Ah, part 13. I honestly didn't think the series would get this far, but it did. So, as so deeply needed, I have made part 13 of "The Quest for Mary". And blogs, series, fan-fictions were made for reading. So do as you should-read. It is your purpose, this part's purpose. Otherwise, it would be despoiled by...just read it.

Shame. Guilt, pain, fear, depression, and memories. All of these were thrashing like wild animals against the inside of Melinda's skull, relentlessly, ruthlessly. She stared at the vacant, empty ground. And fell to her knees. And sobbed. She felt tears of hatred toward her own self trickling down her cheeks like a river, then falling as a miniature drop to the floor. "I...I'm no killer...I'm just a..." her voice broke with the tears, gasps beating out in a strange rythm. "...a failure..."

Henry's head was throbbing with agony, along with the rest of his shaken body. It wasn't really smart of him to have gone into a room that was able to flip and toss and turn. He attempted to get up, and almost did at first, but then he felt his weak arms slowly wobble and collapse. "...Ugh..."

He looked over at Melinda, who was just as hurt emotionally as he was physically. She continued her sobs and moans, staring down at her leather-hidden legs. "...I could have killed the hospital..." She stuttered more to herself than to Henry. "But instead...I am trapped by my own care for who...for what...he used to be, and I am binded by my fear and I am forced to let him live just a little longer..." She fell to the floor in a heap and let out a scream.

Feeling his energy and health slowly regain, Henry managed to stumble up and limped over to Melinda. He gently stroked his hand through her hair, revealing streaks of deep red. Then he sat down beside her and sighed. "You're not a failure. You're just scared to kill what used to be your best friend." He took his hand from her hair and wrapped his arm around her shoulder. "But you're forgetting that he's not who he was anymore. He's a killer, a murderer, no matter why he's doing it or who he used to be or what he used to be like."

Melinda rubbed her fingers against her forehead, as if trying to block out the message Henry was trying to send. She shook her head and let out another scream, making Henry jump. "I can't, Henry. I don't see a murderer because-"

"You're trapped by your memories of some sweet teenage underdog." Henry sat in a lazy position and closed his eyes. "But that teenager became a killer. You need to see him for what he is."

Henry could have sworn he saw a small spark in Melinda's single eye. It wavered gently in the breeze of deceiving memories, then stopped. And it flickered into a distinct, burning, roaring flame of determination. Her fingernails scraped against the floor. "I hope he comes back, Henry." Melinda scowled softly. "I hope he finds you and me." Her voice grew louder. "When he does, I'll know." She wiped a tear from her eye. And she stood. "When he does, I'll kill him...or die trying."

Henry wobbled back up. He gave an assuring smile. "You were a good friend to Walter, you know. You did make him happy."

"...Sure..." The flame of determination slowly died down into a flicker and Melinda walked away. Henry couldn't help but feel a slight tug of guilt for reminding her of who Walter used to be, but he shrugged it off and followed his friend.

Heather watched in a combination of fear and wild bewilderment as the massive creature that was attacking James fell to the ground, writhing in pain and soaked in its own blood. She poked it with the tip of her foot and shuddered. "EW!"

Suddenly, out of nowhere, Angela stood up from her silence and broke into a series of bloodcurtling screams. She ran over to the creature, completely ignoring the fact that James was gasping for air and wounded, and kicked it mercilessly. "UGH! NO!" She blurted out as she grabbed a T.V. and slammed it down on the corpse of the monster.

James managed to catch his breath as he thought to himself, "Oh! My! You deserve a pat on the back for all the help you DIDN'T give me!" But instead of saying this, he simply stood up, gulped, and tried to comfort Angela.

"DON'T YOU TOUCH ME!" She bellowed as she tossed his arms aside and hurled herself to the ground, looking as if she were ill and ready to throw up. "You're sick! You're insane! You're all the same!"

"Who's all the-" James tried to finish, but Angela shut him up real quick.

"Don't give me your crap! I'm talking about all you sick-minded men out there! ALL OF YOU!" Angela was screaming so loud the disgusting skin-coated walls could crumble. Both Heather and James slowly backed away. "You said you were looking for MARY, right?!" Angela screamed while James nervously nodded.

"LIAR!" She screamed again, and Heather was about to tell this girl off real good, but James covered her mouth before she could say anything. "You aren't looking for her. You found someone else!" Angela continued, strutting away with a cocky frown. Heather let out sassy "MMMMs" from behind James' hand.

When James finally allowed Heather to speak, she growled and hissed, "Let's just get back to that one hallway and meet Henry and Melinda."

"Gotta find Maria first," James replied cheerfully, practically prancing out the door.

Henry and Melinda walked in silence for a moment or so, simply examining each other as if they were complete and total strangers. Henry looked at Melinda, and she turned her head away with a shallow gasp. She would look back at him, and he would glance away, secretly flushed.

