A/N: OMG –HYPERVENTILATE- IT'S ACTUALLY FINALLY THE EPILOGUE!!
..okay, don't get too excited here. I'm not 100 percent happy with this chapter. Writing an epilogue is very hard, especially when you can't finalize it all… ;) yes, there will officially be a SEQUEL! Woo! And just cuz of this mega happy shit, don't expect a merry ride. The genre will follow this story's… (more info at the end of the chapter.)
Thank you The Scarlet Sky, klutz586, Radioactive X-Naut, and Ultra Drama Queen for reviewing. I'm thrilled to have a new reviewer, but sadly the boat has docked… eek.
(Wow, this is almost 4000 words. Long much o.o)
Disclaimer/Warning: I don't own Harvest Moon. Mild language.
Her Name In Blood
It was amazing, really, that all this could've happened within the sunset and sunrise. That so many lives had been taken and spared, and so many souls crushed and renewed. Something awful and life changing had just occurred yet it was an opportunity to many. The outcome was taken for granted by the majority of Flower Bud's residents, but deep down, they knew things would look up from that point on. After all, how could they not?
Gwen reread the diary entry that had long been forgotten at the back of her pocket, feeling transported back into her vengeful past. She could almost feel herself back around the empty campfire— the night air crisp and cool, flocks of mosquitoes prancing from all around her. Dying flames of the fire reached forward and ebbed back, swaying and crackling as it faded. And one crying girl curled up in a ball before it, disorienting the entire scenery, her sobs piercing even the monotone of the hidden crickets' song.
But that was back then, wasn't it? The emotions differed now. They were altered, as was Gwen— she was a new being. A new person. It was indescribable, how deviant she felt. Looking down at her skin, clothes, and blood, she couldn't even remember fitting inside such a wasted body. She couldn't believe it was possible for her to have shot a woman; killed many; cheated more.
A tiny pink petal of a Mora Tree suddenly fell from above her, and she blinked as it landed on her shoulder. Gwen was changing, and the world was as well. It wasn't going to wait for her. And now that time had done its course, the seasons whirred alongside them. It was fall now, the time for new harvest, new beginnings, and new endings…
There was so much to pick up and so much to leave behind. Gwen felt so full, yet so empty. A hollow pit in her stomach gave her a tinge of nostalgia and regret, but a greater sting gave her happiness and excitement. If she dropped all the things that had been wrecking her, she realized there was just so much to gain. She wanted to get everything she never let herself get all in that short time— but she knew that she would have to wait to get what she wanted. She would have to wait as fall shifted to winter, and winter to spring. She'd have to wait for everything, because nothing could wait for her. But that was alright. She knew it was only fair for everyone. You had to water a plant to make it grow.
"Hey," a sudden voice greeted her.
She looked up, startled from being awakened from her trance, meeting with navy eyes. She gave a small smile. "Hi."
Dan looked down at the sitting girl. "How are you?"
Gwen snorted, but a penitent look quickly overcame her. "Same thing I'd like to ask you," she responded quietly.
"I'm fine. Why wouldn't I be?"
Gwen could see through his pretense with clear eyes. She looked him in the eye, scanning every feature of his face. She was just glad he wasn't hurt further.
"Did you go to Doctor Alex? For your check-up?" Dan asked, again rousing her from her thoughts.
She shook her head gravely. "Are you kidding me? I think you might be the only one who knows I'm in this town. If I showed my face, they might kick me out or something." She made sure to omit the part about her criminal record with Ray's mother.
"Anyway." She continued before Dan could interrupt, her voice noticeably faltering. "Do you… think you'll get used to a wheelchair?" The moment the words came out, she wished she could take them back in.
But Dan didn't appear immediately fazed. He laid his fingers delicately on the slender tire of the vehicle, making it halt. "Does it matter?"
She was about to shake her head in shameful anguish, but he pressed on gently.
"In the end, I'll just have to see what good it does me." He paused. "For now, I guess I'll have trouble adjusting, but… I'll deal."
