And we're here. The end. Wow. O.O
I did it. I made it. I finished my second chaptered story. It's unbelievable. But it's here. It's here.
Now that we're at the end, I'd like to thank everyone for supporting me, the reviews, and just being there. I wouldn't have done it without any of you. You guys are all amazing.
I wanted to have this chapter narrated from Ava's point of view, but felt best it should be told by Natasha. Nailing down her birthday and the day she was killed was a nightmarish task. I almost would've fainted from the stress. *wipes forehead*
Writing the funeral scene was also a challenge. I've never been to a funeral before in my life. I'm not kidding. So I don't know what goes on at one. I had to pick up the pieces from what I've seen on TV, movies, etc.
Thank you. :)
We made it this far, and yet it's like a dream.
I never thought in all my years in the forest that this day would come. And yet, it happened.
Two weeks went by after that night. When Glen, and his friend, whose name was Steve, called the police, I whispered in Ava's ear, telling her what she needed the police to believe. I told her to tell the police that she and Janie were driving to the woods for a short break away from the city. I had her say that they didn't know they were being followed by Jeremiah, and that the only reason they knew they were was when he was several yards behind them.
I couldn't have Ava tell them the truth about her ability to see ghosts. They wouldn't have believed her, like Ava's parents don't believe her.
They took Jeremiah into custody while the rest of the police unearthed my skeleton. After what happened that night, getting a confession out of him wasn't hard. He confessed after Glen and Steve had him cornered.
Jeremiah was arrested that very night. The coroner examined my skeleton, and through dental records they uncovered my identity. As soon as that was done, the police contacted my parents. They were bewildered to hear the news, but had to act as though they didn't know. After what Ava told my parents, they had enough time to act like they don't know anything. After they were informed, my parents made the arrangements to have funeral.
My mom was so mad at Ava and Janie for what they did. She was enraged to know that whey went after Jeremiah after she told them not to. Ava had to grasp at anything to justify that what she did was necessary. Janie backed her up by stating that this wouldn't have been solved if they hadn't spied on him. My dad was as angry as my mom. The talk went on almost the whole day. The police would've called Ava and Janie's parents if Glen and Steve hadn't stepped in and lied that they knew their parents, that they were out of town and that Ava and Janie were staying with him.
It was an endless turmoil of questions and investigating, but it all dwindled down and the calm was starting to return.
Even with my bone no longer in Ava's possession, I could go wherever I wanted to now. I could go from Ava's house to my own house and back. I also had a question. Why Janie and Jeremiah could suddenly see me.
She had a theory. Ava concluded that it must've been after I find out my true identity and my true memories. It certainly felt like I was on adrenaline when I went all crazy in the forest. I would've ended up killing Jeremiah if I hadn't changed my mind in the end.
I wanted to torture him. I wanted him to become the very thing he made me: a ghost. A ghost who'd never be remembered. And if his parents still give a lick about him, he'd have a mixed blessing.
Speaking of, Jeremiah's parents were devastated to found out that he murdered me. To think they went years without knowing, they were shocked behind words. I don't think any human word could begin to describe their reactions. The judge sentenced him to fifteen years prison. He'd be in his sixties by the time he got out. He'd lose a remainder of his life, but it's for the best. At least the world will be safe from him for a few years. His parents were heartbroken, but they knew it was the right thing to do. I bet even death would be merciful than prison.
Ava deleted her Facebook account a few days after Jeremiah was detained. She thought it was best that the evidence be lost from the web. She didn't want this weight crushing her shoulders. She also didn't want to the police questioning her on how she knew Jeremiah.
It was a relief that the judge didn't believe him when he said that we were the ones following him.
Ava and Janie would starting school soon. Their parents took them shopping for new school supplies, new clothes and because Ava could drive now, she could drive herself and Janie to school and not take the bus anymore. Mrs. Morgan convinced to Mr. Morgan to buy Ava her own car. Ava was willing to borrow her mother's car and Mrs. Morgan was about to agree to joining a carpool to work. But in the end, the parents agreed to buying Ava her car. They would purchase the car the week before the first day of school.
