Title: Charnel (Alternate Ending)

Author: Elliott Silver (elliottsilver@hotmail.com)

Summary: When the end is only the beginning.


The weather was cooling. Summer had been crazy hot, but now it was finally starting to wind down. Like everything else in their lives.

The woman leaned back against him and he tightened his arms around her waist, snugging and cinching their bodies together.

They hadnít meant for it, this, to happen. To happen this way.

But it had happened.

Her tear dropped to the skin of his arm. He kissed the side of her cheek and then turned her in his embrace and captured her lips.

She kissed him back and then gently pulled away, walked away.

She stared at her own grave.

It was unmarked.

Three unmarked graves, only one of which held a body.


It had been just over a month past the shootings.

Past her death.

Past his death.

But they were still alive.

They had known and planned. Strategy and execution. They had planned for everything but Angelo. Beneath their layers of leather had been ultra-secret thin kevlar vests. For a week, she had been nearly immobile with impact pain. For two weeks after that, she had waited for the awful bruises to fade. She was still waiting to get over those events.

They never would.

She knew that. It would heal but there would always be a scar.

There would always be charnel.

She turned away and went back to him.

He was her life now.

And that was what mattered wasnít it? That there was more good than evil. That there were friends, no good friends, no bad friends, but simply friends. Friends that would die for you if that was what had to be.

And she had to believe there were happy endings, that this, her life, was a happy ending. That not all boats which sailed away into darkness never found the sun again. Memory faded but that pure desire always stayed. Not a physical sexual desire, but true desire.

Jarod took her into his arms, as he always did. He was taking this as hard as she was. But they had each other. And that was all they needed.

Trust could kill you.

Or it could set you free.

And they were free. It had taken dying to free them. To free them all.

"Iím here," she whispered into his chest.

"I know."

It was the end, their end.

And the end was only the beginning.





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Disclaimer: The characters of "The Pretender" are not mine; they rightfully belong to NBC, MTM, and Pretender Productions, as well as the actors and actresses who give paper and ink a life and a voice. I am making no profit from these writings; imitation is the highest form of flattery.