Arcana Magi - c.18: Me?

by H-M Brown

        Karyn sat in a limo with her hands still shackled. It was morning as a radio program gave the latest report regarding yesterday's attack in Newark. As the limo bypassed a checkpoint entering the financial area, Karyn closed her eyes and listened to the report.
      “The federal government has issued a total lockdown of Newark and all the neighboring towns and cities. A 10:00 curfew in effect as the National Guard patrol the streets. Newark Airport is closed indefinitely. All flights have been diverted to New York. Newark Train Station is operating on a one hour delay with mandatory searches in all stations throughout New Jersey. Buses will be searched at random checkpoints. This 1212 AM News, today is Thursday July 25th. It will be 8:00 at the sound of the tone.”
      Karyn opened her eyes as the limo entered the garage of Avalon Tech. The driver stopped before an elevator where, Jonas and Anna waited. The door opened and Karyn stepped out. Paying no mind to them, she walked past them and waited by the elevator as they stood behind her.
      “You are all fools.” Karyn said as the door opened and they entered inside. Without interruption, they arrived at the seventeenth floor. There Karyn saw two desks before a door. She saw Lyn sitting behind the left desk. She was dressed as a secretary, but she had hairclips like Alysia's, propping her hair. Only those were colored red.
      “Good morning Lyn.” Jonas said.
      Lyn lifted her head. Her eyes looked empty and her face so lost. It was as though she was dead but breathing alive.
      “Good morning Jonas.' Her voice sounded drained of energy. ‘How may I help you?”
      “Would you please tell Oryn that her guest is here?”
      “Of course.”
      Karyn watched Lyn talk on the phone. She thought about Alysia's story. About Reya serving as Oryn's secretary while the winged Sentinel served as her bodyguard. Karyn figured that Lyn went through Therapy. At first seeing Alysia in her condition was upsetting, but that was because the teen was free. Looking at Lyn, in full scope of the processes result, the old mage felt disturbed.
      “Madam Oryn is ready to see you now.”
      “Good.' Jonas said as Anna opened the door. ‘Let's go.”
      Karyn kept her eyes on Lyn as the new secretary looked back, her eyes begging for freedom. The old mage felt Jonas pulling her away and they entered inside. Karyn saw Oryn standing before the large television screen. The channels changed to a different news station, with continuing coverage.
      “You may leave us.' Oryn said to Jonas and Anna. She watched them leave without hesitation and the door closed. ‘Welcome Madam Karyn Mayweather. It is an honor to meet you.”
      “Oryn Zentharis I presume?” Karyn said.
      “It would seem my name has preceded myself.”
      “Don't flatter yourself.' Karyn walked along the bookshelf. ‘I've never heard of you until I heard their story.”
      “Ah… the Sentinels. They say a lot of things. Don't they?”
      “Hmph…” Karyn saw Oryn's published book, ‘The Theory of Fate and Destiny'. When the old mage picked it up, she noticed a book on the Sentinels set next to it. The old mage looked up at Oryn as the executive kept her eyes on the television.
      “You know,' Oryn said. ‘this is an interesting scene to see.”
      “Impressed at the mess this company made.' Karyn flipped through the pages of Oryn's book. Each page had mathematical equations, how they relate to fate and destiny, and life overall. ‘Sad.”
      “Actually,' Oryn turned around and noticed Karyn flipping through her published book. ‘Ah… That book is my finest achievement. People believe that my theory is one big joke, but I was able to prove them wrong.”
      “How?' Karyn dropped the book on the floor and took the book about the Sentinels to hand. ‘By torturing children?”
      “Torture is such a hard word. I gave them enlightenment. I shaped their lives for the better.”
      “You've destroyed their innocence, their identities, and their humanity.”
      Oryn smiled without care and approached Karyn. She knelt down and picked up her published book. The executive stood up hugging her work as Karyn tightened her grip on the Sentinel Book.
      “You feel strongly for these girls.' Oryn said. ‘They are nothing but employees.”
      “You mean cheap labor.”
      “I resent that. But yes nonetheless. They are the future of humanity and the new generation has gained such a vast knowledge of touch screen phones, the internet, computer programming. How they use it, how they communicate to each other with it. You can't stop with just building the technology. You have to enlighten the users to embrace new technology. Avalon technology.”
      “Stolen technology.”
