Getting Out Alive


Author: Sakura123

Category: Cloverfield

Timeline: AU: Takes place during movie

Rating: T

Written: 6/8/08

Characters: Jason Hawkins; Lily Ford; Marlena Diamond; Hudson Platt; Rob Hawkins; Beth McIntyre

Summary: AU. A twist in fate has occurred, but will it change the outcome of five lives as they race to save one?

Disclaimer: Cloverfield and all things related, are property of J.J. Abrams, Matt Reeves, Drew Goddard, and Paramount Pictures. All rights reserved. Original Storyline and Characters are property of me, the author. All rights reserved.


Part I: Flight or Flight


"…Please go in an orderly manner. Continue moving south towards Brooklyn…" Jason looked up to regard the helicopter with mild concern as he soldiered across the walkway of the Brooklyn Bridge. Flanking him on both sides was his brother, Rob, and Lily who walked alongside Marlena. The crowd around them buzzed with conversation, speculating or trying to figure out what to do when they got across to Brooklyn. "I repeat, do not stop keep moving. There be instructions on the Brooklyn side… Get across the bridge. Move in a quick and orderly fashion." Jason retreated into his mind as Rob turned to Hud and asked, "Still Filming?"

This certainly wasn't what he in mind when he went to cheer his brother up. Actually, a "terrorist attack" was the farthest thing from his mind. Jason would've liked to think that something like this would be categorized under a "bad feeling", but he and everybody else he came into contact with never experienced any sort of calm before the storm type of feelings. Everyone was just focused on being hospitable to Rob and enjoying themselves, generally.

There was nothing more his irrational mind would love than to blame this entire situation on his little brother, but he knew better. No expected a dispute to break out between Rob and Beth. At first, he just assumed Travis a friend of Beth's (regardless of his suspicions), possibly interested in the opposite sex (not meaning girls). But Hud brought it all to light with his snooping into business not really relating to him. Lily's secret just solidified things. So where in this, did Jason find room to blame Rob's relationship troubles? Zilch.

Rob's personal dramas were forgotten the very moment that earthquake hit the city and scared the lot of them shitless. Jason nearly pissed himself and choked on his beer at the same time; The quake came totally unannounced, everything from there just crumbled around them. The very moment the city caught fire and hurtled burning chunks of debris at them, Jason realized that this was no mere earthquake. Earthquakes didn't cause apocalyptic-esque explosions and they sure as hell didn't send the Statue of Liberty's head flying into the city streets, startling about half a dozen of the citizens (including himself).

Whatever destroyed the Woolworth Building and brought further ruin to the street they once stood in, was big. Rob's camera caught nothing but a brief glimpse of it; The derbies and smoke covered so much of whatever retreated behind the building that a lot was left to the imagination. Several of the people stuck outside the convenience store said it towered over their heads, roared even. Marlena said it was eating everyone caught in its path. Jason wasn't sure what attacked them, it couldn't have been what people were described -- a monster. Unless he saw it for himself, it was crazy talk. All Jason knew was that he had to keep a level head, if only for Rob and Lily's sake. Hopefully that wouldn't be for long, they were almost out of Manhattan and Jason needed time to himself. Either to have a panic attack, or process the entire night in a quiet corner to himself.

His train of thought was interrupted when someone laced their fingers with his hand and squeezed lightly. Jason gazed down to regard his hand in question before recognizing the petite hand. He looked at Lily in momentary confusion before forcing a smile on his taut face. "Are you okay?" Lily asked. Jason shrugged his shoulders as they continued on with the crowd. "I've been better. How are you?" Jason asked, shifting the attention to their friend, which caught Lily off guard. Marlena looked away from the crowd ahead and blinked. The dust that covered her from head to toe had been cleaned away some, though her clothes were still covered in it. "…I'm fine," Marlena deadpanned, moving out of Lily's grasp. She made it clear that she didn't want to talk about earlier. Jason and Lily moved to keep up with her.

"…You can always tell them how it all went down, Hud," Rob smiled, despite his mood. He watched Hud shake his head behind the camera as he readjusted its' angle. Rob had been trying for the last half an hour trying to reach Beth, all he received was a busy signal. She wasn't answering her land phone and her cell phone was turned off. Rob was at his wits end at. You picked a perfect time to blow her off, idiot, Rob thought to himself as he focused his attention on Hud. "No, that wouldn't work. …People need to see this, you? This is going to be important. I mean, people are gonna watch this --"

Hud's speech fell into the background the very moment his cell phone began to play the monotone jingle he chose for Beth after sleeping with her. Anxious, he quickly moved away from his friend and approached the side of the Bridge where there was least resistance from the crowd. It only took a second for Hud to realize that he was rambling to himself, doing a double take he shouted, "Rob!" He shifted the camera over to his friend as Rob held the phone up to his ear. "Beth? Beth?" Rob repeated her name frantically, awaiting a response. "Rob!" Hud's call was still being ignored. The young man looked around for the rest of the group; Lily and Jason were just out eye's sight steadily making their way further across the bridge. Marlena was no where to be seen. Oh, this is not good, He thought panicked.

