l i f e - s u p p o r t
A Twilight/RENT Crossover
by Musings of a Shaken Mind

The bag slung over my shoulder is relatively light, but it holds everything I own in this sorry world. Here I am, in this city I've only ever seen in the movies, with nowhere to go, no money, and no food. I've lost so much weight recently, and it isn't all to do with the scarcity of food. I can't afford to lose any more.

I've lost everything. There is nothing left to live for. There hasn't been for three years, since… he left.


What am I even doing here? I have no idea. I should be in college. Happy. With friends, and my family surrounding and supporting me.


Around me, the faces are grim.


But there's something else, something that I can't quite place. It's not fear, it's something else. Maybe…recklessness. These people are like me; they've nothing to live for.


It's my turn, now.


These people are just like thousands of others in this city. They're fearful, but this is New York. The streets are dirty, and there's so much wrong and evil festering around me that it makes me terrified even to leave what little shelter I have found.

"Hi. I'm Angel."

That's a tall woman from behind me. She's lovely. Her name suits her… Angel. Contrary to the other faces around me, she looks… not happy, exactly, but hardly angry, either. She looks content.


"I'm Paul. Let's begin."

The voices begin to rise as one, and the sound makes my eyes moisten. The harmony is so beautiful. It's a sound of hope, of an affirmation, of some kind of saviour. These people thrive off of this support group, that's easy for me to see. I don't join in. The lump in my throat is too solid for me to sing past. I just watch, and I listen.

"There's only us. There's only this."

"Sorry—excuse me… oops."

A bumbling man enters. He's tall; he looks out of place here, in this quiet church hall. Apparently, Paul thinks so, too.

"And you are?"

The man looks flustered, and I feel sorry for him. I smile gently at him, on the off chance that he's looking my way. It's a slight gesture of reassurance, I think, though it's not a real smile. I haven't smiled in three years.

"Oh, I'm not—I'm just here…to… I don't have…I'm just here with…Mark. Mark. I'm Mark. Well, this is quite an operation…"

He looks uncomfortable, as his words trail off.

"Sit down, Mark. We'll continue the affirmation."

Mark sits, pulling a camera from his bag quietly, and setting it to record, panning it around the circle. I look away. I don't need this right now. I don't want to be filmed like this, when I feel and look like shit.

"Forget regret—or life is yours to miss."

The voices swell as the song grows, but this time, it's me who interrupts. I don't know why. I do it without thinking about it, and immediately I regret it, when all pairs of eyes turn towards me.

"Excuse me, Paul, I'm having a problem with this. This… credo. My T-cells are low. I regret that news, okay?"

I don't know what I'm trying to achieve, but I have to make them understand.

"Alright… But Bella, how do you feel today?"

I don't understand what he wants.

"What do you mean?"

"How do you feel today?"

I think about it. I'm a twenty-one year old orphan, with no family, and no friends. I'm homeless, and unemployed, and I'm a shell of what I once was. After… they left, I turned to drugs. At least I'm not substance abusing any more, but the needles gave me more than a high.

I'm HIV+.


"Is that all?"

"Best I've felt all year."

Is it true? As I search, I find the answer. It is.

"Then, why choose fear?"

"I'm a New Yorker." Or I am now, any way. There's no place else for me to go. "Fear's my life." My new life. "Look, I find some of what you teach suspect, because I'm used to relying on intellect. I try to open up to what I don't know. Because, reason says I should have died three years ago."

I did die three years ago. Three long years. I can't remember a time when I was alive, because that's all my life has become. Death. It is filled with death. It doesn't seem fair somehow, considering that once; I had a chance of immortality.

"No other road. No other way. No day but today."