Epilogue It was Grant’s eightieth birthday when Murder noticed they suddenly looked middle aged. The magic would degrade from here. She was practicing smirking in the mirror when he walked in. “What are you doing?” He asked gently. “I think it’s broken…” he leaned in and kissed her softly. “Nope. It works fine.” She smirked at him. “I rest my case.” She turned and looked into the mirror and she saw it too. There she is. It was him that made the smirk happen. Not anything else. “So is everyone coming?” “Yes. Levi And Ira, The Maxwells, Giselle.” “Good.” The following week Murder created her bucket list. It was as big as a novel. They did it all. Safari in Africa, to space in a balloon. The world was changing. Travel was faster. Energy was cleaner. Largely thanks to Murder’s investments. They weren’t anywhere near as wealthy as they’d been when they started. But it wasn’t like they’d be taking it with them. Grant’s One Hundredth birthday came, and Ira was gone. The Maxwells too. No one had heard from Giselle. Levi arrived and they celebrated life. They were all gray and wrinkled but astonishingly happy. It was three days till Grant’s hundred and first. The phone rang. Levi was gone. They flew to the North Sea to return his clay to the caves. In six months the magic ran out. The spells would no longer hold their minds whole, and their bodies without illness. They’d done everything they set out to and had a couple of surprising adventures. As Grant laid down beside her she reminded him. His memory wasn’t holding up perfectly, he was starting to need a little help here and there. “Tonight is the last sleep.” “I know,” he smiled slightly sadly, “thank you. I’ve had an amazing life.” “I’m sorry, I promised you a thousand years, and a thousand more.” She whispered through heaving sobs. “Please don’t be sorry,” he cried, “every second was worth it.” “If I hadn’t been so stubborn we’d have that watch today and could stretch this out one more night.” “If you hadn’t been so stubborn I wouldn’t have loved you so much. If there’s an afterlife, and we don’t wake up together… I’m coming for you, so wait for me.” “I need you to be clear, if I wake up in hell then I need to storm the gates and make you a path because you’re already on your way?” “Yes.” “Good.” He held her tightly and she felt his warm skin on her back. His breathing slowed. She felt his wrist for a pulse. “Still with me.” She thought about her life and gave it one last pass. She was almost sure she totaled more good than ill and that they’d wake up together in paradise. She wouldn’t be certain till she slept, and she couldn’t let Grant find out if there was an afterlife alone. Murder LaVoe closed her eyes and slept for the last time. The End
Alternate Ending