Title: Paved With Good Intentions
Rating: PG-13 ‘cause of violence
Spoilers: All Hell Breaks Loose (part one)
Summary: Ava, the five months in between.
Author’s note: I am working very hard to stay SPOILER FREE. Please don’t tell me anything about the finale.
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On the first day’s she’s terrified. She wakes up lying on some splintered slab of wood in the middle of an abandoned ghost town. She pushes herself to her feet and realizes that there’s blood on her hands. It’s not her’s.
“Brady,” she whispers and her voice echoes through the empty streets. “Oh God, oh God.”
“Is someone there?” a voice calls in reply.
His name is Gray. He’s tall and skinny with his bright red hair and great dark eyes. He has freckles. Ava latches onto him and won’t let go. “I woke up here,” she babbles, “I went to sleep with my fiancé, Brady and I wake up here in the middle of nowhere…”
It’s not just them either. There are six that first time, Gray and Kyle and Steph and Lynn and Van and her, Ava. Six strangers with no connection, no real ties, just normal everyday people. Steph’s in grad school, Kyle’s a computer technician, Ava’s getting married.
And they’re just setting up for the night when Van tilts his head sideways, staring at the back of Gray’s head. “So,” he says casually, though no one had spoken. “You can start fires.”
That’s when things start to come out. Gray can start fires and Van can read minds and Lynn can electrocute things with a touch and Kyle’s got command of all things mechanical while all her and Steph do is dream. She can’t help but be a little disappointed because compared to pyrokenesis, she got completely shafted.
On the third day, she’s standing over Van’s charred body as Gray rounds on her. “I liked you, Ava, I really did, but I’m not quite ready to die and it’s either you or me and.” She can see a flicker of red behind his eyes.
She knows the rules now, got the first hand story from the man with yellow eyes in her dreams. It’s her or Gray. Sweet gentle Gray who’d talked her through her panic and had them all laughing when they should have been in tears.
She likes Gray.
But he’d killed the rest of them and if she doesn’t act fast, he’s going to kill her too.
Self defense, she tells herself, it’s all in self defense.
It takes her a full day to wash the blood off. She spends her day crouched by the well pulling up bucket after bucket of water and scrubs until her hands are red and raw and then she cries.
When she goes back into town, the bodies are gone just like they’ve never been there. No body swinging from the windmill, no charred bodies littering the ground. Ava doesn’t know if that makes things better or worse.
In one of the empty houses, she finds food, an entire banquet sprayed out before her.
She isn’t hungry.
There’s a new group four days after that, terrified all of them, just like she had been only a week before.
And this time, she steps up, tries to be the leader. Explains what she cans and attempts to get them the hell out of dodge. Away from this damn ghost town and back into the world of free thinking and sanity.
It doesn’t work. Ava had suspected it, of course, had spent much of her sixth day trying to find her way out of the woods only to find that all roads lead straight back down to hell.
She tries anyway, and it’s not her fault that the demon or whatever the hell it is won’t let them leave. She watches the black smoke descend on her new companions on Kate and Zack and Jones and Gary and barely stifles a scream.
Then the demon turns on her, a deadly swirl of black mist.
“Stop,” she tells it firmly. “No.”
And the crazy thing is; it listens.
There’s another group, another set of powers and this time Ava plays along with the rest of them. The smallest guy surprises them all by pulling everyone together, keeping them calm. He’s the only one who doesn’t admit to powers, who smiles and winks and says he must just be the dud of the group.
That night Ava has one of her dreams, of skinny little normal Jacob standing over bodies.
And the very next morning she makes sure it doesn’t happen. Calls on the swirling black mist and lets it rip Jacob apart.
Things unravel quickly after that. Later, standing over a pair of eviscerated bodies she’ll think that maybe that was Jacob’s power, making order out of chaos, causing the outlandishly strange to feel perfectly natural.
And she’ll regret it, just a little.
She loses track of how long she’s been here. She loses track of just how many people have passed through, just knows that it’s them or her and little by little, she’s less inclined to talk to them and more inclined to pick them off one by one.
She stops asking names because it’s easier this way. There are no more Jacobs, no more Grays, just faceless competitors. The skinny little blonde skank, that jack-ass who lets his eyes linger for just too long on things that aren’t her face, the one who looks like the girl who tortured her in high school.
Some groups last longer than others. Some groups don’t make it through the first night. Only Ava remains constant.
She gets better. The dreams are only the beginning. She lifts a knife with nothing but her mind; she calls on the black smoke with a little focus.
After a while, she finds that she can make the smoke take shape. It’s a fascinating process. A dark-haired telekinetic meets his demise at the end at the hands of the marshmallow man. A nervous blonde girl finds her end with the loch nest monster.
Ava laughs when she’s alone. Congratulates herself with a thick sloppy sandwich smothered in mayo while outside, the demon works its magic. In the mornings, cold and crisp, the town’s empty again, just her.
She finally settles on a pale-faced little girl with claws instead of fingers, because she’s always been scared of that sort of ghost. It’s the last vestige of her home. Her and Brady curled up on their bed watching bad horror movies
Sometimes she wonders what happened to him, if he thought she ran away, if he’s moved past her and moved on. She’s going to see him again. She’s got to believe that. But she never lets herself dwell on him for too long.
There will be more people soon.
She takes an immediate dislike to the next group. There’s a cocky Asian guy with a smug smile, a green-eyed girl with a perpetual sneer and this plain looking guy with freckles who sees straight through her.
They manage to lock her in one of the buildings. Ava curses herself for her mistake.
Then she, brings her hands up to her temples, concentrates on the demon and makes them pay.
It’s a day and a half before she hears voices again. One of them sounds distressingly familiar, like someone she knew in another life. But she’s bone tired, starving and can’t really bring herself to care.
So she breathes in the stale stench of rotting wood and screams.
After all, as far as they’re concerned, it’s day one.
And they’ll expect her to be terrified.