Chapter 44: Trial and Error

WARNING: Some more gun violence and blood in this one.


Before the world stopped, it felt Death returning. Every star and planet, every animal and plant, every microbe, every atom and quark felt the order settling back into the universe. Things lived. Things died. It was as it should be.

Or well, that was what the universe would feel once time started flowing again. Now, the return of Death was simply a promise felt only by those who were not bound by time.

The fragment of Death from another universe, who took the shape of a young woman and had many names – though in this universe no one cared to call her anything – looked up at the skies, through the atmosphere and stars. And she felt peace. The mission she had been given had been too much for a tiny fragment of Death. When one gave a finite piece the job of an infinite concept, work was bound to become too much. But now she was free again. She took hold of some of the stray energies and beings that had come to the universe with her and detached herself, breaking through the barrier of the frozen world.

Soon, she was back home. And the universe she had just left behind could patch itself up properly this time.

Tad sent a silent thank you to the fragment of foreign Death he never got to really meet face to face. Not that the meeting would have mattered. Deaths only crossed paths in very specific, rare circumstances anyway. And right now Tad had far more pressing – and depressing – issues to think about. Like his best friend lying dead in front of him in a bunker in Twinbrook. And the white room where another part of him stood, facing Time, Fate, War, Love, and others like them. They were all very official and stern. Time especially made sure to keep his form wise yet still youthful. Had a mortal been watching the scene, they would have seen a row of colourful, very impressive-looking people and perhaps sensed more of the impressive beings nearby. And they would have also seen one slightly worn-out young man in too big clothes.

Tad knew what was going on. He had often been a judge in these kinds of trials. He was usually the most impartial of them, of anything in the universe. Normally he would be in the row of serious beings, wearing his best cloak and holding a ceremonial scythe. But now… he was the one being judged. He was the one who had messed up.

And he realised with a small shock that there were very few things he truly regretted.

He regretted endangering the universe, breaking things and the rules. He regretted letting this go too far. He should have done things differently and not let the Deacons go along with their plans for so long. He should have acted quickly, and then… perhaps he should have left. Or then he should have just forgotten about excuses and stayed anyway. Because he didn’t regret meeting Amelia, Emily, or the Grisbys, or Miss Leifsdóttir or Mr. Sanguine. He didn’t regret the small garden in Amelia’s backyard. He didn’t regret seeing through almost-human eyes, or eating parts of plants that would form new limbs soon enough. He didn’t regret learning or experiencing new things. He didn’t regret being less alone. In fact, he would do so many of those things all over again. If he had the chance.

“Death,” Time said sternly, “You have fixed the damage you have caused. That is good. However, your actions in the recent Earth months have been very irresponsible. I have been watching it all unfold with increasing worry. And you did not stop even with all the chances you had. Not before things got too far. You should know better.”

“I do know better,” Tad said quietly, “I am very sorry for causing so much trouble. I promise I will be more careful in the future.”

“That is not enough,” Time said, “I have seen how this goes. Curiosity, attachments, excessive feelings… they are not good for us. You have shown that you cannot handle any of that.”

There were quiet murmurs of approval. Tad glanced at Love, who looked less like Philippa and more like a goddess, and saw worry in her eyes. Time straightened his back and spoke again in his ancient yet only moments-old voice:

“So therefore I propose the following: Death will have to take distance from the mortal world again and purge all these distractions by erasing himself.”

Now the murmurs became concerned. Death had never erased himself before. None of the more ancient beings had. Tad was terrified. He hadn’t thought that Time would take this so seriously. Sure, he had made mistakes – a lot of them – but… erasing? Taking away everything he had just gained? Everything he was? What would be left of him? A wisp of mindless darkness? The pain of lost self? The Purpose? He knew that the Purpose was not enough for him. He had tried it before and almost gone insane. He always thought too much. He needed a self.

“No, you cannot do that!” he said and hated how powerless his words sounded, “Please. I can accept any other punishment!”