Rob was far too absorbed in his own worries to notice Hud's troubles. The sound on his phone was fuzzy, indicating the connection wasn't very strong, and combined with the chaos going on around him he was straining to hear anything. "Beth, I've been trying to reach you. Are you okay? Hello?" He said into the receiver.

Hud was bouncing on his heels trying to get the attentions of Jason and Lily. "Wait a second you guys! Hey!" He saw Lily stop and tugging Jason along with her and breathed a near sigh of relief. "Look, hey! Lily, Jason, stop!" Hud bellowed over the crowd. Rob cast a irritated look over his shoulder at Hud then as he pressed a finger to his ear and said, "I'm sorry. its really loud here, can you speak up?!" For a moment he swore he heard Beth answer, but more static screeched into his ear. He glanced up at the helicopter as it made another pass.

"Lily! Lily, wait!" Hud shouted again when she started moving forward again. She seemed to have heard him, Lily turned her head in question and squinted in Hud's general direction. "What?" Lily cried. She gave Jason's arm a tug, halting him in his steps. He turned to look at her but spotted Hud jumping up above the crowd instead, his mouth moving frantically.

"What's he saying?" Jason inquired. Lily silenced him with a raise of her hand. Hud zoomed in on Lily as she slowly began to move against the crowd, pulling her boyfriend along with her. "Rob got a hold of Beth!"

"What?" Lily's face exuded momentary relief. Pressing a hand against Jason's chest, she swung around causing Jason to stumble back into the side of the bridge. "Wait! Marlena, wait!" She shouted. Marlena looked up from her feet and turned around. Her face twisted with confusion. What were Jason and Lily doing so far behind her?

She moved forward to go back, but one man raised his hands and shoved her forward. "Hey man, stop!" She snapped, marching forward again. Another pair of hands pushed her along with the crowd, disregarding her mere presence beyond an obstacle to their safety. "Get off me!" Marlena snapped. "Lily!" Marlena continued to fight against the bodies pushing her back to no avail. It was one against an army.

Behind her, Lily, Jason, and Hud looked on with dread, Marlena couldn't get to them. Cupping her hands around her face Lily called for her friend, rapidly disappearing into the sea of heads. "Marlena -- !" Suddenly, the bridge was rocked by an unknown force, the water below churned violently in sync with the same roar they heard earlier. The crowd became more animated, everyone was looking around for the cause of the tremor. Jason gripped the side of the bridge as Lily fell against him. He looked around for the source of the disturbance that sent the crowd back into panic mode but could find nothing beyond the roar. Below him, people were abandoning their cars running in the opposite direction, screaming. Regaining his composure, he gripped Lily by the arms and began to move her towards Hud. "Lily, stay here, I'm going to get Marlena," He said. Lily stared at him like he sprouted two heads, he wasn't serious. "What? No!" She proclaimed, trying to hold him back as he pulled away.

"Lil, this isn't up for discussion…"

"Jason, no! Marlena will get to the other side, she'll be…" Lily's words trailed off when Jason pressed his cell phone into her hand. "Here. Try to get a hold my parents. I'll be right back," Jason commanded. Pulling out of Lily's weakened grasp, he pointed a finger at Hud. "Watch her!" Hud could barely stammer a reply before Jason made his way through the crowd.

"Jason, stop!" Lily screamed after her boyfriend. Hud moved a little closer to Lily while he focused the camera on Jason's rapidly moving body. He knew the chances of stopping Lily if she chose to follow Jason would be slim to none, but he would try to keep her next to him.

Rob appeared beside Hud moments later, crestfallen. No sooner than he began to hear Beth through the static interference, he lost the connection. He attempted to redial her number but he got a busy signal again. Lily walked past Hud over to Rob, she placed a hand on his shoulder. "Did you get Beth?" Rob wondered if responding the negative would be the correct answer to her question. Nevertheless, he was prepared to answer when a scream distracted him. In the second it took the trio to turn toward the crowd ahead, whatever caused the alarm came crashing down on the bridge, sending everyone in its path flying through the air and crashing to the ground.

