Atton found himself sixteen years old, planting explosives in Werly’s car. Once he realized what he was doing, he stopped immediately.
“Why have you stopped?” a voice whispered inside of Atton.
“I was… just thinking.” He decided to proceed to fool Vigor. When he had finished and planted the timed explosives, it was about ten till five. He picked up a nearby rock and hurled it at the window.
“What? Who?” Werly woke up in shock. He looked at his clock. “Hey, I almost missed my jog.” Werly got up and proceeded with his jog.
“Why did you do that?” Vigor asked.
“So he wouldn't die,” Atton said stonily.
“What? The whole point was to kill him. He threatened you; he put his hands on you,” Vigor tried to manipulate Atton.
“So then why kill him for a threat he made to have me arrested? And the reason he hit me isn’t that we annoyed him, it was because you got handsy with his daughter,” Atton reminded him.
Atton then ran to CJ McCoy's house and rang the doorbell.
Ralph answered. “Hey, you're early. I mean we could always kill him in his sleep. But–”
“I’m not going to kill him,” Atton stated.
“Look here’s your money back,” Atton said tossing Ralph a wad of cash.
“How do we get him back for all the times he did us wrong?” Ralph asked.
“I don't know, but I know revenge isn’t the answer. Tell him to call his sister when he wakes up,” Atton said remembering Nirvana.
“Whatever,” Ralph shirked.
“I'm serious,” he said firmly.
“Okay, alright, jeez.”
Ralph delivered the message to CJ. CJ had told them never to speak of Nirvana. He had a sort of déjà vu feeling and knew it was what he had to do. Once Werly returned home, he saw his car blown to bits and was thankful he wasn't in it. Atton had one more task.
“What is wrong with you,” Vigor began, “you've contradicted everything I've told you!”
“You wanted me to kill people so you could grow stronger. You had your own plan from the beginning. You want to rule this place but you won’t. You're weak. You are nothing but a whisper in my mind,” Atton contested.
“I will grow more powerful than you and I will rule. You will pay for your insolence, boy,” Vigor screamed in his head.
“I know. I know everything that will happen if I listen to you and the thing is, even though I know, I can still feel you tugging at me. Even though I know, I still cannot resist. That's why I have to kill you.”
“Ha. You wouldn't dare. Besides you can't kill me without killing both of us.”
“Then so be it. We will both die,” Atton said boldly.
“Try me.” Atton ran back to where he and his dad lived.
“Dad I'm leaving,” Atton told his father.
“What do you mean? What…” Suddenly he found himself rubbing his temples, overcome with the same déjà vu feeling as CJ. He remembered everything that had happened.
“You remember don't you?” Atton realized.
“Yes, but Atton you don't have anywhere to go. Stay here,” Kip almost begged his son. Kip did not like nor did he want to be alone. “Please.”
“I believe that everything happens for a reason,” Atton said wisely.
“Huh?” Kip said confused. “What do you mean?”
“All this happened to make me realize that I can’t be here –not without Vigor coming back. I want to, but– but I can’t. All that I’ve done is bring darkness to the world and pain to everyone I’ve met. If I live, I can try to rectify the damage I’ve done but Dad, I will always be trapped by the will of Vigor.”
“So I’m left alone again?”
“Doesn't it bother you that every time you've died you were resurrected by someone or something evil?” Atton asked.
“Atton I’m not meant to die yet. I’m meant to help people,” Kip wasn’t even convinced of his own words.
“You keep telling yourself that, Dad, but you don't believe it,” Atton noted.
Atton failed to notice that Kip had avoided the question. The fact of the matter was it did not bother Kip. He was becoming a person devoid of sympathy and remorse. He did not care who brought him to life; he just wanted to live.
“I just want to help people,” he said again.
“Maybe what you want to do isn’t what you're meant to do. I want to live, but I can’t. I’ll die for what I believe is right. You, on the other hand, will continue to hurt everyone you think you love,” Atton said meanly to his father.
“Damn it Atton, if you want to live, then live. You don't have to play the martyr,” his father yelled. “Werly and CJ say you sacrificed yourself in Limbo,” Atton snapped.
“Son what happened in Limbo was…” Kip began.
“I know what it was.” Atton stood up and faced his father. “You planned the whole thing so you wouldn’t die. You knew if you died in Limbo…”
“…I’d be there as the Reaper to save myself. And by creating that reputation I knew Vigor would want to use me,” Kip continued.
“Then I’d break the scythe and we’d end up here. You were willing to do anything to survive; pure apathy with no remorse.” Atton laughed to himself, “Survival of the fittest. You were doing anything to protect yourself.” He put his hand on Kip’s shoulder. “In these respects you are my father.”
