Thanks again for the reviews and reads. I really hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. And now on with the final chapter.
It’s dark again. And quiet. So quiet. Why the hell is it so quiet? The cold air burns my skin with a harsh familiarity. I try to scream but all that comes out is a sort of feeble echo. That was a stupid move. I’m pretty sure someone heard that. Yeah, I can hear them coming. I should try to move but I know I won’t be able to. I’ve had this dream so many times and I’ve never been able to move. Not once.
So how come my feet are twitching?
Holy shit, I’m walking. Through the dark, the curling mist and it seems like there’s some kinda weird light in the distance. And all I have to do is reach it and everything will be okay. It glows brighter as I move closer. It’s so beautiful. And yet with each step my footfall grows heavier, like my feet are made of lead. I’m slowing down. I can’t make it. Feet. Too. Heavy.
I collapse into an exhausted heap. The light still shines but it’s out of my reach now. Everything always is.
A voice. Patient but commanding and strikingly familiar. I lift my head off the ground.
Gerard, wake up.
There it is again. Where is it coming from? I look around. All I see is dark and swirling mist and the light. Wait...the light.
“Come on, Gerard.”
It’s coming from the light. I clumsily manage to bring myself to a standing position and slowly begin my approach towards it again but...God it’s so hard...
“You can do this.”
No I can’t.
“You can do this.”
“You can do this.” And at those words, I’m suddenly filled with this enormous surge of belief, pulsing from the top of my head to the very tips of my fingers, causing me to struggle on again with renewed power, my head filled with the one thought of reaching the light. Backed up with the disembodied voice’s urging I know it’s true. I can do this.
It seems so much closer now. I can almost touch it. I can feel it’s heat radiating from it, warming my skin and heart and mind. Just one last push and I’ll be there. One push...
“You can do it.”
“Wake up, Gerard. Please, wake up.”
His eyes had opened only a crack when the light came flooding in. Beautiful and yellow and green, a striking contrast from the miserable blackness of the chessboard and the chasm. And the voice, the same voice as the one from his dream, the one who had urged him on. Frank was leaning over him, face creased in worry, speaking the words that had brought him back. Back. But where was back?
Gerard opened his eyes. He was lying on a leafy forest floor in the glade Sara had brought them both to and they had kissed in the sunshine next to the little river. Sara was there now, standing in her signature position with her arms over her chest and LynZ was there too looking down at him with concern.
“Is this heaven?” Gerard muttered in his disorientated state.
They all burst out laughing. Sara too. It was the first time he’d seen her really laugh for a long time.
“Sorry dude,” Frank shook his head. “Not quite.”
“What happened?” he asked, sitting up and rubbing at the back of his head which had begun to throb painfully. “I’m alive? But...I jumped, didn’t I?”
“Yes Gerard, you jumped,” Sara nodded with the disdainful air of having to explain basic math to a three year old. “You jumped, nobly sacrificing your life for theirs. You would have died too, if I hadn’t felt somewhat...uncomfortable about letting your spine snap in two.”
“You...you saved me?”
“Well...yeah,” she shrugged oh-so-casually, as if it wasn’t a big deal. But her expression looked quite uncomfortable, almost embarrassed. “In a manner of speaking. But really,” she looked him in the eye now and said unabashedly, “You saved yourself, Gerard.”
“What do you mean?”
“You sacrificed your life to save your friends,” said Sara. “That takes some serious love and guts. In my eyes, you’ve pretty much redeemed yourself. And despite what you may have told yourself, you do not deserve to die.”
Gerard looked back at Frank and LynZ. They were both smiling at him and at their admiring faces he felt a burst of pride, a feeling that hadn’t stuck in him for many years. He turned back to Sara, glowing, but then a sudden thought occurred to him.
“Won’t you get punished for this?” he asked.
She shrugged again. “Maybe, probably,” she replied with a dismissive gesture. “But I don’t think so. I was supposed to forgive. I didn’t think I’d ever be able to but I forgive you, Gerard.”
Gerard nodded. Frank looked confused. “So wait,” he started. “Who really is running this whole thing? Who gave you that bruise? Who makes the Rules?”
