77 – Dead Girl Walking

The room was amazing, a round table of blue-stained wood under a sky of gold-purple clouds. The forest the bounded their private dining area was a wintry fir forest, branches heavy with snow, flakes drifting through the air, but never touching them. It was beautiful, it was nonsensical, and it was the perfect kind of fantasy after the fire of the phoenix and the dulled experience of Limbo. The Lost had left them a small feast, and assured them that there would be no interruptions. It was beautiful, but she could only process it in snatches, everything fading to grey when she lost focus for even a second.

I want to live.

She didn’t feel weak like she had after being used the first time, just hollow, empty in a way that neither food or cuddles would fill. It would have been easy to call it detachment, but that wasn’t right – emotions were still there, she was still sad, still scared, still needing to hide and pretend to be someone else, but still, there was some distance, some invisible wall. Probably just a side-effect of losing all but a few drops of mirror.

I want to live.

Curt squeezed her hand and she lifted her head a little, listening to the steady, comforting words of Ryan explaining the last three days. Agenty voice. Dad voice. Sensible and safe and positive that everything was going to be ok, even when he was very carefully complaining about their Sydney counterparts. It was fun to hear him complain, it brought the narc out in him. Narc, good narc, narc that always saved her.

I want to live.

She started to cry again, and they both held her.

There was no reason to cry, Death said she was going to live and if you couldn’t trust Death then you really couldn’t trust anyone. It was going to be easy, walk down a hall, go through a bubble designed to kill anything and everything on contact, knock on the moon, and send two firebirds home.

I want to live.

She looked at her wrist and the single strand of hair tied there, one wish she didn’t have to make. One tiny bit of mirror she got to keep.

All of it was gone, what was left was completely negligible, yet somehow enough to keep her alive. If this was life. It hadn’t even taken six months to whittle away something that had needed two grown-up hands to hold to something that would blow away on the breeze. The barrier was going to eat some of what remained, that wasn’t even a question, leaving her with less of almost nothing.

I want to live.

She pulled free of them, and hugged herself, unable to process their words, their affection, the fact that they were even there.

I want to live.

It was worth it, it had all been worth it. Every wish had been worthwhile. The wish to escape. To heal. To grow Curt a new arm. To get Carol back. To save the world.

I want to live.

She felt Ryan sliding his thumbs across her palms, and a little bit of pain. She forced herself to focus, and saw blood under her nails. She relaxed her hands, and waited for them to heal. Another tiny bit of almost nothing gone.

I want to live.

She let them hold her again, and Ryan resumed talking as Curt tried to offer her food.

‘I want to live,’ she whispered.

‘Stef?’

She slapped her face and forced herself to focus.

‘She said-’

She said I wouldn’t want to kill myself ever again. How can I be me if I- I’m-

‘-I’m not gonna die, but I’m not gonna be me, so that’s dying anyway.’

The world’s been trying to kill me since I was two, why the hell am I still trying to live?

She pressed the heels of her hands into her eyes.

Spyder-

‘Dammit, not you too!’

You have to do this.

‘No I don’t! No I don’t!’

You’re externalising.

‘Like I care!’

You aren’t more important than the world.

Tears streamed down her cheeks. ‘I know.’ Her shoulders slumped. ‘I know.’ Resignation settled into her chest. ‘I know.’

They were hugging her and she could barely feel it, they were talking and she could barely hear them.

And it didn’t matter.

Hugs for a dead girl. Comfort for a dead girl.

Cognisance started to reclaim her mind. ‘Let me go.’ The arms stayed wrapped around her. ‘Let me go!’

They slowly released, and she took in her surroundings again. Dad. Boy. Food. Forest.

‘There is no choice,’ she said, her voice a pitch higher than usual. ‘And- And I have to,’ she said, her voice cracking. ‘Cause who else can do it?’

‘Stef-’

‘Newbie-’

‘Death herself said that no one other than a thing like me can get through that barrier! If I had any more mirror left, I would ask you to generate a new agent and we could sacrifice someone who hasn’t figured out that living is nice! But I don’t have enough left for anything but this. And it doesn’t matter cause it’s just me dying, it’s not me…dying. You might like new Stef better! You will like new Stef better. She’s got to be better than this one.’

‘Stef-’

‘Newbie-’

‘You can help me or you can stay out of my way. We’re with the Lost right? How much money did I just indirectly donate to them? I’m sure that’s earned me a couple of guards who would lock you two away for long enough. I didn’t die alone the first time and- And I’d like the last time not to be lonely either.’

