A/N: Hello there! What you are about to read is a retelling of the finale of the Gone series; Light. This won't be just me telling the story in my writing style, with perhaps sparing the life of the character, no, this will be an entirely different story. So don't expect to be able to use the phenomenal book series to help predict the outcome of this story. Let's just say that if the actual book left you speechless in awe, then this will bring you to your knees.
(Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Michael Grant, nor do I own any rights to the Gone series: this is a fanwork, and is not associated with the actual events of the book)
So, without further ado, let's begin the delve into the ever-unpredictable world of the FAYZ, only with my own personal spin on the events.
79 Hours 14 Minutes
Diana Ladris stared into the flames, her knees huddled to her chest as she sat on the dirt floor, shivering as the chill of the night penetrated her torn clothes. The fire had been started by Gaia, but it could barely be called that. It was nothing more than a pile of dried twigs that had been set alight after several careless attempts. Despite her immense power, her dreadful, immense power, Gaia was still bound by the restrictions of a small child's body. The slightest of smirks spread to Diana's lips at this. Even the great Darkness was having troubles. The smirk faded, and Diana looked at Gaia, shivering as the fire began to show signs of dying out.
The figure sitting on the other side of the fire was without a doubt her daughter. Her daughter. The thought of this brought a strange, warm feeling to Diana; it felt out of place, like she wasn't supposed to be feeling a maternal bond with the child. Like it was wrong.
Gaia slowly moved her head, staring into the flames, not noticing anything but the flickering red tongues.
"Nemesis," she whispered into the tiny inferno, catching Diana off guard. There was the occasional moment when she would delude, or torture, herself into thinking that this burned up child, with brilliant blue eyes, and dark hair that had just started to grow back again, was nothing more than her and Caine's child; the ultimate symbol of their love. But Gaia would never be that; within seconds of being born, the Darkness had possessed the tiny baby's body to serve as a vessel for itself, killing anything human inside the tiny miracle. It was the worst of horror movies gone wrong, acted out in front of Diana's own eyes, bringing her more pain than she had ever experienced, even in the nightmare that was the FAYZ. The intense agony that was giving birth, combined with the emotional and psychological trauma of watching the Gaiaphage, the creature responsible for causing more suffering than possible, turning a tiny baby into nothing more than an avatar for some twisted game, had been enough for Diana to snap. She had abandoned Caine, Sam, Perdido Beach, Lake Tramonto, everything that gave off a sense of comfort in the FAYZ, all because of an uncontrollable urge to make sure that her baby was okay. Diana let out a moan. She had blown it, bigger than ever before, and was now almost certainly stuck to play mother to the Gaiaphage until she had outlived her usefulness. And after that wasn't worth thinking about. In the end, death would come to her, but if it was at the hand of Gaia, then it was guaranteed that by the end of it all, Diana would be willing to do anything to die. Because as much as it pained her to say it, Diana wouldn't be strong enough to resist the Gaiaphage.
"My life is just a bunch of poor decisions," Diana whispered, letting out a deep breath. She looked over at the beautiful monster that was Gaia again. She was still fixated on the diminishing flames, silently mouthing words that Diana couldn't hear.
"Come on, Nemesis," Gaia cooed, her words dripping with a sickening malice that didn't fit her tiny form, "You know you want the end. Who doesn't?" The ominous, deadly words coming out from the small girl's voice sent chills throughout Diana. The end was coming; the lifespan of the FAYZ was ending.
And Diana knew, deep down, that she wouldn't be alive to see the few remaining kids meet up with their families after nearly a year's separation.
Little Pete felt different. He couldn't explain what it was, but something necessary had changed; that much he did know. The balance of power had shifted; both he and the Darkness were equals in terms of power; it reminded him of something his sister once called yin and yang. Darkness and light. Good and evil. The Darkness was always the equal opposite to Pete, but it was growing stronger than before, and as it did so, he was weakening.
And yet, oddly enough, Pete didn't feel anything towards it. It was an almost liberating feeling, to know that his bizarre existence was coming to an end. From the moment of birth, Peter Ellison had never been normal; the severe autism had left him crippled. Everything was a sensory overload, a powerful blur of harsh light and sound. And Pete came to accept that as the norm. But even his ruined cage of a body had recognised that the world was no longer normal; the harsh sounds had different qualities to them, and the painful light was less frequent. And it all built up over time, until the moment of his physical body's death, brought on by his sister as a last minute attempt to save herself from the creatures of the Darkness. After that, his mind had been freed from his body, and he had become what he was now. His physical death was the most liberating thing to have happened to him, to know that he was free from the autism, and the harsh way that his body perceived the world. But he was still limited after this liberation; Pete still didn't have perfect handling over his powers. He wasn't able to play with the complex shapes that were people; the bouncing girl, Taylor, was testament to that. And now, Pete could only watch over the shapes, unable to interact with them in any way.
