Sidestory - Wednesday, June 13, 1928

by Caroline

Becky sat on the edge of the pier, looking out at the ocean. The clouds overhead were dark and they frowned down at her as if trying to taunt her with the threat of rain. It didn't bother her anyway -- she liked rain: she could feel rain even if she couldn't feel the cold that came with it.

"Should really get back to Dan and Libby," she murmured to herself.

It was getting late. She wasn't sure what Libby would say to her if she realised that she had nearly drowned in the place that Becky came to whenever she needed to think. The place seemed almost tainted by the memory but there was always something that brought Becky back. She had come here after Dominick had shown up. She had come here after that strange man had made her friends lose control of their powers. She came here now -- after she'd nearly gone back to what she was before, nothing more than the energy behind a variant's powers.

Jasmine had laughed at her when she realised what Becky had felt after being trapped inside Alisha and Alex had seemed to think she was just being stupid. And then they and Libby thought taking her to church would make it all seem better somehow. There was a reason she had never been to church before -- although she'd never tell them that. They all seemed to have such faith that it almost scared her to tell them that churches frightened her. Churches: the places that housed those so-called religious men who condemned variants; the places where people went to find God and sometimes merely found their own darkest personalities. Churches were created by people, run by people and kept going by people. What could she possibly find in there except a mirror of herself -- another creation of Mankind that was destined to die away and be lost just like every other thing that people made in an attempt to pretend that they themselves were the gods of Earth. Maybe she didn't have a soul. Maybe no one did. Maybe it was all just lies. She'd never been taught to believe in God anyway -- she was taught to believe in the scientists. Or Rebecca was anyway and she was all that was left of Rebecca. She'd had this horrible thought on the day she nearly faded away, that Rebecca was limping around Heaven somewhere with this chunk of her soul missing and that when Becky finally gave up on haunting Earth, she'd end up rushing back into Rebecca and not being allowed to be a person in her own right -- just right back where she'd started.

"How can you cry if you aren't alive?" a soft voice asked.

Becky turned, surprised, to see a young girl standing nearby. It looked like her. Or at least, it looked like Rebecca -- the form of Rebecca that Becky had been trapped in for most of her life. It was impossible.

"How can you feel the rain if you don't have a body?" the girl asked.

"Go away!" Becky snapped, turning back to look out of the ocean.

"D'you think you could drown like Libby? D'you think if you stayed underwater enough that some part of you wouldn't be able to survive?"

"Stop it!"

"How do you eat? How do you lift things? How do you smell things in the air? How do you cry?"

"I don't know!" Becky sobbed, curling her legs up against her chest and squeezing her eyes shut. "I don't know anything. I don't know what I am. I don't know how I do the things I do."

The girl moved closer to her. The wind was blowing but her long hair stayed still. "You know the human body is made nearly entirely of water. It's what it's also made of that holds it together."

"What's your point?" Becky snapped.

"Maybe you're only nearly made entirely of energy. Maybe there's something else holding you together."

"Like what?" Becky replied sharply. "Who are you to come round here and lecture me? And you can drop the Rebecca act -- I'm not falling for it!"

She jumped to her feet, intending to walk away, but the girl grabbed her hand and then jumped forward sending them both down into the ocean. Becky closed her eyes as the water hit her and she slowly sank down beneath it. She had never learned to swim but then it didn't much matter when she wasn't even trying to stay afloat. It didn't feel cold -- nothing ever felt cold. Or hot for that matter -- she could stick her hand in a naked flame and not feel a thing, although she had once found that if she stayed for a long time in a place that would be dangerous to a normal person that she would start to flicker, as if it was using up energy and something was telling her to get out. She never understood that either.

She opened her eyes and looked up through the murky green water. The sky was getting further and further away. She wondered vaguely if she should be choking by now.

"Remember that artist you met? She was empathic. She could read your emotions. How could she do that if you were nothing more than a ball of energy?"

Becky suddenly began to flicker. She opened her mouth to try and tell the voice to shut up but all the water rushed down her throat and she began to cough. She didn't have to breathe, just like she didn't have to eat -- why the hell should water make her choke? She didn't have lungs, she didn't have a heart, she didn't have a pulse!

"Maybe you just haven't been listening hard enough," the voice said in reply to her thoughts.

Don't be stupid! I'm just energy! She tried to shout out the words but the water wouldn't let her.

"You're nearly entirely energy," the voice replied calmly, although Becky was beginning to wonder if the whole thing wasn't coming from inside her own mind. "There's always been something else trying to hold it all together."

Becky clutched at her throat and tried to focus on getting herself out of there. She had to blank out the awful thought that the voice was telling the truth as she fought against the water that might actually be killing her and then she was finally able to teleport out of there. She ended up lying flat on the nearby beach, still coughing and choking on the water that had forced its way inside of her, although she still had no idea what there was inside of her that could choke on it. She was right on the edge of the shore, the waves rolling right up to her chest as she lay there. She didn't move. The only thing there had ever been holding her together was her. She closed her eyes and wondered for one sick moment what would happen if she let someone cut her open. What would they find? They sure as hell wouldn't find any blood -- she'd already tried that before. After about five attempts to stop her arm from flickering at the mere closeness of the knife she held, she had finally managed to penetrate something solid but the knife had just remained there, causing a minor discomfort, until she began to feel weak and her flickering caused it to drop away.

In the distance she could hear voices calling out to each other. Had they seen her on the shore? She was flickering still and they'd probably be pretty shocked when they reached her but she didn't have enough energy to teleport away. If that girl was just in her head, then she had nearly killed herself just like Libby. Was she going crazy? What had happened to her? It used to be so easy just to dismiss all these awful, unanswerable questions about her existence -- why was she suddenly asking them now?

The voices were closer now. If she didn't move then Libby was bound to find out -- even if one of the voices didn't know where she lived, the stories would probably get around pretty quickly about some ghost-like girl who'd washed up on shore. She forced herself to her feet and stumbled forward. She'd have to hide out for a while somewhere before she went home, then tidy herself up so she didn't look like a drowned rat, even though that was what she had almost become.

"What makes a soul anyway? Who cares what happens after death? There are some people who're perfectly happy to believe that there isn't anything out there for anyone, never mind you."

The rain started to fall, which was good because then she would have an excuse for being all wet. She looked down at her hand, which was still flickering in and out. Was it such a bad thing to want to be just like everyone else?

And the voice, slowly drifting into silence, said softly, "'Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more.'"

It made Becky want to cry.

On to June 13, 1928 (two-player)
On to June 13, 1928 (Venura)
On to June 14, 1928

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