Ava raised her head and opened her eyes. She removed her hands off Anna and Bruce while looking in the direction where Sara, Beck, and Annika were.
Sara was seated on the ground at their heads in a meditation style. Getting close to her, she noticed her face was scrunched up.
The sound of faint voices caused Ava to look around. Some of the people were already on their feet holding and murmuring to each other while others were getting up as they looked around.
Ava joined in looking around to see a messy environment. Pieces of paper and plastics, that looked like were trash littered the area. There were also tree parts littered: leaves, branches. As she turned around, observing, she finally settled her eyes on Dylan. He was taking pictures of the environment with his camera. She frowned: displeased that he was still going on about his story.
Then she turned to face her siblings.
Just then Bruce grabbed her by the shoulders. “Are you okay?” he asked, his eyes full of worry.
She nodded and glanced at Anna. Anna gave her a look indicating she was fine too. She looked back at Bruce who seemed satisfied with her okay state. He hugged her lightly. Anna came closer and he let go of Ava at one side to let Anna join in the hug.
“It’s over,” she heard, causing her to release the hug and glance where the voice came from.
She saw Sara standing where she was just seated.
“Strangeville is completely free,” Sara said.
The people broke into various forms of celebration; some jumped, excited; some hugged; some screamed; and some danced. Everyone was happy at the good news.
“Thank goodness,” Anna said.
Ava glanced at her, chuckling at her statement. She knew Anna was relieved that she didn’t have to be a second option if the ritual didn’t work.
“We can go home now,” Bruce said.
She looked his way, nodding. “Yes, we can.”
Beck immediately came into her mind. The thought of him staying with them pleased her. She thought that if he wasn’t going to ask her out she would instead, not wanting to give up on the feelings she already had for him. She felt sure something good would come out of him being in her life.
She excused herself from the presence of her siblings, advancing to the ritual circle. Sara knelt beside Beck with her hands on his chest. When Ava got there, Sara was shaking him, saying, “Beck, wake up.”
Ava quickly knelt down behind Sara. “What’s wrong?”
“He isn’t waking up.”
“Hold on,” Ava said, gently pushing Sara away. Sara moved away from him, so Ava took her position and put her ear on his chest. She listened for his heartbeat as she also felt for a pulse in his neck but there was none of either. She raised her head and stared at his face, which was still as if he was asleep. She pressed her ear to his chest and felt for his pulse again, and still there was nothing.
“His heart has stopped,” she said, raising her head. She put hands on his chest and pressed hard but light enough not to injure his ribs.
“What’s going on?” said Dylan.
Ire stirred in her hand as she pumped Beck’s chest. Why had Dylan come there?
She opened Beck’s mouth slightly and blew air in his mouth. Then, she went back to pumping his chest.
“Come on, Beck,” Sara whispered. It aroused spite in Ava as she despised that she sounded as if he were something—or someone—important to her.
Ava glanced at his face, which was still motionless. She pressed it one more time before putting her lips on his and blowing air into his mouth. She pressed his chest again, and still no response from him.
“Let me try,” Bruce said.
Ava looked up behind her. He stood with Anna behind him before he knelt down. Ava shifted away so he could do to Beck what she’d just done.
There was still no response from him. That stirred anxiety in her. She didn’t want to believe that the curse had been broken but Beck wasn’t going to be part of the freedom.
“I think he’s gone,” Bruce said once he’d stop. He glanced at Ava then at the others around Beck. “He didn’t make it.”
Ava stood still for a while, her breath in her chest. Then she turned away and ran. She had no idea where she was headed; she only knew that she passed several buildings and then trees.
When she couldn’t run any further, she fell to the ground on her knees, her palms touching the ground. She burst into tears, wailing in anguish.
He didn’t deserve to die, she thought. He was the victim; he deserved to enjoy the freedom more than any other person.
Recalling the negative feeling she had before the ritual, she wailed more. If she knew this was how it would happen, she wouldn’t have let Beck do it. However, that didn’t mean she would let Anna do it. She would never let someone she loved go through with the ritual.
Hadn’t Sara seen this coming? She said she was psychic so she should have known Beck was going to die. Could that have been why she whispered for Beck not to give up? These thoughts stirred wrath in her.
If they were true, then Sara was just as evil as Annika. If she really cared about Strangeville, she would have done everything she could to make sure one of its citizens wasn’t going to be lost in this last ritual. Or had Sara considered Beck to not be a citizen? Had she willed herself to give him up for the lives of others? If she did, then it wasn’t fair. His life was just as important as the others, citizen or not, bringer of the curse or not.
Ava’s ire was soon reduced at the sound of her sister’s voice. “Ava . . .” she’d heard Anna whisper.
Ava raised her head. There stood Bruce and Anna both looking melancholic. They knelt beside her. Anna hugged her while she felt Bruce place his hand on her shoulder.
“I’m sorry, Ava,” Anna said, sounding down. “I know you liked him so much.”
Ava whimpered, shaking in her tears.
“Even though,” Anna continued, “he lied to us, he still was a nice guy.”
“That was why he died,” someone other than Anna or Bruce said.
