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Finale

by on August 20, 2014

Bunnies met marmosets in the skies of Lassiter 35, and the universe shook.

***

Jolene had been prepared for death. But when the viewscreens of the Coral lit up with screaming space marmosets tearing into the fluffy bunny horde, Jolene almost believed that she and Milroy would get out of this alive.ย  The next moment she wondered why the bridge had started spinning. She turned to complain to Milroy about it, but unexpectedly her legs buckled. The last thing she heard before she blacked out was Milroy on the communication system frantically calling for medical help.

***

“There,” Hadley said smugly. “Told you.”

The air around them smelled of fire. Smoke drifted down from the burning skies. Rain sniffed dismissively. “Yeah. Congratulations. You let loose the terrifying space monkeys and now they’ll stop the bunny apocalypse. Bravo.”

“For once in your life, can’t you be happy? We won! It’s over! I saved the universe, with marmosets no less!”

“Sure. But there’s always a cost. You know that. There’s-”

Rain froze. She looked up towards the sky. Through the swirling clouds of smoke, they could just see the starship Coral drifting in orbit. “Rain…” Hadley said tentatively. “What-”

“You remember your friend Jolene? The one you wished the creeping crud on?”

“She’s not my friend, I told you, she-”

“Apparently she and I have an appointment.”

Hadley didn’t get it at first. But then she remembered who Rain was. “You can’t. Not now. We’ve won, remember?”

Rain’s voice was solemn as the tolling of an old church bell. “Death comes unexpectedly. Although I don’t know why you should care.”

“All I wanted was for Jolene to get the creeping crud! I never meant-”

Suddenly Rain wasn’t quite so solemn anymore; now she turned acid. “Oh, you never meant her to get killed off. Well, that’s okay then. When I go meet Jolene and escort her to the great beyond, and I tell her that it’s your fault she’s dead, I’ll be sure to explain that it’s totally okay, because you never meant it. You only signed a deal with the devil to get her cursed. You couldn’t possibly have known it would go badly. Of course, it did, and now I have to deal with the consequences. Thanks a lot.”

Hadley saw in a flash what she had to do. “Rain,” she said, her voice tremulous, “don’t take her. Take me. I’ll volunteer for her, I’ll take her place, I will!”

“Yeah,” Rain said. “Like that really works. You think this is some story where you bravely offer to sacrifice yourself and then it all works out and nobody dies after all?”

“Isn’t it?” Hadley shot back.

Rain had meant her question to be rhetorical, to emphasize the point that death is irreversible, and impress upon Hadley the consequences of her mistake. Hadley’s response forced her to scramble for an answer. “Well…no! It isn’t!”

“Why can’t it be?”

“What?”

“I said, why can’t it be? Why can’t this end happily, with no one (including me) dying or getting eaten by bunnies or whatever?”

“Because,” Rain said, summoning all the cutting eloquence she had left, “it just can’t. There’s got to be a moral in this thing, yeah? You can’t go signing contracts with evil and then dodging the consequences!”

“Look, I’m very very sorry about all that, and I promise never to do it again,” Hadley said. “Cross my heart!”ย  She actually crossed it, for effect. “There. Happy?”

Rain sighed. “Fine. Everybody, including you, lives. Only this once. Not next time, mind you. Next time I’m carting everyone off and they’ll stay dead whether they want to or not.”

Hadley cheered, and then, carried away by enthusiasm, turned several mauve cartwheels. At this point an escape pod from the Coral landed, and out emerged a confused Milroy Birnbaum (god of war) and a perfectly healthy Jolene. “Someone want to explain to me what just happened?”

Rain grabbed his arm. “Later. It’s Friday, right? We had a date, right? C’mon.” They vanished before Milroy had a chance to protest.

“So…” Jolene said awkwardly to Hadley, who had just finished her cartwheels.

“Yeah. Sorry about you getting sick. That was my fault. I kinda got you cursed by the devil. But you’re fine now, right? Right! Everybody wins!”

“Wait. You did what?”

But Hadley decided that she wasn’t actually finished celebrating yet. And with that, she merrily cartwheeled off into the sunset of Lassiter 35.

 

ย 

For previous posts in Hadley’s Story, go here, or see the link in the sidebar on your right. Thanks for reading!

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17 Comments
  1. I can already feel the withdrawals beginning. Is it really over? It can’t be. I so look forward to these stories of Hadley!

  2. Jennifer G. Knoblock permalink

    Rain sighed. โ€œFine. Everybody, including you, lives. Only this once. Not next time, mind you. Next time Iโ€™m carting everyone off and theyโ€™ll stay dead whether they want to or not.โ€

    Perfect. I had this flash-vision of a Shakespearean tragedy momentarily averted. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Pwease don’t tell me this is actually the end T_T

    • It’s the end of this particular story arc, but certainly not the end of Hadley Baxendale.

  4. Christine permalink

    Ha! I never know where your imagination is going to take us. This is utterly ridiculous, but in a good way. ๐Ÿ™‚ I love the way you nonchalantly drop details, like the cartwheels. Great job!

    • I hadn’t foreseen the story ending with Hadley doing cartwheels, honestly. I had thought my imagination would draw out the battle. Apparently my imagination wants to do cartwheels.

  5. Well that worked out. Sure wouldn’t want to be cursed by the devil. That doesn’t sound like a good proposition at all.

  6. No indeed…

  7. Meg permalink

    It’s not really over, is it?! Please say no. I love these characters. (Although I have to admit that this week’s prompt, being Rain and all, does have some perfect symmetry.)

  8. Nobody dies? I had no idea death had a heart ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I don’t know about previous incarnations, but Rain definitely has a heart. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. I’m so glad there will be more from these characters. They’re so quirky, as are your twists and turns! I still can’t believe this all started with a slightly awkward prompt about bunnies. That was the start, wasn’t it? It was somewhere near the beginning anyway. And the evil bunnies were there till the end ๐Ÿ™‚

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