      “We could go on all day about ethics, but right now I have to monitor the situation in Newark.' Oryn walked toward her desk. Before she sat down, she could see the sun in the sky fighting with the clouds. ‘Such a shame it's not going to be a beautiful day. You may read that book if you want. You have my permission, Mayweather.”
      “Beware the arrogance of power, for the fall shall be painful.'
      Deep inside Newark, there was an old church. It was old, a stone block on the corner of the building had 1845 etched on it. It had cobblestone walkways along the side of the building. A large green metal gate surrounded the building, but it opened for the day. People came in and out of the building. In the back of the church, Chisame was in the priest's office talking on the phone with Fynir. She heard a screeching sound and Fynir came out clear.
      “I activated the scrambler program from my cell phone?' Fynir said with a coarse voice. ‘Do you hear me clearly?”
      “Yes.' Chisame said. ‘But, what's wrong with your voice?”
      “I'm okay. Is anyone hurt, Chisame?”
      “No. We're okay?”
      “Listen up. News reports said that the entire city is in a lockdown and the National Guard will be patrolling the area while the army makes its way to the city.”
      “National… Guard? What's that?” Chisame did not understand who they were as the priest lifted his head up in shock.
      “Oh yeah I forgot. The National Guard is a branch of the military, like the Army.”
      “Military? Why?”
      “Because of everything that happened the past three days. Just do as we say and stay in the church. No matter what, stay there and wait a few days for everything to calm down. Understand?”
      Chisame's hands shivered. She could not move or say anything. Her face turned white like a ghost.
      “Good. Lori and I will be at the church in three days. We'll leave together then. Can you girls do that?”
      “Be careful. See you in three days.”
      Chisame heard the phone hang up and a dial tone buzzed in her ear. She stood there, scared by what she heard from Fynir. After the Sentinel placed the phone on the hook, she turned to the priest.
      “We need to stay here for three days.”
      “Take all the time you need, child. This is a house of God and He will watch over you girls. You are safe here.”
      “Thank you.' Chisame left the office and made her way to a flight of stairs. She arrived at a hallway, where the private bedrooms were. The Sentinel passed by a cross and reached a door beside it. She entered and saw Brie and Danica changing their hairstyles. ‘What's this?”
      “Disguises.' Brie said as she straightened her hair out. It looked liked a short lion's mane. ‘It's Danica's idea.”
      “I just don't want to get caught.' The thief said with her blonde hair fixed into a bun. ‘There's too many police around to fight.”
      “We also got the ponchos from the nun since its going to rain.”
      “We won't be needing them right now.' Chisame sat on the bed as the girls looked at her confused. She started making her hair into a ponytail ready to explain what Fynir told her when she noticed something. ‘Where's Alysia?”
      “She said she was going to alter.' Brie said. ‘But we just finished dying her hair so its funny she's going there with a towel on her head.”
      “Wait, you dyed her hair?”
      “Of course Boss.” Danica said.
      “Boss?” Chisame stopped twisting her hair and faced Danica.
      “That's what you like to do. Boss us around.”
      “It's not like that.' Chisame continued fixing her hair. ‘So where did you get the dye from?”
      “Relax, I know how avoid the police. Of course I owe the store fifteen dollars but I'll worry about it when I feel like it.”
      “Don't you have any morals?”
      “Why do you care?”
      “Please,' Brie said as she stopped combing her hair. ‘Could we focus on what Fynir said?!”
      “You're right.' Chisame calmed herself. ‘We need Alysia here so I can explain what Fynir told me.”
      “I'll go get her.” Brie left the room and Chisame and Danica continued arguing.
      In the pews, Alysia fixed the towel on her head to keep it from falling over face. The winged girl was all by herself, there was no one around. She looked up at a mural of angels floating beside a bright light, with humans knelt down reaching out for it. She never saw anything like it before. The Sentinel stared at it, looking deep into painting. She leaned forward and the mist on her back reformed into her wings. Alysia flapped them a little. She could feel them moving. The winged girl then pulled down a kneeling stand under the pew and sat on her knees. She clasped her hands and closed her eyes. Her wings stretched outward.
      “Please watch over the man I murdered Father. I hope he is not mad at me for taking his life. I won't let anyone force me to take a life. I won't take a life even if no one forced me to. I just don't want to be evil, that's all. Amen.”
      Alysia stood to her feet and saw Brie waiting by the door with a smile.
      “What's the matter Brie?”
      “Chisame talked to Fynir and wants to tell us what he said.' Brie took her hand and they ran to the back. ‘Let's go.”
