a Cloverfield fanfiction by Dejana Talis
-not to be used without permission-
There was a sudden pressure on the mattress. Lily rolled over and opened her eyes, blinking blearily in the light. A fuzzy blob resolved into a familiar face. Lily smiled.
She reached out and pushed a lock of brown hair out of his eyes. For some reason she felt especially pleased to see his scruffy face, as if he had been gone for a long time. Just seeing him looking down at her, she couldn't stop smiling.
"What?" Jason asked for a moment, looking unnerved.
"I'm just glad to see you," Lily said sleepily. "I think I was dreaming. Like I lost you."
Jason reached out and ran his fingers down her cheek.
"You'll never lose me, babe."
Lily sighed contentedly, but kept her eyes locked on her boyfriend's face, as if he might vanish if she closed them.
"I love you." Lily grinned as Jason squirmed a bit.
"I know you do." He leaned in and kissed her, but Lily pulled away when he began to seek something more.
"You know I what?" she teased, holding him at arm's length. Whatever it took, she was going to wear him down until he could say it as easily as she could.
"Uh, you... I..." Jason grimaced suddenly. "Ouch, Lily, ease up."
Lily was shocked to find she had a death grip on her boyfriend's arms. She forced her hands to relax, but the strange feeling refused to go away. There was something wrong about all this. For one thing, it was usually Lily who had to wake Jason up. Still, for some reason she wanted to hang on to this moment, desperately, with both hands.
"C'mon, babe." Jason gave Lily another peck on the cheek and rolled out of bed. He was fully clothed; how late had she slept? "We've got a lot to do before the party."
Lily shot upright, suddenly cold, as if she had been doused with freezing water. It all came back in a rush so sudden that she clutched at her head with both hands. Rob's farewell party. The tremors that had rocked the city. The scarred and broken face of Lady Liberty lying in the street. The Brooklyn Bridge. And then-
"Jason!" She ripped her hands away from her face to see him being dragged away from her, the side of their apartment torn open, an unspeakable horror outside. He screamed and reached out to her, but she was frozen, unable to tear herself free from the sheets. Darkness and wires and grasping hands covered Jason in a wave, and before Lily could cry out again he was gone, pulled away into a spreading abyss.
Lily's eyes flew open and she sat bolt upright, gasping for breath and tearing at the sheets. Her forehead was damp with icy sweat, and she swallowed hard to keep the scream from escaping her throat.
The nightmare again.
Hot tears welled up and rolled down her cheeks, and she buried her face in her knees to stifle the sobs. She didn't want to wake the occupants of the cots on either side of her.
It was early yet, but the refugee camp was already starting to wake. Lines were forming at the restroom and shower, and the dull roar of life in general hovered on the edges of Lily's hearing. She raised her head from the blanket, and an elderly woman dressing nearby gave her a sympathetic smile, eyes filled with her own sadness. There were other camps for the displaced and the relief workers. This place was for the survivors, those who had stood in the creature's shadow and lived to tell the tale. They had been held here for several days while everyone was thoroughly checked for parasite bites. Now they were free to go... or free to wait.
Lily wiped the tears from her cheeks and reached for her shirt, a worn and faded thing donated by an area charity. It was time to wait again.
Time to wait for her turn to use the toilet and wash her face. Time to wait for her ration of water and food, and maybe a little coffee if she got there early enough. Time to wait for the gates to the yard to be opened. Time to wait for the lists to be posted.
There were three of them. The arrived, the quarantined, and the dead. The third list was always the longest.
There was a separate board for messages. Lily checked them all religiously. She read every scrap of paper posted there, from the largest official notice to the smallest handwritten note. At first, there had been several meant for her eyes. She had been reunited with most of the friends who had been at Rob's party. Some of them had even stayed with her for a few days, but before long they had all left to begin putting their lives back together. Now Lily was alone.
