Matt O

How I wish Calamity would've ended (spoilers!)

1 post in this topic

As I mentioned in other posts, I just finished reading Calamity.  While I loved it, I did have one complaint: that there wasn't more romantic 'closure' between David and Megan.  At the end of Firefight, instead of taking a romantic moment, they instead pondered about Megan being free of the desire to kill David.  The end of book 3 was also missing a great opportunity for David and Megan to celebrate finally being able to be together.  So I've written a scene that resembles what I wish was at the end of the book.  I hope you enjoy!

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Post-Epilogue:

 

I adjusted my bow tie as I examined myself critically in the mirror. My unruly hair would not conform to the strokes of the comb I clutched in my right hand, I was overly aware of the freckles on my nose that I had never seemed to notice before, and.. sparks.. was that a zit coming in? This was a disaster. On this day of all days, why did things seem to go so wrong? I hadn't been particularly worried about how I had looked in the past, but there's something about a man finding himself about to get married on his wedding day that heightens one's anxiety. It was like... it was like a nest full of cockroaches who suddenly have an infrared heat lamp shined two feet away from them. Scurry in all directions and you're still trapped.

My wedding day. I couldn't believe that it was actually here. Did I even know what I was doing? Did I have the capacity to actually be a … I swallowed nervously … husband? Husbands were responsible people who knew how to be romantic, how to read their wives' emotions implicitly and know just what to do to comfort them. I didn't know how to do any of that, really. I was just a kid. Well... I guess one could debate that I was rapidly approaching adulthood. But... I sure felt like a kid.

One who somehow had epic powers.

I shook my head, still feeling like some imposter. I wasn't the right one to wield these kind of powers. To be impervious to bullets? Having incredible strength? And... sparks.. the ability to fly?? I still couldn't believe it. It felt like I was some kind of rottweiler in a dream drooling over a huge slab of raw steak, who would actually discover upon awakening that it was just a poodle with a bowl full of leftover oatmeal.

“You look great, lad,” Cody drawled, slapping me hard across the back of my tuxedo. “You look like the emperor of Scotland did before marching across the barren wasteland to claim glory and honor.” The two of us were alone in the dressing room, the rest of the wedding staff waiting nearby in case we needed anything. Cody wore a suit, although he had somehow managed to find a camouflage tie which was held in place with a rifle pin. Where had he got that thing?

I sighed. “Cody, what do I do? I mean... what is a husband supposed to do? How do I know that I can do this?”

“Lad,” Cody replied, his face growing serious. “Being a good husband is just like using a tensor.”

I frowned, trying to remember his instructions for using a tensor. What had he said? Like stroking a... I straightened with opened my mouth to retort, but then noticed the twinkle in his eye. I rolled my eyes. “Can you be serious just once?”

“When you fly down out of the sky to land in front of all of those people,” Cody continued, “just smile and act natural. They'll get to see the show they've been wanting, and you'll feel better then.”

“Cody, I'm not going to arrive at my own wedding by flying. That would look ridiculous.”

“You never seemed worried about that before,” he replied, scratching his head. “If it would help, I could give you an introduction on the bagpipes as you make your descent.”

I groaned and steeled myself, looking at the door to the dressing room. “Alright,” I said, reaching toward the handle. “Let's go.”

As I walked out into the hallway, a procession of attendants who had been waiting all stood up, bowing deeply. I cringed at the attention and tried not to notice. People I didn't recognize began fussing with my hair, dabbing white puffy cloths toward my face, and someone even put a small arrangement of flowers through one of my lapels. I blushed faintly as one of the people applying what I assumed to be make-up to my face seemed to linger extra long on my pimple. Were epics supposed to get pimples? Steelheart seemed to have perfectly tanned skin... and a godlike build. Maybe those would be coming in the future? I half groaned to myself, hoping no one had read my thoughts on my facial expression.