“Would it really be so bad?” Love asked, “Do you know how wonderful it is? That moment when everything is washed away. And you’re free… there’s nothing but the clear Purpose that guides you.”

“And how long will that last, Phil?” Tad said and sounded harsher than he had meant, “It may work for you  for a while, but not… I do not want it! Not for anyone! It is cruel and temporary. Besides, do you realise what it could do? This is not centuries of memories we are talking about here. It is eons! Please, Time… I have done my job as professionally as I can all this time. You cannot suggest erasing after just one set of mistakes!”

Time looked at him sternly, as if Tad was being an unreasonable child. Tad glared back. At the end of the row, Fate stepped forward.

“I do agree with you in that he went too far,” she said to Time, “However, perhaps you should reconsider this. We do not know what could happen to him. He is old and integral to the universe.”

Tad looked at Fate in surprise. Fate was defending him? He hadn’t expected that.

“We do not,” Time admitted, “But we do know that he is out of control and will continue to be.”

“I have learned my lesson, Time,” Tad said, but Time didn’t even seem to listen to him.

“Well, if he really doesn’t want it, then… maybe he can handle ‘the distractions’ now,” Love suggested, “He’s smart. He wouldn’t let things go too far again.”

“I doubt that,” War grunted, “I’m surprised you’d think that way, Love, with your addiction and all. Maybe you need another shot of sweet oblivion.”

Love narrowed her eyes. Time raised his hand.

“Please, War, do not antagonise anyone here.”

“That’s what I do. At least I know what I’m in this world for, unlike Death lately!”

“I do know what I am here for!” Tad snapped, and War immediately quieted, looking at him almost fearfully, “And I just fixed what I had done wrong. I… what will it matter if I learn something now if it is then taken away? I promise I will do better in the future. Just… I do not… I…”

And he had been doing so well before his words turned into mush. He was so close to showing how terrified he was despite his best efforts not to – which was pointlessly prideful considering everyone in the room probably knew how scared he was anyway. Almost all of them feared erasing.

“I say we give him a chance to learn from his mistakes,” Fate said, surprising Tad again. She looked at Love for support. Love hesitated only for a second before nodding.

“He does try,” she said, “I know that. And… well, I like what he’s become.”

The voices in the background started to talk over each other. Some agreed with Time, some with Fate. Some suggested making the punishment lighter simply because they were afraid of Tad. And some… well, Tad liked to think that maybe they cared, even though it was unlikely. He was just the scary, disliked colleague who did his work and was terrible at jokes. He should really try to mingle with the others more too. If he was in any condition to mingle after this.

Finally, Time sighed. It was a very good sigh, containing the weariness and frustration of a spiralling history.

“Very well. I am prepared to let you remain yourself. However, I have some conditions.”

“Of course. Name them,” Tad said at once.

“First of all, you have to make sure your little adventure has not done any more damage and fix all the possible things that may threaten the integrity of the universe.”

Tad nodded. Not a problem at all. Perhaps the situation could still be salvaged.

“And secondly, you need to punish the one who did you wrong, who overstepped his mortal boundaries and planned all this.”

Again, no problem.

“Thirdly, we will think up some form of punishment for this. Probably a test so you can prove you are still capable of handling your responsibilities.”

“Sounds reasonable.”

“And lastly,” Time stopped for dramatic effect, “I expect you to do your job.

Tad frowned.

“Naturally. I have been doing it all this time.”

“Oh, really?” Time said coldly, “Then why is Amelia Sprigg’s soul still in her body?”


Amelia woke up. Or her soul did. She was still lying on the floor of the Deacons’ bunker. Tad was sitting next to her, looking mournful and scared. Amelia looked down and saw her body, something which would have made her heart leap in terror had she still had a heart. She looked at herself, then, and realised that she was translucent, ghostly, and very, very dead.

