((Serena Waters continued from Waiting for the End))
She had been running for a while now. Nose bleeding, eyes seething with tears and a feeling of failure perpetuated through her. She'd had him. She could have finished it all there. Instead she ran, like she always did. The slightest bit of resistance and rather than finish the job, she ran.
She continued running till she tripped over something, the sudden force dropping her on her face. She laid there as the throbbing in her face continued when her free hand felt water, she quickly dropped her grip on the SCAR and started cupping water into her hands and splashed it onto her face. She did this several times until she could see at least a bit, blinking rapidly as she tried to get her bearings together. Everything felt terrible. She didn't keep her promise, didn't stop Al, didn't stop Matt. She slammed her left hand down on the water, splashing it around. She felt her tears come back as looked at it.
It was puddle, dirty and inhabited by dead insects floating on the surface. Serena stared at this puddle for a while, not at the puddle itself, but what it reflected. She hadn't gotten a look at herself for days to see how badly she looked, but she didn't expect this. Her eyes were red from tears and stress. Blood had dripped from her nose to cover her mouth. As she rubbed her eyes in a desperate attempt to make her eyes feel better and shakily got herself up on her feet, she realised she was back at the tower.
She looked up at the giant structure as she wandered closer and closer to where Aiden laid on the ground. She sat down beside him and took out the fries in her bag. She took one after one as she looked at him. She didnt say anything as she sat there, just ate the fries in a small moment of peace. Staring at a corpse of a friend.
Her thoughts drifted back to Matt, she had seen now what he was doing. He didn't care about what they'd done for him or Bart. He just cared about himself. Calling her selfish for calling him out. He couldn't be allowed to go home. He'd just pretend nothing happened. That his friends had been all obstacles to get out of the way for his eventual heroes welcome. Fuck him and his bullshit.
She gripped her gun as she trekked across the area, Matt had left earlier during her confrontation with Al. He couldn't have gone far. She had a chance at fixing this. The asylum was the closest area to the cove, she had taken a quick look from the top of the tower to gauge the area for him, but no sight of the bastard anywhere. He'd probably slipped inside to make a trap or hide. People must know he's dangerous now so he's taking it safe, just scrambling together equipment for the end.
As she entered the accursed building once more, she felt shaken to the core. Nothing good has happened in it, in the past or now. She tried to keep her mind off the experience in the basement, but she kept eyeing over her back as she started looking around, terrified something was going to walk up and attack her. She kept her breathing calm as she ventured towards the right side of the first floor.
The therapy rooms could be best described as a graveyard, like something out of those pictures of serial killer's houses. There were bodies in every room it seemed, like someone deliberately made it so. Serena counted upwards of eight in this place alone. Just how many were there? How many of them were dead in these forgotten halls?
She walked from room to room, seeing scenes of dead bodies in varying forms of decomposing, with the horrid smell and the dried blood. Recognisable faces she'd see in the halls like Tina from the Luz family, sports kids like Jasper or Mitch, some with a unique fashion sense like Henry. People she didn't exactly know, but knew off. All dead.
It was here she found Abby. How long ago did you die, Abby? Day 1 or 2? It felt like ages ago. Sure looked and smelled like it. Serena felt herself gagging. A sweet girl like her dying here and the way she had, it seems like it would have been inevitable with hindsight. Wouldn't have hurt a fly. Cristo died too around then. Did that push her beyond? Serena wished she knew, she wished she'd been here to stop her. 'I'm sorry I wasn't there for you' was all she could say before she turned away to another room.
In the group therapy was Alvaro, looking much like he did that day except for the bullet hole in his chest. She felt that same feeling she had back at the cove with Matt and Al. A hate that was hard to describe, but there was something about them that really nagged at her when her thoughts drifted towards them. It could have been the cowardice of theirs to start taking lives to save themselves or the lack of responsibility they had over what they were doing. In a way they were victims like the rest of them, but in Serena's mind they were no better than the terrorists themselves for what they did. She stopped herself short from spitting on him. She had better things to do than desecrate corpses.
Then she found Jeremy.
It was a scant days ago you died. Spent my entire time looking for you and then you died on me, because of Caedyn. You'd told me about her, not surprising she turned into a monster like she did
. did you know how I felt? Or did I hide it too well for you to notice? She got down on her knees and looked at him. "I loved you Jeremy, I really did. I just wanted you to know before..." She couldn't finish the word, it was a thought that had crossed her mind a few times, but she had tried her best not to focus on.
