Title: This is How the World Ends
Disclaimer: Dark Angel is not mine.
Ships: Max/Logan, mentions of Max/OMC
Rating: R (character death, cursing)
Warnings: 8 on screen cannon character deaths, a lot of off screen death implied, 9 uses of the f-word, 1 to 3 (depending on how you take it) references to suicide and general ANGST and WOE.
Summary: White’s apocalypse comes to pass. Max can’t stop it.
Author's note: Do you know this is the only fandom I’ve ever been in where I can’t find any apocalypse fic? I got the crazy urge to read some the other day and it just didn’t exist. So I had to write one myself. I’m not depressed. I swear.
Thanks to angelstryst for betaing.
This is How the World Ends
When the Pulse hits, Logan Cale is on his uncle’s yacht, returning from a day on the ocean. The water is fairly calm, but his stomach rolls, turning over on each wave. He usually has better sea legs that this: growing up in his family, the ability to stomach a spin in the yacht was practically a must. Logan hasn’t felt this nauseous for a good long time.
He stares out at the distant glow of the city’s skyline trying to take comfort in the fact that he could be back on solid land any time he chooses. But then, all at once, the city flickers out, every light darkened like the moon suddenly blotting out the sun. He hears the yacht’s engine turn over once and die. He frowns in confusion, but doesn’t move from the deck.
Light doesn’t come back until dawn paints the town red.
Logan watches the distant scene with mounting horror.
Red sky at morning…
He thinks this might be how the world ends.
It’s funny how the littlest things always seem to be what spirals out of control and irreparably fucks up the whole world.
Nobody notices a thing until day four and by then it’s already too late. Max comes into work a few hours after her shift is supposed to start, but that’s not unusual in the least. What’s strange is how many people decided to skip out today.
“Don’t tell me,” Normal grumbles in her direction, “another one with the flu.” He’s holding a handkerchief over his mouth to combat whatever epidemic was going around his workers.
“Cat people were getting restless,” Max tells him and enjoys the way his eyes still widen slightly when he hears news of transgenics.
Later, when she’s shoving her bag into her locker, Alec creeps up behind her and says, “The weird thing is, I think most of them really do have the flu.”
Which is pretty weird, right? Sixteen people coming down with the flu on the same day. Still…
Alec smiles lecherously. “Think we missed some kind of group orgy last night? You know, passing around those germs.”
Max whacks him for having a dirty mind and just in general for being Alec. He laughs at her look of annoyance. “Cool it Maxie, there must be something going around the Ordinary population. Times like this, I’m proud to be a genetic freak.”
Original Cindy glares at them both but can’t bring herself to deliver an insult until her sneezing fit finally subsides.
When she goes on runs, she starts counting the number of people who are sick, just to prove to herself that it’s not everybody. So far today, the number is six of eight, all of them sniffling and grumpy when they answer the door and tips haven’t sucked this bad for a good long while.
Original Cindy stays home that day and Sketchy comes to work wearing one of those blue medical masks over his mouth. When Alec sees it, he laughs and pulls back the elastic straps of the mask and lets it snap back against Sketchy’s face. “Come on, man, the flu’s going around and you’re acting like it’s an epidemic.”
“They’re calling it a flu epidemic,” Sketchy says stubbornly. “I saw it on TV.”
“Slow news days,” Alec says dismissively. “Fluids and rest and Original Cindy will be back here to kick your ass for being such an idiot.”
Max really starts to worry when she comes back to her apartment at half past midnight only to find Original Cindy standing at the sink with twin trails of blood leaking from her nostrils.
“Don’t worry about Original Cindy,” her friend says brazenly as she shrugs off Max’s hand of support. “With all the nose blownin’ going on, the damn thing’s decided to rebel on me.”
Her voice is sandpaper rough and Max gets the feeling that she’s been coughing constantly since she left work. Max tries to offer her soup or a throat lozenge, but Original Cindy brushes her off irritably. “Original’s Cindy’s going to crash for the night. She’ll be good as new in the morning.”
