Wendy's eyelids slowly fluttered open. She had been drifting off, letting her poor traumatized mind tune all the sounds and reality out. She was back in this same exact field, but it was last summer. A year before the accident, the deaths, and this horrible, awful night. She was laying on her stomach with Ian in the back in the van. They had just made love, underneath the dark summer sky. Both were so carefree, happy, and in love. Ian laid beside her, pale and shirtless. His hair thick and dyed black. He laid there, smiling at her, his brilliant clear blue eyes so vivid, and alive. She remembered how they spent hours afterwards just talking, passing the time, and faintly hearing the crickets chirp right outside. Both were in their own little world, completely unaware that a year later almost in this same exact spot, a horrible accident would claim Ian's life. The sign falling down and crashing, severing his lower half, completely crushing him and killing him moments later.
How bloody and pale he looked as he died, gurgling on his own blood. Wendy laid there, her hand clutching his blood slicked one, pretending none of this horrible reality had happened. That Ian hadn't died hurt, confused, and saving her life by pushing her away. That they were both together, he was alive, and nothing could hurt them. Nothing.
Wendy's large brown eyes slowly opened. She could see the faint flashing of red and blue from the police cars parked in the distance. She could hear the firetrucks and ambulances, sirens screaming as they approached. She was here, laying down on the blood soaked grass, laying beside Ian's body. She was laying beside him, reaching, still holding onto his now bloody cold hand. It was night still, but the fireworks had long gone out. Ian was still dead, laying there, eyes staring blankly, no more life sparking inside them. He laid half out from the crushed sign, blood drying down his nose and lips. Wendy laid there, before seeing Kevin, his face still burned, holding onto Julie. Two paramedics were leaning down to help her up. Wendy blinked, feeling her reactions slow, as if she was either drugged or under water. Looking at Ian, her boyfriend, her fiancé', the father of her now dead unborn child, her soulmate, now gone. Looking at him, she regretted everything she ever said, or didn't say. She thought of his flushed face, screaming in outrage when she lost the baby. She tried so hard to hold onto a good memory. The way he smiled when he showed her the photograph of his mother. How he first kissed her in her bedroom, the way he laughed whenever she ruffled his hair, the glimmer in his eyes when she told him she wanted to keep the baby, all of those memories gone. Despite what she did, death had come to collect, and had taken him away from her.
"Ian, please wake up..."
She softly whispered, soft enough for just her to hear. Instead Ian continued to just stare, dead, and unaware of his fiancé' letting tears run down her face, cutting through the blood splatter that stained her face. One of her hand slowly made a fist, the engagement ring slick with blood. Slowly the paramedics lifted her up, helping carry her away from Ian's body as a van pulled up and two men with body bags came to load up what was left of Ian and Perry. Wendy, in a complete daze was led away, unaware of Julie and Kevin watching. Minutes later, she was sat down in the back of a brightly lit ambulance, before a syringe was produced and injected in her arm. Wendy's responses her slow, and delayed. She saw complete chaos happening in the field. She tried trying to spot where Ian was, but there were two many ambulances and lights. Sitting there, she took deep breaths as they checked her blood pressure, and closed her eyes, drifting away to that summer night a million years ago when she laid with her soulmate beneath the stars. After Wendy was taken away in one of the ambulances, Kevin and Julie were taken away in a separate one. Two men wearing long black rubber gloves stood back as a chain was hooked up to the fallen McKinley sign, and a large truck brought in, slowly backed up lifting it.
The sign lifted, and two police officers turned away sick at the gore and smeared blood beneath it. Whatever was left of the bottom half of Ian McKinley was crushed beyond belief and turned into smashed up pieces of blood soaked gore and liquid. The upper half of him was photographed, before the men carefully loaded him into the body bag, and zipped up before placed in the back of the same van that held Perry.
"Jesus, it's the McKinley kid isn't it? His dad owns this entire town. Jesus..."
One of the ambulance workers said, as they stood staring at the sign, leaning back, splattered with blood.
