Castle Roland

Undying Hurt

by MultiMapper


Chapter 4

Posted: 5 Oct 15

Undying Hurt

Copyright © 2002-2014 by MultiMapper
All Rights Reserved

A Time of Rest

Waking up feeling horrible, wasn't a surprise.

While it was true that he didn't get hangovers, that didn't mean that he didn't have to face any consequences from the previous day's activities. The times he'd awakened feeling less than absolutely perfect probably outnumbered the times he didn't.

However, this morning, when he awoke, it was with disquieting thoughts of Monique, fresh in his mind, and a bevy of physical complaints too numerous to list. The number of aches and pains, along with the severity, was something new.

Every joint hurt. Every muscle hurt. His bones hurt. His skin, his cartilage and he was pretty sure that even his hair, hurt.

He had no real desire to start his day, and nothing to look forward to. But, his morning coffee was sitting in its cannister, waiting for him to grind it. And if he didn't, he wouldn't get his morning fix.

Every step, every movement, caused flashes and flares of agony. Fireworks of pain exploding, sometimes predictably, in answer to a movement, sometimes at random, with no warning.

As he reached the kitchen, he thought about what a sorry sight he must make. Proud and mighty, 'The Wolverine', of the X-men. Now he was barely able to stand upright. His knees complained at supporting his weight and threatened to dump him at any moment.

The effort and ache of turning the crank on the coffee grinder very nearly made him give up on the whole thing. But he was already down there, in the kitchen. The mere thought of food was absolutely abhorrent to him. But the simple fact was, he wouldn't be leaving that kitchen without his damned coffee.

As he was drinking his coffee, he felt a sense of annoyance building within him.

The kitchen that he was in irritated him. He hated it. There was no thought or reason behind the feeling. Just, at that moment, he absolutely hated it.

In better times, he might have flown into a rage and trashed the place. But, honestly, he didn't have the energy. Instead, he sat, stewing in anger and loathing, as he tried to contemplate anything he could do, anywhere he could go, that might bring some small measure of peace.

His mind flashed back to Monique, and he considered that it might have been better if she'd never shown up at the mansion.

As much of a pain in the ass as she could be, she provided companionship and a sense of connection to the way life used to be. Now she was gone, and he was left with nothing. No purpose. No distraction. Only the huge empty mansion that seemed to mock him by it's very existence, standing tall and proud while the rest of the world was withering away.

He hated it.

He wanted to destroy it.

He wanted to be destroyed.

After all, he nearly was, anyway.

An untold amount of time later, he forced himself up off the kitchen chair and began to pace. The nervous energy and anger smoldering within him wouldn't allow him to stay still, even though every movement brought wave after wave of agony.

He left the kitchen and walked the dark, empty halls.

Everything he encountered just fueled his anger and annoyance.

The dining room, once grand and elegant, now stood as a grim reminder of the absence of anyone to make use of it.

The common room, once a meeting place, filled with laughter and spirited conversation, was now a stuffy box, inundated with useless ornaments and trinkets from a time that had passed. 'Pretties' as Travis had called them, mocking his agonized state with the promise of continuing to exist long after he had gone to join the others in the containment room in the basement.

A new stabbing pain erupted in his lower abdomen, followed by an urgent need to go to the toilet.

Logan didn't want to even speculate what had just ruptured deep inside him as he ran for the nearest bathroom.

Fortunately, for what little dignity he still retained, he made it in time. But just as he came to rest on the seat, the sudden urge to vomit assaulted him.

He grabbed up the trash can from beside the toilet and began to lose the contents of his stomach at the same time as his bowels released.

The sight of the blood in the trash can didn't even register as unusual to him. By now, it was expected.

The blood in the toilet was a less common occurrence, but not all that shocking.

The vomiting and diarrhea lasted for nearly half an hour before he seemed to finally be completely empty.

He felt horrible.

He felt weak and frail. Everything continued to hurt. Every movement continued to send flashes and flares of agony throughout his body. But somehow he managed to make his way back to his own bathroom, and take a shower.

The water was steamy hot, nonetheless it didn't seem to offer any relief to his aching body.

But he desperately needed to feel clean.

The shower took an inordinate amount of time, partly due to his starts and stops from the aching joints and muscles, and partly due to his almost obsessive need to be sure that he was, indeed, clean.

Finally, shower complete, he made his way to the medlab.