Sara looked hesitant. “I can’t really tell you that.”
She made a non-committal gesture. “Just...Can’t.” She waved her arms around airily. “It’s a story for another day.”
Everything was right again. It was all falling back into place. Sara turned around to face the trees and with a flick of her wrist they began to wobble and shake.
“You’re way back is through there,” she told them. “You’ll find things should be quite a bit better now.”
Gerard stepped forward and held out his hand. “Thank you.”
She hesitated and then took it with a wry grin. “Despite everything,” she began. “It was nice to see you again.” Gerard laughed. They shook hands. And when they let go they could all sense that something had changed.
“Sara,” Frank stuttered in shock. “You’re...something weird is...”
He pointed at her feet. She looked down. They were paler than the rest of her body and it was spreading slowly upwards, to her legs, her waist until she looked washed out, like a faded water colour painting.
“You’re...you’re fading,” LynZ stated.
Sara looked back up at them and they were astonished to see that she was smiling, a huge beaming smile that lit up her whole face and made her look so achingly beautiful that they couldn’t look away. “It’s okay,” she told them happily. “I’m free now. I think I can go.”
“I don’t know, idiot,” she sang. “But no one ever does, do they? Goodbye, Gerard. And good luck.”
She waved and the next moment she was gone. Gone to another, better place leaving Gerard, Frank and LynZ alone in the glade.
Frank looked awkward. “So,” he wrinkled his nose uncomfortably. “I suppose...we better be getting back then.”
Gerard nodded but LynZ sighed causing the two guys to look at her questioningly.
“I’m not stupid,” she told them with exasperation. “I know what’s going on.”
Gerard and Frank glanced warily at each other but she didn’t look angry. She took a breath and continued, “You’re in love, aren’t you?”
At once they shook their heads and protested loudly that they both were and always had been heterosexual males and how unfair it was that just because two guys happened to be very close friends the world instantly assumed they had to be gay. LynZ just shook her head amusedly. “It’s okay,” she smiled. “I’ve known for a while now. Ever since the Game to be honest.”
That shut them up. Gerard and Frank looked stupidly at each other and back at LynZ, neither of them the wiser on what to say. That was when Gerard decided that he needed to say something. “I’m sorry,” he told her dumbly. “I never meant to...I still love you. Just not...in that way.”
“I get it,” she assured him. “To tell you the truth, I feel the exact same way.”
Gerard nodded and began to shuffle his feet embarrassingly. Behind him Frank was examining a snail with a curiously patterned shell. LynZ sighed again, took a step towards Gerard and planted a light kiss on his lips. “I’ll miss you,” she breathed.
“I’ll miss you too,” he replied and he meant it. Then she let go, waved sheepishly, and stepped through the portal back to their world.
When she had gone Frank looked at Gerard. “We don’t have to go back you know,” he suggested shyly. “We could just stay here. No freaky questions. No cops. What d’you think?”
Gerard looked around at the green and yellow paradise they stood in. Forever sunshine and happiness. Just the two of them. Their own personal heaven. He shook his head.
“No,” he said firmly. “This is my mess. I gotta go clean it up. No more hiding, no more running. Time to face it out.”
Frank grinned. “I hoped you’d say something like that.”
Gerard smiled back feeling contented and peaceful. “You with me?”
Frank gave him a cocky arrogant look, a look that made Gerard want to punch him and smother him with kisses at the same time. “Did you even have to ask?”
He laughed, swung an arm around his shoulder and together they walked back through the gateway, away from the glade, away from the nightmare forever. They were coming home again.
Who spotted the Green Day reference on the last line there? What can I say? I’m an Idiot through and through. However, I’m also thoroughly Killjoy and I really hope if MCR are reading this they didn’t want to puke up their intestines into a sink. I mean, it was pretty happy. And lovey-dovey. And not me.
Hope you liked the ending. I did. Can you believe I had this all planned out from Chapter 1? Cos I can’t!
Well, that’s all for now folks. Scroll the credits. And have yalself a very nice day.