Quick Disclaimer: I do not own these characters or the world they inhabit. They were created by the fabulous people at Zombie Orpheus for their equally fabulous RPG, Masters of the Metaverse! Be sure to tune in to Twitch.TV/zombieorpheus every Monday at 6PM PST to see more!
Monday was standing next to Maddox when she felt it. In truth, she hadn’t left Maddox’s side since the fight had started. She could see her thread and she knew what was coming. It had finally crystalized. It was only a matter of time.
A wave of cold dread suddenly overtook her. Monday felt the rising static in the air and her heart stopped. This had happened once before. Long ago, on the top of rubble that was once a mountain. Then she had only watched.
Spinning to face the others, she took in a deep breath and closed her eyes. Golden tendrils shot out and wrapped around each pilot. Flickering shadows emerged, playing out future moments. She had to be fast. Tracing each thread, Monday heard the ticking of a clock. Wyatt’s watch. Time was running out.
Then she found it. Brony. She could see it happening. The blows landing, one, two, three, four, the ribcage splintering, the blood spraying from his mouth. His eyes dimming. His body falling. She could hear their screams.
What would you do?
A whisper in her ear. The Metaverse surrounded her.
What would you do to save them? What would you give?
Monday opened her eyes, “Anything.”
Time snapped back into focus. She started running. She could feel The Grey pulling her back, dragging at her ankles. But she couldn’t stop. She felt herself tearing into pieces, her body growing heavier with each step. But she couldn’t stop. A thousand voices shouting at her to stay, to remain. They were the ones who watched, who remembered. They did not intervene.
But she couldn’t stop.
She had watched as a boy was broken into stone. She had watched as a Titan killed his own soul. She had watched as a world of people spun in circles for centuries. She had watched as the ones she cared about were tortured, cast out, broken into pieces. She had watched as her heart walked away down a path he didn’t want to follow.
Monday reached Brony just as the first punch was about to land. She prayed she was strong enough. Grabbing him by the back of his shirt, Monday pulled. Right, left, right again, left again. Each time she felt the wind whiff by her face. The attacks stopped and there was a sudden silence. Looking up, Monday willed herself to vanish but not before she saw the looks on their faces.
They could see her. They could all see her.
“She’s going to get in trouble for that.” Crash said.
What did it matter? Let The Order do what they wanted. They had seen her. After all this time. They had finally seen her.
Monday waited until the others had left the grave. She didn’t want to intrude. This was their moment with their friend, it wasn’t hers to record. Neither was what had happened in Nyx. She had been there, at the end. She had stood next to Maddox the whole time. She knew she wasn’t seen because she wasn’t meant to be. Just as she wasn’t meant to write the words of what had transpired in that place. But that didn’t mean she would abandon her. It didn’t mean she wouldn’t stand with her, if only for a moment. She didn’t want her to be alone when it happened.
Approaching the stone, Monday stooped and gently traced the name written there.
A Heart Of Gold And A Soul That Saved Us All
“They say that legends never die. That they become a part of everyone who hears them. And so I know you’re not really gone…just a little out of sight.”
Monday straightened and looked out over the horizon, watching the retreating backs of the pilots, “Endings are often so incomplete. Things left unsaid or undone. But not yours. Yours is a good one. And it’s not even over yet.”
She smiled, “The Metaverse is a strangely beautiful place. It gives and it takes. Balance and circles. Nothing is ever truly finished. The smallest ripples echo in eternity. Forever. And so will you.”
Bending down, Monday placed a sunflower on the pile of bouquets left by the others, “I know it seems a cliched one to pick. But it made me think of you. The way it always looks for the light.”
Placing on hand on the earth she whispered, “I hope your next chapter is glorious. Wherever it takes you. Our connections make us. And so we are all made of you.”
She stood, looking at the marker, waiting for him to come. Eventually he did.
She turned and smiled sadly at the boy with borrowed names. He would forever be Zenda to her, the first name he had used to claim who he was. The metal had covered so much of his flesh that it was almost impossible to see him as he used to be. But Monday remembered. She always did. The hat fit him well.
“It should have been me. Not that it could have been but…it should have been me. Not her. She was good. Really good. Maybe the best I’ve ever seen. I’ll miss her.”
So will I, Monday thought. They stood together for a time. It was Zenda who broke the silence.
“You know,” he began, “your order, they want me to bring you in.”
She nodded. She had been waiting for this. Ever since she had run across that arena. Crash had known what he was talking about. What would they do to her? Likely send her to The Library, cast her down into obscurity. Throw away the key and hope everyone forgot that there ever was someone called Monday who dared to act instead of record. She closed her eyes, waiting for the iron around her wrists, the rush of air as she was moved.
“The thing is…I can’t find a single rule that says I have to make that my priority” he mused, “I also can’t find a rule that says that I can’t give you a head start.”
Monday looked up, confused, as Zenda continued, “Why don’t you try a nice beach? Say somewhere on…Metaverse 113?”
He looked at her and smiled, “I hear there’s a retired cop there waiting for you.”
She slowly began to smile at him, her heart suddenly daring to hope. She took a small step away and then turned back. Zenda waved her off, “Oh don’t worry about me. I have plenty to keep me busy. The Metaverse is an absolute mess after all that.”
He shrugged, “Hopefully with Arena being returned to normal they can start handling their problems like civilized metapilots.”
Zenda adjusted his hat and then smiled at her, “Tell Jonathan I say hello.”
Monday nodded and started to turn away when he called her back, “Oh one more thing!”
She met his eyes and all at once he was that same little boy with no name, the one she used to whisper stories to while he slept, never knowing if he heard them but hoping that he did.
“Thank you” he said, his voice sincere and earnest, “We could not have done it without you.”
Monday rushed forward and wrapped her arms around him. He seemed slightly surprised but did nothing to push her away.
“I couldn’t have done it without you either.” she whispered in his ear. Pulling back she gave him one last smile before disappearing.
Metaverse 113 as it turned out was a nearly deserted tropical beach, an entire world of it. Standing at the edge of the surf, Monday reflected that this was the first time she had travelled to a Metaverse without following the story of one of her pilots or their avatars. She wondered whose story had brought her here.
The whisper in her ear caused her to turn and look but there was nothing there. In fact the entire beach was empty. There was no one. Monday craned her neck, straining her eyes in search of anyone. But she was alone.
Her chest tightened and she felt the tears begin to push their way up. Maybe Zenda had had it wrong. Maybe he wasn’t waiting after all. Or maybe he had changed his mind. Maybe he had just wanted to say good bye.
Looking down at her feet, Monday saw two spots where tears had fallen into the sand. She brushed her eyes with the back of her hand and took a deep breath. It was okay. It had been foolish to hope. At least now she knew.
She turned to leave.
And then there he was. Standing behind her as if he had just appeared from the sand. He still wore the same old jacket but his head was uncovered. He was Jonathan again, no longer a being of the Metaverse.
Monday choked back a sob and smiled. So many words rushed to her mouth but none of them seemed enough.
What can you say to someone who you thought you would never see again but hoped that you would? What can you say to someone who means everything? What can you say when they can change everything in a single moment? What can you say when your heart is pounding at your ribs, trying to get closer to theirs?
He stepped forward and brushed a tear from her cheek. His eyes still on hers, he reached into his coat pocket and pulled out a folded piece of white paper.
“I read your letter.”