As he was riding down the elevator, it suddenly occurred to him that the elevator ran on electricity. It shouldn't be functioning, yet it was.

Likewise, the basement should be dark. But the lights were functioning albeit, at a lower illumination than they did typically.

It was just like Emma to have a plan in place that would take into account a loss of main power, but he didn't know what to do with the new information, or if it would actually be of any help to him, at all. Given the dimness of the lighting, was it going to run out? Or was the limited power being automatically rationed?

However, he couldn't help but wonder if there might be a way that he could use the reserve to restore power to the rest of the mansion... or maybe just run an extension cord upstairs somehow.

He didn't know, and quite honestly, either option was far beyond what he could do either in terms of his physical state or his level of ambition, at the moment.

When he finally reached the medlab, he went to the cabinets of medications to get what he needed.

The memory of what happened to Monique was still too fresh in his mind for him to take the chance of taking too many, but he was at a point where he couldn't endure the pain any longer.

He needed relief.

He found the bottle of pills and nearly tore the cap off.

He took two of the pills and swallowed them dry. Then held the bottle firmly in his agonized, aching hands and waited.

Standing silently in the dim lighting of the medlab, he really looked at the room for a long moment.

Emma was usually such a 'neat freak' that it was surprising to find packaging and medical instruments scattered on the floor. He didn't want to imagine the horror that must have taken place for Emma to allow things to fall into this state of disarray.

For just a moment, Logan thought about tidying up and putting things back in their right place. But just as suddenly, he realized what a monumental task that would be in his current physical state, and besides, he probably wouldn't have cleaned it up if he were fit, healthy and everyone in the world were still alive.

A sudden chill washed over his body and he found himself trembling where he stood.

Carefully, he recapped the bottle, so as not to drop any of the precious pills. Then he made his way back to the elevator.

By the time he was back to the common room, he was shivering uncontrollably.

He grabbed up the quilt that was draped across the back of the nearest couch and wrapped it around himself.

Despite the aching in his hands from his grip, he continued to clutch it tightly to try and maintain some sort of body warmth as he curled into a tight ball on the couch.

His teeth literally chattered as he clenched his eyes shut and tried to will himself to be warm.

He lost any concept of time as he huddled into himself, all alone, and finally fell into a fitful, fever enhanced, sleep.

He woke up suddenly with the wet quilt constricted around him, sticking to every inch of exposed skin.

The sweat was running in rivulets down his face and into his eyes as he fought to extricate himself from the suffocating cocoon.

He felt like he was roasting alive and on the verge of passing out from the extreme heat.

Once he was finally out of the quilt, he realized that the clothes he was wearing were stuck to him and sopping wet with sweat.

He wanted to go upstairs to take a shower and rinse the sweat off, but at the moment, it was more important for him to get a drink. He was absolutely parched.

About halfway to the kitchen, the realization struck him that all the aches and pains that he had suffered through that morning were suspiciously gone.

He still felt as weak as a newborn kitten, but he no longer had the screaming agony in every part of his body.

Once in the kitchen, he drank glass after glass of cold water from the tap.

It took a while, but finally his thirst seemed to be slaked and he was ready for that shower.

He went up to his room and shed his clothes on a direct path to the bathroom.

After turning on the shower to let the water warm up, he stopped at the toilet to relieve his bladder.

As the feeling of relief washed over him, he looked down and noticed that he was peeing blood.

He paused for a moment, waiting for an emotional response that never came, then got into the shower to wash the sweat away.

As soon as the shower was finished, he walked down the stairs and out to the garage, where his truck was parked.

He picked up three cases of the liquor that he had taken from the liquor store in town, not paying attention to what types of liquor they were, and carried them into the house.

Moments of clarity were few and far between in the next week.

More often than not, Logan would start his day with his customary coffee, which he had recently taken to lacing with Irish whiskey. Then the drinking would continue, so as to numb his perceptions and inhibit his ability to think.

Quite a few times, surges of pain found their way through his alcoholic haze, but he kept himself drunk enough that he didn't particularly care.

The truth of his new existence was that his only goal in surviving each day had become to just get it over with.

Being sick and tired had become the new normal.

He had stopped taking the pain medication for the most part. Even though it offered some temporary relief, he had come to the realization that those brief reprieves from the pain made the return of it seem that much worse.

Floating in an alcoholic oblivion turned out to be the preferable way.

