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Whiskey Lullaby

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            The sky was dark and gloomy, hanging low above the roof of Middleton Amethyst Chapel as it drizzled heaven’s tears onto the earth. Dozens upon dozens of cars were parked right outside the chapel and the people occupying those cars came out in groups. They were all dressed in black or dark-coloured clothes and were waiting to be seated. Most of the immediate family member of the deceased were there seated on black velvet-coated chairs that were decorated with rings of funeral flowers. The rest who were not exactly related to the deceased in blood, especially the reporters, meadia and paparazzi, were required to stand at the sidelines or remain outside as there was not enough room in the chapel to fill everyone, and that included thousands upon thousands of fans standing or sitting outside crying, sobbing and wailing over the loss of the world’s most valuable duo Middleton could ever have.

            Apparently, it was a funeral occasion and those who would be buried six feet under to be returned from ashes to ashes, dust to dust were Kimberly Anne Possible and Ronald Kennedy Stoppable. The whole family of Kim Possible including Mr. and Mrs. Possible, Jim and Tim Possible and Nana Possible, were seated on the right, while the whole family of Ron Stoppable including Mr. and Mrs. Stoppable and baby Hana Stoppable were seated on the left. Friends of the family were all seated at either side, namely Wade Load (who came in person instead of his hologram or mini portable TV), Monique, Bonnie Rockwaller leading the cheerleading squad, Brick Flagg leading the football squad and Yori Kansumi and the Master leading the Yamanuchi school (dressed in normal citizen’s clothes to preserve their school’s secrecy, of course), just to name a few. They were all either sobbing quietly or comforting each other with soothing touches and soft eye contact, with a bit of crying in between. An occasional camera clicks were heard throughout the chapel as the media took pictures of the goings-on of the funeral service. Lucky for them, everyone was too grievous to pay attention to the media clicking and recording away in the background.

            Soon, a hush ran through the chapel as the priest came up to the altar in a grave expression, accompanied by the Bible boy who passed him the Holy Book to him.

            “We are gathered here today to mourn the passing of the darling of Middleton: Kimberly Anne Possible and Ronald Kennedy Stoppable,” the priest began his funeral sermon, his voice echoing down the chapel. “It is a tragic loss for us all that they had to leave this world so young. They have contributed so much throughout the society, saving countless lives, changing other people’s lives for the better, and managed to aim for school valedictorian. They had a fruitful life and they were great saints and saviours to the community. They were role models of the younger generation, the pride of older generations and they struck fear among the wicked, and thus the Lord loved them so much that He took them back into His embrace to serve Him for eternity…”

            As the priest continued on and recited his prayers, everyone in the chapel had a bout of mixed feelings in their hearts. Everyone knew that suicide was a blasphemous act regardless the religion, and those who were religious, especially Ron’s Jewish extended families, knew that to be so. Most of those present knew that both the Possible and the Stoppable parents had tried to find clergies willing to bless and bury the two tragic lovers together but due to the nature of their death that was sinful in their eyes, no priest, pastor or rabbi (not even Ron’s family rabbi) was willing to help them, no matter famous or heroic they were when they were alive. Surprisingly enough, it was Bonnie who came to Middleton Amethyst Chapel along with Monique and Brick Flagg after finding out that the priest was one of Kim’s many people whom she had rescued and bullied the priest’s conscience into conducting the funeral service.

            It’s the least you could do for her, Monique remembered Bonnie saying to the priest coldly before leaving him alone to sleep on the decision.

            “And now, we would like to invite anyone who would like to say a few last words of our beloved teenage heroes,” the priest said as he took his leave off the altar. The first person to come up was Ron’s father, Mr. Stoppable.

            “My son,” Mr. Stoppable took off his glasses to clean them, but not exactly for the reason that it was dirty, before putting them back on and continued, “was a good boy. Even when he did what he did, I still believe that he was a good boy. I think that it is justifiable in his actions, no matter how the society sees it. If I were in his shoes, I would probably have done the same thing if I thought I had lost my wife the same manner he thought he lost Kim.

            “Kim and Ron were inseparable. Ever since they met in pre-K, they were never seen without the other. They ate together, went to school together, played together, went on missions together and soon, fell in love together. I have never seen a better-matched couple than the both of them. Even when they have grown older and have their own set of lives to live, they were never far away from each other. It was almost a ritual thing in the dinner table to ask about Kim whenever we talk about how Ron’s day was, or else our day would never be complete.