We walked down a long corridor, Cody at my side, and my attendants following like a group of great white sharks chasing a sinking boat that leaked blood. I knew the layout of the cathedral, but still felt a nagging feeling of dread, like something very bad was about to happen. But what could it be? Obliteration showing up and ruin the day that I had been dreaming about for the last year? Another unknown epic threatening Newcago at exactly the wrong time? I'd need to be prepared for those kind of things. After all, I pretty much had the biggest target on my back of any epic in the Fractured States.

No, I thought to myself, grimly. I'm just making up excuses, I thought. Trying to distract myself from the real reason that I was scared. I'm scared that I'm not good enough for the woman who I somehow conned into agreeing to marry me. Sure, I had a few skills which I hardly knew how to use, but what she could do was frankly.. awesome. Amazing. Incredible.

I was interrupted from my thoughts as I noticed a group of people kneeling along the corridor as our group walked by. I looked behind me to see whom they were kneeling to and saw no one except Cody. He laughed. I cursed inwardly, the realization dawning on me. They were kneeling to me. What did I do? Make some kind of gesture to have them rise? I had no idea and kept walking.

Then I slowed as noticed something familiar about one of them. His features.. the color of his hair and the shape of his nose. I recognized his face, downcast as it was, from some of the pictures that I used to collect of epics. No way! My heart began beating faster as I stopped next to him, my eyes wide with excitement.

When he saw me stop, he looked up and jerked, his eyes briefly meeting mine then hurriedly looking down again. “My lord,” he muttered, somewhat awkwardly.

“Excuse me,” I replied, trying, and failing, to keep the enthusiasm out of my voice. “But aren't you.. Jacob Pham?”

The man paused for a moment, then laughed quietly. “I am,” he admitted, looking up again. “I apologize for making a scene at your wedding, my lord. I meant no harm and only intended to show my respect.”

“No!” I said, shaking my head. “Apologize? Sparks, no!” My heart was beating so loudly, I thought that it might actually be audible. Jacob Pham was the real name of the epic known as Digzone! I never thought I'd actually have a chance to meet him in person. I hadn't heard reports of any sightings of him in so long. My mind became full of questions which I knew I couldn't ask at the moment. I was vaguely aware of my train of servants looking at each other in confusion. “Listen,” I continued. “I know this is somewhat odd but... can I have your autograph?”

Digzone looked up again, frowning. “What?” he asked, after a moment's hesitation.

“I know that people probably bother you for it all of the time,” I continued in a rush. “I know you're probably sick of the attention but.. sparks!” I looked around for something to write on. I spied a white paper napkin nearby and grabbed it, looking around for a pen. One of my attendants scrambled to hand me one. I offered them to the epic, still kneeling before me, who looked stunned.

He slowly scrawled a signature on the napkin. “My lord,” he began again, handing the napkin and pen back to me—he was still kneeling. “The awkwardness of the angle made it difficult to write. I'll get you a better one.”

“No,” he replied, holding out a hand as he began to rise. He knelt again. Then I felt weird. I wasn't trying to tell him not to rise, I was trying to tell him that he didn't need to go to any extra trouble. The napkin in my hand felt like a holy relic that an archaeologist had just discovered from a long forgotten tomb of riches. I reverently placed it into the pocket of my jacket. Then I noticed the group of people, including Digzone, still kneeling with their eyes to the floor. “Umm... rise?” I spoke in a voice that I hoped sounded commanding but harmless. The group nodded, stood, and walked down the corridor toward the chapel.

“Nice,” Cody complimented me from my side. “Like the Queen of Scotland giving a boon to her subjects before sitting upon her golden throne.”

“I thought you said Scotland had an emperor,” I grumbled, as Cody, myself, and the group resumed walking toward my fate. I almost used the autographed napkin to wipe the beats of sweat from my forehead, but caught myself and found another napkin nearby.

“Of course that's what I said,” Cody explained. “The Emperor and the Queen rule as a team. Lad, I thought you were more versed in the ways of the Homeland than that.”