Pete looked down on the abstract shapes of the people. There were two large concentrations of people, on opposite sides of the barrier that encompassed their world. But the tiny pocket of people away from them drew Pete's attention. There were three figures; the first was as normal as any other; the second's pattern had been altered by the Darkness, and the third was releasing pitch black tendrils from it, reaching around. The Darkness' human body. It was this body that gave it more power, and was the thing that was draining Pete. The tendrils noticed Pete looking down on them, and changed direction, moving into his space.
Nemesis, it won't be so bad. The voice of the darkness was whispering him, violating his sanctuary. But Pete did nothing, watching as the tendrils danced around. The end is coming Nemesis, you know that. The most exciting part; the most liberating part; the end. Come on, Nemesis, you know you want the end. Who doesn't?
The Darkness left Pete's space, and the tendrils began to reach out around, away from him. But as they did so, Pete noticed something. The Darkness was also weakening; the grip it so firmly held around the few people it had managed to touch was weakening. He and the Darkness were connected; if one weakened, so did the other. And even though the Darkness now had something to attach itself to, it was still able to be affected by Pete. If he faded away, ceased to exist, then the Darkness would have the same happen to it. Pete could fade to the brink of existence, but never die; the Darkness wouldn't allow itself to perish needlessly. Which meant that Pete would be there until the end.
The very end.
Dahra Baidoo walked down through the basement of the town hall; the makeshift hospital that had been around since the dawn of the FAYZ. For almost a year, she had spent her time down here, tending to kids with a variety of problems, from broken limbs, to simple cuts, to illnesses of all forms. Those with the most severe injuries tended to go to Lana first, but if the Healer wasn't available, then Dahra would care for them as best she could until the girl with the healing touch could fix them up.
But now, the hospital was empty. Beds that kids occupied less than three days ago were now abandoned, the covers still a mess. When the barrier turned transparent, each and every last kid had managed to haul themselves up to the wall of the FAYZ, in a desperate hope to see their families. Dahra hadn't gone up to the barrier yet, and didn't intend to. It was just another kick to the teeth; they were so close to the world they knew and loved, but the wall was still there, still indestructible. It would be too painful to see; almost every kid in Perdido Beach, piled up against the barrier, desperately screaming and crying for their parents, siblings, friends. Dahra sighed. At least it meant that she could relax, even if it was only for a little while. There was never any time for rest, really, in the FAYZ. Just waiting for the next disaster to hit them.
The sound of crying outside alerted Dahra's attention. Rest was over. She walked up the stairs, and out of the building, taking in the night air. A full moon shone down over the FAYZ, and there was an eerie silence about the town. A light breeze blew through the air, carrying the sharp scent of salt, lowering the temperature. Dahra shivered for a moment, but walked onto the pavement, finding the source of the crying.
A small girl, maybe six at the oldest, had fallen into one of the holes in the road; one of the countless battle scars. Her legs were in the hole, the rest of her body slumped on the road. For a minute, Dahra considered the possibility that she was unconscious, before a high wail came from the girl's lips, her lopsided ginger hair bouncing with each sob. Gritting her teeth, Dahra walked over to the girl, bending down to her level.
"Are you okay?" Dahra asked softly, the girl looking up at her. She had a soft, pale face, with wide blue eyes, and a large scar that ran across her cheek. A sign that this girl had most likely been in extreme danger.
"It hurts," she whined, motioning to her leg, "And I'm stuck!" Dahra watched the girl struggling to get out of the hole. She had to help.
"Don't worry," Dahra said, "I'll help you." She grabbed the girl's hands, and began to pull her up. Dahra found that the girl was heavier than she anticipated, and she felt herself struggling. But she didn't give up, and pulled the girl out of the hole, the pair of them falling to the floor. Dahra quickly climbed to her feet, brushing some dust off her clothes, and turned to face the girl. But she had managed to get up before her, and was limping desperately down the street; without checking, Dahra could see that the girl had broken her ankle.
"Ow!" Dahra winced as the girl screamed, stopping. It was a bad break, and not something that Dahra could deal with for a while; this required immediate attention from Lana. If the Healer was willing to help with something like this.
"Hey!" Dahra called out, rushing up to the girl, who was crying again, "You shouldn't run with your leg like that; it will only hurt you. You need to go see the Healer before rushing around."
"But I can't go there!" The girl screamed, "I have to see my mommy!" A crushing feeling filled Dahra's insides. This poor girl was going to join the others at the barrier, hoping to see her family. She had to try a different approach.
"What's your name?" Dahra asked the girl, smiling as warmly as she could.
"M-Melissa," she replied weakly.
"Well, Melissa," Dahra said, "I don't think that your mommy would want to see you with a broken leg, would she?"
"Mommy always said that I should be careful," Melissa told Dahra, in a way that stabbed with nostalgia and longing. Chances were that Dahra's mother was with Melissa's; on the other side of the barrier, looking in, hoping that their children would show themselves. And for just a moment, Dahra considered going up to the barrier, if just to let her mother know that she was alive and well. Realising what she was thinking, Dahra shook her head lightly.
"So wouldn't it be a good idea to make sure that your mommy knows that you've been careful?" Dahra was choosing her words carefully; she had to convince Melissa to go to Lana without upsetting her; experience had taught her that young kids tended to over-react at the smallest of things.