            “Ron had changed so much since he began his relationship with Kim. Before Kim came into his life, he was weak and vulnerable. He couldn’t survive two minutes outside without having the presence or reassurance from his mother. He almost drove my wife crazy when he made at least 10 calls daily, if we were lucky, back home begging her to take him home from Camp Wannaweep. He spent more time in his room baking cookies and pastries than any other average boy who would be roughing and toughing playing soccer and tag and baseball at his age at the time—though I must stress that I have nothing against him being interested in kitchen life—but since he knew Kim, he had turned from a boy to a man both physically and mentally. He had become strong and slowly was able to face anything life could charge at him. He still had a few flaws here and there, but overall, he was a new person because of Kim, and perhaps it was because of her he had found his true strengths. When he thought she was gone, his strength gone as well, and that was what pushed him to the end…but no matter what you may think of him, I am proud to have him as my son.”

            After that, Wade came up to the altar to give his eulogy, “Ron and Kim had been the best friends I had ever had ever since I graduated from college. I never had any true friends and I never had anyone who truly appreciates me as I am until I met them. Well, technically I was the one who made them employ me for their technical supports, but as we followed through, our friendship got closer and closer, to the point where they actually managed to persuade me to leave that enclosed dark room of mine and participate in life outside my virtual one.

            “I blame myself for the failure of their mission that caused them to seek such drastic ends. Dr. Drakken and his fiancé Shego was trying their usual world-domination plans but it seemed that experience fighting with our teenage heroes had taught them to be smarter and tougher, which was something that I did not anticipate from. I have underestimated their power and by the time I managed to send in backup to rescue them when they self-destructed their latest lair, I was only able to save Ron because of the tracking device I implanted on him. I made the mistake of not equipping the same tracking device on Kim because I thought…” Wade hesitated, trying to blink back tears, “Because I thought…she could do anything.

            “I forgot that Kim, no matter how good she was, was still human, and humans have limits. My expectation—our expectations—was so high on her that we tend to ignore the fact that she was just a normal teenager who just wanted to have a normal life. It’s our fault, mostly mine, that caused them to pursue the unthinkable. If given the chance, I wish I could take their place in that coffin. That’s how badly I want them back…”

            The boy genius let out a depressed sigh as he left the altar, unable to continue any further. After a few seconds, Monique soon stepped up to the altar to give her two-cents.

            “I have known Kim and Ron since the first day I moved into Middleton. We were like two sisters and a brother when we’re together. I share an equally common interest either Ron or Kim or both. Occasionally there are times where I actually participate in their missions, but most of the time I gave them moral support ad sometimes gloat with the fact that I have close connections with the world’s greatest and most famous teenage crime-fighters, but that’s not what I’m here for.

            “Wade cannot blame himself fully for this tragedy. I also have a wrongdoing in this. When Ron came back after that mission, I received a frantic call from Wade asking me to let him bunk at my place. He was so badly hurt that he couldn’t even move, and Wade didn’t have enough connections at the time to get him straight to the hospital, but while Wade called for the ambulance, I could tell when I was nursing him that Ron was more than just physically hurt—his mind was just as traumatized as his body at the thought that Kim did not survive the explosion that stupid blue and green cowards did to escape.

            “When he was recovering, he was in a catatonic state. He didn’t respond to anyone and he was always staring out the window or in space as if waiting for Kim to come back. He still ate, slept and breathed barely, but his talking was totally cut off. I’ve heard stories from nurses saying that while he was in ICU, he woke up screaming Kim’s name every night and wouldn’t stop crying until he was sedated. Those were the only time anyone had actually heard anything come out of his mouth. He stopped going to school altogether and just sit on his bed at home all day, staring out at the window and giving everyone the silent treatment and the cold shoulder.

            “Maybe it was my good nature or adaptability that made me got over Kim’s so-called death, or maybe because I had faith that Kim was still alive and kicking out there, but whatever it was, I was confident that Ron understood my feelings too and that he would have accepted the fact eventually. But I didn’t count that Ron’s love and grief for his loss over Kim had barred him from all reason. So when I came to his house to do my weekly visits as a school rep, I did not expect to see Ron and Rufus…on the floor…lying on so many pictures between him and Kim…and…his wrists…I have never seen so many red…”

            Felix came up to the altar to escort her down back to her seat because she was too weak with grief and guilt to stand properly. Another moment of silence later, Mrs. Possible came up to the altar and delivered her eulogy.

