Part 5

Warnings: A bit of violence (sorry, fresh out of lemons ^_~)

Darien and I walked beside the highway as the others walked on the shoulder. We held on to each other like frightened children, watching the asphalt as if it might jump up and bite us. As we walked, I noticed we kept veering closer to the pavement. Every time we got too close, we would move away, as far as we could go before entering the woods again, but we kept wandering closer and more quickly than the last time. It was becoming harder and harder to pull away. We were being drawn like magnets, the pull stronger the further we went.

"Darien . . ." I said as we stopped. We were back by the highway and we had pulled away not a minute ago. Even standing there, so close, I felt a strong pull towards the asphalt.

"I know." He looked at me with vaguely masked worry. Without another word, we pulled and pushed each other towards the trees. It was a monumental effort, for the pull became stronger, as if sensing our plot. I got there first, grabbing hold of a branch. I pulled Darien towards me with all my strength. He pulled himself along using my arm, straining against the phenomenal force. Just as he grabbed the tree trunk, the branch broke, sending me flying towards the road. Catching me at the last second, Darien held me by my wrist as I appeared to hover in mid-air as the unseen force pulled me from behind. Engaged in a tug-of-war with an invisible opponent and I just had to be the rope.

"I don't know how long I can hold on . . ." The strain was evident in Darien's voice and his face red and tense. His hand slipped, now holding mine.

"Let go!" He was starting to loose his grip on the tree. I knew I'd be lost either way, but I couldn't let him fall to the same fate, whatever it might be.

"Never!" How valiant. But never the less . . .

"If you don't let me go, you'll be lost too!"

"I will not sacrifice you to save myself!" Tears mingled with the sweat pouring down his face. I'm not sure if it was from the strain or from the thought of letting me go, but I like to think it was the latter. More romantic.

"I'm lost either way! I can't have you suffer the same fate as I! Let go!" I couldn't help but wonder, at that exact moment, if any of the others had noticed our plight. Not to mention the melodramatic dialogue!

"No!" His hand slipped to my fingers, as if to confirm what I said. Knowing words were useless at this point, I pleaded with my eyes. My stomach clenched from the fear in his eyes, but I did not waver.

This could be the last time I see him . . . I felt my own tears on my cheeks. I opened my mouth to speak, but before I could utter a single word . . .

I slipped.

Right through his fingers. I can still hear his cry echoing through my ears. The look on his face still haunts my dreams, the moment forever burned in my memory.

I flew towards the highway, stopping directly over the middle. The stop was so sudden, it was like hitting a solid steel wall. Bricks couldn't be that hard. I hovered in the air a mere moment before plummeting to the pavement. I landed with too loud a thud to make sense and my vision blurred from the two impacts. I could feel blood dripping from my nose and my ears rang. With shaking limbs, I began climbing to my feet.

As my vision cleared, I could see the others running towards me, but they were still a ways off. The beams from the flashlights, dancing in the distance, grew larger as they neared.

Like fireflies . . .

Before my muddled brain could process a coherent thought, a surge of electricity rushed through my body, causing me to bolt upright. My breathe caught in my throat, I couldn't even scream. I couldn't move. Muscles twitching randomly throughout my body was the only movement. The energy coursing through my body singed my body hair. Smoke filled my nostrils as my nose hair burned. Tears stung my eyes, even as they evaporated. Every nerve and cell felt like they were on fire, the pain excruciating.

I could hear voices, fellow campers calling out to me, shouting question and concerns. I could not see them. At first I thought I had gone blind, but my eyes had just rolled back too far in my head. My tongue flapped about in my open mouth, unable to answer them nor warn them.

As quickly as it started, it stopped, the electricity dying within me as I slumped to the ground. The others rushed to me, but I held my still twitching hand out to ward them off. I didn't know what might happen if someone touched me, and I didn't care to find out. I still twitched, but I regained some semblance of control. Thankfully, I hadn't lost bladder control during the ordeal. Or worse. The bandages on my arms were singed and the smell was atrocious, conjuring up a memory from a few scant hours ago.

