Author's Note Wow, this is the end. Tear.. Well, hope everyone/anyone enjoys this last chapter..
Finding The End
I gape at Bernard. Is he saying what I think he's saying.. What does he mean? My confusion my show up on my face because Bernard grins good naturedly at me.
"So many questions, little one." He says reassuringly, sounding like one of those mountain mystic gurus.. the ones that people travel seven years and seven months and seven days to get to so that they can get their questions answered and so forth.
"What did you mean? Where's Daniel? Why wouldn't he be in Heaven? He's the best person I know.. Where is he? Can I see him?" I ask in a complete ramble.
Bernard puts up a hand to stop my tirade of speech. He has lost some of his compassion.
"Daniel Fuller." He says. I nod, frantically, desperately and then I can feel the blurriness around me again.
There is blood everywhere.
It stains my clothes, the walls, everything. I am alone for now but how long will this last? I need to get out of here, clean up. I have to leave. That realization comes to me and I fight desperately against it. No. I won't, I can't leave. Believe it or not, I have too much to lose. For once, my life is actually somewhat stable. I have Daniel, a kind of steady income, I have somewhere to stay and people to talk to. I'm happy, that's what I am. I don't want to give up on the happiness.
I go to the bathroom and pull some towels off the rack. They trail behind me as I take them back to the living room. I drop them and they instantly start to soak up, the red staining them quickly. It will never fully come out. I can try to wash it off but I don't have the time. What do I do?
I hear a noise outside and spin, shaken. Nothing. And then Daniel bursts into the room.
"Happy Birthd-" He starts and then stops. He looks at what he is seeing.
"Claire." He says it with a dizzying finality. I shake my head. I have no words. There are none to describe what I have just done. I hear another noise and Wendalyn Summers comes in. What is she doing here?
"Saw your car- Oh my god!"
I flinch. This is not good. Daniel reacts.
"Wendalyn, get out!" He yells at her. She stares at him, at me and makes up a story in her head for all this.
"Oh my god! You bitch! You absolute bitch- how could you?" She screams at me.
"Leave her alone," Daniel says desperately. She rounds on him.
"And what? You're still protecting her? God, she steals your mother's stuff, screws my car and kills-"
"I did not steal Flora's jewellery! And I was nowhere near your car!" I interrupt.
"And this?" It is Daniel who speaks, making a vague gesture at the body that is lying on the floor.
I don't know, I shrug helplessly. His expression freezes.
"Alright. This is what we are going to do." He continues, speaking quickly. "We're going to get this all cleaned up. Wendalyn, you didn't see a thing okay?" He pleads with her for a second and she tuts her consent.
We get to work. We wash up everything, clean the room and dispose of the body. It strikes me as ironic that we are working together completely. And then it is over. The place looks normal, I look normal.
"I can't believe I just did that." Wendalyn says awed and disgusted with herself.
"Wen, go upstairs, I'll talk to you in a sec okay?" Daniel says. She goes and he turns to me.
"Claire. What happened?"
I shake my head. I can't answer. I won't answer.
"Claire, I just spent a fucking hour cleaning blood of the curtains! Tell me what happened?" He yells.
I can't tell him and that kills the both of us. Because I tell him everything. He knows everything about me. I have never kept anything from him before. Before I can start to apologise, Wendalyn comes back and I subconsciously glare at her.
"I had to get my jumper" She says quickly and turns to go back upstairs.
Daniel stops her. "It's cool Wendalyn. We're done."
We are? But I nod agreeably. I figure being totally complacent can only help me win points back.
"Ok." She nods awkwardly and comes to join us, her arms folded.
"Thank you." I say to her and she looks at me, a little surprised. I meant it completely but my apology has given her some of her spark back.
"Don't apologise to me." She says harshly. "You're a fucking murderer." She says dramatically. "You murdered someone," She adds in a scared whisper.
"This never happened ok? Wendalyn, you came here, we had some drinks, awkward silences, the usual." Daniel says.
He takes a deep breath, as if he is trying to convince himself that he did the right thing.
"And Claire? No-one is going to find out what you did from Wendalyn or me."
I'm about to thank him but he goes on.
"But I want you to go."
"Go where?" I ask, quietly.
"Just go. Anywhere." He says seriously. "Don't come back here. We're over."
I look at him but he's not looking at me.
"I've been trying to tell myself that I did the right thing but I don't know if I can. And I never wanted to be put in that position by anyone. Not even you." He says quietly.
I want to say something. Anything. But I can't.
"Just go. Claire, please." He says, finally looking at me. And in his eyes, I can see sorrow, anger, fear, disappointment. Everything. And I can't face that. Not from Daniel.
I turn and go, walking out of his and my almost perfect life.
Months later, I'm at a cheap motel. I've got a job that doesn't pay well but it's enough to get me a permanent motel stay and the necessities. I'm having breakfast and reading the paper when an article catches my eye.
