And then, nothing.
The images were gone. The thunderous evil cackling raging through his mind had also disappeared. Buddy’s mind was completely silent.
But, he heard talking and walking, and music, and clattering of dishes and–
“You hear me, Buddy?” the all-too-familiar grizzled voice of Sal asked. Buddy opened his eyes and saw he was sitting on his favorite stool at the bar of Maggie’s Diner. “I’m tellin’ ya. They made us forget!”
Buddy looked around. Everything was the same as it had always been. Even the front window was back in its place. Buddy stood without speaking a word.
“You alright there, Buddy?” Sal asked. “You look a little frazzled.”
“Oh, yeah, Sal, forget, right.”
Buddy walked to the front window slowly and inspected it, trying to find some sign that it was new, or something. He couldn’t find anything out of the ordinary.
He looked out to the street. It too was just as he had always remembered it.
There was no indentation from the monster that had landed there. There was no hole from Damon’s fire which rained from the sky. And there was obviously no evil structure standing in his current location. Just Barber Street.
Here too, all the damage from even the earthquake had been erased. There was not a single sign that anything exciting had ever happened here. Ever.
Then Buddy remembered.
He turned around quickly to look for his sister. She appeared from the kitchen doorway at that precise moment.
“Maggie!” Buddy yelled as he ran to her. “You’re okay!”
“Buddy?” Maggie responded with a confused look. She rubbed her neck as she spoke. “What just happened?”
Buddy looked deep in his sister’s eyes. “Something that will never happen ever again.” He wrapped his arms around his sister and held on tight. He could hear her sobs as she cried into his shoulder.
The familiar ringing of the bell attached to the front door of the diner sounded. Buddy turned around to look at who had entered. Alexa stood in the doorway.
“Buddy!” Alexa cried out as she ran to him. She jumped into his arms.
“What happened?” Buddy asked. “Is everyone okay?”
“I don’t know. All I know is there was a bright flash of light and, next thing I know, I’m at my parents’ house.”
A loud rumbling could be heard from outside. Buddy and Alexa ran to the door to find D.A.W.N.’s mobile unit. Maggie and Sal followed the pair outside.
The hatch opened and Zero and Ryan climbed out. Before Buddy could say anything, Zero spoke.
“Chum! You’re alive!”
“You too, old pal!” Buddy said, running over to give Zero a hug. “And Ryan!”
“Hey man, we’re all still here. Thanks to you.”
“You mean thanks to Alexa.”
“What happened?” Alexa asked.
“Not sure. Kinda looks like they must have done it again.”
“Done what again?” Maggie asked.
“The Great Redaction, you know, erasing everyone’s brains or whatever.”
“I told you!” Sal spoke. “I said they were erasing our memories. Didn’t I tell you, Buddy?”
“Yeah Sal, you were right this time.”
“This time?” Sal asked.
“What about us?” Alexa asked. “Should we have been affected?”
“D.A.W.N.. the computer lady,” Zero answered, “said she thought it had to do with that, uh, vortex dealie.”
“Right, D.A.W.N. was reading a great deal of interference coming off of it. It’s possible it affected the effectiveness of the Redaction device.”
“And Frederick and Smith?” Buddy asked.
“Safe and sound. They took off to HQ to check on their families.”
“Well then,” Buddy responded. “Looks like we have a happy ending then, right?”
“It would appear so, chum.”
“And everything’s back to normal?” Buddy asked again. “No monsters, no Damon, no, I don’t know, anything?”
“I think so,” Ryan answered.
“That’s great, because I could really go for a nap.”
“But,” Zero began, “it would appear to only be in the early evening right now, Buddy. Shouldn’t we, perhaps, celebrate our victory before retiring for the evening?”
“After-party?” Ryan asked.
“You buying?” Buddy asked.
“Drinks are on me,” Maggie spoke. “Come on in and rest your feet. I’m pretty sure you all deserve it.”
Go to Epilogue