"Mommy did ground me last time she saw me hurt myself," Melissa said, as if she were reciting the words; reading from a script of memories. "Okay, you can take me to make my leg better." Dahra smiled wearily, grabbing Melissa's hand as they walked down what remained of Alameda Avenue, relying on the glow of the moon to navigate Perdido Beach at night as safe as possible; safety was buy an illusion in the FAYZ, the reality hitting them far too many times.
As they drew closer to Clifftop, Dahra noticed something in the distance. The hills partially obscured it, but she could still see it. A vast spectrum of colourful lights shone brightly, casting an odd hue over herself and Melissa. Dahra remained mesmorised by the light for a moment, before turning to Melissa, feeling temptation creeping into the edges of her mind. Should she look over there? Technically, she wouldn't be seeing her mother, just the source of the light. But there was also Melissa to take into account. Dahra let out another sigh, conflicted for just a moment. However, curiosity got the better of her, and Dahra found herself climbing up the nearest hill, Melissa right behind her. Reaching the top of the hill, Dahra stood to her feet, and gaped in awe at everything in front of her.
An endless sea of lights greeted her, the sheer brightness seeming to drown out the desperate cries of the kids that filled the highway, each one focusing on the people on the other side, who were soundlessly screaming back at them. Adults. Actual, genuine adults. Dahra stared in disbelief. It was surreal, to say the least; for nearly a year, the oldest people were fifteen, and yet, now, Dahra could make out the shape of an elderly woman with wiry grey hair, sat in a wheelchair, looking into the FAYZ. She couldn't make out her expression, but Dahra knew why the woman was there; she was looking for one of the kids that had been trapped in here. Odds were that that kid was dead, and that Dahra had probably witnessed them die. That thought sent a sickening chill throughout her, and not for the first time, Dahra felt guilty for still being alive. She looked away from the sea of people, and towards the lights. It was if they had set up a tourist resort; Dahra recognised the shining signs of several major businesses; a hotel chain, a Starbucks, and a convenience store; open 24/7. They didn't affect her, but as soon as Dahra saw the golden 'M' of the McDonald's, she began to cry.
They were all so close to the real world; escape from this hell. But that barrier still stood in the way; that stupid barrier. The barrier that had rapidly changed over the past week. The barrier that could potentially come down at any moment. For the first time since perhaps the coming of the FAYZ, Dahra felt hope. If the barrier came down, then she would be free from the nightmare, and would be able to see her mother again. And every inch of her body was screaming that the barrier was going to come down very soon. She had to get down there.
Dahra ran down the hill, tears falling from her face as Melissa stumbled after her, towards the highway. The two reached the battered road, vanishing from sight as the McDonald's sign slowly rotated in a clockwise motion.
Sam Temple stood on the deck of the boat in nothing but his underwear, leaning over the rails, breathing in time with the gradual rocking of the boat. Astrid was asleep downstairs, unaware that he had crept out. But right now, he had something other than being with Astrid on his mind.
Sam looked up, watching a faint light soar across the sky; a plane. Something that he never really was aware of until now. The barrier now showed no illusion; the real world was now visible, and they could see into the FAYZ. See the destruction. See the lack of survivors. And of course, most people agreed that this was a sign that the end of the FAYZ was rapidly approaching. If so, what would his mother say to him? What would he say to his mother? That would surely be an interesting conversation; he'd have to explain how he was responsible for countless deaths in the FAYZ, and she'd have to explain how she had actually given birth to twins, and managed to hide him from Sam for almost fifteen years of his life. That was provided that he got the chance to speak with his mother.
If the barrier came down, then most of the kids in the FAYZ, and nearly all those with powers would be classed as murderers; some would even be classed as serial killers. The law would tear them apart more than the Gaiaphage ever would. That could be solved with a big enough attack, but nothing could stop the law; attacking would result in an even worse sentence.
A sound that seemed to be a mixture of a sigh and a groan came from Sam's lips as he rested his chin on his arms, a soft breeze chilling his bare back. He should probably go back inside, back to Astrid, where they would be together in the ultimate loving embrace. Another criminal charge; under-age sex. Sam knew that if the barrier came down, then he'd be locked up for an extremely long time, maybe even for life. The future was not going to be promising for anyone.
But before all of that would be an issue, though, they still had the major issue of the Gaiaphage. It had gone from being an ominous pile of green ooze in the mineshaft to being reborn in the body of Diana's baby. If it was still a baby; the small girl was growing at an alarming rate. But he didn't want to think of any of that, and instead went to thinking of Astrid, laying naked in the bed, sleeping lightly. Maybe if she woke up in a little while, as she tended to do in the early hours of the morning, then they could perhaps continue with their lust-filled passion.
And have a repeat offence added to their criminal charges.
Sam wiped his eyes with his hands, the same hands that had the power to kill people, and looked up at the sky. The full moon was shining down, almost giving off an impression of calmness. And as Sam looked up at the moon, he began to wonder if it was perhaps for the better that they were still inside the FAYZ.