I knocked on Genevieve’s door softly, leaning against the doorframe.  She peeked out.

            “I’m sorry I made you cry.”

            “I’m sorry I don’t swear anymore.”

            I laughed.  She gave a chuckle that was half a sniffle, wiping away the last of her tears.  She opened the door and I hugged her tight.

            “You don’t need to swear.  I just don’t know what’s happening in the world, and I felt like I lost my sister.”

            “I’m right here, Gwen.  I may not be a warrior anymore, but I’m still your sister.”

            “I know.”

            Mara was standing a short distance away.  She smiled at us both once we were finished with our little family drama.

            “I’ve promised to help Gwen with understanding what’s going on.  That seemed to reassure her.”

            “You know?” Genevieve said.

            “Of course I do.  I’m surprised you haven’t guessed yet.  After all, the clues are all in this house.”

            “Ethan’s books!”  I said, rushing to his room.  The others followed.  I gestured at the pile on the bed. “I’ve been trying to tell Evie, it’s all here.  Isn’t it?”

            I held up the Dark Half and the Fight Club tape.  “Donovan Reza,” I said.

            Mara just nodded, smiling to herself.  I held up The Stand and The Last Battle.

            “The end of the world?”

            She grinned wider.

            “The Lord of the Rings, the Hobbit, The Dark Tower… they’re the Quest?”

            Mara almost giggled.

            “Come on, what do they all mean?”

            “I can’t just tell you.  You’re supposed to figure it out.  He left everything for you to find, after all.  Telling you is one thing, but to understand it, to believe it, you have to discover it for yourself.”

            “Are you just saying that to frustrate me, or are you serious?”

            “I’m serious.  When people really learn something, it’s from experience.  You can’t just tell them.  If it were that easy, everyone would have faith.  Everyone would do the right thing, all the time.  People have to learn the hard way.”

            “That sucks.” I almost laughed as I snorted in frustration.

            “That’s why the first part of the Bible is called the Torah, which means ‘teachings.’  It’s a book to help people to think, to learn, to explore the world.  But it doesn’t give easy answers; it gives scenes and parables that must be interpreted through the readers’ experiences.  That’s how people learn.”  Mara smiled patiently.  “I know you’ll figure it out.”

            “It would still be easier if you just told me.”

            She laughed, a ringing joyful sound.  

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