The bridge swung violently to the right, Rob barely had time to right himself. "Jason!" Lily's blood curdling scream sent a chill down his spine. Where was his brother? Rob grabbed her by the arm as the bridge began to swing. The other end started to separate crumbing down into the water as the suspension cables snapped. "Lily, c'mon!" He cried, pulling her along. Lily refused to follow, she tried to push against the crowd, trying to reach where she last haw Jason.

He was all that mattered, Marlena wasn't even a factor anymore. "Jason! No! Jason, no! Jason!" Lily screamed as Rob pulled her along, falling in with the rest of the crowd. Hud followed after them, stumbling backward, filming the final moments of the bridge as it heaved upward, shattering into a million pieces. The suspension cords snapped like rubber bands, twisting madly through the air, destroying everything in their path. Satisfied with what was captured on film, Hud turned and broke into the fastest run his body could muster.


(Jason):

"…Watch her!" I said. Hud's mouth was flapping like a fish when I took off into the crowd. I practically had to elbow my way through the mass of people bunched together. Many of them were petrified by whatever hit the bridge. For a second I thought I heard the roar the man was trying to describe to us earlier on Broadway, but there was so much going on I couldn't tell one sound from another. "Marlena!" Marlena, where are you?!" I shouted over the commotion. Some heads turned in my direction, their faces expressing uneasiness or curiosity, but none of them were Marlena.

At this point, she could be anywhere by now, maybe even on the other side of the bridge. I started to move on, I only moved a few feet before a hand clamped down on my shoulder and proceeded to turn me around. My heart skipped a beat, my body tensed in preparation for attack until I met the large brown eyes of Marlena Diamond. The tightness in my chest was alleviated. "Hey!" I blurted, "We gotta go back…"

Marlena looked at me like I was crazy. "What…? Go back, why? What did Lily want?" She asked. I resisted the urge to roll my eyes, this wasn't a great time for questions. "Rob got a hold of Beth. C'mon," I said. Marlena nodded blankly as I grabbed her by the arm and started to move effortlessly move through the flabbergasted crowd that continued to search for the origin of the sound heard earlier. The cries of various people we past made me uneasy, it getting harder to regulate my own breathing whenever my heart jumped at the tiniest scream.

We were halfway to Rob and the others when Marlena slowed her pace down. "Could you see it? Did -- did you see anything?" She asked. I shook my head. "No, now come on, we gotta --" My attention was drawn away from Marlena. The screaming around us reached a new high. I managed to catch the barest glimpse of what like a giant serpents tail, before it hit the bridge. "Oh my God!" Marlena screeched in my ear, as she fell forward. She collided hard against me, we fell to the ground in a heap. My head hit the ground with a thud, the world fell out of focus as I edged toward oblivion. My arm was trapped underneath me, receiving the full punishment of two bodies lying atop of it.

The screaming around us came a frenzied melody of chaos, but to my ears it sounded like I was underwater. I could their feel feet slamming down around us as they fled the scene. It was like a stampede. My momentary haze didn't allow me the haste everyone else was using. Opening my eyes, I saw the bridge breaking away into pieces. I felt a pair of hands grab me under the arms and haul me up from the ground. Was it Marlena? I all I knew was they were attempting to drag me away from the rapidly disintegrating bridge. "Get up! Jason, get up! C'mon!" Marlena screamed at me.

In that moment, my lack of response faded and everything around me came rushing back in full volume and clarity. I caught the tail end of Marlena's screaming in time to see several suspension cords break away from the bridge. That woke me up. Staggering up to my feet, I grabbed Marlena by the hand, we ran for it. Running across the bridge was like trying to run across a rope bridge; For the most part it was sturdy, then it would sway up and down, threatening to toss us over.

I ignored Marlena's screaming, everyone who was in front of me along with my own throbbing head. All I focused on were the terrible sounds of twisting metal overhead and the roar that echoed behind us. It's what propelled me forward -- hopefully away from danger. I pulled Marlena up beside me, despite the disadvantage of her wedges she was moving pretty fast. She looked back to see what was happened, I shoved her forward causing her to stumble. "Go, Marlena! Go!" I screamed. Marlena obeyed, we were off the bridge just moments before the rest of the walkway crumbled. We made our way into the tunnel, falling in with the crowd.

