Green Arrow: Unfinished Business, Chapter 2: One Last Thing

by CSyphrett

Return to chapter list

Lazarus Tremaine finished what he was doing at the fresh grave mound. He walked back to his bike slowly. He regarded the two strangers calmly, rubbing the regular features of his face with one hand. It had been a while since he had skin that didn’t crack to the touch.

The man known as the new El Diablo nodded to nothing as he approached them. He wondered briefly if he was making a mistake. He finally decided that he had made a promise to himself, and this was part of the community service he had promised Sheriff Cinnamon Savage.

He steeled himself for what he was about to do. He knew it would not be pleasant for any of them, least of all him. Still, the man wanted to know the answers to his questions, the woman wanted a future without a clouded past, and Tremaine had his duty.

“What can you tell us about how she died, Mr. Tremaine?” Oliver asked.

“I cannot tell you anything,” said Tremaine. His blue eyes seemed to reflect the sun eerily. “I am just passing through.”

“We thought you lived here,” said Dinah; her hands had come up on their own. She felt a slight rumble in the ground underneath her feet.

Oliver felt it, too. He looked for a source and realized that it was coming from Tremaine as the man stared at the gravestone.

“Hello, Oliver,” said a familiar voice.

Queen turned and gasped at what he saw. His lost love was standing on her grave, looking just as he remembered her. He was stunned for a second.

“You only have five minutes, Mr. Queen,” Tremaine said.

“What brings you to New Mexico, Oliver?” said Moonday. “And who’s this?”

“This is my girlfriend, Dinah Lance,” said Oliver. “Dinah, this Moonday Hawke.”

“Hello,” said Dinah. “I’m sorry we couldn’t meet under better circumstances.”

“I am a little surprised to meet someone living at all, but at least Oliver finally found someone else,” said Moonday. “For a while, I thought he’d be a confirmed bachelor forever.”

“Why did you leave, Moonday?” asked Oliver.

“You didn’t trust me anymore, Oliver,” Moonday said. “It was never anything overt, but you never told me what were you doing. You just were never where you said you’d be. I called all over Star City looking for you, and no one had seen you. I was frantic thinking you were with another woman, but then I saw those bruises, and I knew another woman wasn’t the problem. So finally I cut my ties and left. Surely you didn’t come all this way to hear this after so many years.”

“Not much time left, Mr. Queen,” said Tremaine, causing Oliver to glance at him. Sweat rolled from the stranger’s brow.

“I looked for you afterwards,” Oliver said. “I couldn’t find any trace.”

“Cash and carry, Oliver,” said Moonday. “I knew you would look for me, but I didn’t want to be found. What’s the real reason for this visit?”

“I met someone who was — our son,” said Oliver.

“I don’t think so,” said Moonday, her expression changing for a second, almost like a mask slipping and being readjusted.

“What do you mean?” Oliver asked quietly.

“We never had a son,” said Moonday. “You don’t have any children by me, Oliver.”

“Never?” said Oliver.

“I wish we did,” said Moonday. “Maybe things would have been different after you returned. It just isn’t so.”

“I guess I woke you for nothing,” said Oliver. He didn’t seem convinced by his former love’s assertion. “How did you die?”

“I drowned in a flash flood not too far from here,” Moonday said, almost smiling. “Imagine that, drowning in a desert.”

“You were always contrary,” said Oliver, smiling himself.

“Thirty seconds,” said Tremaine, trembling in place.

“Let me say one last thing before I have to go,” Moonday said. “I am pleased that you found someone else, Oliver. I wish you happiness together.”

Some impulse caused her to step away from her gravestone. She hugged Oliver close and kissed him like she used to do before she left him. Then she turned to Dinah and hugged her. She paused to whisper in Dinah’s ear with a mischievous smile, causing her to smile, too.

“Time is up,” said Tremaine, collapsing to a knee.

Moonday Hawke vanished as suddenly as she had came.

“Get her back,” said Oliver, suddenly realizing he had lost Moonday for a second, final time. “I had so much I needed to say.”

“It will have to remain unsaid,” said Tremaine, making an effort to stand on his feet. He hid his hands from Oliver and Dinah. “Five minutes is all I could give you. I am sorry.”

“Ollie, it’s not his fault,” said Dinah. She placed a hand on his shoulder, trying to reassure him. She had felt a double loss like this when she had learned a few years ago that she was not the original Dinah Drake.

Oliver grabbed Tremaine’s collar in frustration more than anything else. The stranger brought his hand up and grabbed Queen’s wrist. Oliver noticed there was a hole in the hand through the back to the palm. Light bled from that hole in a small cascade of drops.

Then Oliver Queen’s life flashed in front of his mind’s eye. He felt alone in someone else’s body. Someone else’s memories then flooded into Oliver’s mind. He felt his soul ripped away with a barely felt pang. He saw face after face screaming for mercy. Then he saw a thing in a mask and cape holding up his soul and promising the payment for failure. Then Oliver felt the first taste of renewed freedom and the self-imposed duty he had taken up after taking his soul back from the monster in the book. The name El Diablo — the Devil — suddenly came to mind.

Oliver blinked, finding himself sitting on the ground being supported by Dinah. She looked angry as she glared at Tremaine.

“I’m OK,” he whispered, trying to make sense of what he had felt. “I’m OK, pretty bird.” He looked at Tremaine. “What are you?” Oliver asked, trying to stand up and failing.

Tremaine tried to smile reassuringly. “I am just a man with a lot of community service ahead of me,” he said.

He walked over to the motorcycle he had inherited from Lazarus Lane. He pulled on his helmet, hands looking normal to Oliver.

“Connor is a good name for a son — when you have one,” he said before he rode away.

***

Lazarus Tremaine rode into another cemetery across the country. He looked for a particular marker, frowning when he finally found it. He hung his helmet from the handlebars of his bike as he dismounted.

He knelt beside the grave, placing his hands over the mound. Light bled from his palms. A small vibration shuttered through the ground. A baby appeared in his arms, and he held it close.

“Your mother would like to hold you again,” Tremaine said, holding the baby up. The baby laughed as she vanished in a flash of light.

Tremaine looked at the gravestone one last time. It read Constance Queen Hawke on it above a single date, October 10th, 1973. He shook his head slightly. He pulled on his helmet and rode away from that suddenly cold graveyard in Star City.

Even the dead had unfinished business.

Continued in El Diablo: Vandy, Vandy

Return to chapter list