Now, three years after she had broken Duncan's unbeating, noncorporeal heart, Eve lay in bed next to Logan, once again feeling pangs of guilt for how she had hurt the man she had once loved so much.
Her alarm began to chirp loudly, and then she realized what day it was.
Shit, where has my mind been all week? she wondered.
Five days before, Eve's sister Meredith had lost her husband in a hunting accident. Today was David's funeral, and Eve was supposed to be there for her sister and the kids.
When she arrived not-so-fashionably late, someone had already begun speaking at the pulpit - it was David.
"I'd just like to thank you all for coming out to my funeral, it really means a lot to me and my family," the dead man said. "I hope you'll all still come and see me, and help Meredith and the kids out. I won't be bringing in money anymore, so it'll be a struggle. I hope I can count on all of your support. Thanks for coming, and enjoy the finger foods and cake."
After the service, Eve accompanied her sister and the family home, where David sat waiting. Meredith had decided that the boys needed their daddy, even if he was a spirit, and that she needed him, too. David promised not to go off exploring the world for longer than a few hours at a time, and Meredith promised that she would stay with her late husband until death brought them closer again.
I hope it works out better for these two than it did for me and Duncan...
Eve wrote her sister a big fat check to cover the loss of David's income, and told Meredith to just ask if she needed anymore. Meredith tried to decline, but Eve assured her that she could spare the money - and she definitely could.
Since HFR lenses had been revealed and made available to the public, Eve had made a fortune. She and Logan planned to buy a huge place in the country and retire very early, once things with the lenses settled down.
As Duncan had predicted years before, most of the public had outrageous reactions to this new technology. The Catholic Church had tried to get the lenses prohibited; claiming that EdenCorp had lied about their findings, but when people began to see that HFR really worked, the church lost its credence. Actually, the church had lost pretty much everything now, since everyone knew the truth - that there was no heaven or hell or, as far as anyone knew, God. All religious organizations had pretty much fallen apart now with this newfound knowledge. Many Catholic priests had taken their own lives when they found out and, after death, set out on their own searches for God. When he was nowhere to be found, the priests had reportedly faded away and out of existence.
The world was growing more chaotic each day now, since the release of HFR, and it seemed nothing could undo the damage that had been caused. Now, with the knowledge that there is, in fact, no heaven to strive for a seat in, many people had abandoned their usual, god-fearing ways. No one worried about the consequences of sin any longer - people did what they wanted, and boy, were there some sick people out there...The crime rate shot way up all across the globe, and there were more and more gruesome murders and sadistic torturings being committed. Mass suicides, extremely high homicide rates and large scale riots had become commonplace in News reports now, when someone bothered to report it, that is. Police forces had been stretched to the limit when most officers had quit, saying it just wasn't worth it. Now, with so many criminals and not enough manpower (or prison cells) to hold perpetrators, the death penalty had been accepted unwaveringly throughout the world, and even simpler crimes resulted in executions. And besides, what did it even matter if these criminals were killed? They just ended up right back here with the rest of us.
Recently, a worldwide movement called Free Earth had been gaining momentum. This group believed in complete and total liberty from any laws or restraints of the world, including the prison of the physical body. They believed that, to be truly free, one had to be freed from their mortal cage of flesh and thus allowed to live in a peaceful, harmonious earth without anger or grief or pain.
At first, Free Earth couldn't seem to stay solid - its members were "freeing" themselves too frequently to gather and come to a consensus. Now, though, these believers had come to agree that they would all be free only after they helped to free the rest of the world's population, no matter how long that took. And so began the killing sprees, that now have most afraid to leave their homes without packing some sort of automatic weapon for protection.
Eve herself had become a leading member in the national movement called LUL, or "Let Us Live." This was sort of a neighborhood watch movement, only with guns and a lot of angry citizens fighting for their lives. If a member of LUL came across a Free Earth supporter, that member was to kill that person on site, preventing them from doing any more harm to others. The Free-Earthers didn't mind much - it's what they wanted, after all. It was full scale war. The world was a mess, and people had gone a bit insane, but Eve still didn't regret her part in the whole thing. She had gotten to speak to her mother again which, in her mind, made it worth it.
What is wrong with everyone? Eve wondered as she entered the lab, where yet even more experiments were being done using the HFR technology. All I did was find a way for people to see those they had lost, to speak to them. I showed everyone the truth. They should be thanking me...They should be happy.
As she entered her office, she found Adam sitting at her desk. He was crying. It seemed like Adam was always crying now. Six months ago, Adam's nine year old daughter Amy had been killed by a Free Earth supporter. Since then, Amy had returned and Adam's wife Melanie acted as if nothing had changed. To her and Amy, it hadn't. Melanie read to Amy every night, like always. She took her to the park, she took her to the movies, she played games with her...
Eve went to Adam and placed a hand on his shoulder - a gesture that was intended to comfort her grieving friend and partner, but his visible jerk at the touch of her hand told Eve he couldn't, or wouldn't be comforted. Not by her, anyway.
"Melanie's leaving me," Adam said. "She's leaving me, and she's taking Amy with her, and a part of me is glad. Do you know how awful, how sick that makes me feel?"
"What happened? Why would she leave you at a time like this?"
"Because I told her how I felt. That I couldn't stand to be around Amy any longer, that it was killing me. So she's leaving."
Adam's tears had ceased filling his eyes now, and in their place was a sort of quiet rage, a desperation Eve had never seen in him before.
"Adam, I don't understand, Amy's your daughter, why -"
"No, Eve. Amy was my daughter, and now she's dead, now she's just a silhouette, a picture of what she used to be. She'll never change; she'll always be my little girl."
"Then what is the problem ?"
"She's dead, that's the problem!" he shouted back. "I'll never get to see my little girl graduate high school or go to college or become a doctor or a lawyer or hell, even a musician! I won't get to give her away at her wedding, or play with my grandchildren. I won't get to see her grow up, to know the person she could have become, she would have become...She's dead, and part of me, maybe all of me died with her..."
"Adam, I...I'm so sorry for your loss," Eve told him, but she was still a bit cautious to get any closer to him.
"That's just it, though. I feel this great, unbearable loss, and then there Amy is, laughing and smiling and wanting me to play with her. Sometimes I forget and I go to hug her, and I just get air. Empty air. To her, she's still my daughter, my little girl, but to me...to me she's this constant reminder of what I had, what I'll never get back...And Melanie wants me to explain to my daughter why her mother is taking her away from me! I mean, what am I supposed to say?! What can I do?!"
Adam was beyond frustration. Eve could see his neck muscles twitching, his knuckles whitening as his fists clenched tighter and tighter. To Eve, he looked like a man being fried on an electric chair - tense, trembling; contracting every muscle to capacity, feeling that last ounce of control before all was lost.