This is the epilogue. I am a little sad (not much though) that it's over. Thank you all for your support.
Everyone came. My parents (Otousan was forced here by Okaasan), his parents, our friends and the entire police force from Beika came. Police officers from other districts came as well. People from the cases that he solved, people that he saved, people that had loved and respected him from a distance came as well. I didn't know some of the people. There was a teenager who looked so much like him and a anxious looking girl who looked a lot like me who trailed behind him. She pulled on his black jacket but was ignored as the Shinichi look-alike stared at the ground, evidently in pain of the loss. I wondered how he was related to him and if I was related to the girl. The entire place was crowded with mourners and news reporters who were busy trying to snap shots of the funeral through the throng of black.
Shinichi's parents had chosen the most beautiful place in the world for his final resting place. It was on a cliff, surrounded by a forest which needed to be driven through to reach the graveyard. The cliff overlooked the Pacific Ocean, its waters so blue and divine. The constant waves crashing into the rocky bottom of the cliff was so very peaceful to my ears. Seagulls that flew overhead squawked loudly as they rounded the cliff, voicing their screeching despair of the great loss that everyone felt. The unchanged nature of this place was so heartbreaking to me. Why can't we be like this? Why must we change?
The pastor who read the prayers had a deep, resonating voice. To me, his prayers for Shinichi to go to heaven was useless yet comforting to me at the same time. I knew that he was in heaven even if it doesn't exist. Heaven is a state of mind, he told me, a few days before his passing. He was already there as he passed away around the people he loved and the surroundings that he had grown up with. He didn't pass with any pain; he left with a smile on his face.
I felt tears slipping through my eyelids again. I wanted to break down and cry as hard as I could but somehow I couldn't. Who could in this breathtaking place? The raw, simple beauty of this place was just so elegant and so precious that I didn't want my broken screams to destroy such perfectness. The northern wind blew through the area, not so strong yet not so weak, sweeping across the grass and trees which made rustling and whistling sounds. Such artistic simplicity had made his final resting place timeless; completely void of time. It was as though the challenges and the harshness that life had thrown at me had disappeared completely the moment I stepped out of Otousan's rented van. It was wonderful that the final place where he will now lay had no worries when he had suffered through them all his short life. He could finally be free.
…Father we entrust our brother to your mercy. You loved him greatly in this life: now that he is freed from all its cares, give him happiness and peace for ever. Welcome him now into paradise where there will be no more sorrow, no more weeping or pain, but only peace and joy with Jesus your Son, and the Holy Spirit forever and ever…
I just listened to the words of the pastor silently. I was thinking about Shinichi. How he had bend over with pain the moment he felt that dreaded bullet touch his heart. I was there and I couldn't do anything. But as sudden as he was struck with pain, he was released from it. He straightened over and held my hand again, whispering those three words I had longed for him to say for so long. No matter how many times he repeated it, I never got tired of it. It was such a simple profession of his love of me. More tears fell from my eyes as I thought about how I would never hear those words again and how I would never be able to bask under the glow of his eyes, filled with affection of me. It just pierced my heart to think that he was gone from my sight again. And this time; he would never come back.
The pastor stopped and I nearly sighed a breath of relief. His voice was droning in my ears. The only voice I wanted to hear was Shinichi's. Soft, gentle and confident, sometimes harsh. His voice was music to me and it was the only thing that could sooth my aching heart now. I was half-hoping that somehow, he would tap me on the shoulder and wake me up from this dreamlike nightmare. But I knew that I was being fantastical. This was reality and now, its walls were crashing onto me, nearly crushing me beneath its immense weight. I was still alive, I was still sane as I held him as closely as I could to my heart. I repeated his name over and over again in my mind, using it as a charm to ward off any more hurt that I might feel.
