[personal profile] drownedinlight
Yeah, so....wait until I finish if you don't want it spoiled: here's the end of The Next Great Magician.

 
 
The night which changed everything woke Tabitha slowly, the eyes falling upon her once more, though not for the last time. She slept one moment, and then the next looked at the bed side table. She slowly turned her head and looked around the room, noticing first the open window which led out onto a balcony. Then, siting up a little more, Tabitha saw in the dark, a few glowing embers and moonlight revealing a pair of finely polished shoes. 

“Good evening,” said Kale Temple. “I know you mind the intrusion, so I won’t bother to apologize. But it was quite difficult to get past all of these wards and that pendant you wore which protected you.” Instinctively, Tabitha reached for it, but found it to be not at her neck, or on the table. Then she remembered she had given it to Brian. “Now, Tabitha, it is time for you to get up and get dressed. Try to wear something nice, if you would not mind, you’re meeting a very important man tonight.”

Tabitha realized two very important things: one, she did not feel like fighting Kale’s instructions, which meant he was somehow controlling her. Two, she had no way of reaching Weisz or anyone else who might be of assistance to her. Tabitha then decided not to fight Kale, not yet. He was an experienced magician, and she had a feeling that she would need her strength in moments to come. She also felt oddly calm with what was happening to her. She swung her feet out of bed, and padded across the room to her closet, Kale standing over her. 
He watched as she moved through the many different dresses that she had purchased in recent days at Weisz’s insistence that she begin dressing like a young lady. He stopped her when he reached a midnight blue dress, and she heard him mutter, “She would have looked spectacular in this…” Louder he told her, “Wear this.” 
 
The dress came only down to her knees in the front, and though it was much longer in the back, she still pulled on a pair of black leggings, and then her boots. Tabitha snapped on the leather bracelet Brian had given her, and lightly applied make up as Kale’s order to look nice still compelled her. She did not try to wear her coat at all, as that was where the book was hidden, but kale smiled charmingly at her, and swept it off the back of her vanity chair and held it out for her. 
 
“We wouldn’t want you to catch cold, now would we?” he asked. Tabitha reluctantly slipped into it, buttoning it down, accepting a pair of gloves Kale gave her, all while feeling the weight of the book pressing into her back. The hope of the magicians, weighing down on her. 
Kale offered her his arm, and she took it, walking with him out on to her balcony, up onto the railing and then down. Only when they hit the ground they were in a much different place than she had expected them to be. They stood before some kind of warehouse that looked more ancient and perhaps even decadent than the other warehouses around it. When they took a few steps forward, Tabitha realized that one reason why he had not brought her directly inside the warehouse, as they had to step over a trail full of ward stones. The other reason was no doubt to frighten her. But Tabitha kept her calm. 
 
She had been expecting this. Even with Weisz protecting her, Tabitha knew somehow that one day soon, the immortals would be knocking down her door, and she would not be able to do anything to stop them. But she knew something they did not know. Something which she had not told Brian or Weisz or anyone else, something which lay very close on her heart and nowhere in her mind. No matter what happened inside this warehouse tonight, Tabitha knew she would be all right. 
 
They walked down a long corridor several guards falling in behind them, until they reached a large room. It looked to be made of stone on the inside, and had high walls, covered with rows of windows at the top. People, men and women, were scattered about, all dressed finely, waiting patiently, some even with a glass of champagne in one hand. In the center of the room, though was who Tabitha felt sure she was here for. 
 
He sat on a throne, and there was no other word for the fine chair of gold, marble and velvet on which he sat. He looked very young, possibly even younger than Kale at only twenty-something, and was finely featured, like a young Roman soldier. His Italian features reminded her of someone though, and Tabitha could not quite put her finger on who, until Kale announced her,
 
“May I present Ms. Tabitha Walls, the Great Magician of the new generation. Tabitha this is the grand leader of the Immortal Society, Luca DiAmbrosio.” 
 
The name rang in her ears. DiAmbrosio, DiAmbrosio, and she found herself sputtering,
 
“But that’s Brian’s last name.” Several around her including Luca himself laughed at her. 
 
“Yes my dear, you are quite correct,” he replied. “What fortune I found when I come to look in on my grandson, to see what magical ability he has, to find the Great Magician watching you, scouting you. And you, my dear, already enamored of him, and he of you. It made controlling him so much easier. Come my child, show your dear love who you are to me.” A young man who had stood next to Luca’s throne stepped forward and removed a set of sunglasses. 
 