Wendy laid in a bed in the same hospital she had been admitted to the day before. She laid there hooked up to monitors, and tubes, not only being treated for minor cuts and bruises, but for shock as well. The D and C was scheduled in a few days since the doctors believed Wendy needed another day to rest. She had been given hourly a syringe that she believed was some kind of dope. It made her head feel light, her vision fuzzy, and her limbs weak. She was cleaned up, and changed into a fresh gown. The terrible waves of cramps that were happening now had subsided and weren't as intense. She could still feel anytime she shifted her weight to re-postion herself the sickening feeling of the bleeding slowly coming out of her.
The drugs somehow had kept her from thinking too much about the fact that this bleeding, this thick syrup like blood that was oozing out of her was her baby. Ian's baby. Not only had she lost her friends, she lost her unborn child, and now Ian. Nothing seemed to matter. Over and over again it kept faintly replaying over in her mind. One second she was standing in the field, fireworks going off behind her, the next she saw Ian, so pale, so out of it, coming towards her calling her name. One second he was there, the next the fireworks were coming straight towards them and he pushed her out of the way. Not just out of the way from the rockets, but out of the way from that steel sign coming crashing down. He was there, and then he wasn't. She still saw his white face, choking on blood, as he gurgled, trying to say her name before dying. The drugs kept any emotion from bubbling up. Any tears, any pain, any heartache. She honestly didn't care if it was over or not. At this exact moment she knew Julie and Kevin were safe. Julie was being treated down the hall, where her parents were currently. Besides the horrible marks and bruising on her neck, besides a few burst blood vessels, and swelling...she was going to be okay. Kevin was upstairs, being treated for his burns. They said it was minor, and in a few months there wouldn't be any marks, or scars. Her mother had sat with her for a while, squeezing her hand, trying to ask why she left the hospital?
After an hour or so of silence, she finally got up, wiping her tears before brushing her hair back like when she was a child, and kissed her gently on the forehead.
"Whatever reason it was, you saved your sister. I'm so sorry about Ian honey...so sorry..."
Wendy stared up, dazed before her mother patted her arm, knowing there was nothing she could say or do to make this better. Instead she said she would be back, and left her. Wendy stared out the window that over looked the town of McKinley, the sparking beautiful lights, and knew that nothing would ever be the same. Ian was downstairs, or whatever was left of him, now zipped up in a rubber body bag down in the morgue in some freezer. She continued to stare, thinking of Ian's closed eyes, how cold his skin would feel, how blue his lips were, and how lifeless his once thick beautiful hair looked now against his forehead, most likely splattered with his now dried blood. How all that was left was his upper half, the rest of him smashed, and torn to pieces. Was there still blood in the field? Soaking into the ground? What happened to the rest of him? Was it bagged up, thrown out? What was his father doing right now? His step-mother? Where they downstairs signing papers? Crying? Were they all ready planning the funeral. First Erin, now him? She laid there knowing they would never go to college together, start a life, or get married. It was all a lie, a stupid, stupid lie. Closing her eyes, she prayed for death to come. For a stroke, an aneurysm, anything to make this horrible numb feeling to go away. If the baby and Ian were gone, why couldn't she follow?
Two days later.
"Okay honey, we're all finished. You just take deep breaths and relax and we'll have you upstairs soon."
Wendy laid on the table, her legs spread by stirrups, dressed in a hospital down, and fighting the urge to completely breakdown. The doctor had just finished the D and C, and now whatever was left of the baby was gone. During the entire time, she laid trying to block out the sickening sound of the machines as tears built up in her eyes. The doctor patted her leg, told her the nurse would get her upstairs. Kevin and Julie came to see her yesterday, one at a time. Originaly her mother had no visitors, but Wendy didn't care. They were drugging her up so much she suspected this was to hold off a pretty bad slap of reality or a major breakdown. She had been sleeping mostly, or watching the news completely stoned. There was coverage of what happened at McKinley Park, stating that a series of accidents had taken place during the fireworks show, resulting in two deaths. Perry Ma, and Ian McKinley, son of Peter McKinley. They didn't go into details about the deaths, only that both were killed at the park. When they showed Perry and Ian's yearbook photos, Wendy laid there feeling as if she was some creature from a dream, unable to feel a single thing. When Julie came in a few hours later, she was in a hospital gown, clutching onto an IV pole, wheeling herself in. Her neck was still ten different shades of horrible bruises. Her eyes weren't as bloodshot, but she was moving very slow. She sat down, staring at her before reaching out and holding her hand.