The outside was a few inches away from us, but the crowd jostled us around making it hard to move forward any quicker than we were now. Their screams bounced off the wall, echoing throughout the spacious tunnel. The inside of my ears stung from the shrill pitches, causing my head to throb with pain. Blinking back tears, I retrained my eyes on Marlena who remained in front of me. As we reached the end of the tunnel, I caught the familiar flash of yellow and blue through the brown hue of the night a second before it fell out of sight. "Hud!" His name flew from my mouth automatically. My vision cleared long enough to confirm the blur of man was in fact Hud Platt, pulling himself off the ground. "Hud!" My cry went unheard, Hud vanished into the crowd struggling with the strap of the camera. Fighting to keep my footing, I braced myself as the crowd dragged Marlena and I in another direction.


Rob was having trouble keeping up with Lily, she was moving faster than him and … he looked behind him. Where was Hud? He was tempted to stop running and look for his friend but Lily was the more pressing mater. If he lost her, then there was no telling if he could find her again. Resuming his pursuit, he steadily began to gain ground on his brother's girlfriend. "Lily, wait! Lily, stop!" He shouted breathlessly. Lily stumbled to a stop against the wall of a Sephora store. Rob tripped over his feet, he used to the wall to kill his momentum, cringing when his cell phone scrapped against the stone.

Civilians continued past them, lost in their own fear and desperation to escape the city. Rob was bumped a couple of times before he got the message, he moved behind Lily, pocketing his cell phone. Lily was choking trying to catch her breath, her eyes stung with tears as she tried to figure out what happened. As she pushed away from the wall Rob's voice came out from the background. "…Lily, turn around and listen to me," She spun around to meet him, disregarding her shaky balance. Her face cracked when she laid eyes on the panic-stricken Rob. Bending over she placed her hands on her knees. "Would please tell me what happened?" She sobbed, her hair falling over her face. Rob's hands hovered over her shoulders apprehensive. "I dunno, Lily, but --"

She stood up halfway, her trembling hands "I mean it came out of nowhere! I don't-- and I didn't see Jason… he was there and then he was gone! Oh, God," She buried her face her in hands, grief stricken. She was so sure Jason was among the people who got get hit, that Rob wasn't sure he could convince her otherwise. "Lily, we don't know what happened to Jason and Marlena!" Rob proclaimed.

Lily just shook her head. She wept freely, not caring if her mascara was running down her face, everyone was too busy with their own welfare to care. Rob grabbed Lily by the arms and straightened her. "You don't know what happened, Lily! We weren't even looking! He could be alive for all we know!" He said. Lily's shoulders heaved as she continued to cry, she shook her head slowly in be. Rob looked away from Lily in dismay, at the same time he spotted Hud coming toward them, camera in hand, looking thoroughly spooked.

Releasing Lily he left her against the wall, he approached Hud quickly relieved that he was alright. "Hud! Hud, what happened? Where's Jason and Marlena?" He inquired quickly. Hud shook his head. "I dunno, man," Hud stammered. "I didn't see them behind me." Rob bit his lip in anxiety, he didn't want to believe his brother and Marlena were dead. He didn't see them get hit, yet his better judgment told him not to hold out for hope.

They stood in an uncomfortable silence for a half a second then Hud spoke up. "Rob. Rob, dude, we can't stay here. We can't," Hud insisted. Rob moved over to the wall and leaned against it, the adrenaline was weaning off, his legs felt like overstretched rubber bands. "Rob, we gotta get out of here, man. Listen to me, we gotta get moving…" Hud began, his mind grasping at straws. Looking at the dazed expression on Rob's face, Hud began to wonder if he was only one thinking about of survival.

"Maybe we can use the Lincoln Tunnel, go to the Manhattan Bridge. Something! Rob, come on!" Hud pleaded. Rob just shook his head. "We have to wait for Jason and Marlena--" Rob started. "Rob, they could be dead for all we know!" Hud blurted, fear getting the better of him. Rob's head snapped upward, his eyes frowned when his face remained placid. Hud swore under his breath upon realizing his error.

"Lily!"

Lily's strangled sob and Rob's forthcoming comment died; Lily looked away from the wall in bewilderment. Pushing herself out of the corner, she glanced in every direction for source of voice in the scattered crowds passing them by. Rob and Hud did the same, they could not spot the speaker anywhere. A calmer of angry voices, startled them out of their search. Their attentions were soon pulled toward the electronics store across the street. Hud zoomed in on the entrance as a man dropped the trash can used to smash the glass doors. Dozens of people poured inside the store, with the intent to rob. "Oh, shit. Oh, Shit!" He muttered, astonished, sharing a look with Rob. People were going looting, the city was under attack and they were stealing.