The pastor indicated that he was finished and the coffin was shut slowly. I stared into Shinichi's face, so peaceful and calm. With eyes closed and a slight smile playing on his lips, he looked as though he was having a good dream. I gazed at his face, trying to memorise every little detail of his handsome face before the coffin was shut, shielding his face from the world forever. I wasn't prepared for that but I knew that it was coming. The coffin door was shut and he was hidden away from me. This was the indication that I would never see him again and that he was really, truly gone.
Six men carried the coffin to the well dug out hole in front of a stone headstone. They lowered it into the hole slowly. The pastor took a handful of dirt, blessed it with the Sign of The Cross before throwing it into the hole. It landed on the coffin with a thud. The six men grabbed shovels and threw the shovelfuls of dirt one after another into the hole, covering the coffin from view.
I just watched with a more aching pain eating at my insides. I heard some quiet sobs from Shinichi's mother who stood opposite me, closer to the hole than I was. Her husband threw her arm around her and held her close to comfort her. He too was weeping quietly, tears dripping from under his glasses that looked so much like the one that Conan- or Shinichi as I knew now- used to wear. More memories that I had shared with him surfaced, flooding my mind with them. The movie of my life sped through my mind. I realised how much of my time was occupied with Shinichi. I was always with him or thinking about him. I'm certain that I would still think about him.
More and more dirt fell onto the wooden coffin that he was confined in. I wondered how it would be able to hold up the weight of the dirt. He wouldn't like the coffin either. He would complain that it was too cramped and there wasn't enough room for him to roll around in. I smiled slightly, despite my pain when I thought about how he would sulk about the lack of space. The moments I shared with Shinichi, I realised, was precious and so invaluable to me. They didn't pain me anymore. I just appreciated them, loving them the way I loved him. I would never want to forget them. No way was I going to forget them.
Finally, the hole was covered. It seemed like eternity yet it seemed like it was too fast as well. The pastor motioned to his parents to move forward and they did. Yukiko fell before the newly-covered hole and her cries intensified more. Her usually happy demeanour was replaced by a face filled with despair and it could be seen from her eyes that are so similar to Shinichi's that her soul was tortured with the loss of her only son. She just crumpled before the grave of Shinichi and wept tears that I had never seen before. She shook all over as she wailed out his name repeatedly as though she was calling out for him to rise from wherever he is now. But her attempts were futile. I knew that he would never return again.
Yusaku placed his hands on her shoulders, his eyes just filled with tears and pain but he did not so much utter a word. He just pulled Yukiko up and cuddled her close to his body. She turned into his chest and cried into it, her hands gripping on his shirt. Yusaku just placed her chin on the top of her head and stared to the ground that covered his son. With one hand, he motioned to Agasa-hakase to come over. The pot-bellied old man did and handed him a bouquet of lilies. Yusaku took it and threw it on the ground in front of the headstone.
He looked at the headstone for one last time. "Goodbye Shinichi," he whispered, his voice soft yet somehow everyone heard it.
Yusaku led his weeping wife away from the grave. They slowly cut through the crowd of black who split in the middle to make way of the parents of the Meitantei who was now gone. They watched the only two Kudous left walking to their car. Reporters frantically snapped pictures of the distressed couple who didn't bother to hurry their pace. It wasn't long though when they were safely in their car and on their way from Shinichi.
I watched them go, wondering why they were in a hurry to leave Shinichi. Maybe they felt so pained by the loss of their son who was lying in the ground of a beautiful place. Death was never pretty yet why was the final resting place so beautiful? It was like the beauty of the graveyard was attempting to cover up to ugliness of death. But why do I feel that his death was so great? Maybe it was the way he readily accepted his fate and how he faced it; with a smile.
A woman walked out of the crowd. She was dressed in a black dress that swept the grass. Her platinum blonde hair floated behind her as the wind blew through her hair. In her pale hands, she held a single black rose. She walked forward, her foreign face impassive. She reached the headstone and she crouched to place the rose among the lilies. Her sky blue eyes lowered to the ground and she stood up.
