Survivor's Guilt by ChocolateMilk2

Category:Maximum Ride
Genre:Angst, Tragedy
Published:2008-03-25 03:27:39
Updated:2008-03-25 03:27:39
Packaged:2021-05-07 02:29:09
Summary:By herself, in the outback, sits a girl.

Survivor's Guilt

It was so…

It was so…. Alone.

A sense of unease drifted through her stomach as she sat on the cold, cement back doorstep, a cat purring and shifting through her legs. But she paid it no heed, and so it settled back into a ball to sleep. Darkness came quickly, but the girl was slow to follow the animal. Her drooping eyelids were focused solely on the horizon where the sun had already set. Behind her, was an old dilapidated country shack and a black strip of road on a desert plane. There were long, looming telegraph poles but they carried no wire. Long ago they had been vandalised to the point of no return.

The girl was meant to be out, collecting firewood for the evening meal. But she was only young, and her frail arms couldn't carry too much at a time, or for too long, so she quickly gave up. There was a dull throb in her head, probably the start of a migraine. It wasn't as if there were dozens of trees in the desert, either. And if she was searching, wandering out there in the cold night, something might happen to her. Maybe an animal would attack her, or maybe sheer exhaustion would. She might be taken away. Or she might simply disappear, lost in the wild.

A plane flew overhead, engines ticking, and the girl looked up briefly. A jet. The girl had never been one to bow to technology. In fact, it was one of many things she felt that she would never be a part of. Real life. All her life the girl had been fighting for it. But now that she had her freedom it didn't seem so great. What was living life her own way about if her very existence was played into the government's hands? But even if there wasn't law to manipulate her life there would always be something else. The girl, secretly, felt that she'd never have the power to control her life. To be who she wanted to be.

And if there was some big, miraculous solution, it seemed already too late. The girl would always be alone, in a sense. She was older than she looked, inside. Clichés and all, it felt as if there was something gone, that she could never replace. Even if the cat she sat with was a dog, even if the house she lived in was her mothers', even if she could still see with her mind. Her family, if not in blood, were gone dead, where she could never reach them. As nice as the Millers were, they weren't the same. No matter how many ballet recitals in the city they offered her, or friends they invited over to see her, they wouldn't wake up everyday caring if for her simply because she was alive to care for.

"A fresh experience of fostering in the country," Her lawyer had told her. "Your guardian may make you participate in light manual labour." She had to work. Mr and Mrs Miller's own son had been caught in a bog so they needed some other slave to do their chores. The girl wished she was back home. But in reflection, she never really had one. That was the irony of it all. They had volunteered her for relocation, and in a sad way it wasn't a new experience. It wasn't the first time the girl had been sent to people who only pretended. Pretended and lied.

But she had pretended too, of course. The week before she had pretended that she had gone to the local village for supplies. The fortnight before she had pretended to sprain her ankle. The month before she had pretended that she was going to have her siblings back. The year before she had pretended to be on their side. The girl couldn't pretend forever, though. There was a time when imagination had to stop, and reality had to start. Sometimes she wished she that she could live in her fantasies forever. The girl could be whoever she wanted to be. Whatever she wanted to be. Wherever.

A dog barked in the distance, and the cat's spine and tail stiffened slightly, even in its sleep. The girl tried to laugh, but it was more a throaty gasp. Maybe a little nap, a short nap, wouldn't hurt too much. Her mouth opened in a yawn, but she was unconscious before it even finished.

The girl's name was Angel, and she wanted nothing more to fly back to heaven. Heaven would understand, wouldn't it. Or snap her wings. Break her spirit in half like a crumbling biscuit. Perhaps then if it did, she wouldn't have to live with the knowledge that she was the last one left. She was the survivor, and as much as she loathed it, she needed to survive.

That, after all, was what she had said to Max. But Angel could see the bare truth in her own mind, if not Max's. Such a sweet child, they had thought. Thoughts like that could have you dead. So many people were dead. Couldn't they just live forever? Live forever, dream forever. Her whole life could be worthwhile, worth living.

Max was meant to save the world, but she had been murdered. Angel had failed. It was her fault. The words had never been spoken upon her lips, nor the thought in her brain, but she knew. An hour before there had been a bitter taste on her tongue, and a slight headache. Now she was asleep. It was a drug that worked slowly, shutting down her internal organs, before boiling her alive. Her temperature would very slowly rise. And then it would fall.

Then her heart would've stop, and Angel would know that she was well and truly dead. Broken heart, broken soul, broken life. She wouldn't be able survive for Max, like she had said. But she would, in her dreams, be alive. She always would be.