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[Some years later]

There is moss and flowers growing on the ruins of the tower now, and birds nesting in the rusted remains of the iron girders. I can see it clearly from where I live now, and the sight holds no fear for me now, not for me, nor for anyone else in the town.

That terrible day of the storm, the day creatures roiled from the mists and healing rain fell from the sky, I was not at the river, nor did I see the battle. But I did see what happened, for I opened Follow Me Boy's doors to the injured and lost. There were so many hurt that day, people stretched on every bed and couch and rug in the house, Sophie and Mrs. Danvers running off their feet bringing bandages and hot water. The front and back doors were propped open, all of the lanterns lit, letting both the rain and the townsfolk in. Most of the folk were well, in the end...but there were those that never returned from the riverbank. Reed. Mab. Others. Many folk were buried, and there was much mourning in the days that followed...but there was a lightness in the air now too, as though a great weight had been lifted from the town, as though a heavy cloud had cleared and allowed the sun to shine through again.

That was years ago. I have retired now, save for a few favourite clients, my savings more than enough for me to live comfortably. I have bought a little one-story house just off of Main Street, close to the cafe, and the bakery, and the library, close enough that I can walk to visit my friends. Since Lucien died there has been no more medicine, but I get by as I always did before, with the help of my cane, and I am so very grateful for the relief that he gave me for those few years. I miss him still, and I light incense for him every day, for him, and for Reed, and for Mab.

I have taught myself to embroider using my one remaining hand, by propping the frame on my arm and working gently. Mrs. Danvers comes by once a day to cook. She has grown older, but she still laughs as loud as ever, and she still insists on looking out for me. I have taken to calling her Wai Po, Grandmother, and she laughs and kisses my cheek.

Hermia and Hope bring their children to visit every week. I have begun teaching them Mandarin, and they are learning very quickly.

It is strange now, remembering how sad I was when Hope and Faith first told me that I would never see Shanghai again, how I wept at the thought that I would never see my home again. But now I tend my little garden, I read my books, and I look out the window as the sun sets over the town.

I am home, and I am content.

[CLOSED]

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