Not Alone – Chapter 1
I don't own Maximum Ride, all credit to James Patterson. I hope you enjoy the story.
"Max, I know you're old enough to take care of yourself, but I think it would be good for you if you went through this program over at the hospital."
I looked up at Dr. Theo. "A program?"
"There are many people that have been through things like you," he nodded. "It will be good for you, Max. Now that the trial is over, now that you can start to move on. But you can't do it alone."
I thought about it for a long time. Dr. Theo waited patiently. The idea of going back to the apartment alone again, back to the place I used to call home where my dad had beaten me so many times, back to the place where he had killed my sister and mother, it scared me. The doctor was right. I wasn't ready to go out there by myself.
"Ok," I said.
"Ok," he smiled. "It starts as a five week program, but you can stay as long, or as short as you'd like. There are many people who come in and out as they please. It's really just a place we have set up to make victims like you feel safe."
And that was how I ended up in the hospital. It was a rehabilitation program for teens and young adults that had been abused. But let's not get into that yet. I suppose I owe you the story of why I ended up there.
I guess it was months ago now. I didn't have a lot of friends and neither did Ella, so we stuck around each other. Ella wasn't just my sister, but she had also been my best friend. Like every Friday night, we went out and took the car. Mom was supposed to be at work, but halfway through the movie we were seeing, she called, crying, telling us to come home, and so we went.
When got home, our father, Jeb, had killed her. She was right there in the foyer when we walked in, lying on the floor, blood pooled around her. Ella screamed, the worst thing she could have done, because Jeb came barreling down the hall and attacked us. He got to Ella first and I tried to stop him, but when Jeb got into a rage, there was no stopping him.
He stabbed Ella ten times. She suffered the same death as Mom. As for me, I fought back. I still had the nasty scars to remind me of his abuse and what he did to me that night. He had stabbed me three times. The doctors told me I was lucky to be alive. It was once in the shoulder, once in the leg, and once in the stomach. He snapped my wrist and broke my leg. Physically, I had made a better recover than anyone could have ever imagined. Emotionally, I was falling to pieces.
Those months after I got out of the hospital and during the trial, I would lock myself at home. My lawyer, and sometimes Dr. Theo, had to come get me. I didn't sleep, I barely ate, and I cried a lot. Then there were days when I refused to go home. Dr. Theo would let me stay the hospital. As much as I hated hospitals, it felt better than being alone. The doctors, the nurses, and even the cops coming in and out knew me.
Today was my first day into the place. Dr. Theo was the supervising doctor, so there was still some sense of comfort.
"This is your room, Max," Dr. Theo opened a door. "You'll have a roommate, if that's alright with you."
"Of course," I uttered.
"Her name is Monique," Dr. Theo said. "She's been in and out. Right now, she's been in for three weeks. I think it's because her boyfriend, James, is here too. I'm sure you'll meet him later."
I stared at the doctor.
"Max, I want you to make friends here," he sighed. "It'll be good for you. When people finish here, even if they don't ever come back, they keep in touch with the people they meet here. You're going to like it here, I promise."
I dropped my bags on the bed and followed Dr. Theo down the hall.
"I'll introduce you to the group you'll be working with over the next few weeks. They're all around your age, between sixteen and twenty. Although we don't have anyone here who's twenty," he explained.
We entered a room with chairs in a circle. A group of about, maybe ten people, sat in the chairs.
"Hello, Dr. Theo," someone said.
"Good morning, James," the doctor smiled. "I'd like to introduce you all to Max."
I could only remember some of their names. And then there were the names that stuck out.
"Call me Iggy," James said.
"And I'm Monique," the girl next to him said. "But everyone here calls me Nudge."
I nodded, taking a seat in the chair that Dr. Theo had brought over.
"And this is Nick," Nudge went on. "But he goes by Fang."
"Hi, Fang," I replied.
He looked up at me, his dark eyes meeting mine. "Hi, Max."
The group looked surprised for some reason. When I glanced at Dr. Theo, even he looked surprised. Fang looked around at everyone, back at me, and then at the floor. I wasn't going to judge him, I mean, we were all here for the same reason. I'm sure we all had our own problems.
Dr. Theo showed me the rest of the place. There was a TV room, a place for meals, and a place to sit outside. He left me to unpack my things into the drawers in my room.
"I'll meet with you once a week," Dr. Theo said before he went. "More if you need to."
"Thanks," I said.
As soon as he left, Nudge was in here, sitting on her bed.
"Fang never talks to anyone but Iggy," she blurted out.
I finished stuffing my things into the drawers. Why was she telling me this?
"Tell me you talk more than he does," she went on.
"Sure, I talk I guess," I responded.
"Good," she grinned. "It's lunch time now. Would you like to eat with Iggy and me?"
"That sounds great," I said. Nudge seemed nice.
Iggy was waiting outside the door, leaning against the wall. He and Nudge were like opposites. Iggy was tall and pale with blue eyes. Nudge, she was dark skinned, and almost a foot shorter than him. His eyes danced around, unfocused.
Nudge took his hand and turned to face me. "Iggy is blind, just so you know."
"I'll tell you about that, some time, if you'd like," he offered. "Not exactly meal conversation though."
We entered the cafeteria and received our meals. There were other people in here now, probably from other rehab programs. Some of the nurses stood around the room, making casual conversation with the patients and among themselves. Nudge led us over to a table where Fang sat already, his food in front of him, untouched.
"So, how're you today?" Iggy cleared his throat, sitting next to Fang.
Fang started to eat, slowly. "Alright."
Nudge pointed to the empty seat next to Fang. I sat down, anxiously. His eyes met mine again, dark and sad.
"I'm sorry about your family," Fang said quietly. Nudge was now staring at us and Iggy had stopped eating.
"Well…." I didn't know what to say to him.
"I followed the news," he added, almost as if he sensed my unease. "I know you don't want to talk about it, but if you'd ever like to talk, I'd like to talk too."
Nudge's mouth was wide opened now.
This time I answered. "Sure, I'd like to talk too."
Well, we'll see how this story goes. I just threw it together. I'm debating Fang's POV. Tell me what you think. Thanks!