            “I do not need to stress how great our Kimmy was. I do not need to repeat Mr. Stoppable’s words either our Kimmy had changed both Ron and the world and I do not need to justify whatever she had done. No matter what you would say about our Kimmy, I stand strong just like any other mother to their child that my Kimmy was the best daughter I had ever had the privilege to give birth to.

            “For those who didn’t know, let me shed some light to explain how Kimmy went from allegedly killed in action to being here. Two days after Ron had passed on, our Kimmy came knocking on our doorstep along with a pair of fraternal twins. They are not here right now at the moment, but what we heard from them when they aided Kimmy into our home was that they found her barely alive face down as she floated down the river towards their secluded cabin in the outback. She had suffered a serious head injury that caused her to lose her memory, most probably from the explosion during her and Ron’s mission. They took her in, taking good care of her and treating her like their own family until they saw the news on TV about her so-called death and decided to bring her back home to us.

            “When she came home, she could barely even recognize us, but her attitude towards us was still exactly the same as when she had not lost her memory at all. It was as if she had no idea who we are, but at the same time, she knew us as well. She knew how to behave in front of us, like her subconscious mind still remembered us and tried to reach out to us in a subtle way. The fraternal twins suggested that Kimmy should go visit Ron to trigger her memory more, not knowing that Ron had already passed on. We tried to tell Kimmy the truth, but somehow, Kimmy seemed mysteriously excited, possibly since her subconscious mind remembered Ron and was perking her interest in wanting to meet him, so as much as we did not want to, we allowed her to find out the truth for herself.

            “We didn’t know what happened next, but when Kimmy came home with the fraternal twins, she was distraught, devastated and tear-filled. She claimed she remembered everything—like a huge jolt of electricity through her brain with the memory come crashing down on her—and was at a state of remorse, blaming herself for the death of Ron. After seeing his body in morgue, she got worse. She locked herself up in her room and didn’t come out for the rest of the day. We gratefully sent the fraternal twins off and tried to look after Kimmy the following weeks, but out of grief, her body slowly deteriorated and had to be bedridden all day.

            “Like Ron, she no longer talked and would spend most of her days in bed staring at pictures of her and Ron over and over again. Jim and Tim tried to help her cope with her health and her grief by buying her journals so that she could write on to distract herself. She seemed fine with writing on them at first but she never allowed us to look at it. Said that it was her personal letter to Ron. We—more accurately I as a brain surgeon—didn’t think it bad, if that could help her cope, and allowed her to continue doing what she did, until that rainy night…”

            Mrs. Possible paused for a while. Mr. Possible looked at her questioningly if she needed any help. She shook her head and continued, “That rainy night, when I sent Jim and Tim to bring her dinner, her room was surprisingly locked. We didn’t know how she did it since she was so weak to move from her bed, but she managed to take away all the spare keys to her bedroom and locked and barricaded her door so that we couldn’t enter. Jim and Tim tried going into her room using the window and had the shock of their lives—so shocked they were that they—the fearless and born-with-an-iron-stomach pair in the family—actually fainted. When we climbed in after them, we found Kimmy on bed lying on all the pictures they had together just like the way Ron died, only she had mixed her drink with the mothballs from her closet and wardrobe that she somehow collected and pounded into fine powder. We tried to get her to the hospital to get her stomach pumped, but coupled with her already weak body, she didn’t stand a chance. She was already dead long before we found her.

            “I would not say that what our Kimmy did was the right thing, but like how Mr. Stoppable felt, I believe she did the justifiable thing. She did what anyone who had lost the most dearly love of their life would’ve done. She was at her weakest moment and no one but Ron could give her the strength to make her believe she could do anything. In the end, the only thing that separated her and Ron was death, and if death is the only way to reunite them, so be it.”

