The Lonesome Road

Epilogue - 173

It is said that there are few good things in the wasteland.

But surely that means that there are some. And one good thing, one small light in the darkness given the chance to shine, has a way of making more, until the sky is full of stars.

It cannot ever be said that the group of travellers were good people – their destruction was certainly greater than many others ever accomplished. History will likely not be kind to them in its recounting of their journey together. They left a trail of devastation in their wake in that time between the first and second freeing of subject 173. But they tried, which is more than many do. And in the end, the fires that they left behind were enough, like the blaze that sweeps through a forest, to leave space and fertile soil for something new.

The world needs healers. People are great in their capacity for creation, and even greater in their capacity for destruction. Precious few are equipped to fix what is broken.

He began again after two years. He needed time, to travel and learn and rebuild the knowledge he had lost when the scientists stripped him of everything he had been before. He needed to see the world and its damage, so that he could understand how to fix it.

People remembered him where he passed, from before and anew. He relearned his gifts and developed new ones as he aged and grew. After all, the world needed healers and it was what he had been made to do. So after two years he went out into the world, and he healed it wherever it needed to be healed.

She travelled with him in that time, one of the few remaining ‘successes’ that survived the purging of the commonwealth. She always travelled with him, and both were followed by their guardian angel, the strange mutant with a heart full of quiet sadness. She rarely smiled, and nobody ever touched her. Such was the curse. She had been made to destroy, to kill more effectively. But destruction can be channelled, can be put to good in the right circumstances – the old world pulled down, to be repurposed into something new. He made her want to be a good person, a final insult to those who had created them as she failed in her design.

In the end, it is hard to say how much the actions of one person can truly matter when working alone. Just one light in the darkness is easily snuffed out. The world is a harsh place and the ripple across the wasteland meant that it fell far in the aftermath of the travellers’ actions. There were times that were dark indeed.

But 173 was a bright light, and wherever he went, he left constellations behind him.

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Marlene

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