It was hard to stand, harder than she'd ever imagined it could be. Everything hurt, everything ached, everything felt weak and wrong, like she was dehydrated and sunburnt after a long hike in the baking Arizona sun except it was her very bones that felt sunburnt and she had no convenient comparison for the aching hole in the pit of her stomach, carved into her by a woman who'd claimed it was fun.
Standing was hard. Walking was harder. But Reagan propped her up, kept her from tumbling to the sand. Lily leaned heavily on the other woman. "I won't let go until..."
Until, right. Until. Big things beyond that until. Until. After. Unless there was no after. Unless it was 'until oblivion.'
She didn't want to stop thinking. She didn't want to stop living. Even now, with these coals burning in her belly, she didn't...
The ocean washed against her feet, a shock of bright cold against her darkening thoughts. She welcomed the sudden clarity, even as she stumbled, but Colleen kept her upright. They waded deeper, and it cost her everything to keep moving. She couldn't think. She couldn't...
Deeper, and they hesitated for a moment, both afraid of what the sea might do to her wound. But the ocean took that choice from them: an unexpected wave caught them, and salt stang at her wound, and she gave a low, guttural moan as the pain rose through her, reached into every part of her, but with that wave suddenly she felt lighter, and it was a little easier now. She sank into the water, and waved off Reagan's attempts to help her with her good arm.
"It's okay," she gasped. "It's okay."
She was awake. She was dying. But she felt so much more alive now. So much clearer.
"Tyler Yazzie," Lizzie said. "And Keith...uh..." Shit, she couldn't remember his last name. Christ, how had she gotten here? Talking to a known killer, because she had to know. Torn apart. Dying. Nothing learned. Nothing gained. Except now she knew there were true monsters in the world. The kind that had to be killed.
Thoughts drifting away. Focus. Reagan's face was a lot clearer now. She tried and failed to smile, as the water rubbed her wounds.
"If you see'em," she said. "Tell'em...tell'em I'm sorry. Tell'em...I wanted to see'em before..."
Before the end. Before...
"And that these people, they don't..." She didn't know what word she was looking for. "People like Isabel," Lizzie said. "They're monsters that need to be..."
Another wave knocked her backwards, and now she was floating, and that felt so much better, even her wound hurt less. Reagan moved to help her, and Lizzie shook her head.
"S'okay," she said. "It's...really. It's..." She managed to smile this time. "This is how I...I want to be here, until..."
"Thank you," she said, and found she was crying again, tears mingling with the ocean that was taking her blood out into the tide.
Sometime later--she didn't know how much time had past, as she floated and half-heartedly tried to move farther out towards the sea--Reagan was gone, and Lizzie was alone. More alone than she'd ever been in her life. No family nearby. No friends. A wound in her belly, from the woman who'd killed Tina. Another in her shoulder, from Lily. How had she...how...
There was so much out there! People she hadn't kissed, people she hadn't met, family she'd never really talked to, friends she'd never make! Lakes she'd never swim in, forests she'd never walk through, fields of golden grass she'd never daze and doze in. Whole Doctors whose faces she'd never know! And maybe there was something big around the bend, maybe there was heaven or hell or reincarnation, but fuck that noise. She wanted to be here. She wanted to be alive.
She was crying. Had she ever stopped? Here, in this infinite ocean, blood and tears tethering her to that infinity, that big big universe so close and so far away, but that was stupid, that was meaningless, because it was just so much fluid and soon she would be dead.
There hadn't been any answers. There hadn't been anything. She'd never found Nancy. She'd never said goodbye to Lettie. She'd never said goodbye to Tyler or Keith. she'd never...
She wanted her chance. She deserved her chance. Her story wasn't over. She'd wanted to go everywhere. She'd wanted to...she still wanted to...
Floating in the sea, crying, and her wound didn't hurt anymore, and it was strangely hard to see. And Tyler Yazzie was grieving somewhere behind her, and Keith would be looking forlornly out and thinking of the things he'd wanted to achieve, and Lily would wander with that murderous monster until she was killed in turn and Lizzie was gonna die here, all alone.
She'd wanted so badly to feel like she was a part of something. She'd wanted so badly to find the answer. She'd wanted so badly to find that laughing lunacy that had propelled her for the first day, when she'd felt exhilarated by what was in front of her, exhilarated by the tightrope swing.
But the tightrope had snapped, and she was falling, and...and...
She'd lied to Reagan. It wasn't okay. This wasn't how she wanted to die, because...
I don't want to go.
G024 LIZZIE LUZ: ELIMINATED