To Carry You Home
Disclaimer: Not mine. Character death. Sorry! Ripped off Annie Lennox for the title and such. :)
To Carry You Home
The cliff overlooks the ocean and it is beautiful. She can see for miles; does nothing but watch as the light plays across the water. Once, this might have moved her. When they had first crashed here, she and Charlie had climbed up to this spot countless times. They had watched the sun dip into the waves hand in hand and he had whispered his love into her ear. She had been in awe then but it is all lost on her now.
All Claire sees is death, elusive and ugly.
Her hands stray to her belly, rubbing its flat surface in simple anguish. Her baby had gone first, slipping away from her quietly in the night. "A tough little cookie!" Charlie had declared, swinging her son in the air. He had been wrong. The sickness had came upon him suddenly and Jack had been powerless to stop it. She had clung to his lifeless body for hours, howling at the unfairness of it all. Charlie had been with her, holding her when she was too weak from grief to support herself.
It didn't seem right then and it doesn't seem right now. She wishes she wasn't so tired. She wants to cry for her son, for all of them, but all she feels is a great void. Her arms are empty and she feels barren. The fact that she didn't want him initially is irrelevant, paling in comparison to the fervent love she still nurtures for him and his breathy giggles of, "Mummy!" She wants to forget it all. She doesn't want to close her eyes and imagine a sweet faced little boy toddling to her, arms full of wild flowers and a smile overflowing with mirth. He had only had two years and she prayed with everything left inside of her that he knew how loved he was.
Her eyes flood at this and she is almost amazed until she remembers that this wound is still fresh. Chewing on her lip, she looks over her shoulder into the jungle, eyes lighting on a boulder a few steps in. He had kissed her there for the first time, awkward and clumsy due to her belly but all the more wonderful because of it. "Don't miss a damned thing when I'm with you," he'd laughed, twining his fingers through her hair, "Hang the Banoffi Pie! This is paradise!"
It was a lie, she thought. This was Hell.
Charlie had said her name before he'd died. Had looked up at her with such a startling clarity that she had almost convinced herself he'd recovered, that the aches and pains leading up to the fever and the horrible sickness had receded. She had gone so far as to smile at him and he had managed a weak imitation at her. She can still feel the pressure of his fading grip on her hand and she rubs her palm as though to rid herself of the memory.
She can feel the sickness now herself, slow but persistent as it eats through her body. Charlie's back had hurt first but with her it is her head. It's nothing but a dull pounding but she knows. She's seen it too many times. Soon her body will shake and she'll writhe with the pain and the nightsweats. She imagines somebody still left will stroke her hair and hold her hand but in truth she isn't entirely sure that anybody will risk getting that close to her. She doesn't want to die alone in her nook, with all its ghosts of laughter and love.
A slight breeze tickles her hair against her cheek and she turns again to face the water. Through her shoes she can feel the edge of the cliff and from somewhere she remembers her mother telling her to never stand that close. She wiggles them as if to test the strength of the ground and then looks back out into nothing.
It's then that she sees them, highlighted against the horizon. He is there, holding her son. They're laughing and she thinks perhaps he's singing. She knows that look on her son's face; recognizes the urge to imitate the man who is- was- so much more than a father to him. Claire has always been interested in all things spiritual so she doesn't waste time questioning it.
A hint of a smile flickers across her lips as everything around her falls away. The ache in her head fades to nothing. The grief in her heart is magically lifted. She doesn't hear the jungle sounds behind her. She doesn't think of the few still at the camp. Her whole being focuses on the hazy image before her and she knows they're waiting.
"Charlie," she murmurs.
Her smile is full blown. Without a backwards glance, she steps forward.