            After a few more other eulogies from other people who knew Kim and Ron well, the priest said his final prayers for the Dynamic Duo’s body. Everyone came to their coffin to have a last look and to pay their last respects for them. Both of them looked so peaceful in their coffin, as if they were only sleeping and not dead. As requested by their parents, their coffin was custom-made so that it could fit both of them together. They lay together side by side in their junior high prom clothes—the clothes they wore on the night that ended their friendship and started their love—with Rufus laying on top of Ron’s chest. Ron had one hand on Rufus, holding it close to him and his other was holding Kim’s hand in an eternal clasp. No one had ever seen a more beautiful sight than this.

            Finally, the coffin was closed and was carried to the cemetery a few miles away from the chapel. The procession was long and the atmosphere was grim, and the sky seemed as if it was crying along with everyone present at the funeral. They all crowded around the grave which was dug by the gravediggers previously and laid their white roses and lilies on the coffin before it was lowered into the six-feet under grave, the small choir group singing their funeral hymn and the priest reading out the scriptures from the Bible.

            As soon as the coffin was lowered, a quiet commotion sounded in the midst of the crowd. They made way to reveal a pair of fraternal twins holding hand in hand. They both wore the same black body-fitting turtleneck long-sleeved shirt and black jeans. They both had silver-blonde hair that shimmered under whatever light was around and had piercing blood-red eyes framed by their ghostly-fair skin. If it weren’t for the sister wearing her hair long all the way down her waist, they could really pass off as identical twins.

            “Illust! Illumai! You’re finally here!” Mrs. Possible exclaimed quietly. “I thought you would never come. I thought you wouldn’t know…”

            “We never left,” the sister named Illust replied.

            “We had a sort of foreboding feeling when you sent us off,” the brother Illumai noted, ignoring the flashes of cameras from the media.

            “So we cancelled our flight and stayed around the area.”

            “Didn’t think she would end this way.”

            “It means so much to us that you’re here, kids,” Mr. Possible said as he ushered them to stand with them. “We cannot repay you enough for what you’ve doe for our Kimmy cub when she was alive.”

            “If I may be so bold…” Illumai noted, followed by Illust as all twins do when they finished each other’s lines.

            “…to suggest that…”

            “…we sing a song…”

            “…for both of them?”

            “By all means,” Mrs. Possible gestured. “It’s the least we can do.”

            As the gravediggers buried the coffin, the crowd made way in a hushed silence as the fraternal twins stood in front of the grave. Looking at each other for a cue, they soon lulled a lullaby as an opening before they started to sing:

(Illumai sings) She put him out like the burnin' end of a midnight cigarette
She broke his heart he spent his whole life tryin' to forget
We watched him drink his pain away a little at a time
But he never could get drunk enough to get her off his mind
Until the night

(Both sing) He put that bottle to his head and pulled the trigger
And finally drank away her memory
Life is short but this time it was bigger
Than the strength he had to get up off his knees
We found him with his face down in the pillow
With a note that said I'll love her till I die
And when we buried him beneath the willow
The angels sang a whiskey lullaby

(Sing lullaby)

(Illust-chan sings) The rumors flew but nobody knew how much she blamed herself
For years and years she tried to hide the whiskey on her breath
She finally drank her pain away a little at a time
But she never could get drunk enough to get him off her mind
Until the night

(Both sing) She put that bottle to her head and pulled the trigger
And finally drank away his memory
Life is short but this time it was bigger
Than the strength she had to get up off her knees
We found her with her face down in the pillow
Clinging to his picture for dear life
We laid her next to him beneath the willow
While the angels sang a whiskey lullaby

(Sing lullaby)

            After they were done, they bowed to the Possible and the Stoppable family before the priest gave a silent prayer to complete the funeral session. Slowly, everyone dispersed one by one back to their vehicles as they left the cemetery. The Possible and the Stoppable families were the last to leave.

            “If you don’t mind me asking, Mrs. Possible,” Illust stopped the mother of Kim Possible in her tracks. She turned to look at them sadly.

            “Yes?”

            “You said she wrote in journals,” Illumai voiced out his sister’s question.

            “What did she write?” Illust ended.

            Mrs. Possible considered the question, then fished out a small pocket-sized journal from her purse and passed it to the sister before wordlessly leaving the twins standing there alone at the Dynamic Duo’s grave.

            The twins opened the journal. Line after line on every page till the end, there was only one sentence repeated over and over again in it.

            I’m sorry, Ron…