Memoirs of the Second Age: Hawthorne

So you finally got to me?

From what the other’s said, you’ve heard everything about his death that you could want.

No…you’re right. I suppose there’s a few more things you need to know.

Most people say that that night ended the Second Age. After all, that’s when the biggest monster the world had ever known was finally killed for good. Ten years later, and we’ve never seen anything like him since.

But Ages don’t end when people die. We lost three members of the Council that night, and most of the others retired over the next two years. It was their replacements who started the New Age.

No, I’m not talking about me. I was the last to switch in, and Lux stayed around for years after he stopped serving.

I know a lot of people look on the Second Age like we did the first. I’ve heard them calling it the Gilded Age, as if the Council had just covered up all the shit that had gone wrong, but the rules they set up were solid. The fact is that, at the time, nobody could have fixed the system better than they did.

In the end, there was just too much new blood for the old ways to stick around. Macropolis worked well, but so many other cities were failing under the same rules. The new system works better, it lets people know that they’ll be protected no matter where they live.

But that’s not really what you’re here about is it? You already talked to the others, you know what happened with them.

Fine. I’ll go through it.

After her brother died, Miss Mirror went on a crusade. It took Mach-sorry, I meant Scanner-nearly a year to calm her down. Eventually, she took over Will’s job at the support groups. From what I’ve heard, she does a good job. She makes sure the kids that get to her take it seriously, and she’s been keeping a close eye on them.

Allspades took over the hero gym after Phil died. He has to close up earlier than Phil did to keep up his patrols, but the place is more popular than ever. He lets Miss Mirror use it for meetings when her groups need to let off steam, and I think he’s taken more than a few of the kids under his wing. Better living through punch, I guess.

It was three years before Mach took on her new mantle. Between the physical therapy and learning what her powers could really do…let’s just say that we’re lucky she’s as smart and determined as she is. She mostly consults for the police and other heroes, but she’d solved more cases in the last year than any five precincts combined. I think she works for the government sometimes too, but she doesn’t like talking about it.

Unimportant kept his personal war going until he and Scanner finally tracked Asclepios down five years ago. We thought he was going to retire after that. We even bought a cake. But six months later, he was back on the streets. It’s hard to know just how many people he’s taken down, but every time a new gang’s warehouse has an unexpected fire or a drug shipment ends up spilling onto the road, I’m sure he has something to do with it.

Burnout’s powers keep growing stronger. He works as a hero, but it’s hard to justify sending him after smaller threats. When he goes all out, he looks scarier than most villains do. If we stuck to the old system, then he would have needed to be reclassified by now, but now he’ll always be stuck somewhere in the middle. When you look at him, it’s hard to remember the college kid who was more afraid of his power than anything else.

After Lux took a back seat, I took his place on the Council. I’m in charge of this region, so I didn’t have to leave home, but it still takes me out of the city for a few months every year. Like I said, I came in at the tail end of the changeover, but there were more than a few issues that had to be stamped down to get everything working right. I like to think I helped everything turn out for the better, but it’ll probably be another few years before hindsight kicks in.

…You really want to hear about that?

Okay, it just seems like a bad way to end things.

Red Racer had three funerals. His name was carved into the memorial, just like everyone else who died that day. The whole city was there.

He was buried next to his parents. We wanted to be there, but the only one who had a good reason for showing up at the funeral was Scanner. All of his classmates were there when they lowered him in.

Our funeral couldn’t start until they left. The grave had been filled in, but everyone who was a part of both of his lives was there. We each had something to say-and there’s no way I’m letting you put what that was in your book. After what he did, he deserves the privacy.

Rumor’s name is carved on the memorial with Red’s, but I still can’t think of him and Will as the same person.  Will would have told you that Rumor died years before that, and I think that’s the best way to think of it.

Will’s funeral was massive. I don’t know how many of the people attending were heroes, but line at the graveyard was long enough that I was worried about the city’s safety.

It was almost surreal. Hardly any of them had anything nice to say about Will. All of them thought of him as a hero, and nobody was happy to see him go, but it was almost like they were they out of obligation. But nobody disappeared after they said their piece, and nobody left after the coffin was lowered. They all stayed until the grave was filled in and they were slow leaving after that.

It was like they were waiting for him to be alive again.

Easily a hundred people stood in the rain watching a grave with an empty coffin.

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4 comments

    1. Congratulations on finishing the story! Three years and a half, quite the undertaking. You maintained the sense of mystery around Will’s power (though frankly, it might be my shoddy memory acting up here) and I think that was a good call. I am jealous of all those who will read the awesome tale you have created here in its entirety because it’s undoubtedly a page-turner (and detailed and read-between-the-lines enough that reading in one go is almost obligatory for maximum enjoyment).
      How many people can say they’ve written a book or story and finished it? Pat yourself on the back, because it’s something to be proud of. And if this isn’t your first major completed work… well, tell me where to find the others!

  1. Hey, I just started reading your novel.
    In chapter 3, which is coincidentally also a Hawthorne chapter, I noticed a part that bothered me a bit: “It wasn’t just my work, if any if [my underling’s] work was off, I was blamed for it.”

    My “Underlings” has quite a negative connotation, in my opinion. Perhaps you could replace it with “staff”.

    Also,” if any if” should be changed to: “if any [of]…”.

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