Her family called every day, begging her to come home, but she couldn't leave yet. She had to wait. With the helicopter engine roaring in her ears, she hadn't been able to hear Rob's last words to her, but the motion of his lips had been easy to read.
We'll be right behind you. Wait for us.
They had been through hell together. It wouldn't be right for Lily to leave it all behind without them. Manhattan was now a no-man's land, bombed to the ground and accessible only to military salvage crews. There was no going back there to look for lost friends. All Lily could do was stay in the refugee camp and wait.
After checking the lists, she crossed the yard to the camp's front gates and sat at the tables there. As trucks rolled in and out, and clouds drifted by overhead, endless thoughts consumed Lily's mind. No matter how many days went by, she couldn't seem to make sense of all that had happened. Sometimes the memories of the monster and the havoc it had wreaked made her shake from head to toe, but most often she thought about Jason.
Their relationship hadn't been sunshine and rainbows. They had fought over everything, from the bills to the scruff Jason refused to shave. Lily couldn't count the number of times she had wondered if they really belonged together. If it hadn't been for Rob, she might've spent the rest of her life regretting all the things she had and hadn't said to Jason. There were few people more trustworthy than Rob, and when he said his brother knew Lily loved him, she couldn't help but believe it.
She could still hear Jason calling out for her after the first tremor hit during the party. Lily was the first thought that had crossed his mind when everything started to go to hell. Even if he couldn't say the words, Lily knew Jason had loved her in return. He would be glad she had escaped the city.
Lily wished she could feel the same way. Even if Jason had lived, he would never have let Rob go alone, and Lily still would've gone with them to rescue Beth. She was meant to be a part of that journey. From the streets to the subway to the skyscraper, Lily, Rob, Hud, and Marlena had stuck together, divided only by death. If Lily had known she was going to be separated from them, she never would have gotten on the helicopter. She had been the first to join Rob and she should've been with him until the end, instead of sitting alone in a refugee camp waiting for him to catch up with her.
At least Rob and Beth had each other, wherever they were. Knowing Hud, he was probably still at it with the camera, denying Rob and Beth any private time. The flicker of a smile crossed Lily's lips as she imagined the scene, but it faded quickly.
She had tried their cell phones again and again, even Hud's, which she knew he had left in Rob's apartment. All three went straight to voicemail. All their family and friends knew Lily was waiting for them to arrive, but none of them had heard any news either. The helicopter had taken her away so fast she hadn't seen if Rob, Hud, and Beth had made it on the next one. Rob's face on the other side of the glass was her last glimpse of them, her last clue.
All the people who had arrived with Lily that first night had found their loved ones or given up in despair days ago. She had had gentle lectures from three different military officers during her time in the camp. The odds were explained to her time and time again. Manhattan had been leveled. The survivors coming in now were from fringe areas and subway tunnels. Lily wouldn't be allowed to stay in the refugee camp much longer, but whatever time she had, she was determined to stay and wait.
Rob had said they would be right behind her. Lily had always believed in him, and that wasn't about to change. Rob had survived the bridge, the firefight, the parasite attack, and the climb across the roof of an unstable building. After all that, there was no way the monster could have beaten him. As long as Hud and Beth were with Rob, they had to be all right. Any minute now, they would come through the gates together smiling and laughing. They'd all go have a beer and drink a toast to Jason and Marlena, and Lily's world would be a bit less shattered.
Any minute now.
It was a week later. Lily was once again sitting on an old picnic table near the main gate of the refugee camp, her knees drawn up against her chest. She was waiting again, but not for the reason she had been. Three familiar names had been on the third list that morning.
It's over. Please come get me.
She hadn't spoken a word since that phone call. No one bothered her while she waited to be picked up; they all had their own problems to deal with. Besides, Lily was just sitting at the gate like she always was. Only someone who knew her well would have noticed that the hope had vanished from her eyes.