"Oh, you'll deal," Gwen snapped in repentance, suddenly angry. "Please, Dan. Just spit it out. Yell at me. Punch me. Hit me. I want you to tell me you hate me." She looked away to hide the soft trickle of tears brimming from her eyes, and at first no reply came.
"I could never hate you," he finally murmured. She looked up at him, and he smiled weakly. "Not in a million years."
Gwen pressed against the tree trunk, at a loss as to how she could continue such a touchy conversation. She lay against it and veered the subject a sharp left. "What do you think of fall?"
Fortunately, Dan didn't say against it. He thought for a moment before wistfully replying, "I guess it's okay. Fall is usually the time for finishing up harvesting and picking. When winter hits, things get pretty lonely, contrary to the busiest season of the year. But…now…" His words dangled off the edge of his sentence.
"I'm sorry," Gwen whispered quietly.
Dan sighed. "Don't be." Then he decided to change the topic of discussion as well. "So what're you gonna do from this point on?"
"W…what do you mean?"
Like she didn't know.
Gwen shrank back. That was the exact question she'd been trying to avoid— because she didn't know. She didn't know what she was going to do anymore. She wanted things to look up, but… she didn't know how to let them.
"What are you gonna do with yourself?" Dan rephrased. "I mean, now that everyone's getting a chance to start over."
Gwen smiled at his careful choice of words, but it came out as a rigid line. "I'm not really sure, you?"
Little did she know, Dan's thoughts were mutual. "I don't really know either."
There was a pensive silence that neither wanted to break. But eventually, Dan was first to speak.
"Will you be staying here?"
"Huh?" The question caught Gwen off guard. She looked up, and was even more surprised to see hopeful eyes.
"Well, I'm wondering," Dan started off, and it was obvious there was more to that than simple curiosity. "I'm pretty sure I am. I'm considering helping out at the blacksmith's, Tai's, for the time being. At least until… you know. I find a better job." He trailed off. "And I was just… hoping you'd stay too or something."
Gwen was unsure how to reply. Again, she didn't have an answer. How was she going to get through life scarce of decision? She opted to smirk at Dan teasingly. "Well, I don't know," she said, just to mock him. "I'm thinking of running away, joining a circus, and never coming back."
Dan rolled his eyes. "I'll die unhappy."
"I'll be at your funeral."
Soft chuckles were exchanged, but Gwen was first to halt. "Hey," she told him softly, now serious. "I'm still thinking about it."
Happiness appeared to have drained out of the disabled man's face, replaced by tiredness and sorrow. "Oh," he replied. "Okay. I…" His eyes descended. "Alright."
She kept quiet, knowing that continuing would just make them both feel worse. Then, for some reason, Gwen got a sudden urge for solitary. "Do you have a pencil with you?" she demanded abruptly.
Dan seemed perplexed, but shuffled through his pocket. "A pen," he said. "Why?"
She didn't elaborate. "Can I borrow it?"
"Sure…" He passed it to her and immediately another request followed.
"Do you have a paper too?"
Again, he went through his pocket. "A small notebook," he began, but Gwen grabbed it without another word.
"Thanks," she said, making herself cozy by the roots of the tree. "But if you don't mind, can I be alone? I want to think."
Dan furrowed his brow, but he caught the contemplative look Gwen gave him. "Alright," he agreed. "I'll… see you around."
He wheeled away as Gwen waved halfheartedly, looking down at the blank paper and then at her pen. She blinked, and before she knew it, thoughts came flooding to her. She scribbled down all she wanted to say, and before she knew it, at least an hour passed. Wrist sore, she lay it against her thigh once every margin and every line of the paper was filled. She rested her head against the tree and closed the notebook, contented.
You're never going to believe what happened.
It's insane. The last while was just so… crazy! I can't even put it into words!! I feel like a new me, like I've been set in new skin, with new arms and legs… Diary, I haven't felt this wondrous sensation in so long. But it's so retarded, because I sound like a really high, really blissful little Christmas elf and I'm just so awed by how different things can be and how much everything can change in such a short amount of time!
