chapter LXVIIIMature

She stayed that way all night.  She refused to move, refused to let Sebastian or Hazel near him.  She screamed when they got too close.  She did not know how long she was in there.  At some point, Sebastian had left the bathroom door ajar and had opened the curtains to let in the daylight.  She watched it lighten the room beyond the doorway, watched it leave.  She did not move.  She stayed with him, clinging to his cold body as if she could warm it up herself and bring him back, murmuring a constant prayer.  She prayed until her voice went hoarse and gave out.  She kept praying, nothing but a low psithurism escaping her lips.  Bring him back to me.  She no longer knew who she was praying to.  She supposed she was praying to anyone willing to grant her request.

Hazel appeared at the edge of the tub, her gnarled hands perched on her hips.  There were scars on her face that Gabriel hadn’t noticed before.  Her eyes were so brown they were nearly black, and she met Gabriel’s eyes with a fierceness that her small body couldn’t possibly back up.

She said, “Child, it is done.  He is dead.  Now get out of that tub and let’s put him to rest.”

* Epilogue to be posted eventually

The End

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