Requiem Alternate Ending
This is how I envisioned the ending to Requiem. The events aren’t changed much, I just felt the need to explain some things.
Rated K, Around 1100 words.
Please know that I mean no disrespect to Ms. Oliver by writing this. I’m simply a fan who imagined things a bit differently, so this is my attempt to relay the way I envisioned the trilogy’s conclusion. All characters, locations, etc are Lauren Oliver’s, I take no credit for her amazing work.
I take Grace’s hand and run out into the burning streets which look like the flames of Hell but with a distant light that shines like the grace of Heaven, if only I can get to it. I’m desperate, fleeing the hot rubble whizzing to the ground around me but I know I can’t stop. And yet I do because in a moment I’m torn; do I go back for Hana, to help her escape, or do I find Alex, or Julian, or Carol, or Mom? These are the people I’ve been fighting so steadily for, I need to know they’re safe before I can act.
A hot flame licks out into the street as a wall collapses and I realize I’m wasting my time; if I stick around here I’ll burn too and then all of this will be for nothing. I think of Raven’s eyes as they went blank and know in that moment that I have to keep fighting. I’ve fought so hard, for so long. Today could be the end of this.
My mind races with competing thoughts about where they could be. In this world that once contained all order, no dissonance, I fear that Judgement Day itself has come because of the chaos that flourishes all around me. But a thought hits me. Hana, though covered in a white sheet of apathy by the cure, still saved me. Should I not with my whole head and mind my own do the same? It’s a long shot, it may be suicide, but I sprint with Gracie back to the Essex Street, praying that she isn’t dead already.
I see her then, wandering slowly in her ruined white dress, looking in puzzlement at me as though she cannot grasp why I am before her. And then, the veil slips from in front of her eyes and she becomes Hana, my Hana again, focusing on me and Grace for a moment and in my heart I know she’s really there.
“Fred…” Hana begins tentatively. There is a tremor in her speech, she is not used to speaking from her own volition, but she carries on, valiant, clearing straining to be the person she once was, “said that they border walls are gone. Reinforcements… are… coming.That’s where Alex would be.”
Julian too, I think, would be there. He may not have been raised to think this way, but I know the thoughts of the Invalids have become his own of late, and that if there are ways he could be leading he would do so.
“Hana, is Fred…” I begin.
“Gone,” is all she says. I can tell she’s fighting to stay herself, something inside her writhing to get to the surface, some deeply held stubbornness that is keeping her with me.
“I’m… sorry?” I say tentatively. I don’t know what to say. Clearly if she’s here and he stayed she must have had a reason, but Fred couldn’t have been that bad.
“Don’t be,” says Hana, “just. Go. Please?”
I don’t want to leave her standing unprotected in her muddied dress but I have no choice. Gracie is looking at me, scared but trusting, and I know I’m losing precious minutes that aren’t mine anymore. I’m living on borrowed time.
“Hallelujah,” she squeezes out, before the curtain falls and I can tell she no longer understands why we’re standing there.
“Halena,” I say, and she smiles, a flicker of recognition again in her eyes. I don’t know what the cure does, but perhaps it takes only what we are foolish enough to give. Some, the strong, can prevail. In an instant I realize it’s why my mom is still with me.
She had too much that she was unwilling to lose.
I turn and take Grace’s hand once more, pulling her towards the cove, the border wall, where I once believed Alex took his final stand. Ironic, now, to think that this could all end where it began.
As I run I think of my runs with Hana, knowing that while she was flawed before and detached after, she still has a bit of my best friend left in her.
My mother too, though she lacks in words what we have so obviously lost, fought to stay in my life in whatever way possible, if only so she could pave a world where people could love like she once wanted to.
She fought so I could have a future.
And in that moment I know exactly what I’m going to do.
I get to the cove and run past it towards the guard stations where I see Julian leading a confluence of troops from outside the smashed wall into the city, chin parallel to the ground, shoulders proud, his bruised and scratched arms the inimitable badges that no general could ever acquire.
I run to him and he sweeps me in his arms, picking me up, one last frivolity before war begins in earnest. He sweeps my hair back from my face and says simply, slowly, “I love you, but I know.”
And in that moment I am more grateful to him than I’ve ever been to a person. He kisses my cheek, once, then my forehead and has the grace to look resolved when in his eyes I know this is killing him.
“Thank you,” I say, putting my hands once more to his cheek, knowing this is the last time I will ever touch him in this way, one last goodbye to our cursed love.
“He’s over that way,” is the last thing he says before he marches off with his troops, the picture of commitment, of dedication, of unswerving leadership showing that, despite his upbringing, a pure heart wins out. I’ve never been prouder of him.
I find Alex under a tree and suddenly I’m struck with the thought that maybe I’m still wrong, maybe he won’t want me after what I’ve done, but as soon as I see the sun in his hair, the glint in his eyes I know that I could not be more mistaken He’s with my mother, tending to wounded as they come in from the teeming mass. Aunt Carol is by his side.
And as the border wall comes down, I realize suddenly that it’s colored gray. An in-between color like my in-between life, my Wilds life and my Portland life, coming together in such a beautiful symphony that I know, deep in my chest, that something good is about to happen.