Tabitha did not know him right away. His hair was shorter, and styled better, his face had cleared up completely. The clothes he wore emphasized the muscle on his body and there was a gun holstered at his hip. Then she saw the expression in his eyes was almost completely vacant, like she was looking at a ghost. But Tabitha saw him.

“Brian…”she whispered. 
 
“He cannot hear you of course,” came Luca. “He only listens to me. Worry not, my pet, his love for you is very real. It was how convincing him came so easily. I simply made him believe he was doing the best thing for you that he could. And oh my how he responded, eager to do anything I wished, when I told him it was all for you. Now, my dear, I do believe you have a certain book which I have searched for over centuries. I wish you to present it to me.” 
 
“I don’t have it with me,” she spoke.
 
“There is no need to play coyly child. We understand the magic of your coat, and how you can hide things beyond reason in there.” When Tabitha did not move, Luca made a motion, and kale stripped the coat from her. Only upon turning it inside out, he found nothing. “Child, I will make you a promise, that should you reveal this to me, no harm should come to you.” 
 
“You could be lying,” she said. 
 
“I could,” he agreed. “But if you don’t do as I ask, I will hurt you anyway.” His argument sounded convincing enough that Tabitha took her coat from Kale’s outstretched arm, and reached into the back and pulled out the book which Elba had given her many months ago now. Several people gasped at the very sight of it, and though they made no sound, she could see Luca and Kale’s eyes grow wide. Brian, whom she watched as she did it, said nothing. 
 
Kale took Tabitha by the shoulder and led her closer to Luca who held out his hands, and asked, “Please, will you give it to me.” Tabitha had never imagined a villain would say please, and she was so surprised by the simple courtesy, as well, as still being influenced by their compulsions, that she held it out for him to take. Luca snatched it from her and opened the book, flipping through it wildly. The excitement died from his face, and he gave a slow understanding nod. 
 
“Is it as we thought?” Kale asked. 
 
“Oh, yes, the Great Magicians were wise enough to conceal the magic, so that even if another were to look on it they still could not see what they wished.” Tabitha thought they must be mad, because she could read it perfectly well, from and angle and upside down. Luca snapped the book shut, such that it reverberated through the room to the ceiling. He held it back out to Tabitha who took it and held it close to her chest. “Never fear my dear. You will unlock it for us; we already have a ritual prepared.” 
 
They had drawn symbols with a circle on the floor. It took a moment, but Tabitha saw their English translations easily enough, and they were for what Luca suggested. They would have her unlock the book so that Luca could read it and perform as many rituals of immortality as he wanted. Kale pushed her towards the circle, until she was standing in the middle. 
 
“Just how old are you?” she asked. 
 
“Older than you can imagine,” Luca replied. “I have seen great things in my time, much great knowledge has passed through me onto others. I know on the other side of things, they wish you to believe I, along with my fellows, am pure evil. But such is not the case, my pet. For you see, it is true, over the many years of my life, I have come to believe that perhaps I could help others more than they can help themselves. I admit to this. But every person destined for leadership sees the ways that they can help people more than these people know themselves. It is the job of the leader. I know myself to be one of these such destined leaders, Tabitha Walls. And I can see you are as well. You seek out knowledge to better yourself and to help others to see the way things could be.”
 
That really isn’t true, Tabitha told herself. I seek out knowledge because I like being smart. I’m actually quite vain and selfish about knowledge. Luca looked her directly in the eyes now, though, and Tabitha could not tear herself away from his gaze. “I am not evil, Tabitha Walls. I would help my fellow man who could not help himself. Do you understand? I only want to do this for as long as I can, to the best of my ability. But to do this, I need time. Time my life span cannot accommodate. You must understand Tabitha, that is why you must unbind the book, and let me look onto its pages.”
 
“But what if I can’t?” she asked. “I’ve read the whole thing, it doesn’t tell you anything about how to unbind it so others can see.” Luca frowned and darkness descended over his face just for a moment, before he transformed to smile at her again. 
 
“You appear to be a very smart girl. I’m sure you can figure it out.” 
 
Kale turned to her and rubbed her back, before he pulled her into something like a hug. 
 
