Okay. Long time everyone. School year is finally over and I finally decided to throw this out there. About the sequel, it's looking iffy right now. I'm going to be a senior this year and I'm just not sure I'll have the time to crank the sequel out, so the only thing I can offer you guys is a 'we'll see.' So bear with me, cross your fingers, and go outside and exercise a bit instead of sitting reading silly stories about silly people on a silly website on this silly planet—

HEART YOU FFN!

—like good little boys and girls. Kapeesh? And those of you who are looking for cars, please buy fuel efficient ones, and recycle, and drinking and driving is lame guys, and CLEAN YOUR ROOM and I think it's obvious by now that you should live your lives exactly the way I want you to.

What? I was kidding.

You guys have been absolutely great! Thank you, those of you who have stayed with this, for all of your excellent support. I'm going to leave review responses off of this chapter, just because all I can really say to everyone is what I just said. Thank you, and I hope you enjoy this last chapter of The Irony of It All.

Well-Well

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Chapter 17: Epilogue: Life Before Death

The sun was setting over the park as a cool wind blew from the north. Its crimson glow wrapped around the horizon as though protecting it from the beyond. It made Cindy feel claustrophobic. She sighed.

"What's wrong?"

The voice startled her, and she turned around. "Mr. Corbet."

He smiled a hello. "No worries. I'm just out for an evening stroll to clear my head. Similar sentiments here, I see."

Cindy nodded absently. She played with a rebellious strand of curly hair. "I feel empty, Mr. Corbet."

"Empty?"

"Well now that this is over…" She huffed. "No, not that. I wanted it to be over the moment it started. It's just… after everything I've been through… after all of that… what's the point of this?"

Mr. Corbet adjusted the hat he wore. "To be honest, I remember very little… rather, my conscience purposely tried to remember as little as possible. Things we cannot understand are best left unquestioned."

Cindy shook her head. "But that goes against everything I know. Science—the purpose of science is to answer those questions."

"Yes, and the purpose of food is to fill stomachs. But sadly many stomachs go unfilled. There are no charities in science."

"I can't just ignore it all though…!"

"Cindy," he interrupted, "I know that. So why aren't you out looking for your answers?"

"Because…" She left her sentence unfinished.

"You seek the truth, but fear it as well. You are afraid of the answers. Why do you think that is?"

"Just because I know an answer doesn't mean I understand it… at all."

"You are lying to yourself."

Cindy looked up. "Huh?"

"You are a genius, much as modesty would love to deny it." She flushed. "Should you seek these answers, you would most definitely find a way to understand them. So what is it that you're really afraid of?"

Cindy shook her head. "I'm not sure I can describe it."

Corbet nodded. "Could it be that you are afraid that what you find will make everything you know meaningless? Like, what is the point if there is no life after death? Doesn't that scare you?"

"Well…"

"Regardless of what you believe, life is precious. You must live it to the fullest and learn everything you can, lest you die with regrets." He adjusted his hat again. "Remember that everything will maintain a purpose. Even if your answers are things you can barely fathom, things that shock you and bewilder you, your family and your friends, your home and your world, they will not become any less important to you. Things we don't want to know are forgotten. Things we love we never forget. I could tell you right now that our universe is made of microscopic hamburgers… and you would forget come next week. Why? Because in the end, that knowledge doesn't change anything about you. Do you see my point?"

Cindy stared through the ground, nodding slowly. "I think so."

"The answers will always be there. You don't have to go looking today. Enjoy the sunset. There will never be another one just like it." He smiled, nodded, and continued on his way.

Cindy shivered a little in the cool breeze. Corbet was right. She would have to look for those answers, whether she was prepared to accept them or not. But she wouldn't make the journey alone.

"Hey, Cin."

Her lips curved upward as she turned at the sound of her name. "Hey."

Jimmy took a seat on the bench next to her, and she let her head fall onto his shoulder. "Was that Corbet?" he asked, leaning his head forward to see around Cindy.

She nodded. "Yeah. His treatment is going well. He gave me some good advice."

"Oh?" Jimmy asked, raising a brow.

Again she bobbed her head. "You and I have a lot of questions to answer."

"I was thinking the same thing," Jimmy said, chuckling. "Great minds, right?"

Cindy smiled, remembering what Corbet had said about her being a genius. "Great minds," she agreed.

"I hope we can enjoy this for a little while, though?" Jimmy questioned slowly, turning his head so that his chin met her hair.

Cindy grinned. "Me too. Great minds?"

"Great minds," Jimmy said, laughing.

And so the sun set and the stars continued shining and the earth continued turning, and no one really knew what would appear next on the horizon. After all, no one really could know. Not even Fate.

And the winds of change had blown and would continue blowing forward, never backward, never without cause and effect. As time kept chugging onward like a waterwheel immersed in a sporadically flowing river, things moved and morphed and came and went and as they did, something new emerged as a muddled silhouette on a horizon that was only so far away…

………