The Passage Page 124

He pulled his eyes away, realizing only then that they were full of tears. The others were standing behind her, a silent chorus of witness.

"We should bury her here. Near her house, her garden."

"We will," Alicia said gently. "I meant about the lights. It will be dark soon. Michael says we have a full charge if we want."

He glanced past her to Michael, who nodded.

"All right," he said.

They closed the gate and gathered in the Sunspot-all except Michael, who had returned to the Lighthouse. It was just twilight, the sky purpling overhead. Everything seemed held in suspension; not even the birds were singing. Then with an audible pop the lights came on, dousing them all with a fierce and final brilliance.

Michael appeared to stand beside them. "We should be good for tonight."

Peter nodded. They were silent for a time in the presence of this unspoken truth: one more night, and the lights of First Colony would darken forever.

"So now what?" Alicia asked.

In the stillness, Peter felt the presence of his friends around him. Alicia, whose courage was a part of him. Michael, grown lean and hard, a man now. Greer, his wise and soldierly countenance. And Amy. He thought of all that he had seen, and those who had been lost-not just the ones he knew of, but those whom he did not-and he knew what his answer was.

He said, "Now we go to war."


The last hour before dawn: Amy crept from the house, alone. The house of the woman called Auntie, who had died; they had buried her where she'd sat, wrapping her body in a quilt from her bed. On her chest Peter had placed a photograph he had taken from her bedroom. The ground was hard, it had taken them many hours of digging, and when they were done, they had decided to sleep the night there. The woman's house, Peter had said, would be as good as anyplace. He had a house of his own, Amy knew. But he did not seem to want to go back there.

Peter had stayed up most of the night, sitting in the old woman's kitchen, reading from her book. His eyes squinted in the light of the lantern as he turned the pages of her small, neat script. He had made a cup of tea but did not drink it; it sat beside him on the table, untouched, forgotten as he read.

At last Peter slept, and Michael, and Greer, who had traded the watch with Alicia after half-night; she was up on the catwalk now. Amy stepped onto the porch, holding the door so it wouldn't bang behind her. The earth was cool with dew under her bare feet, soft with a pillow of needles atop the hardpan. She found the tunnel under the trunkline without difficulty, dropped through the hatch, and wriggled through.

She had felt him for days, weeks, months. She knew that now. She had felt him for years, since the beginning. Since Milagro and the day of the not-talking and the big boat and long before, through all the years of time that stretched inside her. The one who followed her, who was always nearby, whose sadness was the sadness she felt in her heart. The sadness of missing her.

They always went home, and home was wherever Amy was.

She emerged from the tunnel. Dawn was moments away; the sky had begun to pale, the darkness dissolving around her like a vapor. She moved away from the walls, into the cover of the trees, and sent her mind outward, closing her eyes.

-Come to me. Come to me.


-Come to me, come to me, come to me.

She felt it then: a rustling. Not heard but sensed, gliding atop every surface, every part of her, kissing it like a breeze. The skin of her hands and neck and face, the scalp under her hair, the tips of her eyelashes. A soft wind of longing, breathing her name.


-I knew you were there, she said, and wept, as he was weeping in his heart, for his eyes could not make tears.-I knew you were there.

Amy, Amy, Amy.

She opened her eyes to see him crouched before her. She stepped toward him, touching his face where the tears would have been; she put her arms around him. And as she held him, she felt the presence of his spirit within her, different from all the others she carried, because it was also her own. The memories poured through her like water. Of a house in the snow and a lake and a carousel with lights and the feel of his big hand wrapping her own on a night when they soared together beneath the eaves of heaven.

-I knew, I knew. I always knew. You were the one who loved me.

Dawn was breaking above the mountain. The sun was sweeping toward them like a blade of light over the earth. And yet she held him as long as she dared; she held him in her heart. Above her on the catwalk, Alicia was watching, Amy knew. But this didn't matter. What she was witnessing would be a secret between them, a thing to know and never speak of. Like Peter, what he was. For Amy believed Alicia knew that, too.

-Remember, she told him. Remember.

But he was gone; her arms held only space. Wolgast was rising, he was lifting away.

A shudder of light in the trees.

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