“You should listen to him,” he said. “And not fight so hard. It will be easier that way. Luca means it that he won’t hurt you if you help him.” Tabitha almost shook him off, when she saw something very familiar hanging around his wrist. She held him in place by that wrist and asked something which she had wanted to know anyway. 
 
“You’re nice to me. You want to protect me, and you seem to care about me. Why?” she asked. 
 
“After the ritual,” he said, like he would be rewarding her with a sweet for doing her homework. Tabitha frowned, but nodded as Kale pulled away.
 
Tabitha opened the book and began to flip through it. She looked through all of the knowledge she had absorbed, everything she had memorized over the past months and could think of nothing which would allow them to see the truth. Of course, she knew something they did not know. She gripped Elba’s pendant, which she had taken off of Kale, tightly in her hand and felt the clarity return to her mind, telling her what she needed to do, what she had planned to do if something like this had ever happened. 

She turned one final page and landed on Elba’s notes for her—for a beginning magician, and quietly began to chant, “Fire. Fire. Fire.” Over and over again, until her hands felt hot beneath the book, until the pages slowly began to singe and crinkle. Until at last, the book caught, and became a large flame before her. She threw it down, as the others rushed to put it out. But it was too late. Tabitha fastened Elba’s necklace around her neck and stepped forward to face Luca DiAmbrosio who regarded her with idle curiosity. 
And then, to everyone’s amazement, he began to laugh. 
 
“You stupid, stupid girl!” he exclaimed. “I see you were trying to create a diversion, to destroy this knowledge, but do you know what you have done?” 
 
“I released the knowledge,” Tabitha replied. Luca stopped laughing, his eyes focusing on her silence reigning around them. “By burning that book, I canceled whatever enchantments it held to protect the spells and rituals inside of it. But you know Luca, something that it told me to do should I ever come across any ritual that should help a man become immortal? Something, which every Great Magician has done before me? The book said that I should record it on the pages, thus sealing it from the minds of men, and then destroy any records of the rituals anywhere else it may be written. That’s what they all did. So no matter where you go, no matter how hard and how long you look, you will never find a single one of those spells written anywhere else in the whole of earth.”
 
“We,” he snarled, “shall see about that. But you, Tabitha Walls, have outlived your usefulness to me. And since you were no so compliant for me, you will die. Brian, attend.” Brian stepped forward, and pulled his gun from his holster. “And what is a more fitting way for a woman to die, than by the hands of her love? Brian, of course, will not remember any of this. He will think you left him behind without another word—mysteriously disappeared into a magical society which would not accept him. That is, should I choose to release him. He had proven to be quite useful to me. And now, my grandson, kill her.” 
 
Brian cocked his gun and aimed it at her, but before he could pull the trigger, Tabitha called softly,
 
“Brian.” 
 
He stopped, just before his finger squeezed the trigger. 
 
“If you were with right now, you would tell me that this is the scene where I say, ‘I know you’re in there,’ and how it would be a huge cliché.” She slowly began to inch forward, her hands raised in the air. “Well, I’ve got some things to tell you before you try and shoot me. Thank you, Brian, for always being my friend. Thank you for always telling me how you felt, even when I didn’t want to hear it. Thank you for loving me like you did when I didn’t know how I could love you. And—” she saw him raise the gun a little again, trying to obey Luca. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I’m sorry I didn’t listen to the way you felt, when you felt like you were in a downward spiral with no way out. I’m sorry for when I was selfish. I’m sorry that I hurt you. But I’m not sorry for our time together, Brian. Because I love you.”
 
Tabitha was only a hair’s breath away from Brian now and she clasped his face in her hands and pressed even closer drawing them together in the first kiss she ever gave anyone freely. Luca laughed, though she could not see him. 
 
“You think true love’s first kiss will save him from me?” Tabitha released Brian, and when she did, she saw tears streaking down his face. 
 
“Not really,” Brian said. “That was more like our seventh kiss anyway.” Tabitha saw Luca’s mouth hang open and before he could respond properly, Brian turned and fired a bullet right through his head. Luca DiAmbrosio slumped to the ground with his mouth agape, his eyes filled with horror, and he slowly shifted into dust on the ground. Tabitha turned back to Kale. 
 
“I wonder what you would become, if you died,” she remarked. Kale snarled and sent a wave of focused magic toward her which would have knocked her back, if she had not concentrated on staying put where she was and keeping Brian in place at the same time. Kale looked surprised that he had managed to knock them back even a little and began to mutter spells. But Tabitha did not need spells in that instance; she simply reacted to those coming at her from all sides. 
 
