We landed in Delaware two weeks later, having taken the slow boat. It was rather colder than I'd expected, but the chill was more invigorating than that of England, the rain icier and the wind more alive. It was awakening, not muggy, and I longed to live here as I had never lived before.

Yet the moment we were to disembark my feet grew roots, and a panicking fear came over me, petrifying my whole body and melding me to the deck. How could I think of stepping on American soil and beginning again? How could I leave behind all I had cultivated and nurtured ove rthe past six years? How could I forget hatred and revenge? Revenge on Blue-Cloak was what I lived for, wasn't it? No - the body. The body was what I lived for. Vere wouldn't want me to hate, would she? But she'd want revenge, and so there it was.

Wringing my hands, I hated my situation. I had little choice. I could step onto the jetty, and so dedicate the rest of my life to happiness and freshness. I could refuse to disembark, which would probably result in an angry father, and maybe being carted off to a lunatic asylum for a bit like the one in Ireland, except it would be in the USA. That wouldn't gain anything. Or...

I moved over to the edge of the boat, as far as my roots would let me, and peered down into the deep black waters below. Wouldn't it be so much easier...? Then no one would be disappointed, and maybe I'd meet Vere again in the land of the dead. Who actually liked me here on Earth? Not Mum - she didn't know anything about me. Not Dad - he just had to put up with me, as he did with Mum. They both blamed me.

And then I thought of Deanna Macpherson, my only friend. And I thought of Aileen Macpherson, Deanna's sister, who had died six years ago. When Aileen died, Deanna did not hate or desire revenge. She started anew, made her lips smile, and settled to getting on with her life. And now she was happy. I had done it all wrong. This was my chance to put it right.

Go on, Den. Come back to life, I heard a voice say beside me. I turned, and my heart skipped a beat. Aileen Macpherson, telling me what to do. Her ghost had followed me. I had not lost Deanna entirely.

I took a deep breath and stepped over the gangway, and a sense of great peace flowed through my veins and sparkled in my bones. I was free!

The End

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