He hadn't been into town but once in the past week, and that was to get more liquor.

He was barely eating.

He did little in the way of picking up after himself.

And his personal hygiene had fallen to an all-time low.

Then another week passed, mostly without notice.

The nearly constant aches and pains had returned, and showed no signs of letting up anytime soon.

His world had constricted into the area surrounding one particular couch in the common room.

The 'nest' he had constructed had bottles of liquor and some beer within easy reach, and a multitude of empties in sort of a blast pattern outside of the nest, where he had haphazardly pitched them in any direction that struck his whim.

Also within the 'nest', he had a collection of crudely torn pieces of cloth which he kept close at hand to quickly mop up whatever horror he might suddenly expel from his ailing body.

He had no recollection of his last bath and only the beard growth he had achieved gave him any sense of how long it had been since he had shaved.

In rare moments of near sobriety, he had contemplated constructing a guillotine. He reasoned to himself that it would be a quick and efficient way to end his life.

Part of his reasoning was that, without other people, there was really no point to his survival. No matter what he did, be it great or small, it didn't matter.

Also, Emma had told him that the agony and torture that he had been enduring would only escalate.

Due to his experiences in the Weapon X program, he knew without a doubt that there actually were levels of pain that his illness had not yet attained. However, he had no desire to revisit them.

The guillotine seemed like a very practical way of bringing the increasing agony to an end.

The only thing that was stopping him from going through with his master plan to end it all was that to do it, he'd have to get off the couch.

The way he was feeling, that wasn't happening.

One month...

It had been one entire month since he'd seen another living soul.

There had been a time when being alone was a rare and cherished thing in his life.

He had intentionally distanced himself from people and gone so far as to leave on extended trips into the wilderness, just to be away from them.

In fact, there were two occasions the he could recall when he had gone into isolation and not had any sort of human contact for over a year.

He had enjoyed those times.

He held the memories as a thing that was precious to him.

But during those days, he had always known that other people were there.

If he ever wanted to make contact, if he ever wanted to reach out, if he ever needed anyone, it was possible.

Never before in his life had he ever had the sense of being so completely, irrevocably, eternally alone.

The aches and pains had become such a common and constant thing that they were hardly worth thinking about.

He never made the decision to stop drinking. In fact, most nights he still had a few beers before settling in for the night. But over time, the drunken, alcoholic haze lost it's appeal.

Logan had no choice but to accept the reality that everyone was gone. But it didn't automatically follow that since they were gone from the present, that they were out of his life.

One night, mostly on a whim, he made his way upstairs and went into one of the bedrooms. He didn't actually know whose it was when he chose it, but soon found that it had belonged to Warren.

Slowly, and mostly respectfully, he rifled through Warren's personal possessions and began piecing together, reconstructing, who Warren had been.

Looking through the artifacts of Warren's life gave Logan an insight about the man that he had never had when Warren was alive.

Stuck up and shallow, was how Logan had always thought of the man. But the bits and pieces of Warren's life scattered around what used to be his personal space, spoke of a man who felt deeply and had been hurt one time too many. Warren had pictures of past loves and old letters that he had received.

By the end of it all, Logan wished that he had known Warren better, so that he could have offered to help him... or just to let Warren know that if he needed someone, Logan would be there.

That was how it started.

Each night, Logan would go up to someone's bedroom and explore their personal artifacts. Even though they were long dead now, it still seemed important to him that he learn about these people he had lived with and fought along side.

Looking back, he supposed that being a loner, like he was, and keeping himself somewhat distant, might not have been the best way to handle things. But the other side of that was that he had come to them. He had chosen to stay with them and join their team. So, even though he didn't get close to anyone on a personal level, they were his comrades. No, none of them were close to him. But they were close enough. And it had been just what he needed at that time.

Early in his explorations of the bedrooms, Logan was surprised to find that several of the residents of the mansion kept personal journals or diaries. A few of them mentioned in the opening pages that Professor Frost had suggested that they keep journals to sort out their thoughts and feelings by putting them into words.

Logan was surprised to find his name mentioned, rather favorably in one of the journals. He wasn't quite so surprised when he found it in the next one. By the time he had finished, he had discovered that at least four different people had been attracted to him, some of them to the point of it being a 'crush'.

Two of those four were men, and he never would have suspected that they had ever thought of him in those terms.

