Eddie watched Andrew Tayna's sunglasses fell over his eyes as he slumped onto the grass. He wanted to cry, as he was sure his best friend was now dead. However, much to his surprise, something took hold of his mind - but it was not the demon. This time, it was just Joseph.
Joe smiled coyly, as Brittany stared him down, both holding the other at gun point.
"You got me pregnant, Joe. We could have had an adoption. Heck, even an abortion would have shed less blood."
"I did not shed this blood, Brittany."
She scowled, "Right, you got your father to do it - and now he's dead!"
"A little trigger-happy, aren't you?"
"What's it to you?"
"My father, like Eddie and the waitress, like everyone, was not in control of his own actions."
"I don't believe you!"
"Brittany, I didn't rape you."
"I wish it were so."
"Of course you do!"
Brittany lowered the gun, involuntarily, and Eddie grabbed her from behind. Mariette tugged on her leash, and her owner finally followed the dog willingly for once.
And as Joe approached, Eddie let go of her. And Joe grabbed Brittany forcefully, spreading the cloth around them both. She was paralyzed, fighting the invasion in her mind as he tried to keep her still. And he hugged her, tenderly, as they lay with the cloth draped over them.
Joe whispered in her ear, as they both dug a gun into each other's backs, "Eddie will anonymously report the suicides, of his own accord. And if the police discover the truth, you will be charged with manslaughter, my love."
Brittany was confused. Her make-up smudged against Joe's shoulder. There was something so much kinder about him now, that she had never known before. It scared her, and thrilled her. She felt warmth, there, beneath the cloth. Hugging his naked body tightly, digging the gun into his back. And, not sure of what she was saying, but for once sure that it was she who said it and wanted it said, "I love you, Joe."
Mariette barked, one last time. She was now far down the path, running alongside a man who wanted to get as far away from the strange events as possible - as Joe had convinced him was best.
"I know you do," he began to kiss her neck affectionately.
With one arm, she took the cloth down. And they were no longer in Sault St. Marie. They were back in the United States of America, standing on the roof of the school.
He looked at her, "Will you help me clear my name?"
"Didn't I just kill your father?"
"Andrew Tayna was not my father."
Brittany believed him. Something had changed. And yet she still had her doubts, "What was it, then, Joe? If it was not you."
"Something evil, Brittany. I hardly know myself. But it's not in me anymore. I'm not perfect, but I play by the rules."
And, after all she had been through, all she had experienced, and all she had drank that night; Brittany Sanderson believed him. And, with a drunken giggle, she asked, "Why are you naked?"
"You wouldn't believe me," he said.
"Oh?," she laughed. "After a night like this?"
"Yeah, after a night like this. You still wouldn't believe me."
And then, Brittany noticed the crimson trickle of blood running down Joe's hairy legs. She gasped, "You've been raped!"
And tears, genuine or not, fell from Joe's eyes. And she hugged him again, in the cold breeze that swept the black and red silk cloth playfully around their feet.
The moon smiled behind whispy clouds, and an entourage of twinkling stars. The wind howled and an eerie chill went down their spines.
Joe pushed back her hair with one hand, admiring the face he had not seen up-close with his own eyes in a while. He'd hardly gotten a chance at the magic show. He smiled at her, "Happy Birthday."
"Thanks, Joe. I'm sorry I blocked you out. Now, please, tell me what's been happening to you."
Joe looked pained, and his pale face reddened with shame. Tears welled up in his eyes, and he knew not what to say. He simply held onto her, trembling.
"Do you want to go inside?"
"No," he whispered in her ear, holding her tightly against him. "Not yet."
Brittany looked up at the peaceful sky. Glad to be back where she belonged.
"I'm sorry for not fighting it harder, Brittany."
"Fighting what, Joe?"
He didn't answer. He just stood there, in her embrace, trembling. And finally, he spoke, "It's got Mal, now."
Brittany was overwhelmed and confused, and did the only thing she could do. She clung to him, comforting him, waiting for answers. And, still doubtful, she had the gun stuck into the back of his neck.
Joe dropped his hand-gun. It fell to the flat, cement roof-top. He continued to kiss her neck, and then whispered, "I'll never invade your mind again. Never without your permission." Never again. And never again, will I lose you. Now that I have you back.