“In others respects?” Kip asked his son.
“In other respects you are no one,” Atton turned away.
“Atton,” he began.
“You said you want to help people. What could you give them –what have you ever given?” Atton continued to antagonize his dad.
“I gave you–,” he started.
“You gave me what,” he snapped, “torment, suffering, misery?”
“I gave you Nirvana. Without me you never would have met her,” Kip tried.
“Then you took her away from me,” Atton spat out angrily. He turned away from his father to he sit on the edge of the cliff. He noticed how the waves of the waterfall crashed against the rocks. The water was a small thought in his mind. Atton could only think of Nirvana.
Nirvana sat in yet another cheap trashed hotel room that she’d scrummed up the money to pay for. Her body was overcome with a shiver as she stared at the phone. It rang. She grabbed her head; it was as if a knife was being jammed through her temples. It rang twice. She fell over as years worth of information were forced into her head. It rang a third time. Her eyes traced two points on the floor back and forth, as she watched, the memories play out before her. The fourth time it rang Nirvana answered, knowing exactly who it was.
“CJ,” she breathed. The salvia in the back of her throat was beaten down. “He told me where he used to live.”
“We’ll talk later,” CJ assured his sister. “Go to him.”
She jolted up looking around for Zak. Her heart jumped when he saw the he was alive. He was sleeping, but still, alive.
She was in her ripped faded golden nightgown, but she didn't care. She was barefoot (she thought of AJ), but she didn’t care. She hailed the first taxi she could find and gave him directions. When they got there, she didn’t have any money, and she still didn’t care. Nirvana busted through the door and took off through the forest, determined to save him. She broke through the tress and cried out his name,
“You took her from me, Dad. You showed me that the world could be cruel. You forced me to be the Reaper, and you forced me to kill them. You also showed me people make choices and decisions. I guess, a long time ago, you decided to look out for yourself and no one else.
Dad, you also showed me there was a little good inside of everyone. They can choose to either embrace it or ignore it. People choose to be good or evil. I choose to be good. I choose not to be a killer anymore,” Atton stated. “You took everything away from me the day your experiments began. You led me to this point.”
“What point is this?” Kip asked.
“You never gave me anything,” Atton said miserably. “Well I give…” Atton gulped and looked down.
“You give what?” Kip snapped. “What!”
“…my life.” With that said, Atton slid off the edge to his certain doom.
“Atton!” A scream was heard behind him and echoed in Atton’s mind as he fell.
Kip yelled then he backed away. “Good-bye.”
Kip and Atton suffered the same personality disorder. Even if they tried to stop hurting people, their other side could easily come out and make them do something they would regret. Atton truly was trapped no matter his choice.
Kip sat in the vacant land, thinking of what had just happened. The sad part is that Kip had planned to kill his son anyway. He had developed a fast acting poison just for the occasion.
He looked to the sky. “Heaven,” Kip began. “My son and my wife,” Kip looked down, “Me?”
He thought about what his son had said, “Pure apathy with no remorse.” If that was true, what was he feeling now?
“I want to help people,” Kip said to himself. “But I hurt them.” Kip realized what he’d really said. “I hurt people. I don't want to hurt them, not anymore. I choose not to,” he breathed.
He eyed the fast acting poison. “I can leave the formula to someone else. I can’t finish it.” He finally acknowledged Nirvana, who was just sitting in silence, still overcome by the shock.
“You take it,” he told her. “You finish it.”
“I can’t,” she shook her head.
“For him,” he offered.
Nirvana wanted to be angry with Kip, but he couldn’t. She pulled the tears away from her eyes and just nodded at him.
Kip picked up the syringe; shut his eyes and his muscles tensed. He jabbed the needle into his wrist and his hand instantly went limp.
“Ah – Ow,” he let out groans of pain. He stared off into the distance. Kip’s vision became cloudy and all outside sounds faded. Nirvana was saying something, but he couldn’t even hear her mumble. His hand trembled as he touched his face. “Tears,” Kip chuckled. He did not know why he was laughing, but he did. Then his body turned pale, his breaths became short and scarce. Kip Brown gave his life.
“There is a difference between suicide and sacrifice,” CJ continued. “When a person commits suicide that person gives up on life and gives in to everyone around them. But when a person chooses sacrifice, they are not giving up; they give it all for their cause. They are accepting it and doing what needs to be done.
Atton Brown gave his life so that we could live. He was a true martyr for his cause.”