She had been afraid of this so much in the recent years. She had spent sleepless nights bothered by the thought that something could just end her life, or the lives of those around her. And now… now it had happened. What would happen now? She hadn’t really decided what she thought there was after death. Or if there was anything at all. Right now it felt more like whatever. Amelia realised that at some point she had stopped wondering what it would be, because she had had the joy to know and trust the one who would lead her to the whatever after death. Maybe she had reached some kind of acceptance. Not that it made the situation much less scary.

She was probably still in shock, because she could process it all quite well. Or then she didn’t process it at all. She looked around, saw that the world was frozen into a strange, grayscale moment. Like someone had paused a film. Amelia tried not to look at Mr. Deacon, who was thankfully now unconscious. Novak was there too. He had probably saved her from… well, something even worse than this. If there was something worse. Right now Amelia had to conclude that there probably was. All in all, she didn’t even feel so bad, as long as she didn’t think about her situation too much. Or that was what she could keep telling herself in order to keep from panicking. She turned to look at Tad, who clearly was thinking about something too much.

“Tad?” she asked and was surprised by the echo of her voice. Panic tried to get through her numbness, but she forced it down. Tad looked so distraught that she had to talk to him before she too dissolved into incoherent terror.

Tad looked up at her, eyes dull and empty. There was even more redness around his eyes than normally, even though he didn’t cry.

“Amelia,” he said quietly, sounding very heartbroken, “I am so, so sorry.”

“Are you okay?” Amelia asked.

“Yes,” Tad said and didn’t sound convincing at all, “Thank you for freeing me. Though you should not have… you risked your own life, and… and now it is over.”

“Can we please not talk about that now? I think I’m close to panicking.”

“…Sorry.”

“Um… What’s going on? Why’s everything frozen?”

“Time was stopped because Time intervened. But I… I wanted to talk to you, so I have temporarily detached us from the universe’s time. It is harmless, do not worry.”

“Oh… oookay. Thanks. I wanted to talk to you too,” Amelia frowned, “Are you sure you’re okay, Tad? Is the world okay again?”

Tad gave her a hollow smile.

“Yes. When I got back, it fixed things quite quickly. There might still be some stray beings from between universes out there, but the others and I will hunt them down quickly and either send them back out or destroy them if they will not comply. Once Time lets the world turn again, everything should be fine.”

“Oh… so… so people are dying normally again?”

“Yes.”

Amelia looked down at herself. At the ghostly body that was still halfway stuck in the corpse she’d rather not look at. She didn’t want to think about it too much either, but the questions came to her mind anyway.

“Then why am I…?”

Tad looked almost embarrassed.

“I… I had a moment of weakness,” he said, “And you did not… you died because of me. I want… want to fix it.”

“Oh,” Amelia looked down at herself again, “That would be wonderful.”

Something nagged at Amelia at the back of her mind. Something she should have remembered. What was it?

Tad smiled again. It still didn’t reach his eyes and looked more like a cry for help than anything else.

“It is the least I can do. Thank you, Amelia. Thank you for everything you have done for me.”

“Oh, it’s… nothing. Well, it is, but nothing I wouldn’t do again. We’re friends, right?”

“Yes… yes,” Tad smiled, “You are… thank you. I… I will miss you when I am gone.”

Amelia frowned.

“Gone? I told you you’re always welcome to my home.”

Tad was quiet for a long while.

“Tad?” Amelia asked.

“It is-“

“Don’t say it’s nothing! It’s not and I can see it!”

“I…” Tad closed his eyes, fought against something, and then seemed to pull himself back together.

“I have broken too many rules. Some of the others wish to…” he grimaced as if just saying it hurt him, “…to erase me.”

Amelia’s eyes widened.

“What? They can’t do that!”

“They are debating it as we speak.”

Something nagged at Amelia again. This time much more stubbornly than before.

Not now! I can’t let Tad be erased! He can’t… he can’t just lobotomise himself after all this!

“We have to stop them!”

Tad shook his head.

“The only way they will agree to lessening the punishment is if I do what I am supposed to do and – among other things – let you die. I am never allowed to refuse a soul, after all.”

