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Awakening: Epilogue

by Otterpop

"You sure you should be outside walking?"

"You sound like that crabby nurse, I'm fine."

"I don't want to get in trouble thou-"

"Blake, it's been four days. I should be asking if you should be outside walking. You're getting discharged already, but are you sure you shouldn't stay a little longer?"

The doctors and nurses alike were surprised by his speedy recovery, but they did not question it too much, and he wasn't about to put that in the spotlight. Blake was already dressed in regular clothes again, and the outside air smelled reasonably fresh, even if they were only twenty or so yards away from the hospital. Out here, he felt the most energized he'd been since getting injured.

He still had some bandages on some of the harsher wounds that took longer to heal, and a few bruises, but the soreness had mostly gone away.

"I'm totally healed, June. Besides, you're getting discharged tomorrow and not today."

"Isn't your mom getting discharged tomorrow too? I heard she's doing better."

He swallowed nervously before responding. "Yeah, and I was told by the doctors to keep an eye on her for a while-"

"Miss Cordon!"

June and Blake spun around as a hospital orderly appeared from a nearby door, and stared at June with very furrowed brows and tight lips. "Your digestive and lung functions may have improved but that does not mean you are cleared for outdoor activity!"

Blake tried not to sigh, or chuckle for that matter. Beside him, June grunted with a soft, "Busted."

"And you, Mister Douglas, should not be encouraging her!"

Great, he was getting chewed out too. "Y-yeah. Sorry about that."

"Please come with me back to your room." The orderly reached out with a beckoning hand gesture directed at June. The teens exchanged a glance; June shrugged afterwards to which Blake responded, "Don't worry, we'll be hanging with Ame and Cam again before you know it."

His words lifted June's spirits enough that she replied, "Looking forward to it," before following the orderly and disappearing back into the hospital. The door closed, leaving Blake standing alone.

Not that he minded. He began walking around the hospital, deviating from the sidewalk and onto some grass. At a nearby tree, he stopped.

His thoughts drifting elsewhere, Blake held out his arm and stretched his fingers. With closed eyes he let his mind calm and clear, only letting images of June and his mother flash through his head. He clenched his fist. And when he opened his eyes, the scythe was firmly in his grasp.

Okay. I'm getting better at this. Being in a hospital room the last few days allowed him time to test some things. He'd practiced summoning the scythe from wherever he left it last, and he seemed to successfully call upon it...most of the time.

From what he could tell only he and his mother could see it. The hospital staff couldn't, other patients said nothing, and apparently June couldn't see it either. He did not line the idea of having to need it for protection or defense. Against the Shadows and other powerful figures, though, he had a feeling he would have to get used to it, train with it somehow.

Once Mom and I get home, he thought. Then we can talk.

With the scythe now in hand, Blake strode toward a sidewalk that ran next to the main road. He wouldn't stray too far from the hospital but walking felt calm for him, plus having the weapon did at least make him feel more secure. He passed someone on the sidewalk, but staring down he was too lost in thought to focus on them. The quiet air was unusually soothing and relaxing. His thoughts drifted to Puter, and the Shadows, and of course his mother and June.

"That seems a little big for you doesn't it?"

Blake just barely tuned in to the voice, and largely ignored it.

"The scythe seems a little big, I mean."

He froze to a halt, and seconds later his heart did the same. What had that voice just said? With his hand clutching his weapon tighter than ever, and his breath labored with panic, Blake slowly turned around and stared at a figure down the path with wide and shocked eyes.

Someone else can see it.

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52 Reviews

Points: 100
Reviews: 52

Sat Jul 23, 2022 12:45 am
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SalisRuinen wrote a review...

Hello again! Salis here with a review for the final part (so far) of your story!!

The banter between Blake and June never gets old! Considering everything they've been through, I'm glad they're back to this and one could even be forgiven to think none of the nightmares they experienced were real.

I was expecting for Blake to heal rapidly, but not that fast with all the wounds he had received at the hands of Puter and Shadows. This perhaps means he is getting stronger and it is affecting his regenerative abilities as well?