Back to back with Brian, she blasted people away, hitting them with fire, water, objects from around the room, or simply moving them from one point to another. Her main goal was to interrupt their spell casting. Why they did not cast simply like she did could not figure out. Maybe they did not know how. Tabitha turned her focus back to the fight and watched as Kale stood before her. 
 
“You could have been one of us!” he screamed. “You could have picked a better path!”
 
“This is the better path, Kale!” She watched as he began to cast the spell and began forming a shield to bounce it back toward him. Kale cast, and while the shield grabbed it she thought for a moment it would shatter. Then, she watched Kale’s face turn horrified as the spell came back at him. He could not move fast enough, so it clipped him on the face, sending him reeling. He collapse on the floor and all went still until Kale yelled,
 
“Retreat!” He leapt up, holding his face, and still yelling, “Retreat.” Most of the magicians followed him out of the room. Tabitha soon found out though that it was not her who caused the retreat. For the one who stayed soon encircled she and Brian and then were blasted away by an unknown force. Tabitha looked toward the entrance where she saw Weisz, Klaus, and a few other magicians. 

“A good thing they didn’t get here a minute ago,” Brian remarked. “We might have had some help.”
 
“They only retreated because they thought there would be more of them.”
 
“You mean, you don’t have an honor guard or something?” Brian asked. “There wouldn’t have been more of them coming?”
 
“Nope,” Tabitha replied. She took his hand and squeezed it. “Just be glad that we’re safe, all right? Don’t wonder about the what ifs.”
 
“Sure,” Brian said, squeezing back. 
 
“Are you all right?” Weisz asked approaching them. 
 
“For now,” Tabitha said. “I don’t guarantee tomorrow.” 
 
“Nor do I,” Weisz told her. “But I am glad you are safe.”
 
“We all are,” Klaus said. “How did they get past the wards? Did they tell you?” 
 
“No,” Tabitha replied. “But for that matter, how did you get past theirs?”
 
“By tracking that,” Klaus said tapping the pendant at her neck. “I was the one who made it for Elba, and it contains a combination of her energy and mine. And yours now as well. It was fairly easy to track once we followed the trail from your bedroom.”
 
“What should we do about the escaping immortals?” asked one of the other magicians. Tabitha recognized her from Elba’s wake many months before. 
 
“For now, nothing,” Tabitha said. “They’ll come back soon enough, and I think we’ve given them enough time that it would be futile to track them.”
 
“What did they want?” asked another of the magicians. 
 
“What they always want,” Tabitha replied, “immortality.” 
 
“A good thing, then, that you did not give them what they wanted,” Weisz said. “Though I am curious: it took me some time to realize you were gone from the wards, then more time for me to assemble the present company, though they were on call to help should the need arise. What did you do to stall them?”
 
“Luca DiAmbrosio liked to talk,” Tabitha replied. “And there was a lot of pomp and circumstance. Really, we had only just started to fight when you came through the door.”
 
“DiAmbrosio is dead?” Klaus asked. “How?”
 
“I shot him,” Brian replied. 
 
“And speaking of DiAmbrosios, what is he doing here?” Weisz asked. “No doubt he was a traitor all along.”
 
“Nothing of the kind,” Tabitha retorted. “He was being controlled through a family bond. I broke the bond.”
 
“With what?” asked Klaus. “Family bonds are difficult things to break my girl.”
 
“With true love,” Brian replied before he leaned down to kiss her. 
 
“Children,” scoffed one of the other magicians. “True love is for the story books.”

“A very wise woman, one whom you all seem to swear by wrote me that magic is nine tenths belief and one tenth power,” Tabitha retorted. “I believed I could reach Brian and so I did. Love was only my catalyst.”
 
“She did do an awful lot of thanking and apologizing,” Brian added. Tabitha looked around for their reactions, though most still looked at her with disbelief. Weisz, however, simply looked past her to where there was a scorch mark on the floor. Tabitha turned as he walked toward it, and picked up the charred remains of a leather binding, still protecting only fragments of paper. 
 
“Tabitha did they ask you for the book?” he asked, still staring at the burnt thing in his hands. 
 
“Of course they did,” she replied. 
 
“And did you give it to them?” Weisz asked. 
 
“Of course not,” she said. 
 