Fuller Fortune Heir Weds
Daniel Fuller, 23, son to Flora and Adam Fuller and subsequently, the heir to their fortune was married yesterday to Wendalyn Summers. Wendalyn, also 23, was a childhood friend of Daniel and describes their relationship as being "blissful and perfect."
Friends for almost 17 years, she adds "I've always loved him but it just took some time for us to realise that we really belong together."
The couple's nuptials were a surprise to close friends and family. "It just happened!" Daniel's mother Flora gushes, clearly delighted. The wedding took place at the Fuller residence and was said to be "beautifully moving."
They will tour Europe as part of their honeymoon and will then continue to reside in the Fuller Residence. With a gleam in her eye, Wendalyn adds that "she loves children and can't wait for my own."
No. I can't believe it. He wouldn't marry that cow.. He just wouldn't.
I come back down with a raging sadness. Bernard pats me on the back. "There, there."
"How could he marry her?" I ask him.
"Not my department. Literally. That's Cupid and Co you're looking for but he doesn't work a lot. That's why divorce is going up." He says, casually.
"Can I see him?" I ask Bernard, suddenly remembering what he said earlier. He fixes me with a pearly stare then nods.
"Come on then."
We walk a bit, and as we do, a path forms beneath my feet. If I look ahead, it seems to go forever. Forever ends. The path has stopped.
"What ya lookin' for, huh?" A Devil who looks exactly like Bernard pops its head out of thin air.
"Section 47, Master Bernard and guest. Request to see Section 28 occupier, Daniel Fuller." Bernard says efficiently and a door materialises.
"That was Harold." Bernard tells me. I nod, totally confused but impatient to keep going. The door opens and I step through it. The other side is no different to what I am familiar with. Red rock, smoke and fog, all mixed together.
For a minute I search, wondering what, who am I going to see? Is this another joke?
And then I feel the touch of my arm and I turn around.
"Claire?" He asks, his voice shaking.
I nod slowly. He reacts- smiling at first and then he wraps his arms around me and I feel tears in my eyes.
"I missed you so much." I whisper to him. Or does he whisper it to me. I can't tell.
"I love you. Always have." He says and I kiss him.
"Well this is romantic but totally off topic.." Bernard (or at least, I think it's Bernard) drawls. We pull apart.
"You're both dead. Both in Hell and you have no questions?" Bernard says. "What losers!"
I laugh weakly. He has a point, though. "What are you doing here Dan?" I ask shakily. "You, of all people, should have gone up to the Pearly Gates of whatever.."
He smiles. "They wouldn't let me in."
"Why?" I ask when he doesn't expand.
"Because I don't regret helping you."
"Big no-no." Bernard cuts in cheerfully.
I can't help but smile if not guiltily.
"Don't blame yourself. I still don't regret it. I did something for the woman I loved."
I smile a little wider.
"Very touching." Bernard says again. "And I can see you're very happy but you, Claire, still haven't finished."
"Finished what?" I ask nervously.
Daniel grins. I suspect he knows what's happening.
"Go finish Claire. I'll be waiting." He says, kisses both my cheeks and is gone.
"What have I got to finish?" I as Bernard eagerly, wanting to get back.
He rolls his eyes. "You have to find out the truth."
"Like… the meaning of life?' I ask.
"Something like that.." He settles down on a rock, waiting for the truth to hit me.
Silence. What is the truth? I don't know.
"Oh for bloody sake.. I'll tell you the truth okay?" Bernard finally snaps.
I nod. "Yes please."
"OK. One. There is no Heaven."
"What?" No way.
"Ok fine. There is a Heaven. But it's not just for good people. What is a good person anyway? No, don't answer. Gods created good people when he wrote the rules."
"Yes. Them. But by creating the rules that people. good people should live by, he created the bad, the evil people."
"So.. Good is actually evil?"
"No! There is no good. There's no evil either. They aren't things, Claire. They're a choice."
It's starting to get clearer.
"And people make that choice. And after, when they die, they come down to their home. To the place that helped them make that choice."
"I chose to be evil?" I ask, now more confused but in a clear kind of way.
"Subconsciously yes. But being evil doesn't always mean murder and greed. It can be indulgence or laziness. That's apparently evil too." Bernard continues and laughs.
And suddenly it's clear. It just clicks and the red, the smoke, the flames of hell disappear. And beyond it I can see life again. People, who have made a choice.
"Go out there and live, baby. You're going to be here for a while." Bernard says, laughing and shoos me away.
"Thanks Bernard!" I yell over my shoulder and I see him fade away.
But I've found myself again. Who I was. Who I am. Who and what make me what I am. Like Daniel. My parents. Even Wendalyn.
Finally, I remember.
Author's Note: Wow. What'd everyone think of that? Hope you all liked it, I thought it was remarkably cool but whatever. And it was a SUPER LONG chapter as well! Thanks to everyone who reviewed this story but particularly to Irish Fairy and kamikaze mission. You guys rock my socks, really! Anyhoo, have good days!
P.S Thanks Larana! Thanks heaps! Hope you enjoyed this chapter!