The training he's been doing has clearly paid off, seeing as how he can summon the scythe at will now, so overall he's made great progress. I hope he'll keep developing his powers to reach even greater heights as it clear another threat will reveal itself soon enough.

I must say, the cliffhanger at the end was really great! Only a minimal amount of information is given in regards to the new character that joins the narrative, nothing being revealed about that person's appearance, affiliation or anything else whatsoever. Apart from one important fact: he can see Blake's scythe, so whoever it is, it's clearly not a normal human, that being sufficient to pique the reader's interest.

I can't wait to see more of this and am especially looking forward to Blake's conversation with his mother as while I don't think she knows too much, there are still at least some truths I hope she'll reveal to him. The better he understands his situation, the more adequately he'll be able to react and that can be of critical importance as we've all seen how dangerous an opponent unpreparadness can be in this story.

Thank you for this tale full of mystery and suspense!! I'll be on the lookout for whatever you create next!!

Otterpop says...

Firstly I wanted to show my appreciation for all your reviews; even if your reviews cropped up in later chapters they were a big help to me with editing and revising into the most polished draft of Awakening that I am rather content with.

Blake still has a lot to learn about himself, the scythe, and his abilities, but he's getting started and that's what's important. Believe it or not in initial outlines he was way further along in training by the end of this story! But I decided to cut back on that to make it a little more realistic for a variety of reasons.

Blake will definitely be having conversations with his mother in the next installment; I've already been thinking up of exact ways that it'll go. Some serious moments...and some funny ones too. June, Amelia, and Cameron will also definitely return with more prominence in the second installment so I look forward to that as well.

There's still a lot of story and character moments for this trilogy to share, and while I don't know when I'll start solid drafting yet I will be sure to share those chapters here for readers eagerly awaiting the continuation of the story. So thanks again a ton for your feedback throughout this process, and have a great rest of your day!

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Reviews: 1232

Tue Jul 19, 2022 8:53 am
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MailicedeNamedy wrote a review...

Hi Otterpop,

Mailice here with a final review! :D

So, you definitely gave me a good surprise once when I thought I was reading the epilogue here. :D No new surprises, but a well-written conclusion that goes towards an open ending. But you leave a big cliffhanger and now I'm standing there like a curious chicken and want to read on.

But that was to be expected, especially when you consider that we are in the book "Awakening" and that this is only the beginning. I'm focusing here again on the whole story rather than just the epilogue because I think it's quite short but good and there's not much to say about it except that it's a great ending.

In general, I like the story. It had a pleasant tension and mystery in it that with always give the feeling and urge that we will find out more in the next chapter, only to find that there is more to come and more opening up in the story. I like Blake as a character. He seems alive and convincing, especially how he acts and how it also contrasts when the story goes off the rails, especially in the later part with Puter.

I think you have a very slow narrative pace, especially in the first half of the story, which I like for getting into the story and getting the different characters involved. We get enough time to have the relationship between Blake, June, his mother and the other friends. You build it up well through the different scenes where they are at school together, or even when Blake is in solitude with his mother. Definitely a well written introduction.

The second half a much faster pace, mainly also because the plot period is shorter, leaving not much room for other things. But since a lot of things have already come up in the first half, I think it's a good way to also push the development of Blake as a character and add a bit of action to the suspense. I was a little surprised that we moved so quickly towards the end, but I think it's hard to get it right for every reader, especially because you leave some questions open for the sequel.

In summary, I really liked the story because it has a very well-written mix of character development and mystery!

Have fun writing!


Otterpop says...

First off I want to say thank you so much for all your reviews, Mailice. This was the first story I finished with my most polished writing style, and you and many other readers have really helped me to improve in a lot of ways. I've been wanting to tell this particular story for some time, and while I may make some edits with some of the later chapters, I am quite happy with how the story turned out after everyone's comments and reviews.

The relationships between Blake and the other major characters will definitely be a focus for this trilogy, and I hope to build them up even more in the second story, and I do plan on bringing Amelia and Cameron more into the second installment since I am well aware they ended up being fairly absent in the second half of Awakening. And I will be looking carefully at the outlining and drafting for the second installment and make sure that things don't end quite as hastily as they did for this story.