Amelia wanted to cry. She couldn’t let Tad do this to himself. Especially if it was her fault. And she definitely didn’t want to become a bargaining chip over her friends’ identity. She had promised she would not let anything like this happen to Tad!

“It is not your fault,” Tad said, and then turned his head away, “It is all mine. And you… if you are thinking of sacrificing yourself again, then forget it! I will not accept that. I… I do not want you to die yet. And that alone shows that… that I have become too attached. Some say that this is for the best.”

“What about you? Are you saying that you want to be erased?” Amelia asked very quietly.

Tad didn’t look at her. Amelia had a feeling that he would have cried if he could have.

“No,” he whispered, “It is the last thing I want.”

There has to be a way to fix this! There has to be some compromise… Some loophole or tradition…

Amelia froze when she realised what her mind had been trying to remember. She looked down and opened her numb, ghostly hand. Then she smiled in relief.

“Tad,” she said, “Take me to those others you talked about. Now.”

Tad looked perplexed.

“What? Are you serious?”

“Yes. I think I have a say in this too.”

Tad looked unsure, but eventually he nodded.

“Very well.”

And then Amelia was somewhere else. She was standing on her feet and felt more real again. Real, but not alive yet. She was standing in a white room, where Tad stood at the centre, surrounded by majestic-looking, too ancient and too abstract beings. Looking at them made Amelia’s mind reel before she managed to look at them as people instead of as concepts. She clutched her hands into fists, confident when she felt some of the contents of the pouch Novak had given her still in her spirit hand. She was fairly sure that it was there just because some power of tradition demanded it. She raised her voice:

“Excuse me? Hello! I have something to say!”

Everyone stared at her. The being who looked the oldest – a blue-skinned man in white – glanced at Tad with eyes that reflected the entire universe.

“Death? What is this?”

“Like she just said, she wants to talk,” Tad said in a defeated monotone, “I believe that is allowed, as this concerns her as well.”

“She is a mortal human!”

“Yes. And our work is all about accommodating mortals.”

The blue-skinned man wiped his hand over his universe-eyes.

“Fine. Speak then, mortal.”

Amelia stepped forward, intimidated by thousands of invisible eyes that were on her. How many beings were in the room, really? She stopped next to Tad, in front of the most intimidating, most visible row of people, and took a deep breath.

“With all due respect, you can’t erase Tad… Death,” she said, “He has just wanted to learn new things. That’s not a crime, is it?”

“I do not expect a mortal to know much about our rules,” the blue-skinned man said, “He has disturbed the universe, and is now about to refuse a dying soul.”

“Yes. Me,” Amelia said, “Well, you know what? I won’t let you do this! Because he told me the universe is fixed again, and really, it didn’t seem to even be all that broken at any point! I think you’re just being unreasonable. And as for me… well, I think you’ll want to make an exception on that too.”

“Why? Because you are his ‘friend’? If you think you can sway us with an emotional speech, then you are mistaken.”

“No. Not because of speeches,” Amelia said with her best insurance worker’s voice and couldn’t help a triumphant smile that formed onto her face when she took something out of her pocket, “But because I have this!”

Everyone stared at the Death Flower in Amelia’s hand. Then they looked at each other and started murmuring amongst themselves:

“Did you know she had that?”

“No… I do not think she knew she had it until a minute ago…”

“Yes, but… would…”

“Death!”

Tad looked at the blue-skinned man with wide eyes.

“Yes?”

“Did you know she had a Death Flower when you were about to revive her?”

Before Tad could answer, Amelia cut in:

“Of course he did! He just recently gave me a speech about how he wouldn’t bend the rules even for me! And I know he was serious; he’s a terrible liar.”

“That is true,” Fate admitted.

“Time,” Tad said quietly, “Sometimes, looking at the big picture makes you miss little details.”

He smiled.

“I accept your conditions, but I also have to acknowledge the power of tradition, do I not?”

There was a silent moment that seemed to stretch into eternity. Amelia felt the world dissolving around her.

