Hello once again on this Sunday morning/afternoon/night. This is the last chapter….. well, it’s the last chapter of the last arc which is the finale, but there is still one more day left, and technically you don’t really need to read the epilogue/ chapter 30. It’s probably going to be really short and just give a small sense of time skip. But yeah, this is where I want the story to be, this is how I want the ending to be, so here it is. Man has this been a ride. It’s been crazy, and I can’t believe I was able to see to it till the end like this. Word count: 63,470. Here you go, chapter 29 of “Home For The Unwanted”.
Ryan and the children ran among the night’s veil, none worrying about the noise that they were creating. The only thing they had in mind, was the destination. Ryan fluttered the note as he was running, and soon placed it in his pocket. There was a single word written on the note, and it was a place that Ryan and the children had to place their trust in. After all, Lorna had placed her trust in it as well, and that much was enough for them.
“Where are we going?” Winter asked.
“The bridge!” Ryan couldn’t help but shout as he ran, his breath was waning, but he had to endure it.
“This is fun!” Runner exclaimed. The situation was quite dire, but despite this, Runner still had a level head, he was still himself, and this made Ryan happy.
“Don’t count on it,” Walker said as he lagged behind. Walker never seemed to be the type to be able to run fast, or long, Ryan thought. He seemed to be having a harder time than Ryan, and this made him slightly happy, although, Walker was younger than him.
“We could have taken her on!” Spark said, trying to race ahead of Ryan.
“Yeah right!” Carrier added, “You would have been cleaned.”
“Hah! I can take you on any day, you can even bring Hailstone!”
“I’ll wipe the floor with both of you!”
“Guys….” Sunflower said at their playful bantering. Although their talk was nothing more than running noise for Ryan, it still made him quite happy, and made the other children relaxed. The energy and the feelings that these children had were all special, Ryan thought. They were all so endearing, and they were all precious. Lorna had a good family. Ryan had a good family. His norm was slowly piecing together. His norm was slowly forming again. His heart ached, but his face gleamed a big smile. Ryan couldn’t have been any happier in such a harrowing state.
“If we keep this up, ghosts will come and get us!” Spear said, being the loudest of all the children.
“Forget about the ghosts, my legs are killing me!” Ryan started shouting. Everyone began laughing, and as their voices filled the dead of the night, they all couldn’t help but smile. Their worries were slowly fading, and the weight on their hearts had slowly started draining. What seemed to be the end of their world, and the end of the norm they had all resided in, was gone.
“You better not die on us!” Hailstone said cheerfully with a toothy grin. Ryan’s legs were giving in, but Ryan pressed on. He knew that he needed to bring them to the bridge. He knew that he needed to trust in Lorna. He knew that his norm was coming back together. Ryan didn’t want that feeling to end again. He didn’t want to betray his norm. Ryan pressed on. Ryan continued to run, and he continued to lead.
“We’re here!” Runner said as he pressed ahead. Once Ryan had arrived at the bridge, he moved towards the grassy hills and laid facing the starry night sky. His eyes began tiring, and he felt the energy from the run drain quickly out of his body. Ryan wanted to fall into a deep sleep, and Ryan wanted the whole world to be enveloped in a shroud of darkness. The stars ahead were bright, and they gave way for nice company. Ryan wanted to sleep.
“She did tell me there would be eight of you–” A voice resounded beneath the hills, it was Shooter, who Ryan didn’t recognize. Despite the cloak of the night, Shooter still opted to wear sunglasses. He made his way up the hill and examined each of the children with one hand on his chin.
“I see. Well, she found a good bunch,” Shooter concluded.
“And–” Shooter turned towards Ryan, who was still lying on the grassy hills.
“You must be Ryan Ray.”
“I am. Are you Lorna’s plan?” Shooter laughed. Ryan wondered who Shooter was, and wondered his relations to Lorna. Ryan wondered if he was a friend, or a person who used to be under the care of Lorna, and had found his own home. If that was the case, Ryan wondered where he would be bringing them, or if he was going to bring them anywhere. And if that was the case, Ryan wondered if he was an ally, or if he was an enemy. And if that was the case, Ryan wondered what Lorna had done in her past; the same past that Ryan knew so little about.
“I don’t know if I’m Lorna’s plan. But I am here to bring you kids to a safer place.”
“A safer place?” Ryan asked.
“Yeah. If you guys are here, I’m assuming you guys finally got caught, right?”