Wendy sighed, still feeling so drugged out she wasn't sure if she could speak.
"Not really...where's mom and dad?"
"They went home to finally get some sleep, basically had to kick them out."
"They are just worried...it's not everyday both of your children are in the hospital. How's your neck?"
Julie took her hand and gently touched her throat and made a face.
"Tender, hurts to swallow but I'm okay...how about you?"
"I'm okay...they said in a few days I can go home."
"Wendy...I'm so sorry about Ian, and I heard about the baby. I had no idea..."
"How could you, I basically just found out myself."
"Did Ian know?"
"I'm so sorry about what happened..."
Julie's eyes seemed to fill with tears before she sighed, shaking her head.
"I know I haven't been exactly the best sister, but...you and Kevin saved my life. I'm sorry I haven't been there. I've been selfish and when you needed me the most I wasn't there. I know Ian's gone, but I promise I'll never leave you again."
Wendy remembered back when they were little girls, five and six. Both running around during the summer, using the sprinkler, both dressed in bathing suits screaming and giggling. Remembering how carefree and alive both were. How much she loved her baby sister, and knew she would always be there for her. Now all these years later, after so much death, here they were. Squeezing her sister's hand, she laid there, staring at her poor beaten up and bruised face, wishing more than anything she had tried to put a fraction of the energy Kevin and her had put into this whole mess to save Ian. When Kevin visited, his face was still a terrible shade of red. He limbed in, wearing a hospital gown as well.
His face looked as if there was some sort of gel or clear cream spread across it. He came in when one of the nurses took Julie back to her room for more tests. Kevin sat down in the same chair Julie had sat in earlier, and stared at her.
Wendy had just been given a syringe from one of the nurses, sending a rush to go up her arm, making things even more numb. Staring at Kevin, she blinked before slowly shaking her head.
"No...I'm far from okay. You?"
"Doctor says this..."
He motioned to his reddish face and shrugged.
"Will go away, they keep putting creams on me, pain meds have been pretty wonderful...how are they treating you?"
Wendy laid on her side, staring at him before nodding.
"Okay...thank you by the way."
"Believing me...saving Julie. I don't think I could have done this alone."
Kevin smirked before nodding.
"You think it's over?"
"Maybe...I don't know, and honestly Kevin, I don't care."
"I guess we'll just have to wait and see huh?"
A silent tear trickled down Wendy's face as she stared at him. Pure pity showing in Kevin's own eyes, he stared at her.
"I'm sorry about Ian. I'll admit, I didn't really like the guy, and honestly couldn't understand why you were with him...but the night at Build It when you...well, got hurt. I saw a side of McKinley I never saw before. I'm sorry..."
Wendy stared forward.
"Maybe it stopped with him. I mean, I really don't think Ian would have hurt you. That was stupid to think. Maybe it was the sign, you know...McKinley. Maybe that was it. I mean if it skipped over us, and got Ian, maybe it's coming back around to get Julie and me..."
"I don't want to think that my sister might die, or you...my friends are dead, my baby is dead, and now Ian is dead. I wish I was, but here I am. If death is coming around again, so be it. I'm done fighting or caring. You guys are all that's left and if this is it...this is it."
Kevin sighed before nodding.
"I'll let you rest. They said I can go home tomorrow. I'll be in touch okay."
Kevin slowly got up, still stiff from his injuries. Looking at her, he gave a sad smile.
"He love you...I could see it. He died saving you...he would have wanted you to keep going. Trust me."
Without so much as another word, he turned and left her. Closing her eyes, Wendy allowed the drugs to drift her into a dreamless slumber.