When she woke up again, the world was moving, and she was breathing. She felt light-headed and exhausted, and her back ached horribly, and she was cold and uncomfortable, but none of that mattered. She took a few deep breaths and then looked at her hands. Her solid, skin, flesh and bone hands.

I’m alive again.

She felt tears in her eyes and was close to hyperventilating when it all finally crashed down on her.

Oh, gods… I was dead. I was…  Just like that… I… oh, gods!

“Amelia?”

Amelia looked up at Tad and managed to calm her breathing a little bit. Tad seemed to be just fine. He was unharmed, still the sweet, awkward, somewhat creepy but still lovable young man who wasn’t really a young man. Amelia launched herself at him and hugged him fiercely. Thinking about death could wait. Right now she was alive, and Tad was there and seemed to be okay. That was much more important.

“Do you think they know I was just guessing when I said you knew about the flower?” she managed to say.

“Oh, they definitely know,” Tad replied, “And they also know that I did not know about it. But tradition is tradition, and I think they were impressed by your boldness.”

Amelia was quiet for a very bewildered, overwhelming moment. Then she burst into laughter.

“I’m so glad you’re okay!”

Tad hugged her back, and Amelia realised that he was trembling a little.

“I am glad you are okay too,” he said.

They stayed like that for a moment, but then someone cleared their throat. Tad let go of Amelia, and Amelia realised that her legs felt like jelly after all she had been through, but otherwise she was remarkably okay. She looked around and saw that they were still in the bunker. Emily was still sleeping on the couch, and Novak and Vanja both stood in front of them. Demetrius Deacon was slumped against a kitchen counter, unconscious. The other Deacons were nowhere to be seen.

“You guys took them all down?” Amelia had to ask.

“Why are you so surprised?” Vanja asked, “We have already proved ourselves capable in many situations.”

“And it also helped that there was this weird moment when everyone got this bad feeling… like we’d been frozen in time for a bit or something, and Vanja managed to recover a second faster than the Deacon kid,” Novak explained.

Vanja glared at him, but Novak raised his hands in a peaceful gesture

“Hey, I said you were faster than him to recover. It was a compliment!”

“Thank you all,” Tad said, “Once again. I… I owe you so much.”

Amelia looked at Novak and smiled at him. He looked immediately uncomfortable.

“Thank you for the Death Flower,” she said, “It saved us both.”

“Oh, it was in the pouch I gave you?” Novak slapped his hand to his forehead, “Damn it! I forgot all about that stupid weed! Well, great, now it’s wasted. Thanks a lot!”

He sighed, but Amelia saw him barely repressing a smile.

“Well, glad it worked for you, I guess,” he said dismissively, “Just don’t get all mushy over it. So, it’s over now, huh?”

“Not quite yet,” Tad said darkly, “I need to talk to Mr. Deacon. Step aside.”

Novak and Vanja immediately complied, and soon Tad stood above Mr. Deacon’s unconscious form.

“Wake up, Mr. Deacon,” he said in his threatening, echoing voice.

Mr. Deacon immediately stirred, and when he realised what was going on, he cringed as well.

“Please, don’t do… whatever it is you’re planning!” he begged.

“You have put the entire universe at risk because of your own, quite frankly petty goals,” Tad said, “And as you attacked me directly, I have the right to punish you. So I will make sure you will have a much more difficult time breaking things from now on.”

Mr. Deacon flattened himself against the counter, suddenly terrified. All his previous smugness had disappeared again. He looked less like a mighty wizard ready to play god and more like a frightened old man.

“Please! Don’t-!”

Tad clenched his hand into a fist in front of Mr. Deacon. Mr. Deacon gasped and slumped against the wall. He was still breathing, but something had changed. Amelia didn’t know what until Tad said in a very tired voice:

“I severed his connection to this world’s magic. I believe that is quite fitting.”

Vanja looked quite horrified.

“Really? Just like that? I mean, I’m not complaining or anything, but…”

“Yes,” Tad said, “To answer your unasked question, I can do that.”