Atton’s funeral was held in company of his closest, and only, friends. Many were sad and mourned his passing but Nirvana was in the worst condition. CJ stepped down from the podium to comfort his sister. Nirvana walked to Atton’s casket.
“I’m sorry,” CJ said, hugging his sister.
“Charlie,” Nirvana began, “have you ever loved someone? I don't mean someone in our family. I know you've been with a lot of women, but have you ever really loved anyone?”
CJ paused in thought for a moment before answering, “No.”
“Then don't try to tell me you know how I feel. Don't tell me you're sorry, just let me be.”
“Nirvana–,” CJ started.
“You know,” she wiped her tears, “Kip left me his work. He thinks I should finish it.”
“His immortality formula?” CJ wondered.
“Yeah, do you think if you put an immortality formula in a dead person…?”
“Nirvana if people were meant to be revived they never would have died in the first place. Only God has the power to give life,” CJ warned.
“But maybe –,” she tried.
“No Nirvana, don’t play God, it’s dangerous. Just forget about it.”
“Forget,” she said, her voice breaking. “You think I can forget anything. I can’t! I can’t forget about Atton. I can’t forget you left. I can’t forget dad’s dead. I can’t forget where Zak came from. I can’t forget I fought in a battle that didn't happened but did happen. I can’t forget that I had a life; children for God’s sake! I can’t ignore this voice swirling around in my head screaming, ‘Your life’s a fucking mess and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it!’ I can’t forget anything Charlie!” Her emotions got the best of her and her words were overrun with tears.
“Nirvana,” CJ began to console her.
“No,” she pushed him away. Nirvana took a deep breath, in attempts to calm down. “You know I used to sit at home,” she started. “After Dad died I would just sit at home, waiting for him –and mom, just to pull up in the driveway. Then they would tell me everything was all right. Part of me used to hope what I saw wasn't real; part of me still wishes that day was just a nightmare I’ve yet to wake up from.”
“Me too Nirvana, we’re all hurting now,” CJ told his sister.
“I’m not just hurting. I’m confused, sad, angry, and so much more. So many emotions are battling inside of me. I have all these experiences but I have to live all of that again… without him.
You know maybe if he didn't love me this wouldn't hurt so much. Maybe if I didn’t love him back I wouldn’t want to rip my heart out and gag myself with it, just to stop this pain. You’re lucky you’ve never been in love. It hurts.”
“But the pain,” CJ began only to be interrupted.
“He’s in a better place,” Werly said as he walked over to Atton’s casket.
“Yeah,” Nirvana said quietly.
She honestly didn't know where he was. All of the killing he did under Vigor could have sent him to Hell. Nirvana truly didn't know where Atton was right now.
“This knife was his,” Nirvana realized, wide-eyed. “What if…”
She aimed the knife towards her stomach. Nirvana moved it there hoping to join Atton but Zak grabbed her wrist.
“Nirvana!” he said as he restrained her. Nirvana was screaming and crying, and struggling to get out of his arms.
“Let me go!” CJ ripped the knife from her hands.
“Nirvana,” he said in a quiet tone. “He’s gone.”
She was still screaming, trying to free herself of Zak, but she knew she couldn't. Nirvana was only fourteen now but she had so much experience. She had thirty years worth of memories; she had to relive everyday over again.
As she finally calmed down, she found her way into CJ’s arms. He held her to comfort her and to keep her from throwing another tantrum. For a while, he just hugged his sister.
“It’s over, Nirvana,” whispered into her ear. “It’s finally over.”
Vigor and Atton are both dead. Werly and CJ reestablished their friendship with Nirvana and Zak by their side. Ralph and Reggie called the studio and booked their show.
Kip Brown is dead; he willingly gave his life. He acknowledged the fact that he hurt people and did not want to. Kip was not all bad. In killing himself, he could feel the pain of those he’d hurt.
Kip felt somewhat relieved with his choice. It was his only choice. He had no friends for him, no one to love him. He’d lost everything, and with no way to get it back, he accepted it. He was done with his apathy. At the end of it all, Kip truly felt remorse towards all he had done. Now Kip had no progeny, no line of descendents and after all these years, the Browns were no more.
Everything that you have just read was true. You might have thought I was throwing you random ideas of pure fiction, but it all happened, the rise and fall of the Browns and the years of darkness. Some survived this period, some escaped Airosfield, and live to tell the story, but you’ll never be able to tell. You see, those who remember never speak of it, and many others do not want to remember. Believe me; Earth did suffer through a perilous and hellacious time. And the only documented remembrance still existing is what you have just finished reading. Remember, this was just the beginning.