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After

After

I remember the day the Ashen first came.

The weather had been good for some time – Eden is mostly temperate – but something was different that day. As I looked around the world looked drained. Like it already knew They were coming to fuck us over.

The wind started first, whistling through the air, carefree, caressing us at first but then buffeting us later. Soon after the wind came the rain. Like I said, Eden was mostly temperate, and I’d never seen rain like this before. It came slicing down from the sky, hitting us so hard I felt like it might break skin and draw blood.

Then I heard it. At first I thought it was some sort of ship or craft, the volume of the fucking noise. But it wasn’t long before I realised it was the thunder.

The first crack of lightning illuminated the Ashen as They bore down on us for the first time.

The storm had hidden them. Masked them from our careful gaze. For years I beat myself up about that.

“I should have saw them coming. A storm is nothing compared to the lives of my friends and family,” I told myself.

Fuck I still have days like that now.

But a storm is a fucking storm, and there ain’t no stopping it once it starts. You just have to ride it out, let it pass. So I did. I let the storm pass. I lived out my life as a mindless zombie for a while, but soon the storm waned, and while the rain didn’t go away altogether it didn’t cut so deep anymore.

I don’t fully remember how I escaped Eden and ended up here on Earth, but I do remember the sun shining through the clouds for the first time in a long time, hitting the windshield in front of me and refracting. I remember being covered in a glorious rainbow.

Luke, you’ve been raging for a while now – a fucking ten out of ten tempest if I’ve ever seen one. And OSW has continued to live out it’s life like a mindless zombie, letting you off with whatever you wanted for too long. You got comfy here, didn’t you? But the time has come, and the storm has begun to wane. I see it happening. You no longer have a hold on Zero. You can no longer tame the wildfire in Pyre. Your downpour has weakened.

You’re just another storm I had to ride out. All storms end, but one thing endures, Luke. At the death of every storm, when the world becomes a little brighter, there’s always a motherfucking rainbow. Rainbows represent hope. They represent pride. They represent diversity. They represent inclusion. Unlike those caught in a storm, nobody is cast out with a rainbow, and there’s always room under my umbrella for a lost soul who needs some hope.

Lucas Newton. The storm is over, but the rainbow is here to stay.

So let’s do it now, and do it loud!