…Wow. Run-on sentence much. But what I guess I'm trying to say is… it takes a long time to fix things, and only a short time to mess it up. 'Doh, never mind, that's not what I'm trying to say at all! What I mean is… change happens fast. Much faster than you, and definitely I— would know. Or expect.
I met Ray! Again! Okay, so I was on the ground, crying in the pouring rain with mud all over my face… not exactly my most flattering moment. But, hey, he was covered in mud too, and he was crying. So that makes two of us.
I guess you just want me to get straight to the point. I suppose it's a horrible time to joke, but you know me… always saying things at all the bad moments. Skipping to the point, we met up and… he asked me where the locket was. Just like old times, huh? I told him it was in Sunny Lake again. I don't even know why. I don't know if I was just mocking my past self or what, but… it was the first thing that came to my head. I wasn't gonna go ahead and tell him I lost it!
…Because even I could tell he missed us just as much as I did.
Alright, so then he left. But not before giving me something. Nope, it wasn't a locket. It was a bullet. I suppose the rain had cleansed it, but I could still see remnants of dry blood. It… scared me, to be honest. I never thought Ray would shoot someone. But people change, I guess. And who knows? Maybe he had too. One day, I'll just hope we'll see each other once again. Maybe we can tie up loose ends, and we can restart our friendship. Because I'd really like that.
There's also this guy I met. His name is Dan. Not to sound like a fangirl, but… EEEE!! He's reaaaally cute! And nice. And stuff. I, um, accidentally cut of his fingers and paralysed him. I just hope he'll be okay later. And then… well, maaaaybe we can have a future… ehehe…
Speaking of the future… I've been thinking a lot. And a lot. And a freakin' lot. About what I'm gonna do with my life from this point on. Dan asked me what I was going to do just a while back, but I didn't know. After much contemplation, and many more analogies, I think I've come to a conclusion. It's right for me, and I want to follow this path.
I'm leaving to go to college. I want to take up psychology. Old habits die hard? Pfft, and they come back just as lean and mean. Maybe one day I'll come visit Flower Bud again… just maybe. But until then, my mind is set. I want a future, and I'm not gonna throw away what's left of my life anymore. There's plenty of room for change, and I'll be sure to make the best of that.
…I just wonder how Dan will take the news.
Great, now I feel all emo. Well, Diary, this is probably gonna be the last entry for a while. I'll probably pull this notebook out between classes… haha, between classes. Sounds like high school all over again. Wish me luck when I tell him, alright? …I'm sure he'll understand.
So once again, and for the last time, toodle-oo. Thanks for sticking by me when I needed to vent. Who knows what I'd have done without you. Again, thanks, and I promise you that even though this may be the last entry, it isn't the end of the road.
Dia couldn't believe her luck. After her encounter with Bob, her jealousy towards Gina and her affection and grief towards Alex seemed to have vanished into thin air. After hearing the news on Blue's condition, she and the farmer talked… and talked… and talked. Not just about Blue, though. But about each other. Dia found that in many ways they were alike, and in many ways they also differed. Yet there was a small click that filled the gap between, synchronizing what could be and what couldn't.
She found a smile set permanently on her lips.
Just that instant, Martha strolled through the door, a laundry basket tucked under her arm, catching Dia's presence immediately. Her eyes trailed to her lips, which were uncharacteristically curved.
Dia realized she was being watched and quirked up a brow. "What?" she said defensively.
"Oh, I don't know. You've just seemed so down lately it's weird to see you smile like that." She boosted the basket up. "Not saying it's a bad thing. A very welcome change, in fact."
Dia merely laughed, finding no better way to respond. When the hysteria died, she blinked and whispered, "Thank you, Martha."
The old woman looked confused. "Whatever are you thanking me for?"
"Oh, you know…" She waited for the punchline. "Just… not giving up on me when I gave up on you. I really appreciate it."
Her old eyes twinkled. "I'm just doing my job, sweetie," she told her dutifully, and headed to the other room.
"Where are you going?" Dia called after her, not wanting to be alone.
"I have to get Alex," Martha replied. Then she shifted uncomfortably. "Did he already tell you about…"
"Yes," Dia replied, with more force than intended. Then her state of joy fell into a bleak abyss. "He has."