"Lil!" Lily looked ahead of her, rapidly approaching their position were Jason and Marlena. They appeared no worse for ware than when she last saw them, they were alright! Jason felt a mixture of relief and guilt spread through his being at the sight of his sobbing girlfriend. Releasing Marlena from his grasp, he picked up his pace and embraced Lily as soon he reached her. Her arms were like a vice around his neck, but he welcomed the feeling. She muttered incoherent things against his shoulder as she wept with relief. "I'm alright, Lily. I'm okay," He assured her repeatedly. Standing to his full height, Lily's feet were dangling from the ground. "I thought you were dead," Lily sobbed, her head pressing against his cheek. Her hands gripped his shirt like he would disappear at any second. She moved back to stare into his eyes and found herself captured in a hungry kiss. Marlena stumbled past them over to the wall, trying to keep her eyes off the teary eyed reunion.


(Hud):

Watching Jason and Lily all over each other like that was really uncomfortable, but I couldn't help but feel relieved that he and Marlena were alive. I felt even better for Lily, I couldn't stand to see her crying like that. I felt like a heel now for even thinking they were the dead. Rob watched the two with envious eyes, I could tell he was thinking about Beth. When the two were done kissing, Jason just held Lily while she cried. Rob finally decided to approach his brother. "Jason, what happened?" He said.

Jason moved unwrapped his arms from around Lily allowing her to step to the side. Rob and Jason embraced in a brief hug before stepping back. He shook his head. "I- I dunno! I was looking for Marlena, and I.. I --" Jason raised a hand and pinched the bridge of his nose, I could see his arm trembling. He was really scared, I mean really. It was weird to see, really.

"…She -- Marlena found me and we were heading back to you guys, when that …thing hit the bridge! I got the wind knocked out me -- I didn't know what was going on until --" Jason trailed off, when Rob's attention was drawn toward his pocket. I could hear the rapid beep of his cell phone. He fished the nokia out of his pocket, flipping it open his face contorted with dismay. "NO!" He snapped angrily. "What? Rob, what?" Jason blurted hastily. Rob glanced at his brother briefly before shutting his phone. "My battery's dead." He said. I felt the relieved sigh get caught in my throat. Frustration was building up inside me as I realized that we hadn't moved from our spot next to the cosmetics store.

"Yeah, dude, I …well, listen -- we gotta get out of here man," I told him.

Jason nodded in agreement, his Adams-apple bobbing in near sync with his head. "Hud's right, Rob. We have to leave, we need to find the safest--!" Without warning Rob bolted from his place beside Jason and raced across the street toward the electronics store. "Rob! Rob!" Jason and I shouted after him as he disappeared into the store.

"Wait, where is he going! Where is he going?!" Marlena cried, coming forward. Her sweaty face covered in soot and grime displayed the disbelief were all too astounded to show physically. "Goddamnit, we don't have time for this!" Jason snarled. "Lily stay here --"

"No! No, your not-- Jason don't go!" Lily grabbed Jason by the arms and wouldn't let him go, no matter how hard he twisted in her grasp. I groaned. At this point we would never get out of here. "Oh, God. I'll go get him," I told Marlena. Jumping off the curb I bolted across the street, dodging several people as I did so. I exercised near daily, I wasn't a couch-potato, but all the this running in the span of barely half an hour was killing me.

My sides were already pinching with the familiar pain of a cramp. "…I can't take all this running man!" I heaved out, entering the illuminated store. My eyes stung at how bright it was in here, I squinted a little to allow my eyes to adjust to the light. All around me, I watched as boxes flew overhead to other people, they were totally ransacking the store. I honestly didn't see a point in it. Through the chaos I spotted Rob searching the shelves for something, most likely a phone battery. A man carrying a large box bumped into me, knocking me sideways. I muttered a quick 'excuse me' before focusing my attentions on a franticly moving Rob. "Hey, Rob! The store's closed, man!" He continued to pretend like he didn't hear me. The incessant chattering from the three television sets beside me distracted me from Rob for a minute.