One week later.
Wendy and Julie were released from the hospital on the same day. Both of their parents were being extra careful with the two of them, helping them into the car and taking them home. Julie's bruises were now an ugly yellowish brown, and was due to go back and make sure there weren't any other major injuries to her throat in the following weeks to come. Wendy has discharged, given meds for depression, and shock. Both of which she knew wouldn't do any good. As numb as she could make herself, it still wouldn't change the fact that Ian was dead. She stayed silent during the ride home, and was welcomed back to her mother having bought all of their favorite junk foods, having rented several movies, and had some brand new clothes laying out on both of their beds from the mall. This was just a common practice of their mother. Whenever they were hurt, or feeling blue, she would go out and buy a bunch of stuff hoping to make up for whatever happened.
A few days following the coaster accident, Wendy was greeted by two new pairs of jeans, as well as a pair of sandals she had her eyes on that pervious month. Her mother tried to say she had been meaning to pick up those things for her, but Wendy knew better. It was just her way of attempting to make her feel better. Julie squealed with delight over her new treasures, while Wendy remarked she was tired and just wanted to go lay down. Once alone in her bedroom, she found one of Ian's New Found Glory T-shirts, crumpled up on the floor of her closet. Most likely left behind from him one night he slept over. Crawling into bed, she brought the T-shirt up to her face, inhaled deeply, before the weight of everything came crashing down and she broke down, crying into the shirt, faintly smelling him, wishing more than anything that he was here with her right now. Days passed, and finally she left the house.
She mostly slept, ignoring calls, or visitors. She just slept in bed, holding onto the T-shirt, or staring at her engagement ring to a wedding and a life that would never happen. Nobody can commented on the ring, and Wendy believed her parents knew better. Finally a few days later, she showered, got dressed, and said she was going out for a quick drive. Her mother looked worried for a second, but let her leave. Getting behind the wheel of her car, she drove out to McKinley park, which had been closed for several days following what had happened. Now open, the fields were empty, everything taken down. Despite the fact it was the middle of summer, besides a few kids playing baseball in the East field, she was completely alone. Driving her car onto the grass, she parked, before getting out.
It was a hot miserable day. Walking out she looked around at the rolling lush green hills, and sighed. She looked to her left, and saw the grass. Almost two weeks ago Ian's body was smashed underneath a sign that fell. Walking, hands in her pockets, she looked down. It was as if nothing had even happened here. Sighing, feeling an ache in her chest, she went back to her car, and slid up onto the hood. Staring out at the water, she listened to the wind, watched the clouds, and thought of Ian. Dead was dead. She wasn't sure if there was a Heaven, but she hoped from the bottom of her heart he was somewhere with his mother, and maybe even the baby. She hoped wherever he was, he was whole again, not in pain, and knowing how sorry she was. How she would have done anything to get a second chance. That's when she heard her name. Turning, she looked over and saw Peter McKinley, dressed in jeans and a golf shirt. The McKinley country club was just over the hill, and in the distance she could see men playing golf. Mr. McKinley walked over and raised his hand.
"I thought that was you...I hope I'm not disturbing you."
Wendy looked over as he approached.
"Hi Mr. McKinley..."
He finally walked up beside her. She saw he seemed older somehow, tired looking despite how brightly blue his shirt was, and how nice he smelled. She could see that maybe this was what Ian would look like if he had reached middle age.
"I meant to visit you in the hospital but I thought you needed time to rest up."
Wendy stared at him before Peter sighed looking out at the water.
"We didn't have a service, Ian would have hated that. Instead we scattered his ashes out there."
"Ian mentioned once he wanted to be cremated. A morbid thing for your own teenage son to mention during dinner, but he said that's what he wanted. So we scattered his ashes on the lake. I know he hated this town and couldn't wait to leave, but this was where his mother used to take him all the time as a baby. He loved it out here. For such a pale kid, he loved going out on the lake to swim and boat. Figured it was fitting."
Wendy sadly smiled looking out.