He looked around and walked over to Emily. He looked so regretful, so ancient and weary that Amelia wanted to hug him again.

“I am sorry, Emily,” Tad said, “I hope I did not hurt you too much. I promise I will help you get better.”

“I read some of the magic traces,” Vanja said quietly, “Did they really lock you up inside her mind?”

“Yes.”

“Bastards.”

“Indeed. Now… I think we should go. Mr. Deacon has received his punishment, and the rest of the Deacons… well, they can settle their differences here. I may have work to do here soon enough.”

“We’ve already called the authorities,” Vanja said.

“Good. Then I suppose we will have to talk to them.”

Tad lifted Emily into his arms.

“But after that, I would like to go back to Riverview. Could you please find the pieces of the gemstone? Mr. Sanguine knows what it looks like.”

When they were leaving the bunker they heard Mr. Deacon wake up again and – most likely after realising what had happened to him and his magic – let out a desperate howl.


Lydia Deacon woke up to a killer headache and ruined plans. She had been left outside in the swamp after that bastard Sanguine had managed to get a jump on her and had proved to be quite good at blood chokes. She stood up and tried to regain her bearings. The swamp was deceptively quiet, but as Lydia approached the cabin, she could hear noises coming from their bunker. Lydia groggily fumbled her way through the ajar door and down the ladder, where she found father and Gaius. Father was yelling incoherently in a mix of rage and anguish. Lydia knew that a part of it had to be because everything they had fought for had just clearly been ruined. But perhaps there was something else to it as well.

“Gaius?” Lydia asked, “What’s…?”

“Apparently, Death took his magic away,” Gaius said, “He’s been trying to cast spells for the last ten minutes.”

Lydia knew that she probably should have felt sorry. Magic had been father’s pride and joy, the way he had succeeded in life, and a part of the legacy of the Deacon family. Yeah, right. Maybe she could be sorry in another life. Right now she only felt some twisted schadenfreude. Even their ruined plans didn’t sting that much anymore. She realised that she felt… almost relieved. Sure, she had failed, and that was always a harsh blow. But she was also much more aware of how much of her success would have just been for father anyway, and how little control she still had over her life. Even the brief period of freedom before the bet hadn’t really been real. Father would never let go. Never.

“Dad,” Gaius tried to say, “It’s okay. We should just get out. I think the police are coming! I just avoided them when I was running here. We’ll help and take care of you. We’ll-“

Suddenly father tried to grab Gaius by the arm and looked at him with eyes filled with insanity.

“Yes…” he hissed, “You will! You can… Gaius, I love you so much, son… You can help me. We can fix this. We need a better plan. We can get back at them… all of them… whoever was a part of this.”

“Dad…” Gaius said fearfully, “It’s over now. We should forget about it. We made mistakes, and we should find something else to do.”

Father shoved Gaius backwards, and he hit the floor. Lydia saw Gaius’s future in father’s wild eyes. And her future as well. More and more endless years of manipulation. Being nothing more than tools for their family, for father and his growing insanity. Losing his magic had clearly been the last straw.

“We? Give up? How dare you suggest that?!” father growled, “You are this family’s only hope now, Gaius! You have to continue what we started. You can’t abandon me! I will make things right again.”

They would never be free…

“You’re scaring me, dad…” Gaius shifted away from father, but father stepped forward.

Gaius… Gaius had to be kept safe.

“You will listen to me, son. I am your-“

His words were interrupted by a gunshot.

Father slumped to the ground, head partly exploded by the force of the bullet.

Gaius screamed, and Lydia screamed as well and tried not to look at the gun she had just killed their father with. Lydia rushed to hug Gaius, who was still screaming and wailing in terror and grief. Lydia realised that she was crying as well.

“Gaius… it’s okay, it’s okay…” she chanted, “I’m so sorry… I’m… I had to do it… otherwise… we would have never been free.

