Be Strong

Come back?

I asked it in a startled state; such an explanation was just as powerfully mysterious as the situation. And then came the trailing, lingering, and unsure addition.

From where? From the dead?

She sensed my distress and smiled. "I've been out in the world all this time. Trying to get back to you, but knowing all along that I had to complete what I had been taken away for."

"What happened?" I was firing this question off the brick wall in my mind to no result, wondering if the debris would ever be cleared aside, and now as I asked it of her, I had to restrain myself from firing it just as urgently.

"You mean..." she paused, "on the night that I died?"

My shock took a jolt as my eyes demanded her to say it wasn't true. Once more she read my mind. And once more she smiled away my fears. Except this time, the pity in her gaze caused a tear to form. And then, before I could prepare myself, the impossible image of her face and the impossible sound of her voice became suddenly real as she bent down to put her arms around me.

My eyes were wide as I felt the warmth within her and the cool, real feeling of her flesh and bones. Her familiar scent filled my lungs, and memories flashed bright and true. It was too much for me, and I collapsed into sobs that ran the length of my body.

And then she whispered into my ear. "I didn't actually die, silly. They faked my death."

Tears came freely, and yet, the questions had ceased. I only wished for this moment to last forever. But she seemed reluctant, and she pulled away almost immediately.

Gazing down at me now, a shudder ran through her. "I never thought I would see you again. Months passed, and my life went places you could never imagine. I always assumed that I would die before seeing you. I always assumed that if ever I did complete what I was taken away for, they would silence me in the end."

"What happened?" I murmured again.

"I cannot tell you," she said. And then, to my searching expression, "Oh Thomas, this is going to be so hard on you. But I want you to be strong. Afterall, I have been strong. You can too."

"Okay," I murmured, as vulnerable as a baby staring up out of a crib. "What happened?" I asked for the third time.

"It is not about what happened," she said. "It is about what is going to happen. And that is why you are going to be strong."

"What is going to happen?" I asked, rephrasing my original question but gripping it with the same meaning.

"We are going to have to run now," she said. "They will be here in another nine minutes. I don't want you to get hurt."

My mouth moved to protest, but no sound emerged. She stood up. "Come now. You need to prepare. Dress lightly."

Somehow, my limbs carried me from the bed in a dissaray of thoughts. "Who is 'they'?" I asked, but I was too enveloped in my doubts to wait for a response.

And the response that did come was but a soft whisper under the careful breathing of my beloved.

"...Be strong..."

The End

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