Note: I revised and added a few things to the first chapter. It's not anything that will vastly change your perception of the story if you don't go back to read it, but it has been awhile since I posted the first chapter, so you might want to go back and refresh? Either way, onwards we go with the requested continuation of Dark Reality.

II. Fighting Fate

She refused to look up.

Claire was a petite seventeen year old girl in a jail full of women twice her age and size. The cell was inhabited by criminals ranging from shoplifters to murderers, and while she should have given them the benefit of the doubt, her subconscious refused to do so. Claire may have been wrongly accused, but the demeanor of these women screamed of their guilt. She cowered in a corner, while the others propped up against the walls in a proud and protective stance. They were daring anyone to challenge them, hoping for the chance to prove their dominance. One wrong glance was all it took for a challenge to be set in motion.

Therefore, Claire refused to look up.

"Danvers," the sheriff spoke in a gruff tone, aggravated at having to repeat himself.

Claire hesitantly glanced up at the sheriff, but her nerves wore out and she began staring at the ground again.

An inmate sighed in annoyance, "What the hell you waiting for, you dumb bitch? Sheriff Gumby's here to set you free, right back to your privileged life where you came from. Your parents probably bailed your scrawny ass out."

Little did Claire know, but all of the other inmates had grown tired and bored with her the minute she stepped into their cell. They took one glance at her bowed posture and deemed her submissive. She wasn't a threat and they felt no need to threaten her. Claire's nervousness was completely unnecessary.

But, seeing as how she was unaware of this, she inched out of her seat and scampered towards the safety of the sheriff, who lead her towards a room and handed her the pile of clothes she wore when she first arrived.

"Get dressed."

She wasted no time in discarding her bright orange jumpsuit and once again following the sheriff out into the lobby.

"Oh, Claire, are you okay?" Her eyes didn't even have time to adjust to the harsh light before her mother grabbed her for a bone crushing hug.

"Yeah mom, I'm fine," her voice was shaky and hoarse from not speaking in over twenty four hours.

"Sweetheart, I'm so sorry about this. I can't imagine what you had to go through." Suddenly, Mrs. Danvers's soft tone morphed into an angry roar of a lioness protecting her cub as she glared at the grumpy sheriff, "You bastard, what the hell were you thinking of arresting a minor and throwing her into jail with forty year old women accused of murder and pedophilia?"

"Ma'am, in the state of Texas, all persons accused of murder, regardless of age, are placed into an adult incarceration facility. We-"

"I don't give a damn," she abruptly cut off his monotonous drone, "you threw her into jail based off of practically no evidence. Where do you get off on deeming my daughter a murderer?"

"One of our best detectives questioned-"

"Oh, best detective? If your so-called best detective questions a teenage girl at the funeral of her three best friends, when she's in emotional distress and no lawyer or guardian is present, how shitty are the rest of your detectives?"

Claire found her jaw dropping at the expletive her mother dropped. Mrs. Danvers was always so prim and proper. Very little could fluster her to the point where she used profanity.

"We apologize for-"

"You will do no such thing!" Her angry cry echoed throughout the dull police station, "You can take your insincere apology and attempts to cover your ass from a lawsuit and shove it where the sun doesn't shine."

Mrs. Danvers grabbed Claire's hand and dragged her out of police station, but not before spinning around, "Oh, and one more thing: If you even think of coming near my daughter again, I will own your ass and this shitty, redneck, little podunk police station."

Mrs. Danvers continued dragging her daughter to the car, muttering uncharacteristically hateful words the entire way. Claire paid little attention to her mother, though, instead noticing the heaviness of the dreadful police station easing away with each step she took. When the finally reached the car, Claire climbed into the backseat and sighed as her shoulders sank in relief. She was almost home, and almost safe.

"It's good to have you back, Claire." Her dad turned around from the driver's seat and flashed a sheepish smile, "I was planning on going inside with your mother, but I figured you would already be embarrassed enough with her as it is. The past few days definitely haven't been easy on you, so I didn't want to make it any worse."

