63: Rest in Peace

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(A/N: Finally, here at last: the final chapter of Wicked! It's been a long, wickedly fun ride and I enjoyed every moment of writing this and sharing each chapter with you all! But it's not over yet! I hope you enjoy the final read in this book, my dear friends and readers!)

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Pride, anger, gluttony, and idleness are sometimes conquered, but the conversion of a malicious and envious mind is a kind of miracle." (Beauty and the Beast, Jeanne-Marie LePrince de Beaumont)

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-Ruta-


He was dead.

The deathly paleness of his skin was the first indicator that Death had taken Eden away from me. Blood, copious amounts of it, spilling from the ragged, deformed fairy wings that ruptured out of Eden's back is the second indicator. The previously white sheets on his hospital bed are now bathed in red. He hadn't passed away quietly; those wings meant that he suffered before death.

It's too much.

I try not to feel anything, try not to let this affect me, but it's too much. The blood, the look of Death in his wide, empty eyes--I can't hold it back.

I scream.

I bury my face into the stained sheets and continue to scream. Maybe if I keep screaming, it will eventually be enough to push this cruel reality away from me. Maybe... just maybe, I can sink into this sickeningly sweet, dark oblivion, and forget about my dead friend, my corpse-like body, my failed existence. Enough screaming and it will all go away.

His sheets feel like iron in my hands but I squeeze harder and let my voice die along with Eden. Someone comes behind me and puts their heavy hand on my shoulder. Judging by its weight, I know that it's Nate.

His voice confirms this. "Ruta, it's alright," he murmurs. "He's not suffering anymore."

Oh, Nate. Sweet, unselfish, always kind and always just, Nate. He is forever trying to act as though he's so much better than us all. Even now, he's not showing an ounce of remorse for Eden's death. Just like when he killed me, the heartless cur.

"Shut up!" I screech. "He shouldn't have had to suffer in the first place! He should still be alive!"

I release Eden's sticky covers and glare over my shoulder at the knight. I'm about to unleash all of my rage and fury on him but that all dies away when I see tears running down his face. His lips are trembling. His eyes are squeezed shut and he can't even look at Eden; his head is turned off to the side.

"You're right," Nate utters, his voice a low, harsh growl. "But this world isn't always keen on allowing what's right to happen."

I don't know why but seeing Nate like this, so emotional and broken, makes my own anger slip away. Sadness and guilt bubbles up in the vanished anger's stead.

My hands move up to Eden's tiny face where they begin to stroke his cheek, which has gone cold.

"I'm sorry, Eden. I said I'd be back before you woke up," I whisper.

So, what now? There's really no purpose left for me, not any longer. I don't have the urge to kill Nate; we've come to terms, I believe. Eden was the only other thing I cared about since returning to this world after dying. What's left for me now?

Katharsis. Even the thought of her makes me want to dissolve into a ball of rage.  I'm almost sure that vile fairy had something to do with this. I should be dead right now but instead, Eden is dead and I'm still trapped in this shell of a body. I wouldn't put anything past that insane Katharsis and her lust for blood and hatred. She probably thought that this would be a better punishment for me since I went against her wishes. Forcing me to roam this world, trapped in this form, forever an outcast, forever remembering Eden and the state that he's in now.

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