Perhaps most astonishingly, all four of those who had written down their feelings toward him only made brief mention of his physical attributes. All of them seemed to have been trying to find ways to get to know him better as a person. By all accounts, they liked him and were frustrated because they couldn't find a way to get to know him better.

Also surprising, through all the journals that he had read, not one person had an unkind word to say about him.

Logan knew what a jackass he could be. He was crude and disrespectful sometimes. He would have understood it if some of his team members had thought he was a creep. But, apparently, none of them did. They understood that some of what he did and said were his defense mechanisms, warning people away from getting too close. They weren't offended by it, they understood it and respected the boundaries that he had set.

When it was all said and done, Logan finally concluded that, although he didn't know it at the time. He did actually have friends.

In some ways it seemed like just yesterday that everyone was filling the mansion with their lives and their noise.

In other ways, it seemed like forever ago.

One particular day, Logan woke to a surprising sensation. For that brief instant, for that precious sliver of time, nothing hurt.

That respite from the pain had the added benefit of allowing him a moment of self-reflection.

He looked back on the choices he had made and the actions he had taken during the past month and a half. Some of those choices, he wasn't too proud of. But there was no use in getting bogged down with regrets.

As he got up to go make his coffee, the familiar aches and pains were back to their usual intensity.

Lately, the joints in his hands had taken to swelling to obscene proportions while they screamed out with agonizing pain.

Today wasn't too bad... relatively speaking.

He carried with him the peaceful, introspective mood that he had woken with as he made his coffee.

He needed to make plans.

It didn't matter what they were, but he was living from day to day on nothing but habit. And while that might work in the short term, it was no way to live your life... and he was alive.

Once the coffee was ready, he took a cup to the table and set it down, then rummaged through one of the kitchen drawers until he came up with a pen and a pad of paper.

He made a note that he needed to check the oil on the truck and maybe take it into town and see about getting some new tires.

He wrote down a small list of items that he needed to get from the grocery and hardware stores. They were things that he had been needing for a while but never seemed to remember when he was there.

He also made a crude supply list for the things he would need to construct a guillotine. The way he felt today, he didn't know that he'd need it. But he could always use it for slicing open coconuts or something.

The list continued and ended up being three pages long.

There were some of the items that, looking at it objectively, he would probably never actually do. But that didn't matter at this stage.

For the first time in a month and a half, he was making plans for the future.

Waking up blind was a new and unexpected experience for Logan.

For two months, now, Logan had been waking up each day to discover what horror awaited him, but he had never considered blindness as a remote possibility.

It had taken him... well, he didn't know how long it took him, because he couldn't see a clock. But it took him an unreasonably long time to even dress himself.

By the time he had made his way downstairs to the kitchen, the familiar warmth of his healing factor was repairing whatever hideous thing the virus had done to his eyes. And before the coffee was finished brewing, his eyes had returned to normal.

The aches and pains were still with him.

The swelling joints came and went.

The bouts of expelling large amounts of blood from various orifices was less common, but still happened occasionally.

This was his life now.

Accepting that as true gave Logan the motivation to take a good look at how he was living and make a few changes.

He wasn't living in filth. He had enough of that during the weeks he spent seeing life through a liquor bottle.

No. He was maintaining a perfectly respectable lifestyle.

But here he was, living in a huge, beautiful mansion. And he spent as many nights sleeping on the couch in the common room as he did sleeping in a bed.

With that in mind, he started doing a good cleaning job... well, at least in the rooms that he used.

He dusted, took out several loads of trash, and even swept the carpet in the common room with a broom.

After that, came the task that he had been dreading.

He needed to do dishes.

That, in itself, doesn't sound too bad.

But the reason he needed to do dishes was that he had run out.

Every dish in the mansion was dirty...




In a mansion that had functioned as both a base of operations for the X-men and as a boarding school, they could feed fifty people without ever having to worry about having enough plates.

Did he feel good?


Did he want to do it?


But he did it. In one go, he washed two months worth of dirty dishes.

Early on, he had thought about going into town and just getting new dishes to replace them.

When the last of the dishes were finally done, he decided that on his next trip into town, he'd pick up some paper plates.

Next, Logan went upstairs and did a good job of cleaning up.

He shaved for the occasion and put on some good clothes.

He ignored the complaints of his joints as he climbed into his truck and started the drive into town.

