Epilogue – Goodbye
Rosaline Davis’ funeral was held the following week. Lucian, Esperanza, Raul, Tobias, Johnson, as well as her other friends and family were all there. The weather started off sunny, but as the day went on, grey clouds blanketed the sky.
The preacher continued with his prayers while everyone continued to cry; everyone except Lucian. He was trying to keep his anger in check. One of his best friends was murdered right before his eyes, and there was nothing he could do now to make up for it. Lucian had been stripped of his power for the safety of him and his loved ones. But, in the end, one of his loved ones still got caught in the crossfire.
Esperanza held his hand tightly. She could feel Lucian struggling with his emotions. This was a hard time for everyone, especially the two of them, but she had come to a decision. She went over and placed a pinky lily on Rosaline’s casket, but before she could return to Lucian’s side she broke down into tears again. Lucian went over to her and comforted her. Something behind the mourners caught Lucian’s attention. It was Cyril Alexandros, standing in the distance. He waved a solemn wave at Lucian. Lucian returned the greeting with a slight nod.
The preacher finished his prayers and the pallbearers began to lower the casket. Her casket, made of mahogany and provided by Cyril, was covered with all types of flowers, most of which were lilies, her favorite flower. Rosaline’s mom burst into uncontrollable tears as she saw it being lowered. Rosaline’s older brother and his wife tried to comfort her. They were a small family, one that grew one person smaller.
The gravediggers began to shovel the dirt in, forcing Esperanza to leave the cemetery. She didn’t want to believe that her care-free and lovable friend was really gone. It was like some horrible nightmare she could not wake up from.
“Hope. Hope,” Lucian called out to her as he chased after her out of the cemetery and into the parking lot.
She stopped and looked at him, eyes filled with fresh tears. “Luke, I-I’m sorry, but I can’t take this anymore. It’s all just too real. I-I can’t.”
“Hope, I wish I could take it all back. I wish I could bring her back, but I can’t. But we can get through this together. You don’t have to do it alone.”
“No, Luke, we can’t. This whole Nightmare thing, being a superhero, it was all just a fantasy. A fantasy that got Rosaline killed. She was right. Nightmare hurts us more than helps.”
Those words were like a slap to the face for Lucian. “But I’m not Nightmare anymore. He’s done. Gone. I can come home and just be me again. We can finally be together, Esperanza.”
Esperanza placed a gentle hand on his right cheek. She wiped away the single tear he managed to shed, and caressed the invisible markings on his eye. “You’ll always be Nightmare. It isn’t the mask or the weapons that make Nightmare who he is. It’s the man behind it all. That man is you, Luke, and the world is going to need you.”
“Fuck the world,” Lucian said. “I need you. I love you, Esperanza, and I need you here with me.”
Esperanza shook her head. “I love you, too, Luke, but now isn’t our time. We can’t be together. Not like this. Not while Nightmare is still needed.” She looked away from Lucian. Their feelings for each other, their sorrow, and Lucian’s feelings of anger and guilt in his eyes made Esperanza’s next words even more difficult to say. She didn’t want to, but she had to. “I-I’m leaving Silverstone, Luke, and I don’t plan on coming back. Don’t bother looking for me.”
Lucian felt as if his heart had exploded, but he didn’t show it. He knew Esperanza’s mind was made up, and he could fight all he wanted, but she won’t change her mind. “It’s the best thing you can do,” he said very quietly. “Nightmare or no, it’s still dangerous to be around me.”
Esperanza gave Lucian one last kiss, hot tears running down her cheeks. “Happy belated birthday, Luke.” She looked at him in his cold, sapphire eyes. The spark of life she had given them was torn away just as easily. Lucian didn’t move. He didn’t say a word. “Goodbye,” Esperanza whispered, then turned and ran to her car. She got in and drove away without looking back.
The last patches of dirt were settled onto the ground and Rosaline Davis was now able to rest in peace. Her friends and family placing gentle touches and light kisses on her gravestone as they departed. Lucian stood in the parking lot alone watching Esperanza drive away. Everyone was crying fresh tears. Even the sky broke down and cried for Rosaline as the rains started to pour down heavily. Everyone was crying for the dearly departed Rosaline Davis.
Everyone except Lucian.