      “Okay. Wait!” Alysia tried to keep up with Brie's hyperactive speed. They both arrived at the room and before Brie opened it, she looked up to the winged girl.
      “Alysia, you looked like an angel praying out there.”
      “Angel?” Alysia felt her wings flapped as Brie opened the door giggling inside. She jumped on the bed and patted for Alysia to sit down next to her as Chisame and Danica faced away from each other. Chisame explained what Fynir said. Brie slouched in disappointment, as Alysia closed her eyes reflecting on the situation.
      “I would prefer to deal with Mystic Intelligence then stay here.” Danica said without looking back. With her arms crossed, she felt annoyed at the fact that she had to remain in the church for three more days.
      “Don't want to confess your sins Danica?” Brie smiled.
      “Shut up!' The thief made an ugly face that made the hacker laugh. Danica did not think the situation was funny one bit. ‘You realize it would only be a matter of time before Mystic Intelligence, the military, and everyone else will start searching churches.”
      “You think they would do that?” Alysia said.
      “Yeah. Besides, if we're on the move, we can stay one-step ahead of them. We stay here and we'll be trapped before we know it.”
      “No,' Chisame said. ‘we should listen to Fynir.”
      “Fynir's is not here.' Danica stood to her feet. She thought about what he did yesterday, taking a bullet for him. She knew he meant well, but her instinct said otherwise. The thief took a deep breath and looked back at Chisame with the corner of her eyes. ‘You said he sounded sick. You think he's okay Boss?”
      “Hmmm… I don't know.”
      “Maybe the injury made him sick.” Alysia said.
      “So if he's sick,' Danica said. ‘then I say it clouded his judgment and he couldn't think clearly about his plan.”
      “Danica that's not fair.' Brie said. ‘I mean, I do kind of agree with you, but I wouldn't go far to say what you said.”
      “I still say we stay here.” Chisame said as the Sentinels turned to Alysia and waited for her vote.
      “I would like to find my family, but I don't want stay here. It's too much right now. I don't want to get caught and sent back to Avalon Tech.”
      “Everyone.' Chisame said as she found herself outvoted. She shook her in disbelief and stood up to Danica. ‘Alright. We'll leave.”
      The sound of thunder rumbled from beyond the walls. Brie, Chisame and Danica unfolded their yellow ponchos and slipped them on. Alysia took her poncho and left for the bathroom. Inside, Alysia took the towel off and revealed her light brown hair. She slipped on her poncho first. As she fastened the hood in place, she turned to the mirror. Alysia gasped at her reflection. A pulse pumped out of her heart and bracelet. She could not move for a moment. Frozen in place, her mind grappled with her memories. Flashes of moments captured in her life, one after another, where she believed herself to have been born with white and light blue hair. It was worse. She was staring at the girl that Oryn said stole her life.
      Alysia slid her hand over her dyed hair. Her heart pulsed again. She thought she was dreaming again, staring at her reflection, with this hair. She thought this person was trying to steal her memories again. The winged girl stretched her hair and carefully burned a little off. She looked at the lock in the palm of her hand and it was light brown. Alysia lost all sense of reality. The enchantment activated and pounded hard on her head.
      “How?” Alysia lurched over the sink. Her memories trying to make clear of who she was. The struggle to discern the truth was overwhelming. She wanted answers. The winged Sentinel needed to know if that couple really was her parents. She could feel her memories tell her it was true. Yet it contradicted with the conviction that they hurt her and replaced her with another look alike.
      “Please.' She moaned. ‘It can't be. They can't be. I can't be.”
      The pain was too much to handle. She pulled her right hand back with a roar. Alysia threw her punch. The memory of her punching the mirror made her stop short of the glass. She looked at the scars on her knuckles. Her lips trembled. The door opened and Brie and Chisame jerked their heads back. Alysia turned to them with hurt eyes. She held her head again as the pain increased.
      “Here Alysia,' Chisame said. ‘Let's sit you…”
      “DON'T TOUCH ME!' Alysia slapped Chisame's hands away. She screamed in pain and stumbled onto the wall. The winged girl's eyes wandered all over the place. The world blurred and spun around. She lost control of her mind, her thoughts, and her memories. ‘That's not me. Why would I erase my own memories? Why would I steal my own life? Why would I hurt my parents?”
