((Melanie Beckett continued from Open Your Eyes and Look North))
It had been a while since what had happened at the bell tower.
Mel draped her jacket over a branch of the tree that had fallen halfway through the asylum window. She looked at it a while, finally nodding. It was good enough. Someone could use it. Or it would be a bother to the terrorists when they cleaned up. Besides, it was a good jacket. She didn't want to stain it.
Serena hadn't shown up at the depot. She was missing. Delayed. Maybe dead. Mel had thought at first that she'd just missed Serena somehow as she laid low outside the building, falling asleep at all the wrong times, but that wasn't the case. The gunfire that she had heard and investigated soon after the announcement had only let her know that Bart would never find his friends.
She had left the jeep there, to blend in among the other cars. Elmo was sitting in the backseat and the keys were in his lap, and she hoped that someone would get a kick out of that. Little hand-me-downs. Serena would find the car if she was alive, probably. She had the best chance.
It wasn't right to quit on her now. Like this. Without even a goodbye.
But this was a decision that had been a long time coming. If Serena didn't forgive her, that was fair. She'd done nothing but complain. And tackle Alvaro. That at least ought to count for something. But in the end she was quitting when Serena needed her the most.
Aiden, wherever he was now, probably wouldn't forgive her either. Over the last day, she had started thinking that maybe what had really happened wasn't some crazy sacrifice on his part like she had thought, but Matt just pushing him off the tower - but then she had chosen to believe what she wanted to. Whatever the truth, Aiden's last words had been for the three of them, together. Now she was here alone, doing something only she wanted.
Her head hurt. The headache hadn't stopped for at least a day now. Her stomach was still empty, her throat still dry. She was dizzy and nauseous and probably wouldn't be of any use to Serena even if they did meet back up. She had almost fallen down the last time she'd exited the jeep. All of these things were probably connected, because her supplies were all gone. Had been for a while, now. What she'd done faced with Matt yesterday was born from adrenaline and anger. Maybe she could still pull that off if she wanted to. Maybe her body wasn't that far gone. Nothing was forcing her to push the issue now. But she had made it too far already, lived for the moment sometimes and wasted away her time others, and now she had to take a stand before someone took the chance from her. Before she took the chance from herself.
No need to tell Mom and Elizabeth she wasn't coming home. They knew. Dad was more stubborn. She hoped he would forgive her, too. And who really knew with Logan?
She stuck her head through a gap in the tree's branches, into the room. Her collar beeped. When it began to beep faster, she pulled back, and a smile slid onto her face.
Regular Treatment Rooms wasn't the most descriptive of names. It seemed almost unfair to find that this one seemed anything but regular - she thought she'd seen some art stuff, of all things. A body, too, but she still wished she'd found this place sooner. It didn't much matter. If this didn't work out the way she expected it would, she would wait the time out somewhere else, come back and take some supplies, go find Serena, lead her back to the car, and have a good time. Just, y'know, draw things while Serena murdered killers in the background.
Hey, she could still dream.
And she didn't have to explain out loud what was happening next, or why. The what was obvious, and the why was simple, and if anyone misinterpreted it she didn't really care.
The terrorists had set the place up, dropped them on this island. They had made the system, set the rules, put themselves up high as some sort of authority just because they held all the power.
Maybe she didn't believe in their rules. They could enforce them, but that didn't make it okay. They could blame her for breaking them, could say she knew the consequences, but that didn't mean they weren't responsible.
She didn't forgive Matt. She didn't think well of the others who had given in. She didn't really regret that petty little spat over the jeep she'd had just the day before, even if she'd made it entirely pointless now. And even that had shown she'd changed, that she'd given in, too, and maybe she was doing this partly because she wasn't willing to change any more than she already had. But the terrorists couldn't shunt responsibility off that easily - couldn't just confuse the issue by showing teenagers killing each other to the world when the terrorists' fingers were on the triggers of everyone's guns.
Everyone must have known that already. She just had to make it clear. Had to prove it to herself, had to make sure that her family would see it the same way whether they'd realize it or not.
This wasn't much of a middle-fingered fuck you, but it was what she had. The thing was probably automatic - impersonal machinery. She thought the point still held. If she had to take some of the blame for them to take most of it, so be it.
This wasn't a suicide unless they made it one.
Mel pushed past the branches, climbing through the window, and the beeping started again. She made it into the room, walked forward for as long as she dared, as the sound sped up, and then she stopped, smile fading as a sudden desperate fear tore at her- how stupid, how pointless, how useless her unspoken rebellion-
But she crossed her arms, and waited.
G053: Melanie Beckett - DECEASED
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Knife to the Canvas
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