His first stop was at the hardware store.

He knew what he wanted, but hadn't thought through the logistics involved in carrying out his plan.

He found a few small generators, so that he could restore electricity to his living space. But the problem was that they were too small to do much more than provide him the use of one or two appliances.

The hardware store didn't carry anything near the scale that he had in mind.

He had to stop for a few minutes to think things through, then remembered seeing a construction site on the edge of town.

He didn't know if it would have what he needed, but took the chance and drove down there anyway.

At the end of his shopping expedition, Logan returned to the Frost mansion with the bed of his pickup loaded with dry and canned groceries and he was towing a generator that was fixed to a trailer.

The virus living within him was getting more aggressive, there was no doubt of that.

He was no longer able to do big projects, he just didn't have the energy.

Along with the almost constant pain, he would now also develop horrible sores that would open and drain without warning.

But in over three months, he had been able to establish a relatively comfortable life for himself. Most of that was due to the work he had done more recently.

He was at a point where the rooms that he used on a regular basis were kept reasonably clean.

He washed dishes at least once a day... he NEVER wanted to have to go through the experience of washing them all at once again.

He kept himself clean and mostly shaved... not always, but he didn't let his beard get out of control.

Weather permitting, he would make one or two trips into town a week, just to bolster his supplies and occasional trips to other towns to see if the pickings were better.

On his last trip, he was able to find powdered milk, which was incredibly helpful for cooking.

And, at the end of each day, he would typically snuggle into his favorite couch, wrap himself in his favorite quilt, and settle in to watch a movie.

It was strange. He had never been much of one to watch movies, before. But he found himself captivated with many of the old black and white, WWII era dramas and occasionally, some of their comedies.

Although if anyone else in the world were alive to see him, he would never do it, he also occasionally indulged himself by watching Audrey Hepburn movies. He absolutely loved them.

Pain had become a fact of life.

The bleeding, the vomiting, the diarrhea, the sudden running sores... all of it was just there.

But after four months, the one thing that actually caused him to worry were the headaches.

Watching what Monique had gone through, and how she ended up, made him wish that he had actually gone through with constructing the guillotine.

The horror of her death still haunted him, and it was brought back to him, fresh as the day it happened, every time he felt a pain erupt in his head.

He had given up on the pain pills for the most part. Partly because of Professor Frost's warnings, but mostly because he knew that he could endure the pain.

But when it came to headaches, he immediately took some pain meds to quickly deal with it... except, he would never take four.

The headache this day wasn't bad, at least, not yet.

He had found that if he caught it early, sometimes it didn't get any worse.

The bottle of pills that he had been using for weeks on end was finally empty, so he made his way down to the medlab to get some more.

He hadn't been down there in quite a while.

Given the choice, he'd be happy enough to never go down there again.

When the elevator doors slowly opened, he noticed that the lighting was far dimmer than he recalled.

Whatever reserve power source Emma had set up for the underground portion of the mansion seemed to finally be running out.

"Hello?" Logan heard from down the hallway.

He froze in place for a moment as his mind raced over what he had thought he had just heard.

As he saw it, there were only two possibilities. Either somehow, some living person had found their way into the mansion, and into the basement, without him noticing. Or what had killed Monique was now happening to him and he was seeing hallucinations.

The former seemed so unlikely that it wasn't worth considering. The latter... if he were having hallucinations, then it was already too late for him to do anything but to play along and see where this path took him... maybe he'd end up wherever Monique had gone.

"Who's there?" Logan called gruffly.

"Where are you?" A young voice called in panic.

That seemed curious. When Monique was having her hallucinations, she seemed to be talking to people that she knew.

Cautiously, Logan walked down the hallway and found a transparent young teenager looking back at him. He wasn't sure, but the boy looked somehow familiar.

He sniffed the air to see if he could detect anything to indicate if the boy was real or not. When he didn't smell anything, he cautiously asked, "You a ghost?"

"Yeah, I guess so." The boy said in a small voice.

Suddenly, Logan remembered where he had seen the boy before.

Before Bobby had left to join John, the mansion had been attacked and... "Figures, the whole world dies and I get haunted by the little mutant hating puke that got me shot in the head."

"Yeah, sorry about that." The boy... Ronny, Ronny Drake, said in nearly a whisper.

"Whatever. How come you're haunting the mansion?" Logan asked with mild curiosity. Hallucination or no, at least it was someone to talk to.