Claire's reply was cut short as her mom climbed into the passenger seat and continued her spiteful rant, "Can you believe the nerve of those people? Where the hell did they learn to be officers of the law? I don't-"

"Mom-"

Mrs. Danvers was too caught up in her irate bubble to notice her daughter's attempt for her attention, so she continued, "I don't understand how they can possibly think it's okay to throw a minor into jail with all those hardened criminals. And on what charge, exactly? They can't just assume she's guilty from some moronic detective questioning her at the funeral. Who-"

"Mom-"

"Who does something like that? You can't just randomly approach a seventeen year old at a funeral, ask her suggestive questions, and then throw her in jail without even hearing her side of the story. I should go back to that police station, find that detective, and string him up by his-"

"Mom!"

"What?" Mrs. Danvers snapped at her, matching Claire's irritated tone.

"I have to pee."

(. . .)

Claire sighed as she left the restroom, relieved that her bladder was no longer full to the brim. She had held herself during her entire, twenty-four hour stay at the jail. It wasn't healthy, but she refused to use the public stall that sat in the middle of the cell without any door. When you used the restroom or showers, everyone saw everything. Privacy was a luxury you lost in jail.

She collapsed onto her bed, sighing at the stark contrast between her fluffy mattress and the jail's bunks. No matter which way you turned, the flat and frumpy mattress refused to yield to your form. At one point in the night, she wanted to opt for the floor, but hygiene caution stopped her. She didn't even want to begin processing all the diseases and germs that probably coated the cement floor.

She shivered in disgust, abandoning her beloved bed and heading for the hall closet. She grabbed the can of disinfectant and sprayed continuously while walking from the closet to her room. She knew her room and house weren't filthy or infectious, but she couldn't escape the disgusting film that seemed to coat her skin. Even after taking an hour long shower in scalding water, scrubbing her skin until it turned a nasty crimson color, she didn't feel clean. She considered taking a bath, but the idea of sitting in a tub full of water contaminated by the grime on her body made Claire's stomach turn.

She once again collapsed onto her bed in defeat.

Murderer.

She squeezed her eyes shut and attempted to ignore the onslaught images that tormented her. The accident had been over a week ago, but she couldn't escape the haunting scenes that constantly invaded her senses. Whether asleep or awake, she could see Michael's soothing smile behind her eyes, feel tingles on her skin from Eve's reassuring hugs, and taste Shane's minty breath as he kissed her with every ounce of love he possessed.

Then her mind became sinister, filling her head with tales that twisted her heart until it screeched in agony at the torture. She saw Eve's horror-filled eyes that quickly morphed into lifeless orbs, felt the fire that scorched Michael's flesh as he burned alive, and tasted the endless amounts of blood that dripped from Shane as he gasped for his last harrowing breath.

The weight was back. It was pressing down on her chest until all the air escaped her lungs. She couldn't breathe. She gasped for oxygen, but it was never enough. Wheezing began. She balled her hands to gather fistfuls of her sheets. She thrashed and writhed, flailed and convulsed, and flung her tiny body around in an effort to regain consciousness, but it wasn't enough. It never was. She collapsed onto the ground in an almost lifeless, completely hopeless heap.

Make it stop! Please!

Why should I? You're obviously not a very good friend if you're a suspect in your so-called best friends' murders. Maybe you deserve to die just like them. Maybe you deserve to feel the utter anguish they felt. Maybe you should have been in that car with them. You could have saved them, Claire!

Claire ceased all movement. Her mind was right. She deserved to die, just as her friends had. It was an accident that she wasn't in the car that night. If she didn't have a cold and decide to stay home, she would have been. She could have saved them, or at the very least died trying. Either way, anything was better than this. Death would bring peace. She would be reunited with her friends.

If Claire had any energy left, she would smile. Her parents were meeting with a lawyer and wouldn't be back until dinner. There was no way fate could interfere with her death this time. Nothing could save her, and for once, she didn't mind.

She succumbed to darkness.

Who thinks I killed Claire, effectively making her one of the youngest characters to die of a heart attack, but reuniting her with her deceased friends? Who thinks it was a panic attack and she fainted, but is still very much alive and breathing? Stay tuned until the next update ;)

Thanks to everyone for their reviews and feedback! I was surprised by how many people actually wanted this to be continued, rather than bashing me for killing the beloved Glass residents and telling me to print out my story, shred it into tiny pieces, and toss it in the dumpster.

I should warn you all, though, that this story is isn't at the top of my priorities. I have tons of school work and projects that seem to never cease, college searching, career planning, a new (and first!) baby nephew to spoil rotten with attention, and another fic I'm also writing. Updates may be rare and irregular, but hopefully you'll bear with me and accept my hectic, chaotic flaws.