‘Stef-’

‘Newbie-’

‘Jesus Christ, can you two say anything else? Are you going to help me or not?’

‘Newbie-’

‘Curt.’ Ryan’s voice. Ryan’s sensible narcy-dad-voice.

‘Yes sir.’

Ryan knelt in front of her. ‘Sweetheart, what do you need?’

She took a breath. ‘Taylor. Or an elephant. Someone strong enough to get me through the stupid bubble. Cause I think I’m going to die as soon as I hit it, so I need to go at it so hard that at least the mirror makes it through and I can respawn on the other side.’

Ryan kissed her cheek. More comfort for the dead girl. ‘I’ll get him.’

‘Newbie-’ Curt started after Ryan left. ‘You don’t know that you’re-’

‘She said I’m never gonna want to kill myself again. How can I be me if I’ll never want to kill myself again? And she said what happens to me isn’t up to me so-’

‘That still doesn’t mean-’

‘It doesn’t matter what it means or doesn’t mean, I still think I’m gonna die, and I’ll still scared.’

He cradled her, and for a moment, she felt some of the comfort for the dead girl.

‘Picard,’ she said as he stroked her hair. ‘I never gave you an answer. I decided. It’s Picard.’

‘Nerd,’ he said, and held her tighter.

It should have been a moment. Been a big thing. Brought on the Kirk vs Picard debate until they were blue in the face. It should have been fun. It should have lead to watching more Star Trek and watching him come further out of the geek closet. It should have meant dragging the tech department into the argument.

It didn’t mean anything.

She closed her eyes, listened to his heart beat, and hoped that whoever she was tomorrow still loved him.

76 - Accomplished and Tasked
78 - Penultimate

  52 comments for “77 – Dead Girl Walking

  1. Anonymous
    May 25, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    to story updates?

    • Stormy
      May 26, 2012 at 12:04 am

      …doing the Mirrorfall rewrite updates, cause it’s a lot more fun than the last few chapters of OUB are going to be. -_-

      • the leaking pen
        May 28, 2012 at 9:05 am

        :hugs: sometimes its like a bandaid. quick and sharp, then thepain is over.

        • Stormy
          May 28, 2012 at 9:15 am

          …I’ll loose momentum on the Kindle edition, and then I’ll come back to OUB and fuck over the status quo once more.

        • the leaking pen
          May 29, 2012 at 7:59 am

          But, its to “the point where I don’t know, if I’d upset the status quo, if I threw poison in the water main.”

          Because the status is NOT quo.

        • Wraith
          May 29, 2012 at 10:18 am

          Why does that sound familiar?

          Especially that last part Because the status is NOT quo.

          It sounds very familiar, but I don’t know where I know it from.

        • Stormy
          May 29, 2012 at 12:00 pm

          Doctor Horrible!

        • the leaking pen
          May 29, 2012 at 4:30 pm

          love the good doctor! they are supposed to be filming part two this summer!

        • Wraith
          May 29, 2012 at 5:47 pm

          Ah, that would be the problem. I’ve never watched Doctor Horrible, but one of my friends probably quoted it at me.

          *hides so nobody takes away his geek card*

        • the leaking pen
          May 29, 2012 at 7:42 pm

          Stormy, he’s your roomie now, right? You need to tie him to a chair and force him to watch.

        • Wraith
          May 29, 2012 at 8:38 pm

          I’m not down there yet. Still have a few things to tie up here in the States. I’ve got 8 more shifts until I’m done at work, I need to get my passport, a visa, a plane ticket, and some USPS International Flat Rate boxes to send various electronics and games that aren’t going on the plane with me.

        • Stormy
          May 30, 2012 at 8:45 am

          …make a list of stuff he needs to watch. ^_^

        • Stormy
          May 29, 2012 at 12:19 pm

          …that my status quo keeps changing.

          I mean, Stef has gone from hacker to recruit to dead to agent-with-mirror to saviour of the world in five books. 😀

          And nothing really stays static, so nothing can get boring. ^_^

        • Wraith
          May 29, 2012 at 5:50 pm

          I’m just looking forward to seeing all the reactions to the end of this book.

          *Whistles innocently*

        • ValkyriePhoenix
          May 29, 2012 at 7:54 pm

          ….should i be threatening bodily harm?

        • Wraith
          May 30, 2012 at 1:44 am

          *thinks about it*

          Probably not. The status quo will be changing, again, but in the end, I think things will work themselves out for the better.

