She collapsed into her mother’s arms as soon as she was home, and the two of them sat on the couch sobbing for a long time.  Eve had to ask questions, like why this had to happen, why it couldn’t have been her instead…   Her mother just held her reassuringly, knowing that the questions were rhetorical, either that or for God, and didn’t require an answer from her.  When Evie ran out of tears, she went to bed in her old room.  Gwen had apparently been heart-broken that Hope was dead, and hadn’t even spoken since their father found the Kelleys’ bodies.

            Exhausted, Genevieve fell into a deep sleep.  One that led her to a strange place in her dreams.

            There was a young man walking.  The man had been walking all night across the desert, hoping to cover as much distance as possible before the sun rose and it became too hot to continue any distance.  Now, as the glowing orb rose, he busied himself with building his tiny shelter out of his robes and poles he carried for that purpose on his back.

            He lay in the shade of the shelter and closed his eyes.  He did not fall asleep right away, however, but merely lay on his back and drew in deep, regular breaths.  Apparently the breaths were meant to calm him, for he abruptly rolled over on his side and dropped off to sleep.

            Unbeknownst to him, someone was watching.  She always was, and he never knew.  She stared at the young man and took in every detail: the unkempt hair, growing longer and longer all the time, his bearded face, his hairy chest, the tiny scars under his lip, his slightly crooked broken nose.  He was slender, yet well-muscled and deeply tanned.  There was a small birthmark on his bare left ankle, a dark brown that stood out even against his tanned skin.

            The watcher smiled to herself, remembering when the man had been young, paler and not as muscled.  He had still been slim, despite a small layer of fat that had been there since childhood.  In her mind’s eye she could see him simultaneously as an infant, a toddler, an adolescent and a young man, even as she gazed at the bearded wanderer that he had become.

            She chuckled merrily to herself, recalling his youth.  To her it all flowed together and seemed but a few moments, though to him it was undoubtedly a long time.  That was one of the sad and wonderful things about the ephemerals, she had always thought.  So short a time, yet their lives could be so rich.  In the dream, Genevieve could feel the watcher think this, as if they were connected somehow, sharing thought and feeling as easily as friends share smiles.

            She felt the watcher’s concern just as keenly when she looked at the man.  Tiny beads of sweat appeared on his brow, but not from the heat.  He moaned and stirred uneasily, as if in the throes of a tumultuous dream.  She laid a hand on his brow, brushing aside the sweat and his tangled hair.  She smiled softly as he calmed, going back to a peaceful sleep.

            “Sweet dreams, noble one.” She whispered, her melodious voice familiar to Eve.  “Rest easy.  I’ll watch over you.  I always have.”

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