"I don't know. I guess when I told mutie fag that I wanted to see his freak kids get dissected he must have got pissed off and killed me." Ronny said with a shrug.

Logan's head gave another throb and reminded him why he had come to the basement in the first place.

"Some people are just touchy that way." Logan said as he walked past Ronny into the MedLab's treatment room.

"Can I hang out with you? I'm kind of alone down here." Ronny asked with a pleading tone.

"Yeah, sure. But you start talkin any mutant hating trash to me and I'll leave you alone." Logan warned as he found the bottle he was looking for. He had a headache and he wasn't about to put up with any crap. Not even from a ghost.

"Yeah, I can do that." Ronny said quietly and followed Logan to the elevator which opened as he approached.

Logan led the ghost first to the kitchen, then into the common room. He had done a good job of keeping up with things for a while, but hadn't been feeling well for the past few days and had let a few things slide. It wasn't horrible, but there was a little trash on the floor by the couch and a few dirty dishes.

"I wasn't expecting company." Logan said quietly as he took a seat on the couch. The ghost had already seen it, so there was no point in cleaning it up, now.

"Are you the only one here?" The ghost asked as he looked around the room.

"Yeah, I been alone for four months. Everyone else is dead." Logan said and took two pills, then washed them down with a beer. This would be the test. If the headache were the culprit, then the ghost of Ronny Drake should fade away as soon as the headache let up.

"Everyone in the mansion died? How did that happen?" Ronny asked quietly.

"Everyone in the world died. Some mutant hating trash decided that the world would be a better place without us and made a virus to kill us all. It backfired and killed everyone." Logan said before taking another drink of his beer. He suddenly realized that he wasn't used to talking to people anymore.

"So you're alone in this world?" Ronny asked with a note of fear.

"Yeah, as far as I know. I ain't seen or heard anyone else since November." Logan said, looking curiously at the ghost standing before him.

"How can you live like that? I mean, I've always been around people, I can't imagine being completely alone." Ronny said thoughtfully.

"You don't have to imagine it now kid. You are alone. Unless you meet up with another ghost, you and me are it. And I don't think we're going to be best buds or anything since you got me shot when you were alive." Logan said honestly. Ghost or no, he wasn't going to let that go, like it was nothing.

"So you don't mind being alone?" Ronny asked uncertainly.

"Well, I guess since you're dead I can tell you. I mind it. I've always been a loner, but when I wanted to be around people, they were there. Now, I dunno, it's like there's no point to being. I think it's like, when you help someone, you have a purpose. It makes their life better and yours. Without anyone else around to help or fight, I can't make a difference. There's no point." Logan said quietly. He was surprised to hear himself put those feelings into words. Not wanting to pursue the subject, he quickly finished his beer.

Ronny sat silently for a long minute then said quietly, "I never helped anyone."

"You're a user, kid. You use people to get what you want and damn anyone else's feelings." Logan said without malice. Ghost or not, the kid needed to know.

"You don't know me." Ronny said in offense.

"No. But I've known enough people like you to recognize the breed. You're a parasite, you latch on to someone until they can't give you anymore then you move on." Logan said then got up from the couch and walked out of the room.

Logan stood for a moment in the kitchen, contemplating the conversation he had just held with someone who wasn't there.

He reflected back on how Monique had been holding conversations with all her friends and couldn't decide if the same thing were happening to him.

If he were having a hallucination, would he even be questioning it? He didn't know.

After grabbing a plate of food and another beer for himself, he slowly walked back to the common room.

"I'm really sorry I got you shot. Will you tell me your name?" Ronny asked shyly.

"Logan." He said before taking a large bite of food.

"Thanks Logan, you can call me Ronny if you want... That stuff you said... about me being a parasite... you're right... but if that's what I am, how do I become something else?" Ronny asked plaintively.

"Dunno kid. You most likely can't change... being dead and all." Logan said in a slow considering voice.

"I was afraid of that. But if I wasn't dead, how would I be able to change?" Ronny asked in a low voice.

"Let me ask you somethin kid. Who do you respect? Who do you like? Who is your role model?" Logan asked, then when he saw Ronny deep in thought, he took another bite of his food.

"No one." Ronny finally answered timidly.

"Thought so. Some people can change themselves with willpower but... I think you need an example to follow. Someone you can trust and respect, maybe your dad." Logan said with a shrug.

