Without looking directly at her, I signaled for Giada to get low on the ground, which she did with confusion but very little hesitation. As Wade stepped backwards, he naturally expected his path to remain clear. He had no clue that Giada had stationed herself where she had, and his shocked expression when her position collided with his footfall was priceless! He tripped and plummeted down to the floor with a thud! I saw Aidan dive for the wand that had fallen out of Wade’s hand, so I took this opportunity to quickly retrieve my own wand. As Wade lunged towards his wand, I snatched mine. Wade grabbed his wand, and Aidan immediately knocked it out of his hand! This distracted him long enough to allow me to cast a spell, and Wade got stunned to find himself suddenly bound by ropes! I stood over him and declared, “Wade Toonella, you’re under arrest!” I could see fury brewing in his eyes, but with no alternative, he begrudgingly accepted his fate.
It took Giada, Aidan, and me a moment for the reality of the situation to sink in, but when we realized that not only did we beat an extremely evil villain but we also saved the entire planet from certain doom, we cried out in relief and joy! We got into a group hug, and I just started bawling from the pure elation of it all! I had a feeling we’d achieve success, but with so much at stake and the odds stacked against us like that, I didn’t feel too sure about making it out of there alive. Now that we had, it felt so surreal! More surreal than the monsters we faced in the maze! “We won!” I voiced just to make sure that this achievement had actually happened.
“You did the bulk of the work!” Aidan praised me. “Your wise words and fast thinking under pressure really saved the day!”
“I wouldn’t have gotten this far if you hadn’t been there!” I lauded him. “You gave me courage when I needed it the most, and you distracted him enough for me to get my wand and capture him. Plus, if I didn’t have your help, I’d probably still be stuck in that maze!”
Giada reacted incredulously, “You guys went through the maze? Didn’t you see the backdoor?”
Aidan griped, “There was a backdoor? Dammit!
“He probably put a spell on it so we couldn’t see it.” I wasn’t sure if I actually believed that, but I told myself that anyways, and it seemed to quell Aidan too. I couldn’t think about what Aidan and I could have done differently in that moment, we won and that’s all that mattered! Plus, Giada’s input in the conversation brought up another important point to me. I turned to her and profoundly expressed, “You came back! Why’d you do it? Not that I’m not grateful, but you didn’t show much interest in helping us out before…”
“I didn’t think think I could, and honestly, I didn’t come in here thinking I was going to,” Giada admitted. “I ran into your detective friends in the forest, and they asked me to see if you were still in here. I was just supposed to check on you, but when I saw you guys lying there, I dunno, I just felt something inside me telling me to go help. I had no idea how I could since I’m just a Fay…”
“You’re not just a Fay!” I kindly differed with her. “We would have been done for without your help! It took a lot of courage for someone who can’t do magic to face a magian the way you did!”
Aidan added, “Especially with your attitude towards humans. You didn’t stand to gain anything out of this, but you did it anyways!”
I tacked on, “We wouldn’t have made it here in time to stop the apocalypse if you hadn’t let us into the Ploutonion! You didn’t have to help us, but you did, and it helped save millions of innocent lives!”
“You’re a hero!” Aidan complimented her. “You deserve to…” He trailed off as the Fate Particle began glowing brighter and emitted sparks.
“What’s happening?” I wondered out loud. For a brief second, I fretted that we hadn’t saved the planet after all, and I feared its hyper activity signified disaster…
The Fate Particle shot a ray outside of its protective orb, and Aidan and I expected the worst. That ray only struck Giada though, who grew avidly confused as warm light surrounded her. She floated into the air, and it reminded me of Jasmine ascending into Heaven. Aidan noticed the dawn of comprehension taking over my face, so he asked, “What? What’s happening.”
I answered him, “Don’t you see? Humans are allowed in the Ploutonion to make the case for Fays as to where they belong in the afterlife…”
“We persuaded the Fate Particle to let her into Heaven!” Aidan gasped.
“We sure did!” I agreed as we watched her rise up and dissolve into the clouds. It gave me a high level of gratification to know that Aidan and I assisted her in obtaining a blissful ending! I did feel a little morose knowing we’d never see her again, and it did seem like she left us too soon, but the peaceful expression she bore before she left made me think that she had gotten exactly what she wanted and that we had done the right thing. I also took notice of how physically close Aidan and I had become, and I pondered if it could lead us to growing close in another way…
Wade abruptly interjected, “Are you bohunks finished yet?”
“Bohunks?” I echoed back to him. “Wait, that prejudice was real? I thought you just made it up for your alter ego!”
“That was theo nly part I didn’t fake!” Wade grumbled. “You and your filthy, bohunk mother… I won’t miss seeing your wretched lot every day!”