After mourning Jason and the life she had known, there were no more tears to shed for the three friends she had left behind. There was only numbness, a dark chill that settled into Lily's bones and left her feeling frozen in time. She wondered vaguely if she would ever feel alive again, or if she was even alive now.
Why had she been the one to survive? They had all risked everything together, and by a stupid stroke of luck she was sitting on this picnic table instead of lying in a bag somewhere. She had left her friends behind, and they had died. Lily found she almost envied them, in a sour and twisted way. She was the only one who had to go on with the strangeness, and the emptiness, and the guilt.
Oddly, the person who surfaced most in her clouded mind was Hud. They had never been close, or anything at all, really. Lily had always regarded Hud as an annoyance, a backward stepchild who had to be endured because he was her boyfriend's best friend. Now she found it hardest to imagine life without his voice breaking into her phone calls, and his obnoxious laugh interrupting her romantic dinners. In the aftermath, Hud's goofy face and awkward behavior seemed as great a loss as Jason's warmth and Rob's grin. Lily remembered Hud insisting that he had to keep talking or he'd lose it, and thought if it hadn't been for Hud's rambling, she would've lost control too.
Lily blinked and pulled herself back to reality as the camp gates rumbled open. She reached for the bag that contained the few things she owned, but it wasn't her ride. A handful of dusty soldiers entered with armfuls of junk pulled from the wreckage of Manhattan. The military was collecting potential evidence related to the monster at a facility on the other side of the refugee camp. Lily saw broken pipes, a chunk of drywall that appeared to contain a bite mark, and a set of twisted and lifeless spidery legs sticking out of a sack. She shuddered and started to turn away, but her eye caught something that made her heart stumble in her chest.
Rob's video camera.
It was battered and broken and wrapped in a thick plastic bag, but after all the time Lily had spent pushing it on Jason and then cursing it in Hud's hands, she was sure she wasn't mistaken. She leapt off the table and ran toward the soldiers so suddenly that she found her way blocked by shouting men with rifles.
"Whoa, there, miss! Step back, please!"
"That's my friend's camera!" Lily shouted, pointing at the bag amid the other relics of the battle. "You've got my friend's camera!" Her heart was pounding in a mix of excitement and fear. If the memory card had survived, it could tell her what the soldiers couldn't. It was a record of the last hours Jason, Rob, Beth, Hud, and Marlena had lived; the last hours they had all spent together. It could tell Lily what had happened to the friends she'd left behind.
"It's government property now, miss," said the armed man barring Lily's way. "Step back, now."
Lily watched helplessly as the camera was carried away. The echoes of rumbling and crashing and mass panic rose up in her mind, along with Hud's response when she mocked him for keeping the camera rolling.
This is gonna be important. People need to see how it all went down.
"What's going to happen to it?" she asked suddenly, an urgent sharpness in her voice. "People will get to see the tape, right?"
"That's for the Department of Homeland Security to decide, miss." The soldier turned away to follow the entourage toward the evidence facility. Lily stood motionless in the yard, staring after them, her fists clenched at her sides.
We can tell them how it all went down.
No. They need to see it.
At the time, it had all seemed random and insane, and they had followed Rob because it was that or be left alone in the nightmare. Looking back, Lily knew that what her friends had done for each other was nothing short of heroic. In that bag was not only a firsthand look at the creature that had destroyed Manhattan, but a priceless record of the strength of humanity. Knowing Hud, he had died to preserve that footage, and now the government was going to hide it away. No one would know what Rob and the others had been through. Just thinking about it made Lily's blood boil. She'd die before she'd let that happen.
When Lily's relatives arrived to collect her they found, not the broken and grief-stricken girl they were expecting, but the hard-edged pillar of strength she had grown up to be. Lily knew now why she had been spared the fate of so many. She had a long, hard road ahead of her, but she wouldn't stop until she reached her goal. She wouldn't rest until the video of her friends' last hours was released to the world.
It was time to stop waiting and act.
Cloverfield and its associated characters and canon are the property of Bad Robot Productions.