After a good night’s sleep and a cup of black coffee, Original Cindy seems fine, like the worst of it is over. Together, she and Max troop back to Jam Pony for work.
Sketchy embraces Original Cindy when they come through the door, holding her like he thought she might disappear if he let go. Original Cindy looks like him like he’s possessed. “You try to cop a feel and Original Cindy will beat on your skinny white ass.”
Sketchy pulls back, embarrassed and wipes his runny nose on his sleeve. “Sorry,” he mumbles. “It’s just good to know you’re all right.”
The news blares in the background. Normal sneezes into his handkerchief. Jam Pony is a cacophony of hacking, wheezing and hoarse voices.
Three dozen people died of the flu last night.
Max actually sleeps through most of the night, passes out on her bed and wakes up sometime early the next morning. She thinks all this talk of the flu had her immune system paranoid.
She yawns; pulls open the curtains and moves into their living area only to find Original Cindy dead on the couch, a shattered coffee mug next to her, shards of ceramic coating the floor.
Max hasn’t thrown up for seven years, she had thought she’d lost that particular trait for good. But when she sees her friend’s body, she feels last night’s dinner building up in her throat, and then building up on the floor.
She doesn’t move that day, can’t bring herself to move, just hugs her knees to her chest and rocks.
And that’s where Logan finds her, nearly ten hours later.
Alec digs Original Cindy’s grave quickly and quietly and by noon, their little troop is standing out next to a makeshift headstone while Father Destry says a quiet prayer.
Max can’t bring herself to watch the procession. She doesn’t want to see her friend covered in six feet of dirt, doesn’t want to hear lies about the high place and life after death.
So she sits quietly and scans the stoic and distraught faces of the few in attendance, and tries not to listen to the sounds of sniffles and sneezes…
She sits with Logan on opposite sides of the couch, nothing but the virus between them. Max’s eyes are tinged red from crying. The TV’s on and both of them are watching in a sort of muted shock.
Logan doesn’t complain about how the exo had shorted out for good last week or how the wheelchair lurks ominously in the corner, reminding him of his ultimate fate. The transfusion is wearing off, just like it always does and moving from supercharged limbs to normal strength is only the first step in the long fall back to paraplegia. Max gets the impression that he’s too sick of false hope to even entertain the thought of another dose of Manticore blood.
The TV shows pictures of rioters outside the city hospital; out in the cold, coughing and wheezing. There’s not enough medical treatment to go around. The city’s been quarantined, no one is allowed in or out, but it’s already too late. The papers report cases have cropped up in Wyoming, Oregon, even California. The hoarse voiced anchor on the nightly news tells her viewers that the infection rate is approaching ninety percent in the city.
Logan isn’t sick.
Max thinks it has something to do with how he always wears gloves and carries disinfectant at all times—just in case.
It’s the first and only time she’s ever been thankful for the virus.
Alec drags her out of the Logan’s comfortable presence four days after Original Cindy dies. He looks unnerved, almost frightened, but at this point, Max is too tired to care. She protests following, tells Alec he can go to hell, claims that she needs time alone, away from all of Terminal City’s problems. But Alec won’t have any of it. He just stares at her with his unnervingly intense gaze (Ben’s eyes, always Ben’s eyes). “You’ve got to see this.”
The trip to Terminal City takes years and Max squeezes Logan’s hands through think layers of gloves and tries not to notice the scores of sick lining the road. She tries not to think of how, in a few days, these people will probably turn on the Transgenics, tearing at them, blaming them for the sickness because with Manticore’s immune system, they’re built to survive. Max is not looking forward to it. She’ll have to play the peace-maker, keeping each side from killing the other and she’s fucking tired of it. All she wants to do is curl up into a ball and sleep until it’s over.
Oh wait, she doesn’t sleep.
It’s not like it will matter much anyway. In a few days, there won’t be many Ordinaries left.
“They’re all gone,” Alec says hoarsely and it takes a moment for Max to realize who the they are.