Aidan queried to me, “What’s a bohunk?”
I replied, “It’s a derogatory word for an eastern European person.”
“You’re eastern Europen too?”
“Yeah, my dad is Irish, but my mom’s Polish and German.”
“Oh nice! I’m part Serbian on my dad’s side.”
“Oh cool! I-.”
Wade interrupted, “Can I please just go to prison now?” Aidan and I shrugged, and then we non-verbally established that it had come time for us to get out of there!”
When we peeked out of the exit, we saw Sandra and Chief Mazarine pacing near Aidan’s car, and I was glad that we could bring them some much needed good news!We used our wands to send Wade out first, which gave them quite the startle! After Aidan and I hopped out of the Ploutonion, they appeared to have had a huge wave of alleviation wash over them! Sandra ran over to me and gave me a big hug! “Thank heavens you’re okay! Your mom called me, and I got so worried!”
“Where’s the Fay that came in with you?” Chief Mazarine questioned.
“She’s not coming back,” Aidan grimly let him know.
Chief Mazarine’s face fell to receive that sad update. “I’m sorry to hear that! How did she-?”
Wade cut him off, “Hello? Isn’t anyone gonna talk to me about my role in all this? Clearly, I’m the victim here!”
“You’re the victim?” I shrieked at him. “You tried to kill us all!”
“I tried to liberate you!” Wade corrected me. “I put so much work into this only to have it fall apart at the last minute, so I deserve to have the world hear my story! It all started when I was young. I-.”
I commanded, “Put him in a squad car! We can get his story later!”
As a couple of nearby officers carried him off, Wade bellowed, “You’re all sinners, and you deserved to die! I was gonna make you all pay! I would have ruled the world with you all gone! I-!” The officers slammed their vehicle door shut. I noticed that it had been the K-9 officer’s car, and from the trunk, I could see Garmer very poignantly staring in his direction. It made me titter, but I also realized that maybe the bloodhound took an interest in me because of my proximity to the true killer!
“I told you my disguises worked!” Aidan grinned.
“Huh?” His assertion seemed so wildly out of context, but since I knew him as an intelligent person, I opened up my ears to hear what he had to say.
He explained, “For my heists, you wondered why I didn’t have people trying to assassinate me for revenge. I hustled this guy out of a drug deal once, and he didn’t recognize me at all! With all the talking he did up in the Ploutonion, I’m sure he would have brought it up! Too bad I didn’t meet your stepdad before, maybe I could have prevented a lot of this from happening!”
I winced and dryly responded, “I don’t even wanna think about that!”
We both laughed, and my heart reveled in sharing this moment with him. I didn’t want it to end! I knew my team was waiting for our statements, but after this whole chaotic ordeal, I learned that life is short. When I thought I might die, I felt pained thinking about all that I could have experienced in my life and didn’t. Now that I had been given a second chance, I didn’t want to waste any more opportunities for joy! I didn’t have any way of knowing if my feelings were reciprocated or not, but I couldn’t just let us go our separate ways without trying to recover what I lost! Fate could tear us apart on the way out of here, so it had to be now! I pleaded with him, “Aidan, please forgive me for the way I treated you! You didn’t deserve it, and I’m willing to do whatever it takes to make it up to you so I can be with you again! Please, is there anything I can say or do to be your girlfriend again? Please!”
Aidan mulled it over for a minute, and I waited for his determination with such anxiety. I hoped that he would give me an answer right away, this hesitation sent me reeling! I never wanted anything more and hoped that he desired me just as much because if he didn’t, it would have devastated me! Not to mention that I would have gotten humiliated in front of my colleagues… again! My nerves felt like they were on fire when he turned back to me with what appeared to have been an answer in his mind. With a wry smile, he inquired, “Can you take those handcuffs home?”
My insides became giddy in relief, but before I could reply, Chief Mazarine snapped, “No! Absolutely not allowed!”
“It’s not?” Sandra reacted in surprise. When Chief Mazarine gave her an alarmed look, she tried to cover up what just slipped out, “I just meant in case you gotta arrest someone off the clock. Not like I’ve ever used it for other reasons…”
“Ugh!” Chief Mazarine walked away in disgust. As he stomepd away, he muttered, “We’re going over policy standards on Monday!”
Aidan and I chuckled, but with that interruption out of the way, I focused back on the most urgent matter at hand. “Does this mean that you forgive me?”
Aidan wrapped his arms around me, and he assured me, “Of course!”
I beamed very widely before giving him a tender kiss! I could hear Sandra cooing, “Awwwww!” in the background, but I could hardly pay attention to her or anything else right then. Getting lost in his embrace felt like a miracle, and with my core gaining full trust in him, I now had the ability to love him more freely, and that kiss was the best thing that I had ever experienced in my entire life! For a brief moment, I actually wondered if I had died in the Ploutonion and had gone to Heaven! I caught a whiff of Wade’s odor and knew that there wasn’t any way that my paradise would smell like that! As we went arm in arm to give our statements, I briefly amused myself wondering if they would force him to bathe in prison!