She looked down at the headstone and she too whispered, "Rest in peace… Silver Bullet…"
She spun on her black pumps and strode away as well. She disappeared among the crowd and I couldn't see her anymore. Not that I care anyway. More people walked forward to place their flowers on his grave, scenting the air with their sweet fragrance. They too left as soon as they placed their flowers and gave their final respects to Shinichi. I didn't move from my spot as I wanted to wait for everyone to leave. I watched the Shinichi look-alike produce a bouquet of roses out of nowhere which was accompanied by some white doves. He knelt at the graveyard and left the roses there.
"It was fun Tantei-kun," he said, "It'll never be the same without you."
He then grabbed the hand of my look-alike and dragged her away from the grave as well. I just watched them as they too disappeared. I started at the touch of my mother who nodded at me before placing her own flowers on his grave. Then she pulled my father away from the graveyard to wait for me by the car. I smiled sadly and was thankful that Okaasan for understanding me. I watched as the massive stream of people started to thin and vanished. The reporters were gone, most probably shooed away by an angry Heiji who was holding up Kazuha who was crying. He too had felt his share of pain and let a few tears out. He and Shinichi were close; almost like brothers. It was no wonder why Heiji's usual joking spirit was gone. He looked lost; more lost than me if that was possible.
It was not long till everyone else was gone. Sonoko had left first with her parents and Kazuha and Heiji was probably back with my parents. I waited till the last sounds of the last guests leaving to vanish before making my way to Shinichi's grave.
I looked at the cold, hard marble of Shinichi's headstone. The inscription read:
HIS NOBLE DEEDS AND SELF WILL BE REMEMBERED FOREVER
How weird. Shinichi had kept most of his noble deeds in the dark, not known by many. How will he be remembered if they never knew what he did? I felt like smashing the headstone with a well placed drill punch but thought the better of it. No point in venting my sorrow on the headstone.
I looked to my hands which grasped tightly a single lily. I didn't want to be extravagant and buy a huge bouquet. My hands were white from the tight hold I had on that poor lily that was nearly flattened in my palms. Tentatively, I placed my single, pitiful flower on the headstone and stepped back.
A sudden blast of wind filled the area. The gust swept up my lily from the headstone, carrying it away from me and into the open sea. I watched as the lily floated in the air and away to the horizon. I couldn't see it any longer.
The wind returned, playing with my hair and sweeping my dress around my legs. I wasn't cold despite the icy wind. I felt warm as the sun's glare was upon me and I basked in it, filled with serenity. I was at peace, my fears and sadness dissolved in the warm glow of the sun. I just stood there, breathing in the fresh, woody smell of the nearby forest as well as the heady scent of the numerous flowers.
It was time for me to go. Despite the lessening ache in my heart, I knew that I would never forget him. I will move on, just like he wanted me too. Life waits for no one and I wanted to make a full use of mine. Even if it is without him. I knew that I will see him in the next life and perhaps- just perhaps- our lives together will be more peaceful and less hectic than the one we had now. I will hold onto that belief till my very last breath. Never will I let it go.
The wind followed me as I walked slowly away from him. I stopped at the metal gates of the graveyard and turned around sharply. I was sure I heard something. Or was it my imagination?
Just then, that familiar voice resounded with the wind, breathlessly. It confirmed that I wasn't dreaming. I smiled sadly as my heart felt satiated by the final words I would hear from him forever.
I turned away and walked away and for the final time, the wind spoke to me.
"I love you Ran…"
A single tear fell from my eyes and I smiled again. In my heart, I whispered back, 'I love you too Shinichi."
The wind sighed, as though pleased by my silent words and it vanished, leaving no traces behind. I was glad that I heard it again. I was sure that they could send me on my way without feeling completely saddened any longer. This was the last time that I would say this:
Well, that's that. There'll be nothing more and I hope that all of you like it. Sorry for killing of Shinichi but I admit, I like deathfics.