      Heads turned as Alysia lowered her arms. They shook so uncontrollably that nothing could stop it. What she said did not make sense. A memory erased from her mind, but a feeling reamined, a fear that what she just said may be true. Without hesitation, she stumbled out of the bathroom and into the hallway. Clutching her head, the winged Sentinel bumped into the wall. Alysia dropped to her knees before Danica and looked up. She used the thief as leverage, to get back on her feet.
      “Hey Shorty, what's with you?”
      Alysia's mind snapped. Without thought she ran, unaware that the Sentinels are following her. Out into the drizzling rain. Never looking back. Ignoring the calls of her friends to stop. She ran for a while through the streets, passing through the near empty neighborhoods. She crossed a street in front of a police car.
      “Just one of the neighborhood kids.” One of the officers said as they watched her run by.
      Alysia slowed down for a moment. She clutched her head again. She looked up and found herself at a playground. There was a familiarity in the air. The winged girl approached the swings, trying to focus her vision. When she touched the chain, her mind froze and the enchantment paused. She stumbled over to a play mirror attached to a slide and she saw her reflection. She lifted her hands up and they were small. Her eyes were green and she scratched her light brown hair innocently. She did not notice the Sentinels behind her in the reflection.
      In their view, Alysia was still a teenager with teal colored eyes and dyed hair. They do not know what was wrong with her. Brie reached out for Alysia but Chisame stopped her.
      “Why Chisame?”
      “We don't know what will happen if we snap her out of it. I remember reading in a book that waking up sleepwalkers is a bad thing. Perhaps this is similar. It's best that we follow her and keep her safe until she snaps out of it.”
      “She better snap out of it soon.' Danica said. ‘From the way Alysia is acting, it's as thought she knows this place. And if this place is what I think it is, then chances are someone from Avalon Tech will be here watching and waiting.”
      They watched Alysia run up to the ladder of the slide. Ready to climb, she paused, looked out of the playground and down a street. It was a neighborhood, the houses were slender and two floors. With parked cars and trees lurching over the sidewalk. Alysia smiled and ran toward that neighborhood. Along the way, she jumped into three little puddles of water, splashing and laughing. She sounded like a little child. More than that, she sounded natural, full of emotion. There was life in her voice. She left the playground and arrived at a house. She ran up the steps and pressed the doorbell. She looked through the window, but the curtains were up, and there was no way to see inside.
      “Kyo.' Alysia's voice was childlike and gentle. It felt authentic to the ears. She knelt down to a mail slot on the door, flipped the lid, and peeked inside. There was a pile of mail laying on the floor addressed to Mr. and Mrs. Kusanagi. ‘Kyo! Are you home? You got mail!”
      Alysia stood up and jumped down the stairs. She looked back and saw all the curtains are up.
      “Aww… he must be out.' Alysia smiled. ‘Oh well. I guess I'll come back later.”
      Alysia ran by the Sentinels as Brie wiped away her own tears. Chisame and Danica ran after her as Brie looked up to the house.
      “Where are you, Kyo?' Brie remembered Alysia mentioning Kyo when they first met at Avalon Tech. ‘Alysia's here and she needs you.”
      Alysia hurried down the street and arrived at the second house before the corner. She ran past a sign that read ‘House for Sale'. She hopped up the stairs, one-step at a time, and tried to open the door. It was locked. Alysia knelt down to a loose brick. She pulled it out and there was a key within the wall. Alysia unlocked the door and slid the key and brick back in place.
      Chisame and Danica watched Alysia close the door. Brie caught up with the Sentinels and they went to the house. Inside, they stood in the foyer, where the stairs led to the second floor, and found the place empty.
      “Mommy,' Alysia said opening a refrigerator door open. She reached into the unplugged and empty appliance. ‘may I have some cookies?”
      She stood there looking toward the stove. There was no one there, but Alysia jerked her head back.
      “But dinner is three hours from now.' Alysia lifted her head as though she was looking at her mother. She looked at the wet and muddy tracks she left on the floor, and shifted her head to the side rubbing the back of her head. ‘I'm sorry mommy. I'll clean it up. Really?”
      Alysia walked towards her friends and stopped by an open wall. Alysia looked into what was once the living room.
      “Daddy, where is the mop?' Alysia listened on and then looked upstairs. ‘Okay. I'll change first, and then I'll go down to the basement.”
      Brie and Chisame followed Alysia upstairs. Danica leaned on the wall crossing her arms and kept her eyes out the window. She hoped no one was watching them.