Melinda broke the silence. "...Henry, if we ever make it out of this mess, could we..." Her soft, angelic voice was interrupted by a loud rumbling. The wall was about to break open again. Melinda backflipped and whipped out her katanas, prepared for Walter. She glanced over at Henry and gave a cool stare into the area of the noise.

The wall crumbled and cracked into a massive hole. But instead of a dirty-blond blood-stained serial killer, a young woman came flying out of the hole. She looked rather injured, cuts and bruises being her main features, and a cast on one of her arms. Her short brown hair covered up her ears but left her beautiful facial features perfectly visible. Her eyes made Melinda jealous.

"Eileen!" Henry looked like a kid in a candy store. Melinda tensed up a little bit and scowled when she saw Henry run over to the woman and hug her tight.

Eileen glanced over at Melinda. She smiled and ran over. "Henry, you found a new friend!"

"Not just any new friend!" Henry gave a grin of pride and Melinda bowed. "This 'new friend' has been hired to assassinate the very Walter Sullivan who's trying to kill us now!"

Melinda walked over to Eileen and tried her very best to cover up her scar. "I...I...I'm Melinda Sanders."

"Eileen-" The woman started. Melinda stopped her.

"Eileen Galvin, I know." Eileen couldn't help but wonder why Melinda knew her name. She didn't bother asking. "How'd you get so trashed up?" Melinda intended this question to be rude, but Eileen didn't seem to mind.

"Walter got me bad..." Eileen whispered the next part under her breath, but Melinda managed to hear it anyway. "And since he did, you're obviously not doing your job..."

With that, Eileen, Henry, and Melinda set off back to the hallway to explain to James their experiences.

Finally, James and Heather had managed to fight their way through the rest of the labyrinth and to Maria. To James' findings-gruesome and horrifying shock.

To Heather's-...a bed.

James stared at the bed in a strange state of what seemed like catatonia; he didn't react to any sound or movement. He just stared down. Maria laid there, bruised and beaten to a pulp. Her beautiful outfit no longer outlined her once gorgeous face.

" did you..." He broke his silence. Heather whipped out Melinda's diary and skipped a few pages.

"...I can't believe it, diary. I lost my eye today. Why do people have to be so cruel? Better yet, why do they have to be so freakin stupid? I remember what happened to it now.

Me and Walter were small-talking and walking randomly around South Ashfield. I've been getting into a lot of fights lately, and man am I good, but my luck seemed to run out today. I can tell by the look in some people's eyes what they think of me and Walter. And you know what? I couldn't care less.

But these two boys thought they were gonna have it easy. Oh please. They walk on over all big and tough, and I can tell that this is gonna be one of those big situations, and poor Walter's just standing there and trying to find out what to do while they corner his sorry butt.

First they started talking. Then they started yelling. Then they started pushing and shoving and spitting and that's when I got in the way. I flicked my leg out and tripped one, kicking him in the head as he fell. But then this other, bigger one thinks he's gonna get me and I'm all ready for it. That is, until he flicks out a switchblade.

Pain. That's all I can remember, the pain that soared up in the left side of my head. I felt this warm blood flowing down my face, and then I fall down and I hear Walter screaming and other people crying and the cops coming. Oh no..."

Heather's mouth slowly dropped as she kept reading. James placed his elbows on the bed and started crying. Right in front of Heather.

"I said oh no cause I think I just crossed the line, diary. I blew it. My mom actually came to visit me! But that's fine. I knew what she came to say. So you know what I tell the nurse when she mentions my mom? "Don't let her in."

"...But she's your mother! Aren't you supposed to love your parents?" Oh. Now it's time for Psychology 101? Please give me a moment to throw up.

"I love her, she just doesn't love me. Tell her to get out." My mom musta heard that part, cause she burst out into all sorts of rants about what a terrible daughter I am and how I'll never be what she wants...and...Walter..."

Some of the words were smeared and wrecked by teardrops. Heather skipped through those and started reading through the clear.

"I saw Walter come in through the door and my mom goes off on another rant. Here it is, word for word: "Fine! You hang out with that good-for-nothing scumbag! But that's all you'll ever be! SCUM! Don't come back home when they let you out. Don't come back to me." I tried my best not to cry in front of Walter. I didn't cry, thankfully.

Walter was giving me one of his puppy-dog eye looks. "..T...T...thank you...for saving me...I think you look beautiful anyway."

I shook my head. "I'm not, buddy, I'm not..."

He started running his fingers through my hair, and I got a little shaky and nervous. "You do look beautiful, you know. I think what happened made you special." And then he started stroking my cheek. And leaning over my hospital bed. And leaning down to me and puckering his lips and closing his eyes and- I pushed him away.

"I can't kiss you, Walter." I said abruptly. He looked hurt at first, then thoughtful. I could never kiss Walter. I mean, maybe if he were dying and it was my last chance to make him happy but...whatever. "You're a really good friend. Can't we just stay that way?"

Walter nodded in agreement. I hope I didn't hurt him too bad."

Heather looked at the diary again. "...Wow."

That's the end of part 13. Part 14, maybe?

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