Martha tried to compose herself quickly. "I'm sorry," she immediately apologized. "I just… that was such a bad time, I had no right to… say—"
"It's fine," Dia interrupted briefly, and Martha looked crestfallen.
She found nothing more to say, so she proceeded to finish with the laundry. The instant she twisted open the doorknob and pulled it open, Dia's eyes following her, two unmistakable people were revealed.
Alex and Gina were wrapped in each other's arms, in a furious, heated liplock. They gasped and snapped away when they realized they had just been caught, and their eyes traveled nervously towards what they expected to be a shattered Dia.
But instead, shock zapped through all, Dia included, when they saw a giggling girl in her place, her shoulders tittering as she stifled laughs into her hands. "I don't mind!" she proclaimed to the shocked duo.
Then the door opened and Bob stepped in. Dia narrowed her eyes at him, and then back at the three doctors.
"Really," she said. Then she looked at Bob and he beamed back at her.
Alex rubbed his head, looking sheepish and profound. "Well, that was certainly unexpected," he said, a rare blush on his cheeks. "I, er… not to expound or anything, but Dia, do you really not mind…? I mean, it's just…"
"No. I don't, really." She smiled genuinely. "I think it's all okay now."
"Oh… wow." Gina, too, was blushing madly. "So it's…?"
"Really," Dia confirmed to the disbelieving girl.
Then out of Alex's pocket, a familiar slip of paper fluttered to the ground.
"Let me get that," Dia chirped. She bent down and scooped it up before Alex could respond, looking pale and sick. "Here you go." She extended her hand to give it back, but her eyes scanned the paper automatically. Things like entire household and only child and of age caught her eye and she blanched.
The only thing that snapped her out of her thoughts was Alex grabbing the paper with a harsh, swift movement. He looked pained as Dia stared up at him with wide eyes.
"Dia," he said quietly. "I know this is sudden, Dia, but… there's something I haven't told you yet."
She felt her heart break, oblivious to Bob putting a comforting hand on her shoulder. "What, is it something bad again?" Please no.
"Oh, no, of course not," he answered hastily.
"You're free to say it here," Dia began, so Alex sighed uncomfortably.
"Erm, you know that piece of paper…?" he began.
"The one I just picked up…? With the stuff on it that said—"
"It was Elvira's will."
Her heart nearly stopped, overcome by shock. She could barely register the words. But Alex continued relentlessly.
"She wants you to inherit everything, Dia…" He paused as eeriness filled the room. "And everything… includes the Mountain Villa she owns in Mineral Town." He waited, as if letting Dia soak in the information.
"…I don't understand," she finally uttered. "Why are you telling me this?"
His next jumble of words seemed forced. "She wants you to move in and take care of it."
"She wants you to move in and take care of it," Alex repeated, his voice shaking with each word. "She wants you to go to Mineral Town."
And all bodies went still.
Jamie watched bleakly as Carl and Eve headed for the door, Carl tugging rather violently on Eve's hand. Jack was practically grazing against Eve as he leaned in to say bye. Carl shot him a death glare amidst their "See you later!" "It was nice meeting you!"s and finally, when Jamie couldn't take it anymore, he stomped up and slammed the door in Jack's face.
Jack sank onto Jamie's couch, sighing contentedly. "That was fun," he pointed out. "Eve's a really nice girl."
"A very nice, very engaged girl," Jamie said through a scowl. He was just about to get up and leave himself when he paused. "Wait a minute. This is my house. Why are you on my couch?" He noted the glass of water in his hands for the first time. "Why are you drinking my water?" His face contorted angrily. "Get out of my house!" he jeered.
Jack sprang up. "Okay, okay," he scoffed. "Geez, just when I was getting comfy."
"Go get comfy at your own house!" Jamie snapped. He followed Jack by the heels until he was outside the doorstep. His hand clasped upon the inside of the door as he moved to slam it, but a manila envelope shoved in his mailbox caught his eye.
"You've got mail!" Jack voiced rather annoyingly as Jamie reached out to take it.