Anna let go of Ava, enabling Ava to look up to see who just spoke. She saw Sara standing with both hands in front of her. Her face carried no emotion but Ava could see faintly in her brown eyes that she disliked what had happened. Ava would have burst, but having seen Sara’s demeanor, she thought that perhaps all the accusations she came up with against Sara were just her imagination. Maybe Sara did care for Beck as a citizen of Strangeville.
“He was willing to sacrifice innocent lives just to get his freedom. He orchestrated the lies he told people just to get them scared enough to try to leave the woods. And then, they’d come across someone from the town who’d lead to me to prepare for the ritual. That only enhanced the failure of the rituals as Quinton had shared another tale in favor of his beloved Annika.” She rolled her eyes.
“But would you blame him?” Ava said. “He was a victim in a toxic relationship. He just wanted out.”
Sara nodded. “It’s unfortunate, truly, but what’s done is already done.”
Was that it? How could Sara do such a thing? She wasn’t even going to try to bring him back with her witchcraft.
She brought Anna back, remember? That was another part of her speaking.
Yes, she did, she concurred with that part. But she only did that ’cause the curse hadn’t been broken. It was at this moment Ava believed that there really was nothing between Beck and Sara; Strangeville was indeed her only love.
It probably was pointless but she hoped; Ava hoped Beck could be redeemed. Her science couldn’t save him, and she wished it did. If she’d had magic, witchcraft, or any other supernatural gifts, she would stop at nothing to completely free him from his malevolent wife even if it killed her.
“What now?” Anna asked as no one in their midst had spoken in a while.
“We’ll burn Annika,” Sara said. “That way we’ll be sure no can preserve her body so she could come back to life.”
“And Beck:” Ava said, fearing the fate of his body, “is that what you’d do to him to?”
She shook her head. “He’ll be given a proper burial.”
Sara came forward and bent over. She stretched her hand towards Ava. “Get up.”
Ava took her hand, helping herself off the ground. Sara pulled Ava into her embrace. “It’s going to be alright. You don’t have to remember this if you want.” She let go, stared at Ava for a brief moment then looked at Anna and Bruce. “You all don’t have to.”
“I’d like to remember,” Ava said.
“I do too,” Anna said. “Though this was a terrible experience it was an adventurous one.”
“Sara,” Bruce said, causing her to look his way, “how would anyone forget about this? Even if we all did and the people too, now that Strangeville is open to the world, the world would know of its existence. If its people forget its story, how would they defend it if it eventually becomes uncovered?”
“It’s true that Strangeville will forever be a strange place and remain mysterious to any and everyone that comes across it, but it would always be prepared; there’d always be someone available to ensure that.”
“So,” Ava said, “you’re saying if Dylan wrote about this place it wouldn’t be a problem?”
She shrugged. “It might, but Strangeville would be ready for whatever that comes for it. It’s just like how I’d be doing for thirty years before it was cursed and even fifty years since then. After my death someone will take my place.”
“Okay,” Bruce said. “If you say so then that’s fine.”
“Can we stay for Beck’s funeral?” Ava said to Sara.
“Of course you can!” Sara answered. “You’re the closest thing to friends or family of his that I’ve ever known of. The funeral will be tomorrow. For now, you all should rest. It’s been an eventful day today.”
“Then we’d go home next tomorrow,” Bruce said, staring at Ava and Anna warningly.
They both nodded before they all headed towards the town, Sara leading the way with Bruce behind Ava and Anna.
“Anna,” Ava said as they walked, “I’m sorry we didn’t get to Charlotte for spring break.”
She held Ava’s hand. “You don’t have to be. What happened wasn’t your fault. Besides, we always have summer to go there.”
“And this time I’m coming with you two,” Bruce said.
Anna glanced at him, grinning mockingly. “You wouldn’t want to miss out on adventures, would you?”
He smiled sarcastically at her. “I just don’t want anything happening to my sisters. Though I don’t admit to you guys, but you’re the most important people to me.”
“Yeah, and we love you too, Bruce,” Ava said, pushing him lightly by the arm.
They all laughed as they kept walking. In that moment, she recalled how it was just exactly a week ago she and Anna’s troubles began.
The past week had been the strangest week she’d ever had in her life. It was also one she’d done things she’d never thought she would with a stranger in the first week of meeting them. She just wished she could have had a chance with Beck. After all, he had proved to be the guy he claimed he was: a nice truthful guy.
So there you have it: the end of Anomaly! Did you like the way the story ended? Did you even expect it to end this way? What do you think will happen between Beck and Annika in the afterlife now? Do you think the story should have had a better ending? Do you expect the story the story to be continued?
I really wish youʼd tell me your thoughts about how Anomaly played out. I donʼt plan on giving Beck a happy ending, but if you guys want it Iʼll give it to you. It all depends on the number of responses I get concerning the end of the story.
Be sure to tell others of the story, and add it to your reading list. Feel free to message and follow me here on Wattpad, my other writing platforms, and also social media platforms. Also, check out my other works if you can! A new story is coming out next month, so stay tuned!
Thanks for reading Anomaly! I really appreciate it heaps! Peace!