It surprises me how Ava's parents believed her when she told them she and Janie went out to breakfast the following morning. They're either that unaware, or they're too busy to care.
August is nearing to a close and I wish it could last a little longer just to enjoy the remaining summer we have left. I feel like I missed out on it and I'm finally realizing it. But one thing I am looking for is my funeral. It's strange, I know. Morbid, even. But I want to see my parents and the rest of my family before I depart for the afterlife.
Janie asked Ava to ask me to so one last thing for them. She asked me to give Laura Dawson and her friends a scare. They took me to Laura's house, where Nicolette just so happened to be as well as two other girls. Ava and Janie stayed out of sight and watched from a tall cypress tree in a neighbor's yard. We waited until Laura had pulled out of the driveway for me to do my cue. Just as Laura was about to drive off, I phased through her car and messed with the radio. I made the windshield wipers run across the windshield synchronously. I waited and within a nanosecond, I made Laura lose control of the wheel and she crashed into a fire hydrant. Water erupted from the fire hydrant and rained down on the car. Laura and her friends got out, getting rained on by the fire hydrant's water. I hovered out of the car, and look around. I see Ava and Janie laughing from the prank. It was a good thing that they didn't see Janie and Ava laughing. It was a personal victory for the two. They'll remember this for years to come.
Laura and her friends ran back inside Laura's house, humiliated.
I'm going to remember this one for a long time.
The funeral is today.
The upside to my body being found is that I can go anywhere I want without Ava having to bring my bone everywhere. And I was kind is relieved, I don't even she could continued wearing my bone around her neck. Even though she got used to it.
She and Janie are watching from afar. The pastor is giving out prayer. My parents are there. My cousin Emily is there. Her husband is there and so are her three children. I see some aunts, uncles, the rest of my cousins. My grandparents; they're from my father's side, I think.
It's a sunny day, surprisingly. I would've thought it'd be cloudy.
"You gonna go over there?," asks Ava.
I don't know what to say.
"Should I?," I reply.
"It's your funeral," she states.
I've heard it before, but it sounds unnerving spoken to me since I'm actually dead. I hover under the pine tree we're hiding at.
Janie leans over and raises a brow. She looks like she's trying to see if she can catch a glimpse of me. I wish she could, too.
I watch the funeral pan out. I clench my fists and glide over.
I hover above the spot they're gathered at. My coffin is made of mahogany wood. Everyone's holding a white rose. The priest's prayers drone out, but he's not quite finished. I look at my tombstone.
March 13, 1961 - September 18, 1981
I look over at my parents. They're standing together, dressed in black, like the rest of the family. They're holding the white roses, waiting for the right moment to drop them on the coffin. They're not crying. I would've thought they were, but since Ava told them before, there's no need to cry. They could have at least made the effort to fake it.
I turn my attention to Emily now. She's just how I remembered, only her age is prominent on her face. She's got that "mom body" Janie remarked about. Comparing myself to her I look like her younger sister. I look at her children. Mom was right; Zachary and Avery do look like their mother. Same eyes, same hair. Rebecca looks more like her father. Brown hair, brown eyes. She's dressed in a black sleeveless dress with matching black Mary Janes.
"I wish I met her," says Rebecca.
"I know, sweetie," croons Emily.
The rest of my family, I focus on my cousins. I recognize one of them as Bryant. He used to scare Emily when she was little. I would always step in to defend her. He's so much more different now. His face exudes restraint anguish, but it's only because he's at my funeral. I don't know how he behaves now. A far cry from the troublemaker he used to be.
Next to him, is Max. He's almost forty, but a memory returns to me where he's about nineteen. From the way I'm remembering it, I guess he and I used to get along. Kind of like brother and sister.
I see my grandparents. I'm surprised there still even alive. My grandmother's skin is so wrinkled it could be stretched and flapped like a putty. My grandfather, his white hair, his liver spots; all of them show signs of age. They're both so old, and they might be ready to cross over to the afterlife any time now. I'll have so many questions to ask them when they arrive to the afterlife.