As she looked at him she noticed something on him, a list of things to do. Her name was on it.
Find Serena. Make sure she's safe. She blinked a bit at this, only a few of the things listed were crossed out. He'd been looking for her too, huh. And he'd ended up like this. How many others had been trying to find someone but never found them? She put the list back to him with a certain item crossed out. It was the least she could do for him.
There was one last person in these rooms, art therapy. Slumped on the ground a way th-oh.
"Hi Mel." It didn't take long to turn her body over so she could look at her and Serena almost regretted it once she did. Her neck was slick red with bits sticking out of her throat and bits of the collar. "I see you're dead too. Sorry about the fries, I was saving them for you, but it just got too much." She took the sprite out and showed it to her. "I had hoped to give this to you though, to make up for it, but well....you know." She heard a distinct sound of clanging in one of the other rooms, but she ignored it. "I had hoped I could have been there for you, maybe this wouldn't have happened. Not just you, but so many others! Abby, Jeremy, Aiden, you. None of you deserved this. None of us did." She swallowed as she looked into Mel's eye for a moment before staring back the ceiling, the tears brimming up made it hard to notice at first. "I'm just tired of it all, you know? Of all the death and blood and bodies and the smell!" She grabbed hold of her hand as the words just kept pouring out, like a switch had been flipped on her. "I just want things to be like they were before, when I didn't have to worry about being killed or random classmates torturing people or having to ration my food or having my gun at the ready. I want to go home and see them again."
"But I can't, can I? I know after what I did to Jerry, after what I did to you and Aiden, there's no way I could go home. I just hope wherever I go it's-" She felt something tightening on her hand. Mel's head was suddenly up, staring at her. Sneering, unlike the Mel she remembered.
"None of us are going there, you of all should know that."
Shocked, she felt herself trip backwards to the wall as she stared at her, the girl's head was on the floor again. Once more staring at the ceiling. No indication that she had moved or said anything. But Serena knew she heard something. She wasn't crazy. the sounds in the other rooms continued, growing in intensity. Clanging and banging on doors. Screams and moans through the hall. Something was terribly wrong, but it couldn't be with her. It was the lack of sleep or the food they'd given her! Probably laced with something to make her hallucinate. She hurried out the halls to main floor. A part of her told her to leave. Leave and never come back to this evil place, but she had to look.
She couldn't let him go again.
As she ran upstairs she felt that same feeling not a long time ago. Just ignore it she thought, just ignore it and nothing bad will happen. Her breathing running ragged as the bodies piled up, as if to remind her just how many have been gone. Hundreds right? Wasted away in a week and if Matt has his way, she would be joining them. She heard more noises downstairs, movement. Occasionally screaming and eviler noises would be heard, but ignored. Everything outside of finding him was.
She reached a certain room she hadn't seen so long. All the way back on the first day, when she was with Al. It was her first lesson on this island. No matter who your friends were, they would change and leave you behind for the worse if it benefitted them. She opened the door after almost tripping over another dead body with her gun out.
She saw semblance of movement, someone going for cover.
She saw the hint of red flannel flowing.
It was him.
Serena opened fire.
It was funny to him, in some morbid way, how there were more corpses on this island than actual people now. He wondered which area of the island had the most - the asylum, he figured, was a good guess. It was big enough, certainly, that he could imagine it being bestowed that most dubious of awards: most corpses.
It was aimless, mostly. The direction he took. He'd ended up here with no real intention in mind. The room to him held no special meaning. It was just another room. For a split second he tried to figure out which place on the island was his favorite. The bridge, probably, though he'd never really been there. He'd only ever seen it in the distance. From there, it looked beautiful, in a way.
Beautiful was a good word for most places here, really, he thought.
Then, she showed up. Serena. He was hoping he wouldn't have to see her again. This time, she didn't seem so set on talking. She opened fire. Matt dove to the ground, just barely avoiding adding a few lead accessories to his admittedly limited wardrobe. His thoughts now were some confused slurry of hatred, survival instincts, and swear words. Muttering some half-thought of slur against her, Matt raised his shotgun and fired, buckshot pellets finding new homes in the wall behind her. Sputtering more swears he pumped the shotgun and quickly began to scramble to his feet.