"He raped me this morning and I killed him... I'm thinking no." Ronny said darkly.

"You're dead, you can let it go now. But you're right, bad role model." Logan said and sat his empty plate aside.

"The only person I can think of is my brother, Bobby." Ronny said weakly.

"Yeah, the gang were all tore up when he ran off with John to join up with another team. I think it took guts for him to make a change." Logan said in a considering tone.

"But I just saw him a few hours ago, right before... I died." Ronny finished weakly.

"Whatever, I don't know what happens when you die, maybe you were put on hold for a few months before you woke up here. But I saw Bobby and John with my own eyes a few months ago. They died holdin on to each other." Logan said without a trace of emotion.

"Bobby's dead? I didn't even think about that..." Ronny said as he realized that he couldn't cry.

Logan looked at the distraught expression on Ronny's face curiously.

"Being dead sucks! I can't even cry for my brother!" Ronny said in anger.

"Yeah, let me know if you find the upside to it." Wolverine said with a chuckle.

Ronny nodded, then thought to ask, "What about you? If you had a second chance, what would you do?"

Logan got a big genuine smile on his face and said, "Orroro."

"I don't understand, what's that?" Ronny asked with confusion.

"She's not a what, she's a who, and she's the most beautiful woman I've ever known... I never even made a single move on her. If I was to get a second chance, that's all I'd want, is to stop being such a chicken shit and let Rorro know how I feel." Logan said with a fond smile that turned sour at the shear sentimentality of it all.

"Don't worry Logan, I'm dead, who am I going to tell?" Ronny said with a smile.

"If you wasn't dead before, I'd have to kill you fer seein that." Logan said with a growl.

"I think I just found the upside." Ronny said with a grin.

Logan rolled his eyes, then picked up his plate and left the room to get another beer.

Just as he reached the common room door, he heard an unfamiliar voice say, "If you're sorry, they'll forgive you. They're good people."

"But I'm not. Robert was right. I'm a bad person. I'm a bully and a liar. And I don't know any other way to be." Ronny responded.

"How do you want to be, kid?" Logan asked as he walked back into the room, beer in hand.

He wasn't surprised to see Bobby. But seeing another boy that he didn't know made him stop and wonder again whether this was a hallucination or not.

Bobby and his friend stared at Logan, as Ronny said, "I don't even know how else I can be... this is all I've ever been."

"Logan?" Bobby asked with confusion.

"Yeah, how you doin, Ice Cube?" Logan asked as he took a drink from his beer. What had Emma said about a dimensional traveler?

"I thought everyone here was dead." Bobby said in wonder.

"Everyone else is... So I guess this means Ronny ain't dead. Bet you're glad to hear that." Logan said with a chuckle.

"Yeah, I guess." Ronny mumbled.

"Ronny, you're coming back with me as soon as we know where we're going to put you. When you threatened the mansion, you made it a lot harder on yourself. But you won't be alone. I'll come and visit with you as often as I can until we figure out what we're going to do..." Bobby said with conviction, then turned to Logan and said, "I'll let the others know you're here. We'll find a way to get you to our dimension without bringing the virus."

That was it. The final piece of the puzzle.

Yes. Everyone in this world was dead.

But there was another world where everyone was alive. Even if they couldn't find a way to cure him. If he just had a few weeks, a few days, even a few hours, he could be among the living again.

It would be enough.

The End of Book 6 ~ To Be Continued in Book 7: From Hurt to Comfort

Editor's Notes:

Once again, MultiMapper has come through for us. As you probably already know, this book was written to give us a perspective on just exactly what happened to logan during the time he spent after the virus destroyed all higher life on the Earth of his dimension.

We got a glimpse of it in the existing chapters of what was then book 6.

Multimapper had planned to write this segment and it would have been in the original storyline, however, at the time he was writing the other parts, someone was living with him, and they had planned for that person to write this volume. As time passed and the other person moved on with his life, MultiMapper had also moved past this part of the story, and therefore it was never finished. Well, with a bit of time available to himself, MultiMapper decided it was time to fill us in on what he had planned to tell us all along. and we now see the situation directly from Logan's point of view, and I, for one, am tickled to have that added dimension to this excellent story. Even though it still brought tears to my eyes, I have to say I was totally captivated, as always,

Thanks, MM!

Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher

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