"….The bridge was filled with pedestrians traveling across…" From an entirely different angle I could see the bridge, in the corner of the screen I saw something move underneath the bridge. Not a second later did I see the exact same thing hit the semi-center of the bridge. The memory of that moment haunted me again all over again. "…It has collapsed… no word on injuries yet, but…"

"Oh, God," I muttered, turning away from the screen. My eyes landed on yet another LCD screen, this time it was a shot of something waddling its way between the spire-illuminated building and the adjacent buildings next to it. I couldn't get a clear look at it, just the weird texture of this bowed shape the helicopter spotlight was focusing on. "…We continue now with our breaking news story, in lower Manhattan. We are getting some extraordinary live images here in the studio. For those of you just joining us, Lower Manhattan in a state of siege, in what has been--"

The loud rumble of vehicles caused me to focus the camera outside the store; With a quick turn I caught several military trucks covered in green tarp, rolling down the street. "This is a mandatory Evacuation! Proceed south immediately! Get out of the city in an orderly fashion!" A man over the loudspeaker commanded. A lot of the people that ran in that direction were turning back, fleeing from the route they once thought was safe. A roar echoed through the air, I panned the camera in the direction the trucks were going.

I zoomed in on the buildings, catching more of a glimpse of the thing that attacked us, but I still couldn't make out a decent shape. I slowly began realize how close we were to what destroyed the bridge and decapitated the Statue of Liberty. Oh, Jesus, we were close. Too close! I ran back into the store as the Military started to repeat their message over the loudspeaker again. "Rob! Rob, dude, we have to get out of here man…." Rob slipped behind the cashier's desk and rummaged through the rows of batters hanging up on the shelf.

"We need to go! There's some serious shit, going on outside!" I snapped at him. Rob ignored me and proceeded into the back of the store. We were all gonna die at this point! Oh, God. "Rob? Rob, please, man, we--" I stopped. The store was deathly quiet, turning around I found all the looters transfixed on a pair of television screens suspended above us. "What's going on?" I inquired breathlessly, moving toward them. None of the looters moved as I stepped in front of them and focused the camera on the TV screen. The angles the news were getting were amazing, I almost wish I was that camera guy, but I didn't want to get anywhere near that… whatever it was.

"..Donna Martel is near the scene at city hall…"


(Marlena):

I couldn't believe we were actually waiting out here while Hud went to get Rob. I mean, I just find it astounding that the three of us were standing here, while the whole world around us went to hell in a hand basket. Everyone else was taking the military's advice, they were leaving the city. Some people came to us, believing we were shell-shocked, and insisted we leave the city with them. However, a eerily calm "It's fine, we're waiting for our friends," from Jason earned us 'crazy people' looks and our potential saviors ran away. I wanted to kick him for saying that.

The temptation to haul ass was so great, but I couldn't leave Lily -- my best friend since she came to New York -- no matter how strong the urge to head for the hills was. Leaning against the wall, I watched Jason hold Lily, running one hand up and down her arm as he kept a vigil on the electronics store.

The way she tensed every time he moved just an inch away from her towards the curb was unsettling. She behaved like he was going to disappear from her life, in some weird way I was envious of the attention was she giving him. Lily didn't once check to see I was alright, I suppose I shouldn't be surprised given what she thought happened to her beau. Rubbing my arms, I pushed away from the wall and started to pace.

We were probably waiting another ten minutes when the roar from earlier came out of nowhere and scared the shit out of me. For one rare moment Lily released Jason from her vice grip and allowed him to move away from her. We followed him and spotted something vanishing right behind the building as the helicopter spotlight shined on it. My heart was ready to explode with fear when I saw that. In the corner of my eye, I spotted Hud vanish back into the store. What the hell was he doing?! "You, guys, we have to go! We can't wait stay here!"

"We are not leaving my brother or Hud behind, Marlena," Jason snapped.

"I never said we had to leave them!" I snapped. Jason turned his head away from me, with every intention to ignore me. But I wouldn't be ignored, not now. I was scared, I didn't want die waiting for two people with a death wish. Rushing forward, I grabbed him by the end of his rolled sleeve. He turned sharply on me, glaring. "We can go get them! Please Jason, its not safe here!" I proclaimed, frustrated. Jason stared at me through narrowed eyes for the longest time; If I didn't get to him, then the distant rapport of gunfire did. He shook his head, his expression as annoyed as my own. "Alright, alright…come on," He said, starting to move forward.

Lily stiffened in his grasp but Jason assured her that she was coming with us. He gave me a brief glance before heading out into the street. I followed after him eagerly, my attention shifted toward the street far ahead of us, in the distance I spotted a tank vanishing around the corner. We crossed the street as fast as we could, I ended up gaining ground on Jason and Lily, entering the electronics store first.

As I passed over the threshold I spotted Hud amongst a bunch of looters, their attention was transfixed on the television screens above them. "Hey!" I snapped angrily, getting Hud's attention. The camera was focused on me instantly. Jason and Lily entered behind me not a second after. "What are you doing? We got to get out of here!" I snapped at him. What little I could see of Hud's face appeared guilty, I didn't care. "Where is he?" Jason blurted, releasing Lily.