I thought about making a quick witted retort up to my usual standard of .. err... quick wittedness, but my tongue suddenly felt like it had enlarged in my throat. We had reached the entrance to the chapel. Mizzy stood in front of me with a huge, silly grin on her face, tightly curly hair caught in its usual combination of corn rows and bun with an afro exploding out the back. She wore a fancy purple gown which sparkled with jewelry.

“You ready for this, David?” she asked, her eyes sparkling. “Ready to show the world how a high epic gets married? Ready to wow the crowd with your mysterious ways and aura? I don't know if I've ever heard of two epics getting married before. I don't know if anyone really knows what to expect.” She cocked her head, looking confused. “David, what is wrong with your mouth? You look like you've swallowed a giant slug.”

“Water,” I croaked, my throat feeling dry. Someone who had been marching along behind me had a glass near my face almost instantly. Sparks, did I have enough servants that someone took it upon themselves to always have a pitcher of water at the ready in case I got thirsty? I rubbed the back of my head, messing up my hair, and gulped down the drink. Nope, I thought. That didn't help. Someone grumbled behind me and ran a comb through my hair again. Cody put an hand on my arm as I stared at the walkway that led toward the altar.

The number of guests who had come to watch the wedding was embarrassingly large. I recognized politicians, factory workers, entertainers, minor epics, and even a few high epics. They all stood up as I entered the chapel and turned to face me, the room growing eerily silent. I caught whispers of the title, Steelslayer. As if on queue, they all bowed to one knee. I groaned. “Can they just stand and not bow?” I plead quietly, looking behind me at my entourage of servants. One of them just shrugged and smiled.

An organ began playing from somewhere in the chapel. Cody whispered in my ear, comfortingly. “Just take one step in front of the other, lad,” he whispered. “I've got you. I won't let any of the wee baddies get you.”

“The wee baddies?” I whispered, as I began to stumble down the path. The cluster of servants who had attended me dispersed into open benches in the chapel, leaving me alone with Cody. My feet felt like two huge bricks crunching down upon a field of rotten eggs as I slowly moved forward.

“Don't tell me that I've never told you about the wee baddies before?” Cody whispered, still grasping my arm, his voice calm and soothing. He continued speaking, but I stopped paying attention in the middle of his explanation. Ahead of me, at the front of the chapel, Abraham stood in the robes of some kind of minister, probably what the Faithful wore at weddings. I didn't know, having never been to one. Around his neck was a silver chain, at the end of which hung the medallion that I had become so familiar to me. He smiled at me, meeting my eyes, and nodded gently. It felt good to see him, performing our wedding. He felt like the right choice. I started to relax a little, as he smiled at me.

I managed to make it the rest of the way to the altar and Cody released my arm. He gave me a subtle pat and then took his place beside me. The organ music continued to play. I turned around to face the congregation. Sparks, they were still kneeling. I glanced to Cody, questioningly, jerking my head toward the kneeling attendees as if to ask “what do I do?”. He just grinned and shrugged.

I groaned inwardly, then held up my hands, palms facing upward, and lifted them in a motion which I hoped would convey my intentions. The audience all stood again and I heaved a sigh of relief. At least I'd gotten something kindof right. The people turned back toward the entrance to the chapel and the organ music suddenly changed. It was suddenly more majestic, more regal.

My heart, which had alternated between beating rapidly and being still, suddenly started pounding against my chest, like a marching band trapped in a rusty elevator. Oh sparks, I thought. This is it.

At the other end of the chapel, Mizzy entered, her arm leading a gorgeous woman wrapped all in white. Her beautiful blonde hair was raised in intricate curls above her head, held in place by what looked like miniature ornamental blades. Her full lips were ornamented by the perfect shade of red and were locked into a tight, knowing smile. Her intense eyes locked onto mine and I saw something in her gaze that caused me to take an inadvertent step backward. She looked like a starving refugee who had just held up a gourmet all-you-can eat buffet with a semi-automatic rifle.

