New chapter. Last normal chapter, although, there is going to be an epilogue.
Chapter 17: Loose Ends
After the phone call, Logan had no choice but to continue walking. He found it hard to continue, both physically exhausted and emotionally burdened, but something compelled him to keep going. He felt something poking at him through his coat, which he identified as Dimitri's half-finished pack of cigarettes. He took them with him as some sort of a memento. “Screw it,” he mumbled to himself, pulling a white cylinder out of the box. “Why the hell not.”
He lit the cigarette, and upon inhaling, realized exactly how Dimitri started the habit in the first place. The smoke helped calm his frayed nerves, and despite knowing just how detrimental to his health the tobacco was, Logan smoked it down to the filter, riding the subsequent head rush. “I could get used to this. . . .”
Logan passed by a particularly grungy man with long, greasy hair. “Hey, buddy, got an extra one of those?”
“A cig, man.”
“Oh! Yeah.” Logan fished in his pocket for another cigarette and handed it to the man.
“Thanks, kid. You're a real hero.”
Logan scoffed at this statement, even though he knew it was hyperbole. “Trust me, I'm anything but.”
“O-kay . . .” The man walked away.
Not long after this, Logan saw a familiar face walking his direction on the sidewalk. It took him a moment to recognize the figure, dressed in a black hoodie, with shoulder-length brown hair and a small but noticeable facial piercing.
“Brynna?” he said when the two converged, almost unable to believe that he had ran into her.
“Oh, hey!” Brynna said cheerfully. “Logan, right?”
“Yeah. What's up?”
“Not much, I guess. You seen Dimitri lately? I haven't talked to him in forever.”
Logan sighed, having anticipated this question. Feeling a sense of obligation, he relayed what had happened to Brynna, who listened patiently.
“Damn,” she said once Logan finished. “I knew D had problems, but . . .” She trailed off, not entirely sure how to react.
“Yeah,” Logan said solemnly, gaze transfixed to the sidewalk. “So if you can't tell, I'm in a bit of a bad place.”
“Look, I've been doing some thinking, and I don't know if I want this thing anymore.” Logan gestured toward the guitar case that he was carrying. “Enchanted or not, it's way too powerful for someone like me. If this whole . . . debacle taught me anything, I'm not responsible enough for it.”
Brynna raised an eyebrow. “Huh? Wait, you do know that it's not just the guitar itself, right?”
“The guitar doesn't have any power itself, Logan. I mean, it does, but it's only for unlocking the potential of the user.”
“Look, I'm not in the mood for some drawn-out explanation.”
Brynna brushed her hair out of her eyes. “What I'm saying is that not just anyone can use that guitar like you did. From the way things sound, Dimitri couldn't even handle his as well as you do. Like it or not, this is your calling.”
This didn't seem to comfort Logan at all. “Great. So I'm stuck with a ****ing murder weapon.”
“Don't think of it like that. Use it how you want. There's a lot of good that needs to be done in this world.” Brynna started to walk away before turning back to Logan. “You ever hear of RAF?”
Logan appeared to think for a moment. “Yeah, I think I saw something about it before. Some sort of vigilante group or something?”
"Sort of. I only ask because I happen to sort of know someone from there.”
“Yeah, I don't think it's for me,” Logan said, shaking his head. “I've got a lot of soul-searching to do here, and fighting crime or whatever isn't exactly on my agenda at the moment.”
“Your choice. By the way, that guitar can do other things as well, but I'll leave you to figure it out. Be safe out there.” And with that, Brynna left.
* * *
Logan spent the better part of the next year wandering the country. He took up odd jobs whenever he needed the money and spent most nights either in homeless shelters or on the couch of any stranger kind enough to take him in. Throughout his travels, he never used his real name – most of the initial cash that he had was spent on fake identification with multiple different names, to protect himself from prosecution should any details of Dimitri's death reach the authorities.
During his time without a home, Logan also found himself lacking any sort of purpose. The only thing that gave him any sense of fulfillment prior to the incident was playing in bands, and he dared not do this to avoid bringing unnecessary attention to himself. Perhaps a bit paranoid, but Logan was not going to take any chances. To compliment this sense of unimportance, Logan fell hard into depression, which compounded with multiple failed attempts to kick his nicotine addiction that he developed.
This all compounded one night when he found himself sitting on the shoulder of a highway overpass, staring down at the traffic. How easy it would have been to just shift his weight forward slightly, sending him plummeting to the road below. All the depression, all the paranoia, would be gone in an instant. . . .
His thoughts shifted to what the grungy man said to him his first day as a wanderer. That day seemed so long ago, but Logan's response still rang in his head as if he had just said it seconds ago. Then, it hit him. Logan was right in saying that he wasn't a hero. But he could change that.
He then remembered what Brynna had told him about RAF, the “vigilante group,” as Logan had called it. Suddenly, Logan realized just how he could give his life purpose. How he could make himself great.
How he could become a hero.
At that moment, suicide became a ridiculous notion to Logan. Foolish. Swinging his legs over the rail, he picked up his guitar that sat on the other side and continued his journey. Although, he now had a purpose for his wandering. He had to find RAF. He had to become a hero. A guitar hero? No, that was way too cheesy. He would be something else.