Chapter 32: Heart to Rock

Max PoV

We walked in silence. It was like a funeral. Kinda like my funeral I guess...

Imagine if you were at your own funeral, I personally think it would suck. Everyone you know – in my case not very many people – gathered together. Either very sad or glad to be rid of you. I figure the Flock would be a mixture of the two. Sad to have me gone, hopefully. But I imagine they would also be relived.

There would be no-one to hold them back, force them on missions that led nowhere fast. Angel could use her powers, for good perhaps even for evil. Gazzy and Iggy could make bombs beyond their wildest dreams. Nudge could go to school, have her wings cut off, be normal. And Fang...

Fang could go chase all the redheads he wants, without having to worry about disrupting my fragile state of mind.

They could all have everything they ever wanted. I was the only thing standing in their way. I held them back constantly.

They don't want me to live...

"Jeez Max, you're really not helping yourself." Alice interrupted my thoughts.


"Every minute you're dying sooner. Do you not want to live?"

To be honest, I didn't know the answer. I was doing this to protect my family, but maybe the only way to really save them was to die?

"You're wrong, you know." I pulled myself out of the pit of self pity and stared at Alice.

"Am I?" My voice was bitter, it surprised me.

"Actually, no. You know what? Die. See if I care. See if they care. You're no good to anyone anyway. You can barely go two days without breaking down. All you're ever doing is thinking of yourself. It's unbelievable! You make everyone around you miserable, so why bother to keep going. It's not like anyone cares. It's not like the Flock, your family, will never recover if you die. It's not like you're the only thing that's kept them going, kept them alive. It's not like all I can see in their future with your current attitude is pain, misery and cages."

Her careless, distant voice hit me harder than her words. I could feel tears building in my eyes, but pushed them away.

I let my head fall down, concentration on the uneven ground. My footsteps levelled out, treading gently through the leaves. I could feel my senses spreading out, taking in my surroundings. My thoughts were always more focused when my feelings were controlled. When I took a step back and thought about it logically I could see what Alice meant.

They didn't want me to die. Why would they? All I had to do was think of when I was last hurt. The panic on their faces; the relief when I turned out to be fine.

But I remained unsure. I needed proof. I needed to know. It's silly, I know, but I couldn't help it. I needed-

I want Max!

I jumped and turned to Alice, eyes wide, as Angel's voice filled our heads. Her normally childishly sweet tone was replaced by a startling growl, filled up with anguish and anger.

I moved my hands- which had been clamped uselessly over my ears- and made a decision. I had my proof.

No matter what happened, no matter how much it hurt me, I was going to survive.

For Angel.

For Gazzy.

For Nudge.

For Iggy.

For Fang.

For me.

Heck, even for Total.

I set off again, marching determinedly through the trees, trying to ignore Alice's triumphant grin.