The Transgenics from Psy-ops have always lived apart from the rest, commandeering a street of Terminal City to claim as their own. Max avoids it if possible. There was something about walking down a street where all the strangers could see her secrets that made her uncomfortable.
“They were gone when we woke up this morning,” Alec continues shakily. “All of them, nowhere to be found. No one’s got any idea what happened to them. They’re just... gone.”
“No sign at all?” Logan asks, leaning heavily on his cane. “Maybe Croatoan carved into a tree somewhere?”
A chill rushes through Max, like plunging into icy water. Every single psychic in the city: vanished without a trace.
“Where the hell did they go?”
She doesn’t know where, but she can hazard a guess as to why.
The TV goes out that morning, quietly, without pretext as the cameraman drops down dead on the spot. The last image before the entire screen goes to static is an old man holding a sign that reads, The end is near.
Logan and Max just sit and stare at the monitor without moving. The seconds stretch into eternity. Finally, Logan laboriously pulls himself to his feet, walks over to the television and turns it off.
“There’s not enough fire for an apocalypse,” Logan says haltingly, like he’s trying to turn the whole thing into a joke. “It looked worse when the Pulse hit.”
She thinks he must be lying.
The infection rate for the flu is ninety-five, ninety-eight, ninety-nine percent. The death rate is only a few days behind it. She starts seeing bodies in the street, their families either too sick or too poor to bury them. It doesn’t matter now. In the end there isn’t going to be anyone to care. Burials are for the living after all, the dead really don’t care where they rot.
Every hour brings more news of death. Sketchy, that morning, dead in Jam Pony’s rest room, Normal, later that afternoon, collapsing mid-bip.
Max doesn’t cry, can’t cry. She’s forgotten how. Alec takes in the scene with a clenched jaw and watery eyes before quietly excusing himself from her presence. With her enhanced sense, she can pick out the sound of him hurling just around the corner.
They were his friends too, Max realizes with a jolt. They’ve both seen death before, but it is always different seeing the empty shell of a person you knew. A person you talked with and worked with and laughed with every single day of the week.
Her cell phone rings and its Logan calling to say he traced the source of the virus: a bio-bomb outside of sector four. After fourteen straight hours of hacking and searching, he traces the thing straight back to White and the Familiars. Alec fumes when he hears the news, face turning red, eyes blazing with rage.
Max can’t muster that kind of passion, can’t help but think it’s already too late to fix anything.
Alec swears he’ll tear White’s head off for this, peel every inch of skin from that sick-son-of-a-bitch’s body and listen to him scream. He wants White to pay for starting this.
Max can’t do anything but close her eyes, think of Logan, and pray for a miracle.
That morning, Joshua crumples in one of the forgotten alleyway of Terminal City. He hadn’t been sick. Max had talked to him only twenty minutes beforehand and he had been fine. Perfectly happy and healthy.
And now he’s gone--collapsed dead in some grungy alley with no warning whatsoever, just the twin trails of blood leaking from his nose to tell them that it was related to the virus that wiped out the Ordinaries.
They bury him just outside the city limits. There is no priest, no real funeral, just a handful of silent Transgenics standing around as Alec slowly fills the grave.
No one but Max and Alec are willing to touch the body. The others all stay away like it is a source of the plague.
They’re probably right.
But it’s not like it will matter in the end. The transgenics, with their superior immune system, don’t get sick like the ordinaries, but the virus gets them killed all the same.
Max guesses the transgenics are more human then she thought. Psy-Ops disappearing before the first sign of trouble, Joshua, the first trans-human down, Logan standing next to her, latex-gloved hand pressed into hers.
Logan’s eyes are red from unshed tears and yeah, maybe he’s sniffling a little, but that’s from the cold and not the sickness.
Alec makes Ames White his mission. He’s been searching non-stop since Joshua died and Max is starting to worry. Alec’s stopped sleeping, all but stopped eating. The physical affects of the strain are starting to show. The dark circles around his eyes are deepening quickly and his skin’s faded to a sunken, deathly white.