"I know, that's what I've been trying to tell him! That's what I've been trying to do!" Hud answered me, sounding more than al little pissed. I ran past him making beeline straight for Rob as he raised the cell phone to his ear.


(Jason):

Marlena was hot on Rob's trail the second she spotted him. My brother never paid her any attention as he lifted the phone to his ear. "Rob! Rob! Rob, we gotta now, okay?" She told him, placing her hands above his arms. Rob jumped away from her, raising one hand in a silent "wait a minute". Marlena went after him, determined to get him to see reason. Moving past an usually silent Hud, I followed Marlena and Rob over to the illuminated display case. I released my hold on both of Lily's arms, my hand slid down her left arm.

I kept my hand around Lily's wrist to assure her I wasn't going anywhere. "Rob, the military's evacuating everyone. We have to get out of here," I told him, empathizing on every word. Rob continued to ignore us, he started to move toward the end of the store, ear still pressed against his cell phone. "Rob!" Marlena snapped.

Marlena threw something of a desperate look in my direction. If she was hoping I could convince him, I was doing no better than she was. Nevertheless, I found myself moving toward my brother. Marlena quickly occupied my space next to Lily. Rob took one glance at me and shot me a warning look, I ignored him like I always did and grabbed him by the arm. "Rob, come on! We--" Rob snatched his arm out of my grasp.

"Just stop it! He cried, raising a hand. "Okay? Just wait!" I recoiled slightly from his outburst. The desperation on my brother's face actually halted me. Regardless of what was going on around us, Rob believed Beth's message was important enough to risk his life for. We did as requested. Besides the rambling of the televisions in the background, the store was silent.

"To listen to your messages…" Rob pressed the required number and was forwarded to Beth's message.

"Rob! Rob!" Beth's panic-stricken voice struck me like a knife to the chest. "I can't.. Oh, God. I can't move! It fell… my apartment.. the whole thing fell on me!" As we listened to her cry for help, for Rob, the full reality of our situation came crashing down on me. You'd think it would've when Marlena and I were on the bridge, but listening to Beth crying and the indistinct sounds of her building crumbling around her, just made things more… adamant. "…Help me Rob!" Beth's wail was cut off and silence reigned once more.

"To delete this message.." Rob turned his phone off. He just stood there for the longest time, his arm tucked close to his side as he gripped his cell phone. I tried to think of something to say, nothing that came to mind was particularly appropriate; Trying to comfort him after that would be condescending. Looking back up at Rob, our eyes met briefly before he gazed to the others then back at his cell phone. With one heaving sigh, he shoved past me and proceeded out of the store.

"Rob, wait up! Rob!" Hud shouted, following after him. Marlena, Lily, and I chased after them. Rob was a ways ahead of the four us when I spotted him. It didn't matter how hard we tried to reason with him or how long we shouted his name, Rob continued to down the sidewalk. Right back into the thick of the disaster. I knew what where he was going, but my better judgment overrid the romantic in me. This was nuts, this was stupid, insane, and a thousand other things that could describe the suicide mission my brother was on! I'll be damned if I get out of this and had to face our parents without Rob, knowing I didn't stop him from voluntarily ending his life.

We must've followed him for a good fifteen minutes before he made a turn into an alley. Marlena and Hud were ahead of Lily and I. I started into a jog, determined to catch up with them. "…Message, and I'm my way there, okay?" My nerves couldn't have gotten anymore frazzled when I heard that. My legs felt like led, we were still behind Hud and Marlena, Lily's dazed state of mind wasn't helping much -- I had to drag her along with me. Our current surroundings were unaffected by the mayhem ahead or behind us, with the exception of a new disconnected wires sparking against the apartment walls. There wasn't a soul for miles, which worried me.

"C'mon, babe, we gotta catch up," I said to Lily. For the first time since our reunion she glanced up at me, her cheeks were covered with drying mascara and her eyes were red with irritation (probably from the cosmetics or her crying). Placing a hand on the small of her back to urge her forward, Lily moved ahead without argument. With a blink, some semblance of self-assured and career driven Lily Ford resurfaced. Tucking her hair behind her ears, she nodded to me, her sniffles becoming hiccups. "Your right, I'm sorry," She rasped. I just shook my head. Lily had nothing to be sorry for, taking her hand again we broke into a jog.