When Aidan brought me home, my mother ran up to me and squeezed me tight! Travis exclaimed, “You’re okay!”
“Of course they’re okay! What do you think this is, an out of body experience?” his mom remarked sarcastically.
“What happened to Wade?” my mother asked perplexedly.
Aidan and I exchanged grave expressions, and then I revealed to her, “Wade got arrested. He’s being charged with multiple homicides and, like, six million counts of attempted murder!”
My mom’s face paled to hear this. “He’s never coming back?”
“He has a secret fortune, which now, legally, belongs to you!” I know it probably sounded a bit strange to comfort someone who just lost their spouse in such a way, but my gut indicated that her disturbance over the matter had nothing to do with missing him!
“Really? Well, I’m okay then!” Her skin got its color back, and we all celebrated the occasion.
When Ben drained out all of bank accounts, I never would have guessed that I would encourage anyone else to do that! My mother did it lawfully though! She got power of attorney over his finances, and given the infinite amount of life sentences he faced, it looked like he would never get the chance to enjoy that money anyways! My mom felt really strange having such a vast amount of funds, not just because she had never belonged to a higher financial class before that but mainly because her addiction used to make her untrustworthy to have any amount of wealth! She did just fine though! She stayed in Brigid’s Garden since she didn’t want to move her eight cats, but she invested a lot of her money to make it more appealing and safe there! She did a lot more gardening with her free time too, and she was really good at it! She even did the Okelani’s yard and paid for a higher fence to keep their dog safe! She turned the Roadkill diner into a low income rehab center, and it inspired Ben to get counseling certification so he could work there. His death seemed to really have shaken him, and he became a totally new person! I liked him much better as a Fay than I did as a human! I still divorced him, but his change in attitude allowed us to stay friends. I always thought that my mom marrying Wade would prove to be a mistake, but it seemed like it got her and Ben to exactly where they belonged!
Since I helped her obtain all of that money, she insisted that I receive a considerable share. I used a huge chunk of it to pay off the balance on my old house, but after that, the first thing I used it for was to get Travis a new bicycle… with a lock! I still felt bad for how his bike got mixed up in that apocalyptic nightmare! Plus, I didn’t want him to keep asking me about it each time I came to visit. His mom and I ended up becoming friends (her name is Aubrey by the way!), and we had a girls night out regularly from that on. I started to build up a social circle inside of my work too, and I especially bonded with Sandra. We worked on our own cases after closing this one, but we made sure to hang out and catch up as often as we could. Chief Mazarine and I never developed a true friendship, but at least he gave me cases that were a little more complex. It felt good to get that acknowledgment, but if he had gone that route, I would have learned to live with it since I had a life outside of work now. I still felt passionate about my job, but I stopped making it the only thing that mattered.
After we settled the case of the missing bicycle that evolved into a global genocide, Aidan and I took the week off to go on a vacation! My phobia of traveling made me miss out on so much in the world, and after everything that happened, I wanted to see it all! Although, with this particular trip, I didn’t see much outside of the room! That nice old couple in the mountains never did look at us the same after that! When we got back, Aidan dissolved his business. He didn’t feel comfortable toeing the line of legality while dating someone in law enforcement, but after playing an important role in Wade’s case, he also developed an interest in going into that field. He wouldn’t have made enough to gain a profit without doing the side hustles anyways, so he enrolled in the police academy in order to become an undercover officer! He turned the building that he owned for that sales gig into a halfway house for Fay Folks, and we started a non-profit to help them with their civil rights. Giada may have left us, but I still wanted to keep my promise to her! Plus, it didn’t feel right for them to receive such treatment after realizing that the crimes of the fay were nothing compared to what other human beings did to each other! As for my future with Aidan, we’re still dating strong, but unlike with Ben, I actually would consider changing my last name to Maddox…
Up until I wrote this book, all anyone knew about Wade was he went crazy and tried to kill a bunch of people. We made sure the press never reported his story either. We did that partly because we didn’t want to scare people with how close they came to total destruction, but we mostly didn’t want to give Wade the satisfaction of notoriety. He didn’t deserve it! Moreover, we didn’t want anyone to learn just how easily they could destroy the earth! Our top magian scientists repaired the barrier around the Fate Particle, but we couldn’t stop anyone from going in there again! I know that eventually it’ll happen again, but hopefully not any time soon! I wrote this story to have a record of the truth, and I sincerely hope that I’ll never have to write a sequel!