One of these days, Max is going to walk around the corner and find Alec dead, not from the sickness, but exhaustion. He roams the streets, watching impatiently for any sign of the cult. He stares over Logan’s shoulder as he researches, waiting impatiently for answers.
Max is starting to think he won’t find the Cult, that if White and his Familiars wanted to be found, they would already be proclaiming their triumph.
Something’s been wrong for a long time.
“I found him,” Alec says, voice scratchy on the poor cell phone connection.
“Where the hell are you?” Max hisses. “If you go in without back-up and get yourself killed…”
Alec’s laughter is not quite hysterical, but it’s close. “They’re not going to kill me.”
She gets there as quickly as she can. She can’t let her friend take on the entire cult by himself.
When she gets there, Alec’s already inside, but there’s no fighting, no blood, nothing but the pervading sounds of coughing and wheezing that have been omnipresent since the sickness’ onset.
The Familiars are dying. Just like the ordinaries, just like the Transgenics.
Alec is standing above White, eyes cold as ice. White has blood running down his face.
“We tried to alter the virus,” White croaks as Max approaches. “Make it so the Coming would affected Transgenics as well as ordinaries.”
He coughs explosively. Max eyes him with distaste.
White’s last words are: “We miscalculated.”
Alec starts digging graves, one after another on the outskirts of Terminal City. Max knows he hasn’t slept since Joshua died and anytime he stops moving, she can see him swaying in an unseen breeze.
Logan’s sick, his nose almost comically red, his voice nasally and his breathing labored. Max tries to compare the days of his sickness to the progression of Original Cindy’s, but only succeeds in driving herself mad.
Maybe it’s not even the same virus. Maybe it’s your ordinary, run of the mill flu.
She knows she’s probably wrong. She knows she should be scared.
She won’t let herself worry until the nose bleeds.
Alec collapses twelve minutes past midnight, just stops breathing and falls down to the ground, a shovel full of dirt still grasped in his fingers. Logan finds him as he stumbles outside, looking for a spot where he can hurl in peace. The sight of the body sends him panicking, Max hears his labored breathing and comes running.
She’s more preoccupied with the flecks of blood spraying from Logan’s mouth than Alec’s lifeless body.
She wants to reach out and touch Logan, want tell him things will all turn out all right… But, considering the virus, she would end up making things worse.
Besides, she never could lie to Logan.
“He wasn’t even sick,” Logan murmurs, reaching towards Alec’s cold fingers. “How many graves…?”
“Probably not enough,” Max replies, eyeing Alec’s body. “We should bury him. It’s not right to just leave him like this…”
For the longest time, neither move.
Logan’s back in the wheelchair, his legs too weak to support his body, his arms to weak to move himself very far. His face is pale and his lips are white and if it wasn’t for his eyes, Max might mistake him for dead.
But he’s not.
Blood runs down Logan’s face, twin streams, one from each nostril.He tries to hide it under a handkerchief, pretending he’s just blowing his nose, but bits of red seep through the white cloth and onto his hands.
“I’m sorry,” he says softly.
Max is sorry too. Sorry for White’s apocalypse. Sorry for Logan’s illness. Sorry for all those dead people lining the streets. Sorry for the no-fucking-touching virus.
Sorry, sorry, sorry...
She wants to touch him. It’s been so long (so long, she’d stopped counting the seconds and then the hours and then the days), at least a year. She wants to kiss him.
He beats her to it and with a firm, sudden motion; he grabs her by both wrists, pulls her down to his level and covers her mouth with his.
It’s not perfect, far from it. His breath is sour from the constant coughing and his lips are chapped and his nose is still leaking twin trails of blood. But it’s warm, and it’s Logan and it’s real.
Too late, she remembers the virus and pulls away. “What the hell are you doing?” she asks, horrified. “Are you trying to get yourself killed?”
