Title: I'm So Afraid

Author: Ashantai

E-Mail: ashantai@hotmail.com

Archive: Please ask!

Rating: PG

Spoilers: Pilot

Summary: Young Max's POV on the escape and her first experiences of the outside world.

Disclaimer: Don't own it, so don't sue.



I don't know what time it is.

Late. Dark. Silent.

I'm so afraid.

My body shakes.

They've come to take me.

Take me like Jack.

Ben is here.

His eyes know what will happen.

I'm so afraid.

Jondy is here.

She's comforting beside me.

She won't leave me.

Zack is here.

He'll protect me.

He promised a long time ago.

Eva is here.

She won't let them hurt me.

She'll keep me safe from them.

They're all here.

None of them will let me go.

I'm the baby. We love each other.

They never taught us that.

Sometimes late at night I see it.

I feel it: Late. Dark. Silent.

Jondy, Ben, Eva, Zack, all of them with me.

Protect me, save me, I'm so afraid.

Get outside through the trees.

Mind the guns, this isn't an exercise.

Wait, don't split us up, please.

I'm so afraid.

Sometimes late at night I remember.

Zack got caught. What will happen?

Off for to solitary, off for punishment, off to hell.

I won't see him again, but Jondy is here.

The water is cold when I fall into it.

She calls to me. I want to answer but she runs.

I'm so afraid, but I'll be free soon and everything will be fine.

Won't it?

Sometimes late at night I hear it.

A gun firing, Eva falling dead to the floor.

Jondy stopping, turning back, yelling to me, Max!

I hear the sounds of us training, all of us together.

I hear Ben's stories in the night, Tinga's giggles.

I hear the sounds of Jondy's games when we couldn't sleep.

I hear Zack. I hear his voice.

I hear the sounds of safety, of love, of fear and pain and uncertainty.

Why can't I forget?

Sometimes late at night I cry.

I cry because I miss them.

I miss the stories, the laughter, the simplicity.

I miss my brothers, my sisters, the games we played.

I don't miss the dogs.

I don't miss the guns.

I don't miss the yelling, the fear, the punishments.

I miss Jack.

I miss Eva.

I miss Zack and Ben and Jondy.

I miss them all.

Why can't I embrace this new life?

I cry because I miss them, and it's so wrong.

We're out here.

This is what we wanted.

We wanted the Real World.

We wanted to be free.

Happy, independent, safe.

Eva died for that. I would have.

But I miss them.

And maybe a little, I miss the place.

So I cry. I try not to.

Zack would have said, Be strong.

The lesser of two evils- this place is better.

Maybe. Maybe so.

But Zack is gone.

I haven't seen safe out here.

I haven't seen easy.

I haven't seen love.

So I do cry. I can't stop it, as much as it try to.

I miss them. I do. I'm sorry, Zack.

I try to tell myself, We're out here.

This is what we wanted, isn't it?

This is what we dreamed about.

But it's hard not to cry, not to wonder...

Where is my family?

Where are the ones who loved me?

The ones I spent day and night with,

The ones who never left my side?

Where is my purpose?

Where is the place that had all the answers?

Why did I wonder what else there was?

Why did we escape, come out here only to be alone?

Why is every cell in my body screaming to adjust?

This is your home now.

Embrace it. This is what you wanted.

This was the mission. You're here.

But I'm alone.

I'm confused.

I don't understand this place, its rules.

It doesn't make sense like we thought it would.

I didn't want the dogs anymore, the guns, the yelling.

But I needed some of it. I know that now.

I needed my family. I needed structure.

A purpose. What do you do when you've completed the mission?

Get a new one. But I can't. I'm alone.

I'm alone and still so afraid, even out here.

But isn't that what we were escaping from?

Zack would know the answers. I don't.

I don't feel like a soldier. I don't feel like a little girl.

I'm nothing. I'm no one.

This wasn't the mission, but I can't turn back now.

I have to fit in, be a regular girl. It's hard.

And I'm just afraid, like before.

So nothing's changed, except that now they're not here to save me anymore.