With thanks and love to MrDrP and his family.
Kim Possible: The End
If there is a reason why we are here, it is to ease one another's suffering.
- Allen Ginsberg
Kim Possible was in Hell.
That was the only explanation that made any sense.
As she stared balefully at nothing, her vision blurred by tears, Kim tried to choke back the sobs that were burning the back of her throat. In frustration, she slammed her fists into the walls of the tiny cell she was in. Again. And again.
This act produced no visible effect upon her fists or the walls. However, it did result in pain reverberating from her hands to her shoulders. Worst of all, the act gave her no release, none at all.
The last thing she recalled before she found herself … here was being in Middleton Park the day of the Senior Prom. She was picking up trash as part of an activity for a volunteer group she had founded. She had been enjoying herself and the day. Not only was this because she genuinely liked helping others (be it individuals or communities), but also because the activity was such that she could let her mind wander. That day, as it frequently had of late, her mind was orbiting around her boyfriend, Ron Stoppable. That night she and her best friend boy friend were going to the prom and, although he would deny that she needed to do any such thing, she was going to make up for all the unintentional pain she had caused him the previous year when she had initially taken that thing Eric to the Junior Prom instead of her best friend.
The very last thing she could remember was hearing a rustling in the branches of the tree she was standing under. When she looked up, she had just enough time to catch sight of the unmistakable figure of Yori, masked and wearing her battle gi, looking down at her. Then Kim felt a sharp pain in her neck and then … nothing.
And then she was in this horrible place.
Trying to calm herself down, Kim hugged her knees to her chest tightly. After several minutes of trembling that was equal parts sorrow and rage, she discovered absently that she had stopped crying and that her breathing was almost normal.
Why am I here? There has to be a reason.
Nothing obvious occurred to her.
True, she had never been the most regular churchgoer, but she did believe in God and always tried to do the right thing. She always tried to help people, and it wasn't something she did because it was expected or because it was something she was supposed to do. She sincerely liked doing it.
And I'm a murder victim for God's sake! Why is this happening to me!
She got herself back under control. Obviously, self-righteousness was a sin she couldn't deny she was guilty of.
She also couldn't deny that helping others had also brought along something else: fame. She knew she could be very prideful, even arrogant at times. And she most definitely had problems accepting that others might not be as driven as she. And, without question, she paradoxically had major issues with those who were just as driven.
But she knew these feelings were wrong, and she was trying to overcome them. They had, after all, almost cost her the most important relationship of her life. And it was this relationship that was helping her to work through these weaker aspects of her nature.
As he had with everything else in what, she was beginning to realize, had been her life, Ron had made her a better person.
The burning sobs returned. And no matter how tightly she squeezed herself into a ball, the pain and the tears seemed as if they would never cease.
Why hadn't God sent her to a burning lake a fire? Or just left her in oblivion?
Anywhere but here.
Immediately, Kim could tell that her best friend was majorly preoccupied with something because he was not smiling. He was also pacing around the room. Ron never paced unless he was worried about something. This room was so small that he kept almost running into the walls.
Wait a minute … where are we anyway?
"Ron, what's going on?"
He didn't even look up at her. He just kept pacing. And then, quite suddenly, he let go with a violent kick that tore a hole in the right wall, revealing that the wall was actually a screen.
His sudden display of temper took Kim aback. That was so not like Ron. Then she noticed other things about him that didn't seem right either. For one thing, he looked taller than he had looked to her earlier that morning. And was that a goatee on his chin! And he was wearing … a-a gi?
Yori in a gi standing over her in the park. Kim recalled the pain and immediately felt her neck; there was no pain now.
What in the world is going on?
Before she could start to process the avalanche of questions she had or untangle the images/memories/whatevertheywere spiraling in her mind, Kim was suddenly caught off guard when Ron looked directly at her.
Well, directly at the space where she was standing.
It wasn't the fact that he was looking through her that shocked her. It was how his eyes looked that chilled Kim.
There were lines etched deeply underneath them, and his pupils looked … well … smaller. Almost as if they had shrunk or as if they had twisted back onto themselves, becoming denser, tighter in circumference. What gave credence to this impression was the fact their color had also changed, grown darker. Instead of the rich cocoa she remembered, they seemed a dull shade of umber.
She could take it no longer; she rushed to gather him in her arms. Whatever had happened to him, to her, to them, they could fix it. They could figure their way out of whatever this sitch might be, but she needed, and believed he needed, to be centered by an embrace. Just as she reached out to him, an excruciating trilling keen filled the air. It was so high-pitched that Kim reflexively shot her hands to her ears.
Ron had no reaction to the noise. He just stood as he had been standing as if he hadn't heard it. He was working his jaw back and forth, grinding his teeth with worry.
She attempted to reach for him again, but the keening returned. Again, there was no reaction from Ron.
To suggest that Kim wasn't getting emotionally distressed at this point would be utterly wrong. However, she was not going to give up either. Steadying herself, taking a few deep breaths and ignoring the shrill noise the best she could, Kim launched herself toward Ron.