Logan doesn’t let go of her wrist. His breathing sounds more labored with each passing second. “Doesn’t matter now, does it? Max, please. It’s going to happen no matter what we do.”
The two of them curl up on the busted old couch. He tells he loves her. She doesn’t let go, not even when she feels his body go cold and slack under his fingers.
She never says it back.
He already knows.
Logan’s dead. Max can’t breathe.
As it turns out, post-apocalypse Seattle doesn’t look a whole hell of a lot different than post-Pulse Seattle, except for the fact that there used to be more people and less bodies.
(oh god, oh god, they all look like Logan)
People, for the most part had been too sick to riot and too weak to go looting and if you could ignore the occasional body, the streets looked the same as they had the day before this whole thing started. Most people had the decency to die in their apartments, but many had just gone on with their lives and collapsed on the streets.
In her mind, she hears the echo of an old movie Logan and her had watched way back before the virus ever happened.
Bring out your dead.
The whole place is starting to smell.
Bring out your dead
Bring out your dead.
She doesn’t want to look in the houses.
Somewhere along the way, she realizes that she’s the only one left. That she hasn’t seen anyone walking around for more than a week. There are no other Transgenics, Ordinaries or Familiars still alive.
The sickness wipes out the entire city in less than fifty days and she’s the only one immune.
“Just my fucking luck,” she observes and doesn’t even notice that she’s talking to herself.
By her count there are two hundred and fifty-four undelivered packages in Jam Pony. Max can’t help but imagine the place bustling with her friends and coworkers just like it always had.
She can hear the ghost of Sketchy’s laughter, the barest whisper of Alec’s jokes, the echo of Original Cindy’s attitude and the almost tangible sound of Normal’s irritating mantras. She spends all day inside, basking in the memories. She doesn’t open a single package, just holds them gently in both hands and thinks about what it could be, what it could represent. There were lives in these packages, each a fragile snapshot of the how people used to live.
“Stop fondling the packages and get back to work,” Normal calls from the dispatcher’s desk. “Come on, Missy-Miss. Hot run, sector four. Bip, bip, bip.”
And in the end, who is she to disobey?
She starts going about her days like she did before, she heads to work with Original Cindy, talks with Sketchy, teases Alec, annoys Normal and hangs out with Logan, even if she can’t touch him.
Somewhere, buried deep inside her, there is a voice screaming about how they’re all dead, how this is all WRONG, but she quashes it without a second thought. She likes it better this way. She’s got her friends (she doesn’t how she ever got lonely before they were gone) and her job (she misses Normal more than she’d like to admit) and her health (always her fucking health).
She also might be going just a little bit insane, but at this point, that’s almost a given.
The packages are all gone, every last letter, every last envelope placed carefully on doorsteps and into mailboxes with the knowledge that the message has zero chance of reaching the dead.
She keeps the last package. It’s a small box and she slides it easily into her pocket where it settles; a comforting weight against her side.
She doesn’t feel dishonest. After all, the thing’s addressed to her (from Logan, of course it’s from Logan…).
The package is deceptively small, wrapped in red and lightweight. She spends hours wondering what it could be.
She doesn’t open it. She doesn’t think she ever will.
Food’s starting to be a bit of a problem. At first the selection of food had been almost overwhelming, but the fresh food was rotted by the fiftieth day and can goods are getting harder and harder to come by. Max knows that she could finds some more if she got desperate. It’s all in houses, the people must have started to stockpile it when the television started spouting news about the apocalypse.
Inside the houses lurk all the bodies that aren’t in the ground and aren’t on the streets. She thinks there must be a lot of them. She’d rather just pretend they aren’t there.
But hunger and survival instincts (if you can even call this survival) kick in and she finds herself breaking into the houses looking for anything edible.
The fourth time she kicks a door in (she always kicks it in if she has the chance, she likes that solid, real crack), she hears (actually hears this time, it’s not in her head) a distinctly male voice saying, “Who the fuck are you?”
His voice is rough and rusty from disuse, but it’s been a long time since Max has heard something that beautiful.