I tried to stand, but as I did, a force took hold of me and threw me down the road. As I started my descent, a horrific scream tore loose from my throat. It was filled with all my pain and suffering, my sorrow and misery. It chilled me to the core. I was sorry for everyone who had to listen to it, and even more so for creating it. Even as I fell, I saw remnants of my hair come loose, falling slowly and crumbling to ash.

I bounced off the pavement, ending my scream. I rolled to a stop half a mile from where I had been laying just moments ago. It amazed me that I still clung to consciousness, even with my head spinning as it was. Scrapes and bruises covered my body, blood trickling down various parts of my body. Nothing seemed to be broken, another miracle. Unless I was wrong.

Someone is speaking. It's no more than a buzz in my head. I look around, but my vision is blurry again. I can't make out more than vague fuzzy shapes. I closed my eyes and laid there on my back, waiting for my head to stop spinning and the sounds to make sense. I felt hands pull me up into a sitting position. I was surprised they were moving me at all, not knowing the extent of my injuries.

Ooh! Coherent thought! Don't they realize they could be doing more harm than good? Owie, that hurts!

"Hey, easy on the merchandise." I manage to squeak, my eyes squinting from pain and trying to shut out the light that's being focused on my face. I hear some chuckles, which doesn't help my headache any.

"At least she still has her sense of humor."

"Is that a good thing?" More laughter. I swear, if I had known who had said that . . . but that's moot. I tried to focus on Cathy instead. She was sitting beside me, holding me up. She was speaking softly, which made it hard to hear, even with her right by my ear.

"Huh?" Not exactly eloquent, was I? Cathy shushed everyone and spoke again, this time a bit louder.

"Try to stay awake. You may have a concussion." She must be kidding. I don't think I could have slept then if I wanted to, not without some heavy medication.

"Did you consider internal bleeding? Moving me could cause more damage." My voice was coming back to me and my vision was clearing. I saw panic building in Cathy's eyes. "I don't think I do, though. I'd be coughing up blood if I did, right?" Cathy sighed with relief. I was pretty sure all my injuries were external, but nothing will be certain till I got medical attention. Funny, though, every fibre of my being told me I was right.

"Is anything broken?"


"Are you sure?"


"Think you can walk?"

"I think so. Help me up."

"Okay. Are you sure nothing's broken? Or even sprained?"


"Alright, alright." She finally stopped questioning me, standing up to give me a hand. I was feeling better by the minute. Then I stood up. I cringed with pain and my knees began to buckle.

"Patty!" I looked up to see Darien running for me.

"Darien, no!" I tried to stop him, tried to run to him, but Cathy held me back, afraid I'd hurt myself. I watched in horror as he stepped onto the pavement. I watched as what appeared to be a bolt of lightning shot up around his leg, sending him crashing into a tree. He slid to the ground as leaves from the tree danced as they fell about him. His head was slumped forward and he did not move. Others rushed to him as I could not, allowing the scene to replay in mind continuously. I watched with double vision as someone tried wake Darien. I watched again as he flew through the air, his shoe smoking, the sole melting. I watched as someone shook him to no avail. I watched again as he hit the tree, his head and back bouncing once, then hit again. I watched as a girl slapped him lightly, over and over. I watched again as he slid down the tree when he should have fallen forward after the first bounce. I saw again his hair fade from pitch black to grey to silver white, starting from that fated step to his harsh landing. I watched as he bolted up, only to wince in pain from the sudden action.

It didn't want him . . . not anymore . . . whatever IT is . . .

I had wondered why he wasn't pulled in when he let go of the tree, and now it had pushed him away. Even when I was thrown, I stayed on the highway. It had pulled him as strong as it did me, why the change?

Maybe it only needed one of us . . . but why and what for?

Darien is now standing, brushing himself off, though carefully. Thank God! He's alright! Now there was only one thing left to do.

I passed out.

A/N: What happens next? Where does it go from here? I haven't a clue. ^^;; Well, I do have an idea for the next scene, but that's about as far as I've gotten. (in my head, anyway) ^^;;