"I think he would have liked that."
"I have some stuff at the house boxed up, if you ever want to come pick it up or I can have somebody drop it off that your place. It's been a lot to handle around here since the accident. First Erin, then Ian. I was never close with my son, but I knew how much he loved you..."
He motioned to the ring. Instantly Wendy felt guilty and went to pull it off.
"I'm sorry I know it was..."
"No, no. Please keep it. Ian wanted you to have it and you meant the world to him. I'm sorry things ended the way they did. I regret all of the time I chose my job over him...this is time I'll never get back. I do know...he loved you, and would have wanted you to move on. Thank you for being here for him Wendy...I know I wasn't."
Giving her a pat on the arm, he gave a sad smile before he began walking away. Stopping, he turned and looked over his shoulder at Wendy who felt tears begin to blur her wide brown eyes.
"I come out here sometimes and talk to him...seems sometimes like he's actually listening."
With that Peter turned, and walked away. Wendy watched him, before finally he disappeared over the hill. Sighing, Wendy slowly slid off the hood and walked towards the shore. Staring at the water, lapping against the shore, Wendy felt a heavy weight in her chest. Sighing, she felt complete and utter loss. After everything, despite it all, Ian was gone and she was alone. Looking out at the water, she felt goosebumps bubble up on her arms. clutching her arms, holding at the elbows, she stood there, before staring down at her ring. It was nothing but a stupid lie, a stupid broken promise of what could have been. Closing her eyes, she slipped Ian's ring off her finger and stared at it.
"I'm sorry Ian..."
Her crumpling, she threw the ring as hard as she could into the water, where it disappeared with a small splash. If her fiancé' was now laid to rest, so shouldn't the reminder of the life they never could of shared as well. Remembering how happy and nervous he was the night he proposed before everything was ruined, she blocked that image out, and bowed her head. She never wished more to be dead than at this exact moment. Sighing, she turned, and walked back to her car, knowing if death wasn't coming she would at least try to attempt to live. Not for her, not for the baby, not for her fiends...but for him.
Five months later.
In the end, Wendy was relieved. The summer following the tragic events that occurred, Wendy slowly tried to pick up the pieces of what had happened. She was fighting a deep depression, as well as trying to deal with her grief over everything she had lost. It started off slow, such as her taking her meds, catching up on sleep, eating again, and trying to bridge the gap between her and Julie. She mostly kept to herself in the house, and never once spoke about Ian. Instead, she simply boxed up any reminder of him, stored it in the attic, besides one framed photograph of her and Ian on her nightstand. She was offered to talk to a shrink, but claimed she was fine. She kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, closely watching her sister. Instead, nothing. Either death had forgotten them, or somehow with Ian's death it had stopped. As horrible as it seemed, Wendy just didn't care. She saw Kevin once after what happened, but when he tried to bring up if it was really over, she flipped. The two had agreed to meet for coffee and finally Wendy found herself raising her voice. She said she was done talking about fate, and death. Everything she cared about was dead, she was finished and didn't care anymore. Kevin stared at her shocked.
"What about your sister? Or me?"
With that, Wendy grabbed her purse and said she was finished. She didn't care anymore. If she couldn't have saved Ian, why did she care if she lived or died? With that, she left, and continued to ignore his calls the reminder of the summer. During this time, she decided to switch to her safety school. With Ian now gone, she didn't have the heart to go to the West Coast. Instead, she decided on NYU. It was a few hours away, and had a good program. She spent the rest of the summer planning this, knowing she couldn't stay in McKinley much longer. There were too many memories here. When she moved, she wasn't nervous or afraid. She was alone, but relieved to leave this all behind. What she needed was a fresh start. She moved on campus and shared a dorm with a nice girl named Laura. Instead of being overwhelmed by the city, she and Laura explored it together. She dove herself into her work and studies, got used to her schedule, and tried her hardest to keep in touch with Julie, but could all ready sense a distance starting between them.