“And I don’t think that you guys would like the kind of things they have in store.”
“They bring us to a place worse than prison, right?” Spear asked.
“According to Lorna.”
“How much do you know?” Ryan asked.
“I only know as much as Lorna knows. She’s the one gathering the info. I’m the recorder.” Shooter looked towards the sky, his eyes still blocked off with his sunglasses, and his expression was lax. Ryan got up from his position, and stood beside Shooter, who was much taller than he was.
“How do you know Lorna?” Ryan suddenly asked. The question itself had no real pertinence towards the situation. However, there was an urging feeling in Ryan that made him want to ask that question. Ryan wasn’t sure if it was jealously, or simple curiosity that he wanted to know his relations toward Lorna. Shooter found the question amusing.
“The same way you know her.”
“She took you in?”
“You’re looking at a first generation,” Shooter proudly proclaimed.
“That’s means that you lot are her second generation.” Ryan quickly understood what he meant, and realized that Lorna must have been taking care of people for quite some time. To have multiple generations, means that she must have gone through multiple families, Ryan thought.
“Were you caught, as well?” Ryan asked to Shooters better amusement.
“No. None of us were caught. None of the first generation. We all left on our own accords.” The thought of Lorna’s family leaving her made Ryan sad, but at the same time, it seemed she was very stoic. Lorna never talked about this first family she had. She never seemed to bat an eye towards them, and to Ryan, that seemed like she had moved on. She had finished her job, and she had no more obligations towards those who are now wanted, to those who are now unfit for the home for the unwanted. Ryan was such a person, and now Ryan was trying his best to cling to that norm. Ryan wondered what that made him, and wondered if in doing so, he was heading into un trodden territories. After all, his mother, and his uncle were waiting for him.
“But enough of me. I heard that you guys all keep a diary, right?” Ryan didn’t, but the other children did, and they all took their diaries out.
“Good,” The sentiment was quite strange to Ryan, and he wondered why that was important.
“Where’s Lorna?” Winter asked.
“I wish I knew.”
“You mean she won’t be coming with us?” Runner asked.
“No. She told me to wait before I left, and to bring you along so I could drop you off to some place safe.”
“With all of us, we can take on the ‘bad guys’ and save Lorna!” Spark excitingly added.
“I don’t think Lorna’s in any trouble. She would want us to leave. She would want you to leave.” Shooter’s voice seemed to go quiet. His comfortable causal tone had dropped, and it seemed the thought of Lorna had made him sad. Shooter remembered something, or rather, Shooter knew something, Ryan thought. Throughout the time Lorna had devised her plan, she had decided to tell Shooter about her past. Lorna told him everything, and about why she wanted to do what she wanted to do. It made Shooter angry at first, but he soon came to terms with it. He had no choice, it was the only thing he could do now to repay the debt he owed, Shooter concluded. And even then, Shooter didn’t want to comply. Shooter knew what Lorna was going to do, and Shooter knew that it meant going against everything she wanted. Lorna was facing her past; she had never forgotten. Lorna didn’t want to, she knew that her past made up who she was, and she knew that her past was important, but she didn’t want to go back to it. She wanted to move on, with her new family, with her new experiences. It was only until she met her recent kids that she felt this way. Her feelings had changed. She wasn’t obliged to her chains anymore, she wanted to take care of them, because that was what she deemed as right and as her own mantra.
“Lorna’s strong. She’s really strong. You guys had a good guardian.” Shooter’s voice trailed off, and despite the sunglasses that blocked his eyes, Ryan could tell that he was on the verge of tears. Lorna wanted to cry as well, but she didn’t. Lorna knew she couldn’t cry, not now at least. Lorna walked back with Amanda, while the rest of her division scattered across the forest and some in the town to look for Ryan and the children. Lorna wanted everyone to be safe, and wanted everyone to leave. And most of all, she wanted Ryan to stay, and to live his life with the people he has. That was all Lorna could do for Ryan. It was all she could do after she’s learned so much from him. She’s learned to fly, and she’s learned to fight. Lorna would be living another life, and she would be accustomed to new norms once again. That was enough for Lorna. That was her plan. She made no mistakes.
“Why wouldn’t Lorna want to come with us?” Carrier asked.
“She has reasons. She has many reasons, and I think you guys will come to appreciate that when you get older.”
“You appreciate them because you’re older?” Walker added.
