Will You Still Love Me When I’m No Longer Beautiful…

Yes, I know I posted about “what becomes of the Children of the Storm?” once already today, but whatever. I’ve been brainstorming on the beach, and it (rather oddly) struck me that such an idyllic setting would be the perfect place for my characters Fintan and Fia to die together…on purpose. Yes, I’m thinking about them taking their own lives.

“What!?” you might ask. They seem so content in the stories they’ve appeared in so far…but let’s keep in mind that even in “Children of the Storm” they’re just 33 years old, and Fia in particular is more and more obsessed with being pretty and youthful with each passing year, the change in her character even being noticeable from her last appearance a couple decades earlier. Over time even the near-future technology of the setting she lives in will prove impotent at fighting the ravages of age; then what?

She might not want to cosmetically modify herself to the point she doesn’t even look human anymore, much less let herself age…and it’s not like she has to. She could just end it all when she still has some of her youth and beauty left in her. And twin brother Fintan is close and intimate enough with her, he just might be up to going out with her; at least I can’t envision him wanting to go on without her. Yes, both of them are married and have children, but the fact is they were always much closer to each other than to anyone else, and everyone else in their lives knows it.

I could totally see them talking each other into it, especially considering their father Hernando died from storm chasing, and practically had a death wish. We don’t know much about their mother Dymphna, but it’s entirely possible she might have been captive to the “burn the candle at both ends and expire early rather than witness yourself waste away” mentality as well. So there seems to be a genetic predisposition to it.

Heck, the fact that their father’s second wife Decca Roadhouse is on the record, along with her little cousin Georgia, of not even wanting to live all that long is suggestive that the first wife might have been of the same mind. It all fits together a bit too well, a one-way ride to a rather bad end for Fintan and Fia. At least from a certain point of view.

So when might this morbid event take place? The setting for the story concept I was brainstorming earlier was when baby Gunston was 16…or perhaps 18, considering that’s around when news of first contact from Proxima Centauri reaches Earth (the year 2064 in this alternate history cum science fiction scenario), incorporating more possibilities for drama. Fintan and Fia are both 33 as of “Children of the Storm”, which is 18 years before then, which puts their age at 51…seems about right. Woo boy.

I don’t know; on that beach earlier today it struck me that they might just be inclined to go to some beautiful place, a picturesque villa or (better yet) a sailboat, in some warm maritime tropical setting, and dim their lights forever. How might this be accomplished?

In the course of brainstorming possible methods (with ChatGPT; yes, despite it being schoolmarmish at best, it’ll tell you all about this stuff if you’re making it clear it’s for a story), I’m leaning toward some kind of poison, perhaps drunk out of a chalice like the old medieval stories. Even in-universe Fintan and Fia never lacked a sense of the dramatic (they were competitive dancers originally, you know; it gets into the blood, this performance-art craft…). What sort of poison? The seafaring theme suggests some sort of marine life, and helpfully Fia has been into the underwater arts and sciences for decades, courtesy of her husband who’s always had an interest in that sort of thing, so she might have access to some rather exotic toxins. Palytoxin, ciguatoxin, saxitoxin, conotoxin, brevetoxin, and especially tetrodotoxin might be possibilities. Maybe even some stuff we don’t know about in real life; after all, the deep water holds so many secrets…

Their last meal together might incorporate seafood that’s laced with the stuff.

For extra poignancy, I’ve been thinking of what it might be like if they dimmed their lights and finished out their lives only a short time before news of first contact broke, perhaps inspiring, after they’re discovered dead, their dear ones to wonder “what if…”. Perhaps they would have found new inspirations in life if they had only held out for a matter of hours longer.

In any case for the likes of auntie Decca it makes the news that we’re not alone in the universe come in a rather bitter context. As if she hasn’t had enough people die on her over the course of these stories…sometimes I think I have it in for her, the poor little lady. Heck, it’s possible the news of the death of her “niece” and “nephew” (really stepchildren, but she never had any desire to take Dymphna’s place as a mother figure) would hasten her own demise, especially if her liver is in bad shape from decades of having a bottle of wine in hand (and down the hatch…) throughout the day.

Which is a lot of characters being killed off, but it does leave Georgia and her young son Gunston in an interesting position as being the sole heirs of Decca’s winery and the family’s home in Abingdon…though of course the loss of her “auntie” (really full first cousin), the only living person, bar her son, that she was ever actually close to, would no doubt be a devastating blow to her.

Fintan and Fia, meanwhile, would be grieved by their spouses, not to mention their children Aoife and Aoifan, and their lone grandchild Marina. Indeed, since Marina is in her teens and at a loss as to what to do with herself or her legacy (a family name and the equivalent of a billionaire fortune in diamond mining…but no suitable romantic prospects in sight) the loss of two of her grandparents might inspire her to take some kind of action for herself. Or perhaps not (I had a lot of people die on me at roughly the same age, and it did not help my prospects in life…).

Anyway, I kinda like the idea. It provides fuel for drama in the context of the worldbuilding I’ve already done and seems a more fitting ending for Fintan and Fia than just hanging around and aging forever. Yes, Fintan, Fia, and Decca shall die…

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