Megan.

Those eyes. Every time I saw them, it was like discovering them for the first time. I could stare into them for an eternity and still feel like I had never seen them. An intense blue that looked like passion-infused sapphires. Eyes that I had seen cry, smolder, and laugh. Sparks, how I loved those eyes. They were like two twin moons ruling above a planet made out of spongy jello.

As Megan and Mizzy got closer, I thought I saw something red and flickering around Megan. Was that.. fire? It was so subtle, but unmistakable. A crimson aura that seemed to emanate from her body. Was she doing that on purpose? Calamity, she looked insanely beautiful. Whatever subtle effect she was adding to enhance her appearance only served to make her look even hotter. I blushed inwardly. Should I be thinking of my wife as insanely hot as I was about to get married to her? It seemed kind of cheap or undignified. I banished the thought and tried to focus on the person that she was inside: hyper-competent, brave, even a bit cocky. The combination of her attributes was like a perfect storm of food that had coalesced to a single point and formed the most amazing stew ever created.

Mizzy escorted her side of the altar opposite me, then went to stand next to her. I stood, facing Megan, feeling like a slab of pizza that had been left too long in a microwave oven. My eyes fell upon something that was bulging underneath one of her arms. Sparks! Had Megan come to her own wedding armed? The air suddenly felt very hot. Get ahold of yourself, I thought urgently. She noticed me looking at her weapon and her shoulders twitched with a subtle laugh.

I gave her a weak grin and we both knelt across from each other on the altar, taking each others' hands. Abraham stepped closer to us and began to speak. I know that I should've paid attention to what he was saying but in this moment, all I could focus on was her. Her stunning face, the terror I felt when I thought that she was dead, the relief I felt when we had been reunited in Babylar, the anguish that tore away at my soul when she had run into a burning building to save me. Sparks, how had I gotten so lucky? Most people only got a few chances to find love. With Megan's supernatural ability to reincarnate, I had been gifted more chances than I deserved. And I had finally found it. She was finally going to be mine. I shook my head, feeling more and more in shock that this moment was here.

Suddenly I became aware that Abraham had stopped talking and was looking at me. Megan's had tilted her head forward slightly, eyes prompting me to say something. Oh, sparks! Why hadn't I been paying attention? Was I supposed to say some wise words of... well.. wisdom? Was there some formality. Megan's eyes began to widen, boring into me. Oh boy.

Abraham cleared his throat, softly. “David,” he began, and I got the distinct impression that he was repeating himself. “Do you take this woman, Megan Tarash, to be your lawfully wedded wife? To protect her, to put her first in all things, to serve her until the end of your days?”

I swallowed, nervously. “I do,” I croaked, my voice cracking. I winced. My voice sounded like a twisted steel piece of scrap metal being scraped across a junkyard full of melted slag. There was a moment of silence which seemed to stretch uncomfortably long.

“I do?” Megan asked, flatly, which caused me to jump. Her voice wasn't loud but it wasn't a whisper either. Was she supposed to talk at this part of the ceremony. “Seriously? That's the best you can come up with?”

Oh calamity! How was I supposed to know that those weren't the right words? That's what they always said in the movies!

I licked my lips, aware of the confused looks and muttering in the audience. I needed to say something incredible, something so romantic that Megan would faint at the pure awesomeness of it. “You,” I began, staring into her eyes, feeling my confidence rising. “You are like a giant bazooka, nobly sitting in the middle of a herd of sheep.”

Megan scowled and I heard mutterings in the congregation. “No, wait,” I said, scrambling up, turning toward the audience, my hands raised. “It makes sense! A bazooka is super powerful and awesome and can destroy tons of stuff.. buildings.. natural structures. But because the sheep are safe with the bazooka in their midst, it means that the bazooka isn't both dangerous and awesome but instead just awesome while seeming dangerous!”