      Alysia stood in a small room. She approached one end of the room. The winged girl lifted her hands and moved them side to side. It was the bed in her mind.
      “Where is it?' Alysia moved her hand up as though lifting up a sheet and she leaned her head to the side. A flash of thought struck her. ‘I hid it. So the monsters wouldn't take her away.”
      Alysia walked to a closet. Bare and empty. There was a loose square on the floor. She pulled the square up and revealed a hole in the floor. The winged girl reached in and pulled out a stuff doll. It was a tiny red bird with a white belly and she was happy that she found it. It was soft and squishy. She gave it a hug. Her eyes shook and her mind shifted from one memory to another. She looked out the window and saw darkness and rain. A light flashed from the window and it frightened her. She ran past Chisame and Brie down the hall.
      “Mommy, Daddy, the light is trying to get me.' Alysia opened the door and ran to the bed she saw in her mind. She climbed up onto a bed and wedged herself between her parents, their faces masked within the dream. She laid on her back as she felt their arms cover her. She closed her eyes and smiled. ‘Goodnight Mommy, goodnight Daddy. I love you.”
      Brie and Chisame stood there watching Alysia lay on the bare floor, clutching her doll tightly. Their eyes welled with sorrow and sadness. Unable to help Alysia at a vulnerable moment. They watched Alysia rest easy and as they approached Alysia to wake her up, the sound of the door downstairs opened.
      “What are you doing here?” A woman said.
      Brie and Chisame hurried to the stairs and saw Danica stepping back ready to fight the woman.
      “Wait.' Chisame said. ‘It's okay, we know the people who live here.”
      “What are you talking about?' The woman looked at the girls. ‘Nobody lived here since April.”
      “April?' Brie said. ‘What happened to the people who lived here?”
      Alysia crawled on her hands and feet. She leaned by the door of her parents room wiping away her tears. She could hear their voices echo throughout the empty halls.
      “I don't know all the details but from I understand was that after the couple's daughter died from a head injury she got playing hockey, they just disappeared. Left everything behind. So the city took over the property and empty out all of their belongings. It's so sad. First they lost their son when he was baby and then lost their daughter.”
      “Son?” Brie said.
      “I guess we're in the wrong place then.” Danica said.
      “May I ask one more question?' Chisame said as the woman nodded. ‘Where did they bury their daughter?”
      “If I remember correctly, the couple buried their daughter in a cemetery five blocks from here. Perhaps they wanted to keep her close to home.”
      Everyone heard loud footsteps stomping on the second floor. Alysia ran down the stairs and jumped halfway. She flew over them, her poncho spread open like a cape, and she landed by the door without injury. She leapt again, her feet just inches off the ground, gliding out of the house, and landing on the concrete at the bottom of porch steps.
      “Did she just…' Danica said. ‘…fly?”
      “Let's go.” Chisame said running after Alysia. The Sentinels saw her turn the corner and they tried to keep up with her.
      Alysia held onto her doll as she knew which cemetery the woman was talking about. The neighborhood was so clear now. She remembered as much as she could despite the fragments within her memories, but it was enough for her to have a clear mind. She wanted to know if what she heard was true.
      “I can't be dead.' Alysia said as she entered the cemetery and did not know where to begin. Many of the tombstones were old dating as far back as the 1700's. The graveyard was a large area. She followed a cobblestone path down a hill. The rain got heavy as she walked further inside. She held onto her doll tight under her poncho as she remembered a tree in this cemetery. It was where her parents buried her baby brother. She saw that tree at the top of the hill in the distance. Alysia ran to the steps. When reached the top, she dropped her doll. She knelt down on one knee. Her eyes trembled and her hands clutched her poncho. ‘No.”
      Beside her brother's grave, was a tombstone that had her name on it. Dated from 2000 to 2013. Seeing that ached her heart and triggered the enchantment. It became clear when she remembered what Doctor Marcel said to her before she escaped with Reya and Brie. How he found her. More than that, he lied to her parents when she went to have her concussion check. She could feel it in her heart. It all fell into place.
      “He told my parents I died and they took me away. Nobody knew I was alive.' She looked at her grave. ‘Who is buried here?”
      Alysia placed her hands on the grass ready to dig when she heard footsteps behind her. Someone was coming up the stairs and fearing that she might get caught, she hid behind the tree. Alysia noticed that the tree was on the edge of the hill and it sloped to a bunch of bushes and trees below. The rain did not help either, creating mud and made the grass slippery. She held on tight so she would not fall.