“Don’t give me that! Lorna needs to be here!” Hailstone suddenly interjected, yelling and rushing towards Shooter; who towered over her, “Don’t tell me that Lorna has reasons for leaving us! She has to come!”
“Hailstone….” Sunflower said, “It’s okay, Hailstone. It’s fine, if–”
“No! No, you don’t understand!”
“But I do, and it–”
“It’s all a load of crap! Lorna can’t leave us like this. She promised. She promised us that she would always be with us! That she’ll protect us…” Shooter had no words to quell her. Shooter couldn’t quell her. It wasn’t his job, nor did he know enough to be able to calm the situation. Shooter was just a transporter.
“I won’t leave without Lorna!” Hailstone exclaimed. The other children all looked towards the floor, their feelings mixed. Some wanted Lorna to stay, but some understood that she needed to be where she was.
“Come on, guys!” Hailstone looked up towards everyone, her face slowly contorting to anger, and just before she could yell out at them, Sunflower stopped her, “Reina!” Everyone suddenly jolted up towards Sunflower, who called Hailstone by her real name. Just like with Ryan, the thought of it was surprising, and more powerful then she would have wanted.
“Let’s go, okay?” Sunflower looked towards Hailstone with teary eyes and a sweet smile. It gave Hailstone a bitter aftertaste, and she swallowed her pride, “Fine.”
“We can always come back to find Lorna, right?” Sunflower asked Shooter.
“See? It’s going to be fine, okay?” Hailstone nodded her head. The rest of the children remained indifferent, and all looked towards Shooter. Ryan sighed, and asked, “So, we should head out now right?”
“Yeah. We should.” Shooter made a distinct emphasis towards the word “we”.
“Look. Ryan, I know this might be hard on you, but I have to–” Ryan gave Shooter a questioning look. Shooter took his sunglasses off, which revealed to Ryan that his eyes were locked towards the hills. He made a notion not to make eye contact with him. Shooter circled around to where the children couldn’t see and pulled out a small needle. It took Ryan a few moments to realize what was going on, but before he could do much, the needle had already been injected into Ryan. He slowly lost consciousness, and as he leaned forward, Shooter caught him. The kids were all visibly shocked, but Shooter casually laid him on the grassy hills and explained, “It looks like Ryan was a bit sleepy. Why don’t we all go ahead?” Shooter began herding the kids towards the bridge, with some protesting, and others saying how they should leave together.
“Don’t worry. I told him where we would be, okay? He needs rest. He’ll come when he can, okay?” Shooter brought the kids to the bridge, and was trying his best to herd them across. He needed to go now if he wanted to catch public transport. If he ever wanted to fulfill the promise he made to Lorna, he needed them to go now.
“Lorna told me about this. And Lorna said she would come watch over Ryan. Ryan has been really exhausted, so he has to sleep. Let Lorna handle, it, okay?”
“What about the ‘bad guys’?” One of the children asked.
“Lorna said that when we leave, she would have already beat the bad guys. She will take care of Ryan, but after that, she needs to stay to make sure they don’t follow us.” Those words seemed to have quieted the kids. Only one seemed to inquire about that statement, and only a few of them were entirely fine with the current events. To satisfy their doubts about Shooter, Shooter produced a handwritten note by Lorna, which seemed to be enough for them. Lorna’s handwriting was really distinct, and each of them knew of it very well. Lorna had written a simple message. It was a message that was enough to convince them that everything in their norm was going to be fine. Shooter hated himself for doing this, but knew that it was the only way. Lorna made no mistakes. Ryan was left sleeping while his parents and some of Amanda’s division had spotted him. Shooter was bitter. Their norms would never be the same again. Shooter took the note and read it himself again. It made him want to cry.
“Stay safe, and follow my friend, okay? I’ll come find everyone once I’m done with the bad guys!” Lorna made no mistakes. But Lorna, had lied. Shooter had lied. Their lives will never be the same. They could never go back to their home for the unwanted. And they could never go back to what they used to have. That was the bitter resolve that Lorna sought out to achieve. That was her plan. And if any of them were to ever come back, seeking her out, seeking the norm they once had, Lorna had another plan. She left a message scrawled on a notebook that would be placed at the front of the building. Lorna made sure that Amanda and her division wouldn’t demolish the building altogether. Lorna’s message was simple, and would be the only word she would ever want to say to them now that they have left with Shooter.