The fact that he has a gun pointed at her head is an afterthought.
His name is Tyler Harper. He’s four inches taller than her with gangly, awkward arms and sickly pale skin. His eyes are sunken, hollowed pools of black set in dark circles that look like bruises more than sleep deprivation. He’s got freckles, a slightly crooked nose, white blond hair and no sign of a barcode on the back of his neck.
He’s her age but she’s centuries older.
Conversation is halting and awkward. Neither of them has seen another living human in more than forty days and Max has fallen out of the practice of talking faster than she thought possible. Then again, there’s not much to talk about, especially considering Tyler’s a complete stranger and the only existing alternative to talking about the weather is discussing the stench of rotting corpses.
She doesn’t ask why he was holding a gun when she met him.
He doesn’t volunteer any answers.
“Do you ever wonder if it’s just us?” Tyler asks over a can of cold soup. “I mean I always figured there’d be a transgenic or two around, but if I could survive…”
(If he could survive, then Logan should have…)
“You think there might be others,” she says dully.
The very idea seems to excite him, fill him with hope. “Typically speaking, genetic flukes don’t happen just once.”
“Since when are you a geneticist, Harper?” she asks bitterly.
He smiles at her, actually smiles at her: wide and bright like he’s not all alone in this world. “I’m just saying it’s possible. Who knows, there might even be others in the city.”
“Before you, it was forty days since I’d seen another person. If there’s anyone else, we’ll never find them.”
He tilts his head back and his smile stretches wider. “C’mon Maxie,” (Alec’s nickname slides a dagger into her heart). “You’ve got to have faith in something. I’m sure the human race has survived worse.”
She liked it better when she thought the world was over.
Hope makes her feel ill.
They stumble across the remnants of a bar with more than a little alcohol in its stock and spent the day getting completely wasted. Tyler doesn’t hold his liquor very well. He tells her he’d never been able to afford getting wasted.
He tells her a lot of things, practically his entire life’s story before she’s even mildly tipsy.
He’s a morose drunk, but given all the shit he’s been through in the past three months, she doesn’t blame him. He watched his brother die, his girlfriend, his parents…
“If you hadn’t come in…” he says and leaves the words hanging for her to finish. He’d had a gun when she’d found him. There was no real reason to have a gun when no one was left. “I didn’t know why I was the only one who survived.”
“You’re not the only one,” Max mutters, downing a sip of her luke-warm beer. “It’s going around. Kinda like that fucking disease.”
That sends Tyler off giggling, a high pitched, almost hysterical sound that slowly dissolves into quiet sobs. Max doesn’t move to comfort him.
Tyler stops crying only a minute or so after he starts and mumbles, “Sorry. Lost control for a second. It’s just…” He chuckles humorlessly. I guess we’re the lucky ones aren’t we. End of the fucking world and here we are getting hammered. Kinda makes you wonder what we did to deserve it. Makes you wonder why we got better when everyone around us just got worse and worse.”
She could guess why she’d survived, knew with every fiber of her being that Sandeman had made her immune system damn near indestructible. Tyler on the other hand had survived by random chance. He’d gotten sick and fought it off on his own.
And she can’t help but ask herself if Logan could have done the same thing. Because if there was even a chance he could have pulled through, she doesn’t think she’ll ever forgive herself for touching him.
The alcohol burns as it slides down her throat.
Day ninety five
She’s surprised to find that, despite everything, she starts to like Tyler, actually genuinely like him. The fact that she hasn’t seen any other people around probably makes it easier. He isn’t the kind of person she normally hangs out with, but he has an oddly compelling personality. He does nothing half-way. When he’s mad, he’s furious, when he’s drunk, he’s completely wasted and when he puts his faith in something, there’s absolutely no changing his mind.
And sometimes, at night, she stares at his sleeping form just to watch the look of absolute peace on his face and to make sure she isn’t just imagining the slow rise and fall of his chest.