People in the crowd looked at each other, their faces full of confusion. There were a few more whisperings. A few people nodded, politely, but they didn't look like they had any clue what I was talking about. Megan grabbed me and pulled. “Get back down, you slontze. Now isn't..” She cut off and looked hurriedly away. Her shoulders began to twitch, slowly at first. Then they began to shake. She squinted her eyes shut as her whole body began to tremble. Tears began leaking down her cheeks and her lips spread into a broad smile.

“A bazooka?” she gasped loudly, hand to her stomach, her cheeks red. She continued to laugh, and began panting for breath, her eyes watering like an array of industrial strength sprinkler systems watering a square foot planter box.

I smiled, feeling more comfortable. Finally! This was the Megan I knew. The one I loved. “It makes sense because you are awesome,” I replied, simply.

Abraham cleared his throat. “Perhaps we should continue the ceremony?” He seemed a little bit uncomfortable. He turned to Megan.

“And do you, Megan, take this man, David Charleston, to be your lawfully wedded husband? To protect him, to put him first in all things, to serve him until the end of your days?”

Megan cleared her throat, wiping away tears, still grinning broadly. “Yes, I take this slontze as my husband,” she sighed. Some members of the crowd audibly gasped. She continued, not seeming to notice. “After all, he's like a potato... in a minefield.”

My jaw dropped and my eyes widened. That was the same phrase that I'd used on her! She had stolen my line. Sparks! That was so incredibly sexy!

“Then with the authority invested in me,” Abraham continued, in a solemn voice—he seemed to be trying desperately to be serious. “I pronounce you husband and wife.” He paused, then added. “You may now kiss.”

Oh calamity, here was the moment. I was a high epic, endowed with super powers, probably envied by some. I had super strength, could shoot glowing beams out of hands, and could even fly. But now was the ultimate test: Megan's kissing test. I tried to project confidence as I leaned forward, my lips parting slightly. Oh sparks, oh sparks, oh sparks!

Her lips meant mine, gently. My surroundings seemed to shimmer and fade. I became less aware of the audience, more focused on Megan's lips. The light in the room shifted somehow and I could hear... was that birds chirping? I opened my eyes. What in the world?

Megan and I were not in the chapel any longer, but instead a beautiful field full of lilacs and daisies. Long beautiful grass came up with our waists as we knelt. The sky was a bright clear blue, with the sun a brilliant golden globe above us. How had we gotten here? Where was here? “Are you doing this?” I asked, hesitantly.

Suddenly, Megan's hands seized my jaw on both sides as she pulled me close. “Of course I'm doing this, you idiot,” she breathed. Her lips began to move with more urgency against mine as her hands stroked my face. “I'm not about to let the congregation see me do this.” I surrendered to her, as she ran her fingers through my hair, grabbing tufts of it in her fists. She worked her mouth around to my ear and began to pant softly into it. “You have no idea what you've gotten yourself into,” she whispered, seductively, a very brief moan escaping her lips.

I was in heaven. Or if there was a heaven, I couldn't imagine it being anything other than this. Was she just teasing me? At the moment, I didn't care.

“Are you ready?” she purred into my ear.

Oh sparks. What did she mean? Ready for what? “Uhhhhh,” I replied.

She pulled away from me, her face becoming a mask of calm once again. “Now,” she said, nodding to me.

The field shimmered away and suddenly we were back in the chapel. She looked radiant, as she pulled away from me, her figure perfectly poised and regal.

I looked like a sparking idiot, sprawled across the altar, my legs tangled beneath me.

“You face looks like a beet,” she whispered to me, a sly smile on her face. “You may not want to let your subjects see.” My subjects? Not her too!

I coughed into my arm, trying to muster up any remaining dignity that I could. Megan took my hand and we both rose, turning to face the congregation. They cheered. I smiled, relaxing. I couldn't believe it. Megan, beautiful, incredible Megan, one of the most awesome epics to ever live... was now my wife.

Life was perfect.

 

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