An ending is only tragic if there is no one left to appreciate the beauty that came before.

rating: +69+x

November 29th, 2006.

Markus Matthews was terrified and there was nothing he could do about it. The month was nearly over and Shaw showed no signs of giving the necklace to a new holder. Markus could feel himself slipping away every few minutes and had to catch himself in order to remain conscious. Or whatever this was.

Right now he was in a somewhat large white room lined with windows and a huge black stone pillar at the center. Shaw's footsteps echoed off the walls and Markus realized quite suddenly that the pillar was a coffin. Or a sar… sarcophagus? That's the word.

Shaw stopped walking as the coffin creaked loudly. Then the front of it opened on a hinge and a man covered in black tattoos stepped out, smiling widely when he saw Dr. Shaw in front of him.

"Ahh. An offering?" The tattooed man said through clenched teeth.

"Uh, not exactly." Markus could feel his stomach almost come up to his throat, but Shaw showed nothing on the outside. "Was just checking up on things, you're early."

Shaw offered a hand.

Able chuckled to himself and walked up to Shaw. He took Shaw's forearm and gripped it, "You carry Shaw's necklace."

"Yes. That's me. I'm him."

"Good. Arm yourself." The tattooed man let Shaw's arm go and stepped back.

Shaw nodded and reached for the pistol in his shoulder holster. A sword impaled Shaw in the chest before he could pull the trigger. Security agents filed into the room immediately and opened fire. Markus felt himself slipping away one last time, and soon all three of them were gone.

March 3rd, 2018:

Able stepped out into a pitch black room. He was alive again. An amplified voice came from somewhere above him. "Hi. Shaw again. I owe you one."

Large turrets he couldn't see popped out of the ground and opened fire.

April 20th, 2024:

"I have to apologize, I couldn't be there when you woke up so I had to record this in advance. The bullets are real though."

Able managed to say "Face me coward!" before the turrets began their work.

Able awoke 3 more times. Each time Shaw was there waiting. Until the end, of course. Able stepped out of his sarcophagus into the same room with the turrets. This time no voice greeted him and no bullets fired. A crack in the ceiling let a bit of sunlight through and the entire western wall had crumbled into rubble. He could see the tiled floor now and a single observation window which reflected a bit of light.

He walked over to the window and smashed it with a sword. Inside the observation room was a collection of equipment he didn't recognize, some chairs, a desk and the skeleton of what appeared to be a goat, with a very familiar piece of jewelry inside its rib cage. Able reached down and picked the necklace up.

He could immediately feel the force of another mind prying into his own. He could've dropped the necklace, it didn't affect him immediately, but his pride and competitive nature wouldn't let him. Instead he closed his eyes and prepared to fight on another battlefield.

He opened his eyes to a plain white room. Across from him stood Shaw. No jewelry. No false faces. The real Shaw. What was left of Shaw's hair was gray. He wore a pair of oversized glasses with thick lenses and Able was having trouble figuring out where the man's neck ended and chin began. Able also knew, without a doubt, that this was the man who'd been killing him for the last… wait how long had it been?

"Well," The nebbish man across from Able said. "This has never happened before."

Able chuckled. "What happened to your Foundation?"

"Cracked. Right down to the bottom."

"My brother?"

Shaw shook his head but didn't say anything.


Shaw tilted his head slightly. "We're what's left."

"What happens now?"

A large rifle materialized in Shaw's hands.

Able pulled a black jagged sword out of thin air. "Fair enough."

Afterward, the last man on Earth walked out into the world.

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