          I may or may not be counting down towards the last Spyder death ever, though. . .

          *has said too much and shuts up now*

        • ValkyriePhoenix
          May 30, 2012 at 6:11 am

          threatening YOU with bodily harm for hinting at things and then refusing to reveal.

        • Stormy
          May 30, 2012 at 8:46 am

          …teasing was at his own risk. 😀

        • Anayilea
          May 31, 2012 at 3:14 pm

          i REALLY HOPE mAGS DOESN’T END UP pREGGERS. cREEPY. aNGELpIE BABEH THAT EVERYONE TRIES TO KIDNAP? sOMEHOW i FEEL LIKE PARENTAL INSTICTS WOULD BE LACKING. /lE sIGH…

          oH HELL… mUST LOVE TEH cAPS!!!!!!

        • ValkyriePhoenix
          May 31, 2012 at 5:04 pm

          no one with any brains would try to kidnap their baby. it’s TAYLOR and MAGS. you’ve /seeeeeen/ the destruction they can and will do.

        • edorfaus
          May 31, 2012 at 7:37 pm

          … but there are probably people in that world who haven’t, and even if they’ve heard of it, some people simply don’t have any brains to speak of… And if you then add in covert manipulation by unscrupulous third-parties, to give those people the idea in the first place… But then, I’m not sure what they could hope to gain by such a kidnapping.

          On the other hand, I kind of doubt they’ll produce any offspring any time soon anyway. They’re not the type to do so by accident, and both know that doing so will hamper their battle-readiness for a long time, and provide their enemies with new attack vectors.

          This doesn’t mean that they’ll never do so – there are other reasons in favour of it, after all, and circumstances change – and I’m not so sure that they would be too terrible as parents, they just haven’t had reason to show such a side of themselves yet. If anything, time will tell.

        • Stormy
          May 31, 2012 at 7:57 pm

          … but there are probably people in that world who haven’t
          Some people don’t know them. Some people aren’t aware of what an agent can do. And some people would mistake them for regular people if they just saw them on the street with a stroller.

          But then, I’m not sure what they could hope to gain by such a kidnapping.
          …it makes sense in context. It’s nothing that could be predicted beforehand.

          On the other hand, I kind of doubt they’ll produce any offspring any time soon anyway.
          No, not just yet.

          *sigh*

          *le announcement*

          YES MAGS AND TAYLOR ARE GOING TO HAVE A BABY. And she is going to be freaking adorable.

          I’m also not saying anything more. But I’ve been itching to write this story for over a year now and it kills that I have to wait. I seriously have 90% of it planned out, and it’s gonna be kind of awesome.

        • Wraith
          May 31, 2012 at 8:39 pm

          Stormy and I have been referring to the kid as “Moppet” ^_^

          This is not her real name, but it amuses me to say it anyway.

        • the leaking pen
          June 1, 2012 at 1:53 am

          90 percent, eh? Would that make it a …

          <_ < >_>

          planned parenthood?

        • Stormy
          June 1, 2012 at 11:22 am

          *hands you your sunglasses*

        • ValkyriePhoenix
          June 1, 2012 at 12:33 am

          what i meant was, most of the people who would have something to gain from kidnapping a taylor/mags specific child will likely have heard of the mess they made of her mother’s place. and how handicapped they were when they did THAT. imagine what they could/would do if you took their baby and didn’t manage to kill them, both, immediately and thoroughly? and the difficulty level of actually managing to kill them, and then the difficulty of taking their spawn, who’s bound to be pretty damned epic herself and probably won’t want to go.

          i actually look forward to someone being stupid enough to try. just because their deaths will likely be entertaining ones.

        • Stormy
          June 1, 2012 at 11:25 am

          …what I can say that doesn’t give away the plot.

          They aren’t looking to kidnap Angelpie’s kid. They aren’t even looking for a magpie baby or angel baby. It’s a completely random event.

        • ValkyriePhoenix
          June 2, 2012 at 2:17 am

          well complete random was deliberately not accounted for in that. that’s why i said anyone who could have something to gain from kidnapping specifically THEIR baby (as opposed to a random cute kid) would know…

        • Stormy
          May 31, 2012 at 7:52 pm

          I’m not saying anything.

          I am *not* saying anything.

        • the leaking pen
          June 2, 2012 at 6:40 pm

          you can say a lot, by saying nothing….

