Rating: PG (but just 'cause it's not that graphic)
Disclaimer: I claim no rights to anything Roswell or anything written by Stephen King. Although I have to admit, I would like to.
Artistic License Disclaimer: Anyone who knows anything about the kind of drugs I'm talking about will know that I took a liberty or two here or there. It seemed like a good idea at the time, lol.
Character Focus: Liz POV. Non-'shippy.
Author's Note: Well, you know, there's reality and then there's perception. The question is, how do you know which is which? And what do you do when you decide? Liz knows. (Thanks, Debbie and Reese!)
Warning: Character death.
I remember the day I snapped.
Oh, don't look at me like that. We both know I'm crazy, there's no point in denying it. I just have my periods of lucidity.
(Doesn't that word sound lovely? It just rolls of your tongue. I can't recall a single other thing from that long-ago session with Dr. Dr. well, I guessed I've forgotten his name too. But I remember him, he was tall and he had curly hair that he trimmed very short. And he told me that I needed to make the most of my periods of lucidity. "Lucidity," I'd echoed, and he'd nodded, not realising that I just liked the sound of it. No more.)
Where was I? Oh yeah, I was going to tell you about That Day.
It started out like any other. I woke up, tried to kill my alarm clock with my mental powers, failed miserably, groaned, got up, and turned the thing off the old-fashioned way. Stumbled into my washroom (thank god I've always had my own. I don't know how Isabel shared for so long), brushed my teeth, took a shower, looked for pimples in the mirror (bet Isabel never had to worry about zits, bet none of them ever did, for that matter), sighed and scrounged for something to wear. Waved distractedly as my dad chattered about something he read in the newspaper (why are my parents morning people? There should be a law against it) and headed the kitchen for some breakfast.
And when I heard the horn outside, I grabbed my schoolbag and headed outside like always, wincing because the sun was way too bright. With my eyes almost shut, I climbed into the back of the Jeep and mumbled something in the way of a greeting and then slept the rest of the way to school, much to amusement of the blonde passenger in front.
(Yeah, yeah, Isabel, yuck it up. I'll should've told everyone she still wore bunny slippers when I had the chance. What? Max told me.)
Anyway, it didn't take long to get to school.
What? No, it isn't hot in here.
I always feel like sweating and shaking at this time of day, didn't you know that? Didn't one of the others leave some note of that in that folder, you know, the one you all use to keep notes on me? Well, here's your chance to contribute. Show 'em what you're made of. You can do it. Maybe later you can even write a paper and present it at some conference somewhere, but just shut up about it right now, okay? This isn't some lie detector test, and I don't want to talk about my Galvanic response to stress. I said I'd talk about what happened to put me in here, and I will.
Isn't that enough for you?
So there we were, pulling into the parking lot, and I felt a hand shake me. It was Max, telling me gently - did I ever tell you how gentle Max could be? - that we were there, and I had to get up now.
That's when it happened. I opened my eyes and and I saw him.
It wasn't Max. It sounded like Max. But it sure as hell didn't look like him. It looked - well, it looked like something out of one of those old alien movies from way back when, if truth be told. Or something out of a Stephen King book. Yeah, yeah, I know, no one else ever believed I read anything so unscientific as Stephen King. Well, I did. I even read a collection of his short stories once, and there was this story, The 10 O'Clock People -- in fact, there you go. There's a little homework for you, go read that and you'll get a better idea of what I'm talking about. The man has a way with words.
What? Oh, fine. It's a story about a guy who can see these monsters that no one else can see, monsters infiltrating human society. And he can see them because he was trying to quit smoking and it was messing with his brain chemicals or something.
Damn it, now I've lost my train of thought. Where was I? Oh yeah: Max had just woken me up, and scared the shit out of me. Fuck, I was so scared I couldn't move. I couldn't breathe, couldn't scream, couldn't do a damned thing. Just I just nodded like some kind of idiot when he asked if I was coming.
Sorry, I didn't mean to swear, honestly, I never used to swear. Never. Seriously, cross my heart and hope to die, I don't think I swore once before that day. And now I do it all the time. What is in that stuff you pump me full of every day, hey?
Oh, I'm just kidding. Don't look at me like that. Do you want to hear this or not?
Anyway, somehow I did it. Somehow I got out of the jeep without falling flat on my face and somehow I didn't scream when I jumped out and got a good look at Isabel, and damn but she was she was
Just give me a moment here, okay? It's hard to put this into words.
Max wasn't the only one who had gone freaky on me. Isabel had too, only on her I could see the make-up she'd put on, and somehow that made it worse.