They planned on all coming up for Thanksgiving, but Julie hated to admit it, she was happy to be busy, distracted, and away from it all. There were some nights she would wake up, almost believing that all of this had been some horrible dream. That she was back home, back in McKinley, with Ian sleeping beside her. Other nights she had vivid nightmares of the rollercoaster, or of the night Ian died. Over and over they replayed, always making her wake up in a cold sweat. All she told Laura, when she committed on the photo of Ian and her was that this was her boyfriend, and he died this past summer. She never went into details, and Laura never asked. Still, it felt as if these weeks were all just some stupid daydream. That she was living someone else's life. That all of her classes, and study periods, and late nights going to coffee shops with Laura meant nothing. That she was just going to be another four useless years that meant nothing. Instead she continued thinking of what her life would have been life had none of this happened.
That Ian hadn't died, or the baby. What would her life be like? Somehow Wendy sensed, it would have been better... In the end, that chilly afternoon, the day before Thanksgiving, when she began sensing the same signs and feeling she felt this past summer, that horrible same chill returned, and slammed down on her heart when she saw Kevin and Julie. Somehow, she knew it had come back to collect. This time, there was no stopping it. She remembered Julie and her trying to open the doors in a panic, before she saw sparks and flashing lights. There were screams, and then finally...silence. When she woke, the train was overturned, bodies everywhere. Julie and Kevin both dead as well as her friends. It was happening all over again. She was thrown on the ground, leg broken, and badly hurt. She laid there, before she saw the approaching train. She screamed, and then...
Wendy opened her wide brown eyes. She blinked, the last thing she remembered was laying in the dark subway, covered in blood, hurt, broken, and watching as the other train came barreling down towards her. She remembered closing her eyes after screaming, feeling the horrible sense of relief. These past few months she hadn't been living. She had been waiting for this to happen.
Waiting to go back...
It was Senior Night.
She was sitting on Devil's Flight, sitting beside Ian. The ride was over, slowly coming down the tracks, and stopping. The ride was finished. It was over. They had made it. She looked ahead and saw all of her friends. Carrie, Jason, Ashley, Ashlyn, Frankie, Luis, Erin, Kevin, Julie, Perry...all of them alive. The ride stopped, she heard chills, and laughing before she turned and saw Ian. The harness lifted, and she turned staring at him. Instantly, Ian smiled. He looked exactly as he did that night, alive, and with her. His thick black hair styled up, that same smile on his thin and pale face.
"You did it Christensen! See, no puking."
Wendy looked around at all of the sights and sounds. Looking down at her flat stomach, she knew her baby was in there, growing safe and sound. Smiling, she knew this was Heaven. Turning, she stared at him completely speechless. Without so much as another word, she threw her arms around him, pulling him close, and squeezing him tight.
"Whoa...it wasn't that bad was it?"
Wendy shut her eyes, squeezing onto him tightly before she whispered in his ear...
"Give me my ring."
Ian pulled back raising an eyebrow.
"My ring. I want to wear it."
"But..." Wendy held her hand out before Ian nervously laughed and unzipped his pocket. Taking the ring, he smiled before slipping it on. Laughing, Wendy stood up, holding her hand up.
"HEY EVERYONE! I'M ENGAGED!"
Heads turned in pure surprise before Wendy laughed, as Ian stood up standing beside her. Kevin turned with Erin who actually looked happy for them and smiled before cupping his hands and yelling...
"Way to go McKinley!"
Luis joined in cheering, as did Jason, and Carrie. Ashly and Ashlyn swooned, as Frankie smiled turning the camera towards them. Even Perry and Julie, who looked stunned, turned and laughed smiling. Everyone was together again, everyone was young, and untouched. Wendy knew that if this was Heaven, she was going to be able to spend entirety with her soulmate and best friends. That tonight she would drive out with Ian to lay beneath the stars to a night that would never end. Staring up at a sky with the bright stars, she could have ever dreamed about, knowing that she had finally found peace at last. Turning, she stared at Ian, smiled, and reached over and deeply kissed him. It would be senior night forever, and she would never let the love of her life go again.
- Thank you for all the kind reviews!