"Rob, you gotta think this through man," Hud pleaded. "Okay? Beth lives in Midtown, alright? Midtown is that way--"

"Will you wait up!" Marlena proclaimed, her feet were wobbling as she tried to keep up with Hud and Rob's pace. Lily and I fell in step with her. "--Do you know what else is in Midtown? Some pretty horrific shit is in Midtown!" Hud finished with his usual verbal grace. "Guys, this is insane!!" Marlena shifted her attention between myself and Lily to Rob. She was like a cat undecided on which fly to catch first. She started to use her hands to get her point across as we gained on Rob and Hud fell behind. "We're not going to go near that thing! Okay? We are not going into the middle of the city!"

"No, we're not," Rob answered, finally turning to face us. "Your not coming with me. Look." He pointed to the another alleyway path, automatically we all leaned forward to see what he was pointing at. Across from us on another sidewalk were rows of people, following after what I believed to be ambulance from the flashing lights head of them. But the voice on the bullhorn was obviously someone involved with the army, leading them to safety. "Fall in with the military, fall in with the crowd. Let them get you out of here," He explained, his voice eerily calm.

I did not like where this was going. Raising his hands in some sort of mock-surrender, he slowly began to turn around. "I'm sorry, I gotta go." We all stood there stunned for a moment, exchanging glances as if to make sure that the moment passed had actually occurred. "No. No, this isn't happening," I told him, raising my voice over the sirens and the man on the bull horn. "Your not--"

"Listen, this isn't me crazy. Alright? I know what I'm doing," Rob insisted.

"No, rob, you don't! This -- this is suicide what your doing, okay? You haven't thought this through, you don't know what's out there!" I was practically yelling at him as he attempted to talk over me.

"I don't give a shit about what's out there! Beth needs my help, there's nothing more think through, Jason!" Rob shot back. As I opened my mouth to reply, Marlena made her presence known to us again. "Guys, did you not hear her message? I mean, even if we get to Beth's place there's a chance she might be--"

"Shut up!" Rob's tone was threatening. Marlena allowed her arm to fall back to her side. Silence reigned for about a second before I started continued. "What I am going to tell Mom and Dad when I come back without you?" It was random, I hoped the mention of our parents would shock some sense into him. Everyone, not including Lily, shot me a sideways glance, Rob stepped forward. "Would you leave if this was Lily?" My placed both my hands on hips and leaned forward. "What?!" I blurted, trying not to sound angry.

"You heard me. Would you leave if Lily needed your help?" Rob repeated his question. "…" No, I'd be doing what your doing, I thought. The words didn't come out of my mouth though, because I knew he hit me with the right question. I wouldn't leave Lily behind to escape, I'd walk through hell itself to get to her if it meant she needed my help. "No," I answered finally. I prayed Lily didn't take my silence the wrong way.

Rob nodded his head slowly. "Look, I appreciate your concern, but you can't stop me. Please, get out of here while you still can, I'll catch up you with later when I have Beth," He explained hastily. In a situation like this, the chances of our reuniting after separating was incredibly slim to none. There were so many stories of families getting separated in a crisis situation like this, the idea of letting Rob go off on his own in this mess was a frightening prospect. So I did the only thing anyone in my shoes would.

"Well, alright, then I'll go with you," I told him. The relief that was exuding from Marlena and Hud died right then and there. "Your not serious," Marlena glared. I didn't respond to her question, it was pretty obvious that meant I said.

"Jason, go with the others," He said to me. The small tremors going through my brother's body, as he bounced from lightly from foot to foot, gave away how anxious he was to get moving. I didn't want to waste any more time than he did, we were loosing time we probably didn't have. "No, I'll come with you, and the others will join the Military…" As I proceeded further into my plan, Lily voice drifted out of the background. At first, I thought I was hearing things. However, when I heard the words "I'm coming with you," repeated by Lily I did a double take.

"What? Babe, no, your not coming with us," I told her. Lily stared straight at me, her eyebrows were slightly narrowed and despite the red, watery eyes, she was serious. "Lily, you don't have to do that," Rob said. "I'm not leaving either you. I'm coming. I want to," Lily insisted. We all stood in silence, the sirens in the distance filled the air mingled with the distant pop of broken power lines and screams. Finally, I raised a hand and Lily took it without hesitation, wrapping her fingers around mine. Without one look to Hud or Marlena, we followed after Rob.

Behind us I heard Marlena shout, "Guys, this is insane!"


(TBC)


Authors Note:I was having a hard time switching my brain back to Third Person Perspective, so I did both. Whadya think? Please leave a Review. No flames.