He ignored him as he read. He was taking an excruciatingly long amount of time, however, so Jack started making jokes about him, like about the ridiculously big hat he wore, or the "way-outdated, mega tacky poncho" around his neck. Finally, Jamie went still, and he didn't even look angry.
"What?" Jack demanded. He slipped the paper out of Jamie's grasp, but he didn't even pull it back. After running through it once, then twice, he too felt suddenly cold.
Dear Jamie of Flower Bud Village,
Greetings from Forget-Me-Not Valley! We have received notice concerning your "amazing, super-fantastic, manure-flippin'-sweet farm skills" and have accepted your application. You, and Jack of the Jack Ranch, are accepted as the newest farmers of our town! Please call this number (Takakura) for more details, and thank you again for the application!
Mayor Thomas of Mineral Town
District of Farming Industries
P.S. It is required for two farmers to work at Forget-Me-Not because of the state the farm is in. The town has come to a conclusion that one farmer simply is not enough. The ferry will come to pick you up in exactly three days, so be there!
The letter fell out of Jamie's hands. "Jack, please tell me you did not send a fucking application in my name to the fucking District of Farming Industries concerning my fucking amazing, super-fantastic, manure-flippin' sweet farm skills."
Jack intoned a nervous laugh. "I-I never knew it was an actual district," he countered defensively.
Jamie glared at him more viciously than he ever had before.
"Uh… it'll be fun?"
The following day, Flower Bud was in an uproar. Little did they know, this was only just the beginning to a new twisted enterprise; a ride many were about to re-take…
But somewhere far, far into the horizon, a young girl lay lifelessly from atop her grandfather's grave. And though no one had bothered to move her, and she remained like a statue of clay, nobody else had realized what lay concealed under her arm.
No had realized she'd stretched out and written, with the tip of her burgundy finger, her name in blood.
After-read spoilers: Gwen doesn't know Ray's dead, if you're wondering. Oh, and I'm still not in college myself, so correct me if I made any mistake in that very minor segment…
Background: (Hah, this story is so special it totally deserves a background XD). Well, originally, this story came out of the blue. On a pleasant, rainy July 14th, I was sitting on my bed. And I saw a notebook. I was like, ooh, a notebook! What should I do with it? Burn it? DESTROY IT? But then I opted to write a story. And the first chapter was what came out, but of course I edited it on my precious (cough, crappy) laptop. All the other chapters seemed to come naturally.
And you'd think it'd be hard to write without an initial plot. I thought I'd be writing myself into a wall because I never planned ahead, but I found it surprisingly easy to improvise as I connected smaller details. Hah, sounds like I'm talking about a puzzle.
Anyway, this story isn't really intended to be horror. If I were to write an ACTUAL horror, well... things would be much more twisted. But I hate creepy things, and believe it or not, I despise horror movies. So this spawned from hell knows where XD
Final Notes: Okay, well, like I said, there's gonna be an epilogue. And the above kinda obviously states/foreshadows it. I'm going to edit this story, just not immediately, but the plot WILL NOT CHANGE.
You know what? I'm actually kind of getting ahead of myself. This may as well be one of those endings where it's incomplete but actually complete if you think about the outcome yourself. But… nah, I'm not gonna torture you. The last few chapters have been much too jolly. All that will fall before you know it.
The sequel will take place in Flower Bud (possibly, but most likely not), Mineral Town, Forget-Me-Not Valley, and probably an AU. (Correct me if I'm wrong, doesn't AU mean alternate universe?)
Before this ends (forever), I'd like some shout-outs to go to klutz586, The Scarlet Sky, and Radioactive X-Naut for reviewing every (er, mostly for the latter) chapter in the freakin' story. It meant more than you could imagine. And go RainbowMelody for reading since the very beginning :D
Anyway, hope you stick by for the sequel. No idea when that's gonna be out, so keep your eyes peeled… ew, imagine peeling your eyes out. Ew o.o
Ahh. I don't want to say bye. But I have to. But toodle-oo, and at 67 reviews, I deem Her Name In Blood COMPLETE. Now, just to make your eyes sting…
…I'm so mature.