I hover over to my parents again. I know they're aware that I'm here. It's as if they can see me.
I look over at Ava and Janie. They're standing behind the pine tree, watching. I wish they could come over, but I don't think the rest of my relatives would take nicely to a couple of strangers attending my funeral. This is alright.
"In the name of the Father," speaks the priest, "the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen."
My parents drop the white roses onto my tomb. Then Emily, and then her daughter, her sons, her husband. Everyone drops the white roses. The undertakers lower my coffin with ropes. Once it touches the bottom of the grave, they pull the ropes out.
It'll all be over soon. My grave will be covered soon.
I feel the need to rejoin Ava and Janie. I glide over to them and hover before them.
"Natasha," says Ava. She knows what's going to happen, so she's making these final moments last.
"I'm going to miss you," I say.
"I'm going go miss you, too," she replies.
"Me, too," chimes Janie. She says it like she heard me. But I know she didn't. She glances up, trying to see where I'm standing. "If it isn't too much trouble," she adds, "could you see if you can find my grandma and tell her I miss her?"
"Janie!," hisses Ava, slapping her across the arm.
I smile embarrassingly. "Tell her I will," I tell Ava.
Ava looks at me quizzically, then tells Janie what I told her.
"So," says Ava, "I guess this is where we say goodbye." She crosses her arms. I know she's doing it to come off as distant, but she doesn't fool me.
"Yes, it would seem so," I say.
"Hey, look," says Janie, pointing.
I turn around and see my parents approaching Ava and Janie. It seems like they saw them watching the funeral. I think they have a few things to say.
"Hey," says Ava.
"Hi," pipes Janie.
"Girls," says my father.
"Ava," says my mom. She takes her time asking her the big question. "Is... Was she—"
"She's here," retorts Ava.
My mom nods. My dad runs his hand through his hair.
Janie clears her throat. "Should...should I...?"
"No," says Ava, "stay."
Janie keeps her cool, but still looks nervous, like she shouldn't be here.
"How does Janie feel about all this?," asks Dad.
"She feels," replies Ava, "relieved."
It's true. I am relieved. I also feel...at peace.
"She's fine," insists Ava. "She's okay."
"And after this," says mom, "what are you going to do?"
This piques my interest. I listen carefully.
"I, well," says Ava. She pauses. "You mean, the ghost thing?"
My mom nods.
"Right," says Ava, looking down at the ground. Janie raises an eyebrow.
"Are you going to continue helping other...ghosts?,"asks Mom.
Janie slumps her shoulders, unsure whether to say something or not. She stays quiet.
"I," mutters Ava. She stays quiet after that. She doesn't feel absolutely content with what's happened, but I think I know what it is she doesn't want to say.
"You don't want to live a life of helping ghosts," I utter, "do you?"
Ava glances up, as though she were woken from a trance.
My mother turns around to look behind her. I know she's trying to figure out where I'm standing. She's not wrong.
"What is it?," asks Dad.
"It's Natasha," replied Ava, catching their curious stares. "She's come to the conclusion that I don't want to help people with their ghost problems." She bites her lip. "Which is true."
"Why?," says my Mom.
Ava shrugs. "I guess because I don't know anyone who can do the same thing I can," she explains. "Most of the time I wish there were other people who can see ghosts. But on the other hand, I'm glad there aren't others, because it makes me feel special and like a freak at the same time. Those who don't know what I can do don't have to worry. I wis there were others I could relate to. But..."
"But?," quips Mom.
"But sometimes I don't want to dump my problems onto someone right away," says Ava.
There's a moment of silence. I feel it unwind slowly like ice thawing.
"Well, Ava," says Mom, "it's your life. And if you don't want to spend it helping ghosts figure out their pasts, that's okay. If you do, then that's okay, too. Remember that it's your life, and you live it how you want no matter what others expect of you, including your parents."
Ava glances up. Her face is hard to describe. She's neither disgusted not confused. She doesn't know what to think. She doesn't know if my mom's being sincere or telling her what she wants to hear. I have my memories back, and I know that my mom is not sugar coating anything.
