SAVE ME

GONE

DISAPPEARED

ALONE

HELP ME

DEAD

All these words echo in my the back of my mind as Mrs. F tells me that my Brother had died in some shooting. This time there was nothing we could do about it. This time there will be no rescue. Joshua is gone for good this time. Mrs. F tells us how they have a funereal planned for tomorrow. Tomorrow was ten hours, away. Only eight hours ago the one person who could help me through this died, only five hours have passed since the one person who could help me get through Steve's death died. I want to curl up somewhere and cry, but I couldn't. I would not let myself cry today. Tomorrow, maybe, but not today.

"Hey Claude, I'm sorry," Pete said as he wrapped his arms around me and gave me a hug. My heart tore apart when he called me Claude. Only two people have called me that and they are both dead. Myka said nothing to me, she only gave me a small hug. Which was enough for me. I knew that she as torn apart on the inside. She lost people she loved too. Artie had left the room minutes ago. He mumbled something about needing to go find something. Mrs. Fredric had long since left. I walked over to were my laptop and bag laid and sat down. Right beside it was a bag of Steve's things, which includes his wallet, flash drive, necklace, a velvet box, a CD, and the keys to the Prius. I felt sick to my stomach when I looked at all his things. It made everything seem so real. "Keep the faith, Claude." Steve's words echo in the back of my mind. How could I stay strong when, everyone I know keeps dieing? How long till Pete or Myka dies? I try to block that from my mind. If I thought about them dieing, it most likely will happen. I didn't want to be left alone again, but it is slowly happening. I can't let that happen again, not ever.

Myka and Pete were in the far corner of Artie's office talking. I knew that they were talking about me. How could they not be? I just lost my BFFEWYLOIN and brother in less than twenty-four hours. Plusthey would look over at me every few seconds. Their eyes were full of sorrow and anger. I need to get out of here, I could not take their sorrow for me anymore. I grabbed my laptop and put in my bag along with Steve's things.

"Claudia, where are you going?" Myka asked me, her voice full of concern and worry.

"Away," was all I could say. I grabbed my phone off Artie's desk and then quickly made my way through the Umbilicus to Steve's car. I was half way through the hallway, when I heard Pete call my name telling me to come back. If I looked back now then I would have to go back. I continued walking.

Once I made it to Steve's car, I quickly started and drove away from the place that caused me so much pain. I didn't know where I was going, or if I would come back, but that did not matter now. Once I was on the highway to nowhere, I grabbed the CD out of the bag of Steve's stuff. I flipped it over so that the glossy side was face up. Carefully looking at, I could see that there was something on it. I put the CD into the slot. Nothing played, so I skipped to the next track on the CD.

"Hey Claude, I am sorry." I slammed down the brakes. The car stopped quickly, throwing me forwards slightly. That was Steve's voice, one voice I thought that I would never hear again. His voice seemed somewhat depressed. I hit the replay button and listen to it again. I did this three times, on the fourth I let it play through. "If you're listening to this, well that means I'm," he paused for a minute. "Dead. And I am sorry. We had so many great times together and I am sorry that our last one had to be the way it was. I hope that you live a great life." It had started to rain just as Steve stopped talking. The minutes pass slowly. I did not dare start driving again. I knew that there was more on this CD. I sat in the warm car for a few more minutes. "And I know your secret," Steve's voice filled the car once more. I felt all the blood rush from my face. How could he know, I haven't told anyone but Josh. He could not know, no one needed to know. I turned off the car and sat there and let the tears fall for the first time since we found Steve.

Three hours passed slowly as I sat on the side of the road in the Prius. My phone had gone off about seven times and the Farnsworth about ten. I did not dare answer them. I did not want them to tell me to come back.

About four more hours passed and I was starving. I slowly try to start the car, which won't start. I tried about 22 more times before I get out the car and open the hood. Steve just had the engine cleaned, I could tell, it looked brand new. I could see nothing wrong with it. Just my luck. I slammed the hood closed and got back in the car. This was not my day at all. I pulled my knees up so they rested under my chin and laid my head on top of them and then slowly wrapped my arms around my legs. I was too wrapped up in my thoughts to notice the eighteen wheeler that hit a patch of ice. When I did it was too late.