“But they asked for it,” Weisz said. “And you being compelled, they snatched it right from you. But then they found they couldn’t read it, so they made you try and unlock it. So you panicked.”
 
“I didn’t panic,” she told him. “I was thinking clearly. I know it seems hard to believe, but I was, if you’d just let me explain Weisz.”
 
“No, Tabitha, the only thing I want you to explain to me is this: where is the book?” Tabitha did not say anything. Instead her eyes betrayed her as they trailed to Weisz’s hands where the remains of the book lay. Weisz strode forward, and his hand flew before Tabitha could expect it, her head painfully snapping to one side. “You stupid, stupid girl!” Weisz yelled, echoing Luca DiAmbrosio’s words, but with more anger lacing his voice. 
 
“Try that again!” Brian declared, drawing his gun on Weisz. 
 
“You, boy, do not know what she has done,” Klaus spat.
 
“Tabitha said that all the records of the rituals would have been destroyed when they were catalogued in the book,” Brian retorted. 
 
“Well, she lied,” Weisz told him. “There is no way we can know that for sure. And when the immortals go looking for those rituals, and they will, if they find just one, just one that helps them stay young for years to come, we are doomed to their servitude. You’ve doomed us all.”
 
“You don’t know it,” Tabitha said. “Because you don’t want to listen but—”
 
“No, girl, you listen to me. I will tell you one thing, one last piece of advice. Don’t come near another magician again. Should you, you will be decimated, because after this moment, the whole world will know that you have betrayed us all.” Then, with a flourish, he and the others disappeared into thin air. 
 
Brian moved forward, as Tabitha watched the space where they had stood, and wrapped one arm around her waist, kissing her head. Questions stirred in his mind, questions he knew better than to ask. Tabitha looked up at him and asked,
 
“Do you trust me?”
 
“With everything,” he replied.
 
“Then you should know that I just save everything, even if it is just for a little while.” She gave him a small smile and kissed him. “Thank you for not doubting me. Now, does this place have a library?”
 
“Yes,” Brian replied. 
 
“And did you drive here tonight?”
 
“Also a yes.”
 
“Oh, good,” Tabitha replied. 
 
“Why?” he asked, as they began to walk toward the hall. 

“I imagine that they had quite a few rituals stocked in their library,” she said. “The kind I should be filing away from the minds of men and then destroying.”
 
“I think we’ll need a bigger car,” Brian replied. But they walked hand and hand, toward the library. They would walk out of that night together, and many more places and times as one. Tabitha felt it, somewhere in her chest. 
 


Epilogue: A Cup of Tea

Tabitha wiped the sweat from her forehead, and found a water bottle thrust under her nose.

“If you keep hydrated,” Chelsea said, “it’ll probably help more than just wiping the sweat away.” Tabitha accepted the bottle and drank from it greedily, only stopping when Brian asked for it. “So, we’ve got three more prospects all in your price range.”

“My price range is kind of anywhere,” Tabitha said. “I could buy a house if I wanted to.”

“Lucky,” Chelsea muttered. “Why couldn’t I be the one who had magical powers and get a huge inheritance from my mentor?”

“Luck of the draw, I guess,” Tabitha remarked.

It was the end of May—five months had passed since the cold night of late December when the magician community disowned her as the Great Magician. Since then, Tabitha had been accepted on early decision to George Washington University, and graduated high school. Her father agreed to legally emancipate her, and she had lived in the dorms of their local university, right on Chelsea’s hall up until now. Now they were searching for an apartment.

“I feel bad, looking for one with you, knowing that I’m probably not going to pay rent,” Brian said. He too, had been accepted into George Washington University early, and they decided to live together while they worked their way through their final years of university. Tabitha took his hand and laced their fingers together, kissing his cheek.

“Don’t. I like taking care of you.” Brian stuck his tongue out at her, and then kissed her on the mouth.

“I’m not sure I’m doing the responsible thing by letting the two of you live together,” Chelsea replied. “Promise on your honor and everything that there will be no hanky panky, especially while I’m sleeping on the couch.”

“Well, we do want her to succeed during her internship and everything…” Tabitha trailed off and raised her brows at Brian.

“I guess we can promise that,” Brian said.

“And wait until she’s eighteen!” Chelsea demanded. “Wouldn’t want to break the law, now would you?”

