Author's Note: Yeah, me again. Just wanted to note that the lyrics at the end belong to Death Cab for Cutie. They're from the song "I'll Follow You Into the Dark", which I personally love.
Epilogue: How Far Is Heaven?
Amber stared at her body for a long time. How had she died? She didn't really remember it. Something dealing with Rob, she thought, and she definitely remembered blood on his claws. Was that her blood, or someone else's? Hers, probably. It only made sense. Her body offered a few clues. There were five jagged gashes on her stomach, accompanied with five holes so gruesome that they made her want to throw up. She didn't doubt that those lead straight through to her back.
"He got to us, too."
Amber whirled, eyes wide. Calim and Christopher were standing by the melted wreckage of what had been the bars of her cell door. They were transparent; she could see straight through them, though everything on the other side was a little bit blurry…much like the way everything looked when she peered through one of her hands. "He killed you two?" she said dumbly. She had expected it, really, but not now. She'd thought that Rob would get to them later.
Calim nodded. Christopher glared for a moment, but then followed the suit. "Ran us through, just like he did to you," Calim said softly. He stepped away from the melted bars and walked over to Amber. He put his hands on her shoulders –she could actually feel the pressure; apparently ghosts could touch each other- and steered her away from the bloody mess that had been her. "You're sick, you know that? How can you stand to look death in the face like that?"
"I don't remember actually dying," Amber said, trying to explain herself. "I was trying to remember how it happened."
"That wasn't what I meant. Well, it was what I meant by the 'you're sick' part. But the part about looking death in the face…I was talking about Rob."
"Oh." Amber was quiet for a moment. "What other choice did I have?" she asked finally. "It was stare him down, fight it out, or die without a fight. That doesn't sound like much of a choice to me."
"It is," Christopher said softly, speaking in a civil tone for the first time since Amber had seen him. "You put up a fight; you tried to get him to leave, to let you live. We didn't even do that. We just gave up." He looked at Calim. "Both of us did."
"Oh." Most of the words Amber had known seemed to have faded out of her vocabulary. She felt like an idiot. "Well, are we just going to wander the earth as lonely souls forever? I don't have any unfinished business that I can think of, myself. Or does this happen every time you die?" she asked, aiming the question at Christopher. After all, he was the only one of them who had died before.
"We'll hang around for a bit; just a minute or two more, I'd say. And then –" He was cut off as all three of them vanished.
The next thing Amber knew, they were speeding along a multi-colored tunnel filled with flickering images that Amber couldn't focus on to save her life…not that she had a life left to save. Up ahead, and growing steadily closer, there was a pinprick of white light.
Amber flipped. She started struggling, trying to halt her progress down the tunnel, to no avail. "Stop it! Stop it, let me go!" she yelled, reaching out and clawing at one of the tunnel's sides, trying to stop.
Calim and Christopher both stared at her. "What the hell are you doing?" Calim asked finally.
"It's the light! Haven't you ever seen Poltergeist? You're not supposed to go towards the light!" Amber practically screamed at him.
Calim stared more. The light was growing steadily closer. "Amber, you're already dead," he said finally. "It doesn't really matter." He reached out and took her arms, holding them against her sides. "Now stop freaking. It's distracting."
Amber was tempted to ask what she was distracting him from, but decided that she was probably better off not knowing. She sulked a bit as they flew along, but resisted the urge to throw out her arms and try to stop again.
Slowly, it became apparent that the light wasn't just a light. Amber heard Christopher gulp. "Uh-oh," he muttered. "It wasn't like this before. There was only a white tunnel the first time." The light had refined itself into three separate passageways. Amber, Calim, and Christopher were lightly set down in front of them. One passage was red; Amber had a feeling that she knew where that one went. The one opposite of it was white; another no-brainer. It was the tunnel in the middle that drew her curiosity. That passage was a deep indigo color, so dark and soft that she thought for a moment that if she reached out to touch it, she would feel velvet.
"Well, if they're giving us a choice…" she said slowly, tearing her attention from the middle tunnel. She started walking towards the white tunnel. If she got to pick where she ended up, there was no doubt in her mind that she would pick Heaven. She didn't get more than three feet into the white before she was physically thrown backwards, to land in a heap before Calim and Christopher. "Damn it," she muttered, pulling herself to her feet again. "I'll bet you there's three different tunnels because all of us are going different ways."
"I don't think so," Christopher said quietly. "It doesn't make sense."
Suddenly, the two side tunnels vanished, leaving only the dark one in front of them. "I guess we're all going the same place after all," Calim muttered. Slowly, the three of them walked forward, stepped over that dark line, and vanished into oblivion.
The next morning, in the Hunter's Creek jail, three bodies were discovered in the wreckage of their cells. One was identified as Amber Rogers, one as Calim Michaels, and the other was the man who had claimed he was someone called Christopher Couture; no one with that name turned up on any of their files. Christopher Couture didn't exist. The final body was dubbed John Doe, and was buried in an unmarked grave.
The case baffled law enforcement officers for five years. No murder weapon had been found; the marks on the bodies implied that all three victims had died in the same way, but the coroner told investigators that it couldn't have been a double homicide slash suicide; no one would have been able to stand the pain of stabbing themselves through the abdomen five times. Someone else had killed the three prisoners.
The case remained active for five years before it was finally cold-cased; it was never solved. But then, how could it be? The security cameras had melted, ruining the tapes inside, and no one had seen anything out of the ordinary. No one had gone in or out of the jail that night who hadn't been authorized to. It was almost as if Amber, Calim, and the John Doe had been killed by ghost.
Or a demon.
Calim's body was returned to his parents. When Amber's father was contacted, he responded that he didn't want his daughter's body; they could do something with it themselves. He told them she was a black mark on the family history, and he would have nothing to do with her anymore. The police debated over what to do with the body; their department had never had to deal with something like this before. Finally, they buried Amber in a grave with a simple headstone, adorned only with her name.
A full year later, Amber's mother came forward and paid for a new stone to be made, sporting a few lines of lyrics from one of her late daughter's favorite songs. The new stone was made, and placed where the old one had been.
1988 – 2006
If Heaven and Hell decide
That they're both satisfied
And illuminate the "No"s
On their vacancy signs
If there's no one beside you
When your soul embarks
Then I'll follow you into the dark.