Shit, just give me a minute here, okay? Okay? You asked me to tell you my worst memory, I mean I lived a goddamn nightmare, and I said I would and I am and the polite thing to do would be to sit down, shut up and listen already.
No, I'm fine. Really, I'm fine. I just need to to breathe. Is that okay with you? Is it? Huh?
Somehow, I thought that Michael might be different. Oh, don't look at me like that. I don't care that it didn't make any sense, except that Michael's the guy that's irritating but always comes through in a crunch. That's the Michael I knew. What? Oh, he uh well, my old boyfriend used to get in these, um, situations. They weren't his fault, you understand, they just happened. And I would get scared and Michael would comfort me. That's all I meant.
Anyway, I spent the morning tracking down Michael. But when I saw him, I knew. The aliens were finally emerging. And I could see them for what they really were.
That's right, I said it. Aliens. They were aliens, okay? Except, I always thought they were good aliens. I guess maybe it was just wishful thinking, because in their human disguises they were all so good-looking. Hell, even Tess. I can admit it now. I was always a little jealous. I mean, you look at her, and you see the whole busty blue-eyed blonde deal happening, like Isabel, come to think of it, although the effect is totally different. Then look at me and oh, I know I'm not ugly or anything. But I'm not anyway, this is getting off-topic.
I hate getting off-topic. You people always get off-topic. I tell you about aliens, and you ask if I've been taking my medication. How I "feel about that". It's like, what the hell?
Now where was I? Oh yeah. So, the people I trusted with my life had turned into something out a Stephen King book and no one else could see it. I didn't know what to do, so I went to find Maria or Kyle, because I thought they deserved to be warned. I mean, Kyle had been healed like me, and Maria had slept with one, for Pete's sake.
I found them, in the hall. They didn't see me right away.
In fact, I don't think anyone really noticed me there until I started screaming. I I couldn't help it. They had they'd changed, you see. Oh, they weren't like the others. I could still see some of the humanity in them, but the alien side was definitely there, warping their faces and and I started screaming.
What can I say? It was a shock.
But I got a hold of myself. I told everyone I saw a mouse, and a few more people screamed (and this was funny, because let me just say there were more jocks than girls in the hall, if you catch my drift). And I managed to act like I was just embarrassed and got out of there.
See, all I could think of was something their mother said. Max and Isabel's mother. Well, not their mother, I guess that would be Mrs. Evans, and she's really nice, she really is. I mean Zan and Vilandra's mother. She said you knew who the enemy was by the evil within.
I know what you're thinking. Just because someone is ugly, and has a mouth full of needle-like teeth and bulgy skin and boingy eyes and all doesn't make them evil. And hey, hello - people who save lives? How could they be evil?
But they were. I could tell. I could sense it, like a sort of buzzing, when I got anywhere close. And they were infectious. They got to Maria and Kyle. And - that's when it occurred to me. What if they got me too? I was changed, damn it. I waited until the bathroom was clear and then I looked and I almost didn't recognize myself. It was it was horrible.
The only truly human part of me left was my eyes I could see my eyes and even though they looked sad, I could see it. Lurking in there. The evil. Ready to come out. You know ... I figure that's why I could see them. Because I was becoming one of them.
Shut up. I'll keep going when I feel like it.
Okay. I'm almost done now anyway. Do you have the time? Thanks. I figure another couple of minutes should do it. I'm feeling kind of sleepy. I want to go to bed.
Where was I?
Oh yeah, the evil. You've got to understand, I didn't take what I had to do lightly. I hated the thought of killing the people I loved most in the world, I did. But here's what I realized: those people were gone. They were already dead. All that was left were shells, shells for alien evil to use to infiltrate humankind from the inside. And the evil was spreading, it couldn't be contained. Me, Maria and Kyle were proof of that.
And if you don't get it before it gets too strong, evil wins, doctor. Tess and Alex were proof of that.
I still had enough humanity in me not to want to hurt them. They didn't know they were dead, after all. They wouldn't understand. So I did my homework. See, I remembered that Max had been drugged in the White Room - what? Oh, the White Room. It was where Max was taken and tortured by the FBI. Can I go on with my story now? Thank you.
Like I was saying, I did my homework. I found out that these pills my mom had in the bathroom were this kind of, what's the word? Barbiturates, that's what they were. It's actually really easy to OD on them. I even learned how to balance the dosage because too little and it won't work but too much and you get sick and throw it all up. It's kind of fascinating. Who knows? In another life, maybe I would have traded in molecular biology for pharmacology or medicine. Maybe I would be sitting in your chair. Wouldn't that be something?