Gaius kept crying, and Lydia tried her best to form words through the tears and regrets:

“We… We’ll make a new life out of this… out of… something…”

Gaius hugged her back, and they sat there – alone except for the passing presence of Death that made them both shiver. But Death didn’t seem to care about them at all. They didn’t see him, but they knew he had taken father. Lydia and Gaius stayed together with the corpse until they heard the authorities approaching. By the time any kind of police – supernatural or otherwise – was there, they were already gone. They ran away, minds filled with regrets and trauma, but also a spark of hope.


Amelia was overjoyed to notice that Riverview was where they had left it. There was barely a trace of anything having gone wrong at all, aside from some vague, scared memories and rumours and the fact that a couple of grocery stores had suffered a few odd cases of shoplifting by invisible people. Dewey and Brigitte were waiting in front of the hospital, looking slightly dishevelled but otherwise okay.

“Oh, I’m so glad to see you!” Brigitte gushed, “Dewey told me that you were right in the middle of this mess! Are you okay?”

“Yeah, we are,” Amelia said, “And you?”

“Yup,” Dewey said, “Things weren’t as bad as they looked. Yet. I think most people will dismiss all the weirdness as just a really bad day. Or hallucinations.”

“So, what really happened here?” Brigitte asked.

Amelia glanced at the others. Novak shrugged and Vanja was really trying to fight against slipping into smug know-it-all mode.

“It was just a bad day,” Tad said, “Cracks in the universe. The cosmic beings fixed it. It should not happen again.”

It wasn’t enough of an explanation. But Brigitte was socially adept enough to realise that it was the best they were about to get.

“Well, I’m really glad you’re okay,” Brigitte said, “Universe breaking always sounds bad. But… well, who are we to really try to figure out things of that scale, right?”

“Right,” Amelia smiled, “So… what are you two doing here?”

Brigitte suddenly got a rather awkward, very apologetic look on her face.

“We came here because your mother’s boyfriend wanted to get to the hospital. Apparently he got a call, and since Dewey wanted to make sure he was kept safe…”

Amelia’s eyes widened. Suddenly she was back in reality. Reality where there were no cracking universes, and the worst problem was worrying about the survival of her mother.

Wait… Can we go back to the universe-problems?

“About mum?” she asked, “How is she?”

“We don’t know yet,” Brigitte said, “I didn’t think it would be polite to butt into your family affairs. But Mr. Bouchard has been in there for quite a while. I think you should go in too.”

Amelia didn’t need to be told twice. She rushed into the hospital, not noticing the sad look on Tad’s face.

Author’s Note: Yeah… at first I thought it would be over with this chapter, but then I realised that it would be way too crammed full of stuff if I included the conclusion to what happens to Amelia’s mum as well as the epilogue-type character moments in this too. So… one more chapter it is.

I’m getting so scared that I’ll stumble hard on the finish line. But I hope this is still something that feels worth the read. It had a lot of scenes I’ve wanted to write for AGES, and some ideas I’ve really wanted to pull off. And I guess you’ll be the judge on how I managed. I personally think I did… passably I guess. <– Wow, I managed to compliment myself. Uh… success?

I hope you guys enjoy and have a lovely time!

PREVIOUS Chapter: Timely Interventions

NEXT Chapter: The Not Quite Perfect Life

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4 thoughts on “Chapter 44: Trial and Error

  1. I have totally forgotten about the Death Flower! Sneaky Novak – I think he knew what he was doing. And it’s great that he did. I don’t think Tad could’ve handles having to help Amelia move over to the other side.
    As for Julia Sprigg, I have a feeling her end won’t be as positive.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, I think that someone as careful as Novak would keep a close eye on something as handy as a Death Flower, unless he was thinking that someone else might need it more than him.

      If Amelia hadn’t had the flower, Tad would have flat-out refused to reap Amelia and erased himself like Time wanted him to. He would have rather sacrificed his identity than let his friend die because of him. 😦

      As for Julia… yeeah… we’ll see what happens in the next chapter.

      Liked by 1 person

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