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Bethany’s stupid troubles

By: Chloe Xiao

To think that with this insane group, and especially with Noelle guiding us, how in this damn world did I even think that this was going to be some sort of mundane adventure in the desert? I assume I was hoping for something less hectic than life as a resident: weird hours, little pay, and pretty much no sleep. I almost regretted that choice to choose this profession. I could have been a lawyer but, after everything I saw happened, well, I guess there’s no turning back. At least I get to see all of those ridiculous idiots for a bit before I move to the place at Stanford and never really see them again.

Hmm. Well maybe our time together will be a little shorter now. At least Alden and Leo are here. Well, it is approximately 22:00, so I assume I should at least fire off one of those ridiculous flares. I mean, if you set it off some way and breathe in too much, it causes irritation and prolonged exposure will genuinely give me dermatitis. Like c’mon. A damn flare will give me a life full of painful rashes as if my stupid cold urticaria. Those damn cold allergies keep coming every night, making my whole body have little red and itchy spots, and I, as an idiot, forgot to bring my stupid allergy pills.

While I was caught up in my mental storm, I saw a flare flashing back towards us. It’s a bright neon orange. Julian’s color. I for some reason was able to snap out of my trance and got the boys up by some miraculous feat. But that’s when we saw it. A huge roaring fire shoots up, with the flickering flames transporting me back to that place.

I guess this is what those people meant by that feeling like I’m not there. I’m there, but not. . Like I can’t control anything. Well, I can see everything happening again. Those hungry fires eating away everything else. That same sense of dread is back. I can’t see clearly. The heat is so close I can feel it burning against my skin. It feels like my chest is closing in on itself like someone is doing CPR on me. I won’t remember those days, those days have passed. But I still cannot let fear win this time. I can’t breathe, the hoarse scream for him is all I can muster.

My throat feels dry and sandpapery with the bile rising my throat, making me choke and start watering at the eyes a bit. But then I can feel someone hugging me from behind, offering words of comfort and squeezing me tight. The cold night air helps me get out of it just a bit more. Maybe the blanket. Or the group hugs. I’m not sure what happened, but I found myself standing somewhere with Alden and Noah hugging me close and tight.

I got out of it soon enough. That was a relatively short one. The boys had shoved a blanket or two over my shoulders and a steaming mug of warm tea. I had decided that just because of my little thing right there, we shouldn’t stop worrying about the others. I was perfectly fine after all. I would feel better anyway to see the others safe and sound before I was pampered. I assume all those years on the field may have changed my thinking into that. Who knows. I surely don’t. But it’s time to head over to that flare and that strange fire. Maybe we’ll find someone we know there. Maybe we won’t. But it is the hope. That awful hope that persists no matter where I go. Maybe it is not too bad this time. Maybe it is. I will find out after this trek there.

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