Day one hundred
It’s different in the dark, really it is. The two of them curl up on the floor of an empty house (never on the bed, never where other people used to sleep) and fall asleep with their backs pressed against each other like they need the physical contact to even close their eyes.
It’s different in the dark. Max is still groggy with sleep and the warm body against her just feels so good, so natural, that she turns to kiss him.
She’s not in heat, but in her head, Sketchy whispers about perpetuating the species. She would have laughed if she hadn’t been so close to tears.
Tyler returns the kiss, deepens it, and what follows is an awkward tangle of hands and limbs.
She calls him Logan.
He calls her Nadia.
They pull away by silent, mutual agreement, neither bothering to verbalize apologies. Tyler stands abruptly and makes his way to the bathroom where Max can hear him gargling water. She should feel offended, but she doesn’t.
She can see him more clearly now, dark eyes troubled, white blond hair practically glowing in the moonlight, freckles speckling his pale face.
He doesn’t look a thing like Logan.
But sometimes, mouth pursed in frustration and hair all askew, he kind of does.
Day one hundred and two
The first thing Tyler says after a day and a half of silence is: “I wish Eyes Only were still around.” When he sees the look on Max’s face, he adds, “Oh don’t tell me your one of those support the government types with a vendetta against vigilantes. All I’m saying is that with that kind of broadcasting equipment, we could flag down other survivors.”
“You really think there are still people watching TV after all this?” she asks. “You really think that the great and powerful Eyes Only could fix this?”
(Logan can’t fix anything anymore)
“Back off, already,” Tyler says raising both arms. “It was just a thought.”
“Eyes Only is dead,” she practically shouts at him. “Just like everyone else.”
Her voice cracks. She hates her weakness.
“You don’t think I know that.” He looses his quick temper, practically combusting under her gaze. “It’s pretty fucking hard to miss.”
She knows his hope is false. He clings to it like it’s a lifeline.
She can’t deal with this right now. She can’t deal with him right now.
He doesn’t look a thing like Logan.
Day one hundred and seven
She can’t find Tyler. It’s like he disappeared into the mist a second after she storms away. (…kind of like the psychics. She’s starting to think they were the only smart ones.)She combs the city three times; moving though each sector, through each streets, though each house with careful, methodical precision.
Once the anger has seeped out of her, all she can think of is how she can’t do this alone. So she collapses at night and prays to the blue lady she’s never quite believed in and begs for a miracle. She needs to find him again, needs someone real to lean on.
She’s always been good at pushing people away.
The houses hold scores of bodies and she’d give her right arm just to see something move.
Day one hundred and thirteen
She gets irrationally angry at the corpses, furious even. She doesn’t think she’s ever hated anything more in her life.
Because those bodies, they used to be people, walking and talking and breathing and now they’re just shells. She hates them all even though it’s not their fault they’re dead. Logically she knew White was to blame, but that fight, that world seems so far removed from this one, almost like a completely separate reality.
She misses Tyler.
She misses Logan.
She misses Logan…
Day one hundred and seventeen
From the Space Needle, it doesn’t look like anything has changed. The skyline is dark, and silent and she pretends that it’s just a brown out, that she’s going to head to climb down and head to Logan’s to crash for the night.
She tells herself that Tyler’s skipped town, that he’s gone and found some more of his mythical survivors, that maybe the world will find a way to pull itself together. Like maybe he’ll meet up with Jondy and Zack and maybe even Kendra and they’ll start over.
She wants to believe it.
She can feel the ghosts of the past all around her; hear Sketchy’s indistinct jokes and Original Cindy’s inaudible teasing and feel Logan’s phantom touch, ice cold, on her lips. Max wants it back, wants them back, but they only come at night when there’s nothing to separate the real world from the fantasy.
This is how the world ends, she thinks and fingers the small package still tucked in her jacket pocket. Feeling slightly dazed, she draws it out.
For Max. The box reads and her fingers quickly and nimbly undo the wrapping. Inside is a ring, simple, gold and perfect.
She closes her eyes and dreams she’s falling.