. He had black hair and chocolate brown eyes that were framed by glasses. If she had met him at some place like the mall, she might have found him attractive. But now all she felt was sick when she looked at him.
"What the hell are you doing here anyway?" There had been no one there that night other than her and her friends. She knew that for a fact, they had searched the place before it blew up.
He smiled grimly. "Well, an explosion is likely to attract attention. I'm surprised I got here before the police." Another gentle tug on her arm. "But we really have to go now, if the police find us here, it's not going to be pretty."
She lashed out, shoving him away. The moment her hand made contact with his shirt, she felt it explode with warmth. The man pulled back as if she had burnt him. He swore violently, tightly grabbing his injured shoulder. Her eyes narrowed in confusion. She knew she was strong, but she wasn't that strong. 'Is he faking it?' When he pulled his hand away, her eyes widened. There was a palm-sized hole burnt into his shirt, black and frayed at the edges. Underneath where the fabric had been, she saw a nasty burn. She looked up, staring at him in shock.
"I- ..." She started to say, but then just shook her head. What was there to say? She had no clue what the hell was going on.
The guy smiled through the pain. "Fuck, you're a strong one." He let out a deep breath. "They are definitely going to be interested in you. Which is why we need to get you the hell out of here right now." He emphasized the last two words. It was obvious he was starting to get paranoid about something.
She shook her head. "But, your arm … What the hell just happened?" She asked, glaring at him like it was all his fault she was this confused.
He chuckled lightly. "I'll be fine, don't worry. That is, I'll be fine if we leave now. " He sighed when she still looked unconvinced. "Look, I'm not saying you have to trust me right now. But I can explain things to you. After that, you're free to call me crazy and leave. Just give me a chance, alright?" He frowned, looking over his shoulder, very worried about something. "But the thing is, this wasn't entirely an accident. Someone put that gas there knowing fully well what it does. If we don't get the hell out of here, they're going to come looking for us."
He held his hand out for her to take, and she did so reluctantly. He rose, pulling her to her feet and smiled lightly. He opened his mouth to say something, but distant sirens interrupted him. He frowned and took of running, gesturing for her to follow him. Megan did so without really thinking. To be honest, she was used to running from the cops, it had almost become instinctive.
Their feet made light tapping noises as they sprinted across the cement. When they reached a fence, the guy stopped to help her over, staring at her injuries. She didn't even spare him a second glance, jumping over it like it was nothing. He blinked and then grinned, following her over. Once they were on the other side, they snuck past the police cars, keeping to the shadows to avoid being seen. After they were clear of the police's line of sight, her guide jogged off to the right, only looking back once to make sure Megan was following him.
And with that, they ran off into the night, never to be seen in that city again.