Huh? Oh, right, back to the story. Okay, so one night when the six of us were hanging out at the Crashdown at closing, I spiked our drinks. That's right, all of us. What, you didn't think I'd kill them and not myself? That wouldn't be containing the situation, would it? Idiot.
And it worked, only not as I thought it would. I thought they'd have time to get home, go to bed, go to sleep, and just never wake up.
But whoever was driving that night must have gotten tired and swerved or something, because the car slammed head-on into the pumps at the gas station down the street.
I know, I know. If you've read your Stephen King, you'd see the irony. The contagious people driving into the pumps, ha ha. What? Jeez, didn't you ever read - ah hell, listen up. It's called The Stand, it's really, really long, and it has got to be, like, the best thing King ever wrote. Okay, I really liked The Talisman too, but The Stand it just got to me, you know? My point is, Roswell's gas station is owned by a corporation that hires high school dropouts to man the cash register, and the jerk who was working there was no Stu Redman. He was not the guy you wanted in charge of saving you from the forces of post-apocalyptic evil, if you get what I mean. Hell, I doubt it even occurred to him to turn off the pumps when he saw the car about to hit them.
In a way, though, maybe it was for the best. I mean, this way there was no autopsy, and hopefully the heat was enough to reduce the risk of contagion from fluids and stuff.
They blew sky-high, doctor. I felt the ground shake from the blast all the way back at the Crashdown, where I was trying to finish cleaning up although I was getting really tired.
And here's where I realized my plan wasn't going to work. For me, anyway. See, the other thing about blood chemistry is that you have to take adrenaline into account. It counters the effect. And when I walked outside to see what was going on, and saw the fire, and smelled the greasy smoke, and somehow I just knew it was them, I couldn't have fallen asleep if you hit me over the head.
God, it hurt. I never wanted to outlive my friends, never. I miss them so much the real them, the them that I knew before the alien takeover.
I tried again anyway, tried the very next day. But I forgot that people were watching me, talking about me, worried about me because I'd lost seven friends in horrible ways. If only they knew, huh?
They were watching me, and every time I turned around someone was there. The Sheriff took away my pills and made me go get my stomach pumped. And by the way, no, that is not fun. You know, they should make kids take one. They'd never do drugs, I swear. And then my mother got rid of the kitchen knives, and just when I was getting them nice and sharp, too. Daddy took away the gun. He said he 'got it for downstairs' and he 'needed it for downstairs, Lizzie,' but I looked and it wasn't down there later, so I think he got rid of it.
Even the school got into the act. It would've been funny if it wasn't so irritating. You'd think no one had ever borrowed anything from the chem lab before. Like they'd miss a little carbolic acid here or some chlorine there. It was just bad luck anyway; I'd taken it from the lab on my lunch break and was going to bring it home. Why'd they have to do the stupid locker search that afternoon?
I guess the kicker was when the librarian saw the kinds of websites I was looking at on the library's computer. Did you know you can find all sorts of neat information on the net? Like how to cut the brake lines on a car. They even had a little diagram of different types of cars to show you where. I found my car without any trouble at all. But I never got a chance to try. She called my parents and the Sheriff to the library and do you think they let me anywhere near a car after that?
Hell no. The next day I found myself here. And I found out the truth - you all were right. I really had lost it. I really was crazy if I thought I could contain the whole mess by taking care of the Roswell side. I mean, I completely forgot about the New York angle. The place could be teeming with them as I speak.
It's all out of my control now. I did what I could, but I'm only one person, Doctor. You know it's too bad. I always wanted to travel, to go to places like New York, but I guess that'll never happen now.
And I know everyone's been wondering when I was going to tell you guys what's going on inside my head. But timing is everything, you see. I had to wait until the time is right.
Oh, don't look at me like that. We both know I'm crazy, and it's just a story, remember? Isn't that what you tell yourself to make you feel better?
And to be honest, you don't look so good. You need more sleep. So do I. I'm just going to go back to my room now, and take a nap.
In fact, I think I'm going to take a long one. The pills started kicking in some time ago, and I think I'm past the point of no return now but we'll see.
But I do my homework. I always did. I think it'll work.
I think I'm done here anyway. Goodbye, doctor. Thanks for listening.
Oh, and doctor? Do you think do you think that when I see them again, my friends will look like the real them, and not the alien parts that killed them?
I hope so.
I really do.
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