"Believe my mom, Ava," I jump in, "I know you don't want to spend the rest of your life helping ghosts. I know you think it's written in stone, but it's not. I know you spent your life with you parents thinking you were insane, but you are not." I'm feeling a powerful emotion erupting inside me. It's warm and filling as honey. "You spent every minute finding out my murderer was. You and Janie. You helped me remember who I am. And not everyone can do that. If I'm saying this, it's because if there had been another person with your ability, they would've ran in the other direction; you didn't."
Ava blinks. "That's...right," she says, "that's true."
I smile. "Whatever you choose to do in the future," I say, "know that it's your choice and yours alone, not anyone else's."
Ava smiles. It's like a fog around her has lifted.
"I take it by the look on your face," says Mom, "that Natasha's talking to you."
"She is, Mrs. Carter," remarks Ava.
"What's she saying?," queries Janie.
"She's telling me the same thing you were telling me," says Ava.
"Do you agree with what she told you?," asks Mom.
Ava hesitates. "Well," she mutters, "I'm not sure."
"That's alright, honey," says Mom.
"It's true after all," chimes Janie. "You know I've always got your back, right?"
"Yeah," says Ava.
I mull over a few things.
"You said you wanted to be an author, right?," I ask.
"Yes," mutters Ava.
"Well," I begin, "you can take your experiences and turn them into a fictional series."
Ava's eyebrows arch. She seems intrigued by the idea.
"I've already thought of that," she replies, "but who would want to publish that?"
"Who wouldn't want to?"
Ava bites her lip.
"I'm just saying," I remark, "that if what you want is to do what your parents want, it would be to live your life the way you want, regardless of what others think—including your parents."
Janie cranes her neck to see what Ava's thinking. My parents look at her worryingly. They feel like Ava's on trial. I don't blame her for feeling like that.
"Listen," I encourage, "you don't have to live the life your parents want—"
"I know that," Ava interjects.
"And I'm glad you do," I say, "and it's alright if you never come to the conclusion. But all that matters is that you come to that conclusion yourself, not because someone influenced you."
There's a deep silence sweeping through.
"I hear what you're saying," utters Ava, "and I know what I do is up to me and only me." She sucks in a breath. "I know that not everyone will like what I do, but it's not my job to make them like it. What matters is that I like it."
"That's some mature stuff there," quips Janie.
"It sure is," says my Mom, nodding.
"And I'll have you to support me," adds Ava.
"Of course," says Dad.
I look up at the sky. The sun is unusually bright. I look again and realize it's not the sun, but...something else.
"What is that?," I ask Ava, hoping she knows.
"What's what?," she retorts.
Ava clears her throat. "I think you know what it is."
"What's going on?," asks Mom.
"She sees it," retorts Ava.
"What?," murmurs Dad.
If my heart were still beating, it'd be skipping beats. I feel this overall calmness surround me. I know what to do next.
My father speaks up. "Tell her—"
"She hears you," reminds Ava.
"Natasha," he says unsurely, "promise us you'll wait for us."
I smile wider. The light is shining brighter. It's waiting for me. I waste no time. I look over at Ava.
"Tell them I'll wait for them."
Ava nods, smiling.
I take them moment to look at my parents and Ava and Janie. I want to make a memory for when i cross over to Heaven. I won't ever forget what Ava did for me, and Janie's antics, and my parents for all they did for me. I'll even remember my English teacher Mr. Walters.
I turn around. I notice they're almost through burying my grave. I see Emily walking with her husband and her kids. I'll wait for them, too, whenever that'll be.
I turn my attention to the light. I ascend, like it's pulling me in. It's both my own will and the light's influence. I am ready.
And what's behind that light will be up to me how I see.
How was that? :D Wasn't that just awesome? I swear every late night I spent typing every chapter, I was just looking forward to the moment I'd write this chapter. And it turned out alright.
Thank you all for joining me on this journey. It's amazing how I've come. You guys are just awesome. ^_^