        • Stormy
          May 31, 2012 at 7:46 pm

          …to be fair, if Mags were to have a child, she’d lay an egg, so she wouldn’t have to walk around pregnant.

        • Anayilea
          June 3, 2012 at 8:37 pm

          …+600 exps to meh!

          /sticks tongue out at naysayers….

          TOLD YOU SO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          Can it be a pretty sparkly blue egg? … Like… That twinkles and projects pictures? I would be willing to give up the unicorn logo then.

        • Stormy
          June 4, 2012 at 12:20 pm

          You were right. ^_^

          I’ve been wanting to spoil it for a while, but wanted to wait. All I can say is…I CANNOT FUCKING WAIT TO WRITE THIS BOOK.

        • ValkyriePhoenix
          June 4, 2012 at 4:07 pm

          … hurry up and write it!

        • Stormy
          June 5, 2012 at 9:00 am

          …it has to wait for some other important stuff to happen.

          Plus Mags and Taylor are still enjoying having each other, I don’t want to make it seem like they’re rushing to “babies ever after” so soon.

          (Though their logic is adorable “We *can* raise the perfect soldier!”).

        • ValkyriePhoenix
          June 5, 2012 at 1:21 pm

          …it has to wait for some other important stuff to happen.

          that’s what i meant, of course. hurry up and get there! write all that stuff that has to heppen!

        • the leaking pen
          June 5, 2012 at 3:12 pm

          ahhh, if only it were that simple.

        • Stormy
          June 5, 2012 at 8:16 pm

          …you knew what was going to happen in the mean time.

          All I can say is a big Sam Beckett “Oooooh Boy”.

          Plus, the thing I have to figure out is if the birth and kidnapping stories are in the one book, or in separate books, cause it’s the kidnapping one I realllllly want to write.

  2. Anayilea
    June 7, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    Can I please have sparkly egg acknowledgement here???

    • Stormy
      June 8, 2012 at 9:46 pm

      …it’s not gonna be sparkly. Magpie eggs, however, are often blue-ish, so that’s appropriate. 😀

      • Anayilea
        June 8, 2012 at 11:07 pm

        …at least have a little Twilight-esqe sparkles? Like, O.o pretty!!! It can’t be ugly and smooshy like a turtle egg…

        More like… greeny-bluey ocean swirly… It has to be a pretty egg or else why would someone want to steal it?!

        Or Mags could just use non-toxic watercolors and doll it up!

        Side note: OMGZ ewws, Mags has to poop out an egg?! How big are these angelpie eggs supposed to be?

        • ValkyriePhoenix
          June 8, 2012 at 11:47 pm

          probably 5-7 lbs

        • Anayilea
          June 10, 2012 at 8:11 pm

          Ooffda

        • ValkyriePhoenix
          June 10, 2012 at 8:39 pm

          bout the size of a small-average baby and some amniotic fluid.

        • Stormy
          June 9, 2012 at 12:37 am

          < Edna Mode > No sparkles! < / Edna Mode >
          😛

          It has to be a pretty egg or else why would someone want to steal it?!
          The egg doesn’t get stolen, Moppet does.

          Side note: OMGZ ewws, Mags has to poop out an egg?! How big are these angelpie eggs supposed to be?
          The Parkers C-section it out. ^_^

        • ValkyriePhoenix
          June 9, 2012 at 1:08 am

          EE! <3 Edna

          *is totally grinning like a maniac now.*
          ....i need to go watch that....because. edna. ^_^

        • Stormy
          June 10, 2012 at 12:30 am

          …is the best part of the movie. ^_^

        • ValkyriePhoenix
          June 10, 2012 at 7:05 am

          YUSS.

        • Anayilea
          June 10, 2012 at 8:12 pm

          Although my son was 6 weeks early and eight pounds, ten ounces… Let me tell you, lady bidnezz can’t survive something so traumatizing!!

  3. Anayilea
    June 8, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    Since I have no idea how to start a post on the forums, and don’t feel like trying to figure out how,I will post my question here!

    How is the book coming along? I am looking forward to receiving mine! So glad I could help get you guys started.

    • meeks
      June 9, 2012 at 12:28 am

      I went on a mini-vacation/business trip to meet Toast a couple of weeks ago, and I think we’ve got all the books signed. They should be in the post soon! 🙂

      • Anayilea
        June 10, 2012 at 8:09 pm

        Sa-weet!!! My kid will be stoked. He is 6, but a huge book nut. Takes after his mum!

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