“Actually, in the District of Columbia…”

Tabitha only heard Brian trail off as he and Chelsea continued walking down the sidewalk to the next potential apartment. She did not follow after for something had caught her eye, and drew her toward a shady tree in a park just off the street. Under the tree at a small table sat a woman, with dark hair and dark eyes, a caramel colored skin. She wore a peasant skirt, patched together purposefully with many colors, sandals peeking out from underneath, a white blouse with short sleeves, and a straw hat to protect her from the sun. She watched Tabitha walk over, and smiled at her, waving.

Somehow, though she fit none of the stereotypes Tabitha had ever seen, she knew this woman was Death.

“Hello,” she greeted.

“Hello, Tabitha,” the woman replied. “Won’t you take some tea with me?” The woman gestured to a large pitcher of iced tea, and some cookies and cakes set out on the table.

“Thank you, ma’am,” Tabitha replied, sitting down on the other chair (which, she was sure had not been there a moment before).

“There’s no need to call me ma’am,” she said.

“Then what would you like me to call you?” Tabitha asked.

“Death, Azreal, whatever you’re comfortable with. Elba was fond of Madame Morte,” Death replied, pouring her a glass of tea. “I first want to apologize that it’s taken me this long to contact you. I’ve been having some trouble getting around lately. But that’s not quite what I want to talk to you about, not today.” Death smiled at her again, and looked her in the eye. “What you did in December was incredibly brave, especially considering the fall out.”

“I did what I felt was right,” Tabitha said. “I haven’t seen any of the other magicians since to explain to them. Perhaps it’s for the best that they don’t know, because then the immortals might expect something.”

“I find you so clever, Tabitha,” Death said. “Staying up late each night to carefully type out the new book and transferring all of the rituals there. I’m not sure someone else would have thought of such a thing, not even Elba.” Death sipped her tea. “But you do realize my dear that everyone will realize sooner or later that the rituals are not unsealed.”

“Yes,” Tabitha replied with a nod. “I’m preparing for it.”

“Good. Because I must tell you, my dear, that your darkest hour has yet to come. You will know it by what it makes you, by what it reveals, when all turn against you and when you move despite the hopelessness in your heart,” said Death. Tabitha must have made a face, because Death laughed and said, “Worry not, my dear, I have faith that as the next Great Magician, you will prevail over this, should you only believe in herself.”

“The next Great Magician?” Tabitha asked. “You say it like I’m not the Great Magician already.” Death sipped her tea again and grinned.

“Oh, but my dear, you’re not. Haven’t you read the book?”

“Tabitha!” Chelsea’s voice rang through the air and when Tabitha looked up, she was sitting on a stone monument, tea, table and Death all gone from her sight. “You could have asked if you needed a rest. We were already three blocks down when we realized you weren’t with us.”

“Are you all right?” Brian asked, looking at her face, and rubbing her back.

“You know how at the end of some movies, where it seems like the heroes have won and everything is calm. There’s always that one person who says, ‘Oh thank God, it’s over.’ And then another person answers them and says, ‘No, it’s only just begun.’ And you feel for a second this dread that creeps up in you, but the movie ends, and you have to wait to find out.”

“Yeah?” Brian asked.

“That’s how I feel right now. Like I’ve got to wait to find out what I’m dreading.” Tabitha stood. “But in the meantime, I don’t see why we can’t keep apartment hunting.” Brian took her hand and gripped it firmly, and Tabitha squeezed back. She did not know what the future held, or even what the growing dread inside of her meant, but she knew that when it came she would walk forward when everything seemed hopeless.

Across the ocean, in a quiet pasture of stone, something began to happen beneath the earth. Inside of a box lay a body, which if you saw it, you might be surprised that the headstone told you this body was nearly a year old. For the body seemed perfect, as if the woman who inhabited could rise out of the box at any time and walk around. And in this body, in the box, in the ground of the pasture of stones, there grew a quiet thumping against the chest. Just once in a minute, so you might miss it if you were not listening. But soon the thumping would grow to twice a minute, then three times. And soon, a heart would beat in the chest of this woman once more. And then the real trouble would begin.

But on the outside of the box, everything looked to be fine. One could not hear the beating from above the ground, even if they did listen very closely. All seemed quiet in the field of stones, and quietest above the body whose stone read, “Elba Mullins, A great woman who the world never knew for what she was. 1774 to 2011.”

The heart inside the body, inside the box, inside the ground underneath the pasture of stone did not care what its stone read. It went on beating, ready to wake.

 

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January 2017

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