Kim found herself on her rear some five feet away from Ron. It was almost as if there was an invisible boundary between them.
Sitting on the floor, propped up on her sore elbows, staring woundedly at her BFBF who did NOT see her and did NOT hear her, Kim started to cry.
She had no idea what was going on, but the sitch was so far beyond "bad" that she could only hope that the entire thing (Yori in the tree included) was some horrible nightmare.
Just then a dark shadow descended upon Ron. He shot a nervous look in the direction of the shadow's source. Behind the screen to his right, a pear-shaped outline had suddenly appeared. Kim instinctively knew the outline belonged to Sensei. For a second, Ron's eyes flashed a lighter color – for the first time they reminded Kim of the eyes she knew.
He hesitantly walked toward the outline and slid open the screen/door.
Sensei, with his usually implacable expression, stood silently for a few moments. He was not looking at Ron. He then spoke six toneless words: "It is as we had feared."
Ron immediately dropped to his knees. Instinctively, Kim wanted to rush to him. Despite the screams and the invisible "wall" that she knew surrounded him, Kim's heart compelled her to comfort him.
This time, it was Sensei who stopped her in her tracks.
"Stoppable-san!" He said in a tone that felt like a slap to her ears. "You do her no honor acting this way. Stand up!"
Kim had never heard Sensei sound so cruel.
"B-but, Sensei," Ron said, clambering awkwardly to his feet and drying his pooling eyes on the sleeve of his gi, "I can't … can't go through this again. To l-lose Kim and now to lose my wife—" he began.
Sensei held up his hand and silenced Ron. He then gave a disapproving look at the hole that Ron had torn in the wall a few minutes earlier. He cast a look of cold disfavor upon Ron's trembling frame and shook his head slowly. "Stoppable-san, you must collect yourself. This is not the honorable way one grieves. Mariko will be here shortly. If you cannot honor yourself, you must honor her. And me." Sensei left without a parting word.
Kim had hardly registered this last exchange. Ron's words had left her shell-shocked and cold. The numbness began at her extremities and worked its way up her limbs and enveloped her chest cavity and solidified at the point that used to be her heart.
If all Kim had experienced in the last few minutes was real, then she was dead. Yori had murdered her. And now Ron was living some terrible life in Yamanouchi, and his wife … his wife … had just died. Although Kim didn't know for certain whom his wife had been, she knew.
"Yori!" Ron screamed at the top of his lungs as he collapsed on the floor.
Kim began crying hysterically, tears that physically hurt to shed. She wanted to rip through the walls of the dwelling and run as fast as she could in any direction until her heart exploded. She was half-way to her feet, when she glanced at Ron.
He was furiously clawing at the wood floor of the dwelling with his bare hands. It was as if he was trying to dig into the earth so he could hide from the sorrow that had enveloped him. As horrible as she felt and as much as she wanted to get as far away from this awful place as she could run, Kim could not abandon Ron in this state.
She threw herself at him, trying to calm his despair, to absorb it, to shield himself from himself.
The pain from the keening was overwhelming. She had come millimeters from embracing him before the shrieking invisible barrier tossed her rudely back against the floor.
Completely hysterical, Kim covered her ears with her hands and raced from the room. She found herself huddled in a corner of a small cell off the dwelling's main room. She wiped furiously at her running cheeks and mumbled words to half-forgotten songs over and over.
During a few minutes of calm that descended upon her quite unexpectedly, Kim was able to think clearly enough to reach the unavoidable conclusion.
This cramped dwelling was her own private corner of Hell.
Kim was still shuddering from the sobs that felt like fire in her lungs, so she didn't hear someone enter the small room. And she didn't hear the small voice. She couldn't, in fact, hear anything but the pounding of her temples.
But she did feel the tug at the tail of her shirt. Startled, she looked around and found herself staring at a miniature version of Yori.
The girl was maybe four or five years old with an olive complexion and jet-black hair. Kim blinked and immediately realized that although the little girl closely resembled Yori, there were also very distinct features about her that dispelled the illusion that Kim was looking at a younger version of the ninja who had killed her.
For one thing, the little girl had ears that were slightly larger than one would expect on a girl of her age. Second, under each eye, there was a light sprinkling of russet freckles. Finally, Kim noticed that her almond shaped eyes had pupils of pure cocoa. There was no mistaking whose eyes they were.
More importantly, these eyes were not looking through her but at her. The little girl could see Kim.
Then the girl spoke. Although Kim wasn't initially sure whether the language she was hearing was English or Japanese, she understood it as if it was English.
"Lady," the little girl asked, "a-are you okay?"
When Kim didn't answer, the girl tried another question.
"Are you one of my daddy's friends?"
This time Kim managed a slight nod.
Embolden by Kim's response, the little girl proceeded to ask a question that seemed most difficult for her.
"Why is my daddy crying?"
To be continued …