      “Eh?' A boy said. His voice sounded like it was developing into a young man. Yet it sounded familiar. ‘I remember this doll. This belonged to Alysia.”
      “Kyo?” Alysia whispered under her breath. She struggled to look around but she found herself in a very unsafe position and could not move.
      “Alysia?' Kyo said.
      “Ky… ahhh.” Alysia lost her footing and slid down the muddy slope. She rolled into the bushes and felt a bruise on her foot. The pain increased the strength of the enchantment. She clenched her head as Kyo pushed his way through the bushes past her.
      The Sentinel saw the boy looking around. He looked taller the last time she saw him. His hair was, black, short and a little spiky at the ends. He looked more handsome than Alysia could imagine and her heart skipped a beat. With her doll in hand, he called out her name one more time.
      The winged girl could hear the pain in his voice. She tried to move but the enchantment paralyzed her. She tried to scream but the spell made her focus on the pain. The Sentinel watched him drop to his knees and stare at her doll.
      “It's not fair. Why did have to you die? Why? All the things we did. All the trouble we got into. We were going to go to Memorial Academy together. We promised.”
      “Kyo.” Alysia whispered as she grappled with her body to move.
      “Everyone kept telling me that you were gone. That I had to move on. It's so easy for them to say that, but they don't know how I feel about you. I felt so alone. So lost. I wanted to be with you so much. I tried to…”
      As Kyo lifted his left arm up, Alysia covered her mouth. She saw a scar on his wrist short of piercing the vein. The sound of his cries made her reach out to him with her scarred right hand. She curled it into a fist and clutched the muddy ground. With each move, she pulled herself out from under the bushes.
      “Kyo.' She whimpered as Kyo saw a hand stick out of the bushes. Alysia crawled out. The numbness of her body overwhelmed. As she emerged out of the bushes, a branch caught her hood and pulled it back. She saw Kyo's eyes twitch as the rainwater washed away some of the weak dye. Alysia paused taking a deep breath, collecting her energy. Her emotions fought back the enchantment. ‘I'll beat you Oryn.”
      “Alysia?' Kyo said as he watched her stumble right in front of him. Sitting on her knees, she took his left hand with her right arm and they stared at their scars. They were silent. Kyo rubbed his hand over Alysia's hair and saw the dye on the palm of his hands. He looked at her hair and saw white and light blue locks. He looked deep into her teal eyes and tears fell down his cheeks. ‘What happened to you?”
      “I…' Alysia's said as her lips trembled. Her hands shook violently and clutched Kyo's arms. Tears mixed with the rain as she tightened her grip. ‘…I feel so broken.”
      Alysia lifted her head up. The rain splashed on her face. Her tears dripped off her chin. Her eyes froze in place. Her heart physically hurting with each beat. The memories of everything she went through, of everything she lost raced through her mind. The emotions she truly wanted to express finally emerged. A deafening scream Kyo never heard of before. It made the birds in the trees fly away. She never let up with each breath. An explosion of pain and trauma once held back by the spells cast upon her by Oryn, now unleashed for the world to hear. She would not stop. A great release that eased the pounding on her head. That eased the hurting within her heart.
      All Kyo could do was hold her tight. He felt helpless as he held her. He had no idea what she went through. What he did know was that she was alive, and her death was a lie. He tried to pull her into his arms but her grip tightened and was brutal. Kyo felt his arms crushed under the pressure of Alysia's hands. He took the pain, all of it. When her hands loosened, he pulled her in and wrapped his arms around her. Kyo stroked her hair as she took short breaths. He felt Alysia clutching his shirt, her eyes glazed over looking up to him, and her eyelids lowering slowly until they closed. He scooped his hands under her legs and stood up to his feet. The young boy heard the bushes rustle and Brie and Chisame arrived. He did not know who they were but he saw the tears in their eyes, and the want to come closer to Alysia.
      Instead, Brie and Chisame stepped aside as Kyo carried Alysia out into the open. Chisame followed him as Brie looked at Alysia's doll. She picked it up and held it to her chest. When everyone stepped out, they looked up at the top of the hill.
      There Danica stood before Alysia's grave. Her eyes welled up in tears. The thief noticed everyone watching and she turned her back on them, pretending to not care for them. She looked back at the tombstone with corner of her eyes and whispered.

To Be Continued...