I'm not sure when exactly I'll start working on the drafting for the next book but I hope to at least start sometime this year. Thanks a lot for your reviews and can't wait to reveal the next installment!

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542 Reviews

Points: 41664
Reviews: 542

Mon Jun 13, 2022 12:57 am
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Liminality wrote a review...

Hi Otterpop!

That’s quite a cliffhanger to tease the next book! Just getting a little speculative again here, but I wonder if it’s the girl from his vision. I think it’s a good idea for a suspense-type series to have a cliffhanger ending like this since the main conflict of the book has been wrapped up enough to be satisfying. I find myself curious to know what happens next but not feeling like I’m completely left up in the air.

I remember you mentioning that you intend this story to be something in YA, and I can totally see that for example in this beginning scene where June is insisting it’s fine for her to be outside. Even though Blake is concerned, they both end up disobeying the doctor’s orders in the end, which feels like a YA-style element of youthful rebelliousness somehow. xD In any case, moments like these kind of show their young age, even though they have to deal with big adult-like problems (like mysterious family secrets and the whole town succumbing to a deadly disease) and contrast them from the sober minded grown-ups in the story.

It may not be very relevant to the main plot, but I wonder why the doctors and nurses aren’t worried about the superfast healing. Could it be they’re still busy with the disease on other fronts? Or are they just not willing to look a gift horse in the mouth?

With closed eyes he let his mind calm and clear, only letting images of June and his mother flash through his head. He clenched his fist. And when he opened his eyes, the scythe was firmly in his grasp.

It’s interesting that thinking about his loved ones is what causes the scythe to appear. I like how it ties into Blake’s motivations to protect them, and also the theme of courage and strength. In general, I like it when supernatural or fantasy stories have powers that are related to the character arcs in a kind of intrinsic way, because it can make fight scenes, etc. be very emotionally satisfying.

I think I read somewhere once that in stories the protagonist is either trying to get something or prevent something from being taken away from them. In Awakening the idea seems to be Blake trying to preserve the peaceful, kind of idyllic tranquility of his hometown. Even though he’s also trying to get information about the Shadows and his powers, protecting the ‘status quo’ of things still seems to be his main aim, so it’s great to see a nod to that in the epilogue, where things somewhat return to ‘normal’ for Blake and he thinks about hanging out with his friends again. It ties everything together quite nicely.

Now for some quick nitpicks:
"Blake, it's been four days. I should he asking if you should be outside walking.

Probably meant ‘be asking’.
He still had some bandages, but the soreness had mostly gone away.

Somehow I feel it’s weird to describe injuries as ‘having bandages’? I’d imagine he’d be more concerned about ‘unhealed wounds’ or ‘cuts’ or maybe broken bones. Just a word choice thing, though.
With his hand clutching his weapon tighter than ever, and his breath labored ekth panic,

‘breath labored with’?

Once again, I really enjoy how you structure the scenes throughout this story. Though it would have been nice to get an appearance from Amelia and Cameron maybe visiting Blake and June in the hospital, the epilogue really does bring together all the different threads of the story while making it feel like Blake really is just taking a walk outside the compound.

Hope some of this is helpful and feel free to ask for more feedback!

Otterpop says...

Thanks so much for your feedback Lim!

I am super appreciative of the fact that there are some readers who were willing to see the story through to the end, it means a lot since this is the first novel I've completed in what I think is my most refined writing style to date (though there's room for improvement of course).

YA was definitely the direction I think this story was going, and it is reassuring to know that I seem to be on the right track, at least in your eyes for sure. Your feedback on my strengths, weakness, and even all the nitpicks across Awakening were incredibly helpful and I am super thankful for the reviewer that you are.

I'll definitely be editing the later chapters a little in the coming weeks, and while I may not get to the second installment for a little bit I am glad you enjoyed this read! Thanks again for your awesome feedback and tips!

“Can a magician kill a man by magic?” Lord Wellington asked Strange. Strange frowned. He seemed to dislike the question. “I suppose a magician might,” he admitted, “but a gentleman never could.”
— Susanna Clarke, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell