Melinda Metz

The Salvation

(Roswell High-010)

For Laura J. Burns: Roswell High wouldn't be the same place without your creativity and dedication.


Liz Ortecho stared into the open grave. At the bottom she could see Adam wrapped in the flowered sheet she'd chosen. His body looked so small down there. So lonely.

Tears blurred her vision until all she could see was a splotch of colors in the hole. Being alone was the thing Adam hated most. He'd spent years held prisoner underground by the alien-hunting agents of Project Clean Slate. The agents and guards and the doctors running the experiments on him were his only contact with the outside world.

It wasn't fair. Adam had just started to have a normal life. He'd just found people who truly cared about him. And now… Liz let out a shuddering breath.

Alex Manes gave her shoulder a squeeze, then stepped forward and dropped a photograph into the grave. It fluttered down to Adam's body.

'What was that?' Liz asked, wiping her eyes with the heel of her hand.

'It was a picture from the party we had at the UFO museum,' Alex answered as he took a step back and stood next to her again. 'Sorry you weren't in it. You weren't there that night.'

'It's okay,' Liz answered. 'At least Adam has some company now.' A piece of her long, dark hair flew over her face. She didn't bother to brush it away, but her best friend, Maria DeLuca, did it for her. Then Maria approached the grave. She took seven little vials of her aromatherapy oil out of her purse. One by one she poured drops of them into the hole. Liz caught the scent of roses, eucalyptus, cedar, ylang-ylang, cinnamon, and almonds.

Fresh tears stung her eyes as Maria poured the last vial and the odor of green leaves, new leaves, leaves just opening to the sunlight, joined the mix. Adam's scent, Liz thought. She pulled in a deep breath, smelling the perfume that filled the air every time the seven of them-she, Max Evans, Michael Guerin, Maria, Alex, Isabel Evans, and Adam-had formed a group connection.

The connection would never be the same, not without Adam's green leaf scent, without the yellow of his aura, without the note of music unique to him. Liz pulled in another deep breath, trying to memorize the perfume, trying to imprint it and make it a pan of her forever.

By the time Maria moved back into place beside Liz, the scent of the oils had already begun to fade. 'That was nice,' Liz forced herself to say, struggling to get the words past the salty lump in her throat. Maria nodded, clearly unable to speak.

Isabel and Michael exchanged a look, then Isabel moved forward and knelt beside the grave. She whispered something, Liz couldn't hear what, then leaned down into the hole as far as she could and dropped a plastic sun next to Adam. Liz was glad Isabel had thought of that. Liz knew it was irrational, but she hated thinking of Adam being trapped underground again, separated from light and warmth by layers of the desert earth.

He's dead, she told herself. He doesn't know where he is.


The word had a heavy weight in her mind. Like a stone.

It had happened so quickly, the transition from living to dead. One instant Adam was standing beside her in the hangar where Elsevan DuPris was holding the spaceship. The next instant Adam was on the ground with a hole going all the way through his body. Right through the center of his heart.

Even with Adam's form lying in the ground, it was hard for Liz to completely believe he was… not alive. It should take longer, she thought. No one should be able to die so quickly. There should be time to realize it was happening. To do something. To say good-bye.

Liz's eyes returned to the grave as Isabel rose gracefully to her feet. Michael immediately moved forward, touching Isabel's arm briefly as he passed her. He stared down at Adam's body for a long moment, then he opened his backpack and pulled out a shiny silver toaster.

'It's too heavy-' Liz began, hating the thought of the toaster hitting Adam's defenseless body.

It doesn't matter-he's dead, she told herself again, trying to make it real. Trying to accept it.

Michael dropped the toaster, but he must have used his power to push the molecules of oxygen closer together underneath it because it floated down into the hole as lightly as a feather.

'We got DuPris,' Michael said, his voice harsh as he stared down at Adam's prone form. 'He's dead. Not that that helps you any.'

When she heard the name DuPris, Liz's heart practically stopped. She flashed on the vivid memory of DuPris turning toward Adam, directing the power of the Stone of Midnight at him and killing him as casually as swatting a fly. He'd done it to prove a point in an argument he was making. It was nothing personal. Adam happened to be there when DuPris wanted to make a little demonstration.

Liz's stomach cramped as she thought about how casually DuPris had annihilated Adam. Yes, DuPris was dead now. But that didn't seem like punishment enough. Not after all that he'd done-not only killing Adam, but killing Adam's parents, Max and Isabel's parents, and Michael and Trevor's parents by making their ship crash back in 1947.

'Liz,' Maria said gently. 'Are you ready?'

Liz realized it was her turn, her turn to try to find a way to say good-bye. Reluctantly she took the few steps that brought her to the edge of the grave.

'Adam…' Liz hesitated. What was there to say? What was the point of saying anything?

'Adam, I don't know what happens after we die,' she said finally, trying to keep her voice from breaking. 'Who knows, maybe there's a way to bend back time, or maybe you've been converted into another form of energy and you can hear me or feel me.' Her breath started to come in hard pants as she struggled not to cry harder than she already was. She didn't want to break into the big, noisy sobs that would make it impossible for her to talk. She hadn't found the right thing to say. She couldn't lose it yet.

'If you can hear me, I just want you to know that I'm never going to forget you,' Liz said, tears coating her cheeks. 'Part of you is going to live in me-just the way my sister, Rosa, does. And maybe that way… maybe it's like you'll never have to be lonely again.'

Liz opened the shopping bag she'd been cradling against her chest. She pulled out a snow globe with the Empire State Building in it. She'd bought it for herself years ago to keep her dream of moving out of Roswell to the big city alive. But now she wanted Adam to have it.

She glanced over her shoulder at Michael. 'Help me?' she asked, holding up the heavy glass globe.

Michael was at her side in two long strides. Liz twisted the key in the base of the globe and the song 'New York, New York' began to play. Liz nodded to Michael, then released the globe. It floated down to Adam, tiny snowflakes flurrying. 'Sorry we never got to make our road trip,' she whispered.

'Let's cover him up,' Michael said. He took Liz's hand, then held out his other hand to Isabel. Liz reached toward Alex, and he pulled Maria over to join the group. In moments they'd formed the connection between them. It felt washed out and watered down without Adam and without Max.

Liz pushed the thought of Max aside. She couldn't think about him now. He was almost as lost to her as Adam was, and if she let her mind go there, she was afraid something inside her would snap, leaving her as limp and vacant as a rag doll.

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