An hour later I could still feel the phantom pressure of Maria's hand in mine, like a whispered memory of her warmth and presence. I was relieved that she wasn't with me right now, hoping that she was safer wherever she was, but her absence left a hole in my heart and put an ache in the center of my abdomen.

It was surprising that I was aware of those sensations, that I was even thinking about it, while I was sitting in a small room with my heart beating loudly in my ears. Maybe it was because I was scared out of my wits. Maybe it was because I was squeezing my eyes tightly closed against the intermittent flashes blinking from the crack underneath the closed door. Maybe the reason to why I was thinking of Maria right now was because I was wishing I was somewhere else - anywhere else.

While trying to deny the reality I was in, I was thinking of late nights spent eating ice cream out of a shared ice cream container. I was thinking of fits of laughter that made your stomach hurt and tears run down your cheeks. Of gossiping about boys. Of binge watching tv-shows. Of making fun of reality shows and being horrified about toddlers with fake eyelashes and teeth prosthesis in beauty contests. Of laying awake into the early hours of the morning talking during sleepovers.

Those memories seemed so far away right now. While previously the alien world had appeared surreal, those memories of a normal childhood and teenage existence now seemed unreal and impossible. The world was backwards.

Max and I had been separated from the rest of the group in the chaos of smoke, enemies and screams that we had abruptly been thrown into when entering one of the underground areas where the battle was very real and present.

I hadn't seen the blast that had seared the outer contour of my right arm, but it had been enough to throw me backwards against the wall. If Max hadn't been holding so tightly onto my other hand, I might have been separated from him as well.

Something had been on fire. The smoke was thick enough to cause my eyes to sting and my lungs to struggle in receiving air. There was no chance of seeing anything in the smoke, and I'm pretty sure that no one had actually aimed at me. Instead I had just been at the wrong place at the wrong time.

At least the pain of my burning skin was enough to momentarily distract me from the flashbacks of being so close to fire. The memories of having been fatally burnt. I would have died at the hands of fire had not Max saved me that day. A day that seemed forever ago.

"Fuck!" I heard Max exclaim, pulling on my uninjured arm to get me closer to the human-alien shield his body provided.

Unaware of what we were walking into, we were late at getting the shield up, failing in protecting me from getting hurt. But the protective field was activated before I had registered my burnt skin and had understood what had happened.

Max's conscience was already telling him - rather harshly - that he had already managed to fail me.

And we had barely gotten started.

"I'm fine," I mumbled, pressing my teeth tightly together at the burning sensation of my skin.

He couldn't hear me over the noise of our surroundings, and even if he had, he probably wouldn't have taken my assurance seriously.

To be accurate, I was not fine. But I was not incapacitated either. Far from it. It only took a couple of seconds for the shock of having been shot to disintegrate, but by then, we had already lost the others.

Max tugged on my left arm. "Come on!"

The air was more breathable inside the protective cocoon. I had no idea of how it worked, but maybe the foggy barrier protected against the large smoke particles somehow. It did not, however, help us find our way.

Unbreakable - A Beautiful Lie · (Roswell Fanfiction) ·  √Read this story for FREE!