Eye of Serpent
In the quiet room, Tapestry laid down the five cards representing the major forces in play. She kept them in the order of her first reading. The Chariot. The Star. The Devil. The Knight of Cups. The Day of Judgment. The Lovers.
She took a deep breath and relaxed. She eased her mind into harmony with the Great River.
She turned a card and laid it down covering the bottom half of the Chariot.
Gallant reached for the seat controls and reclined the chair back for his sleeping master. Fuermacher’s eyes flickered open to slits and he smiled. Then he was asleep again. Gallant took the autopsy report from his master’s lap and moved off to the forward lounge of the jet.
Trent nodded from the couch and turned over another card in the solitaire game he was playing. “Why was he reading the autopsy on James? When you crush someone’s windpipe because he’s shot you with an anti-tank rocket, you know how he died.”
“But maybe not why. We should have looked. Frederick was in surgery, but we should have asked more questions. There was a .3mm gold post in James’ right ear.” Gallant’s voice was smooth but cold and full of self-reproach.
“My God. The Horror. That’s why we’re going to Hong Kong then. Good.” Trent looked up at his old comrade. “How did he guess? We thought it was the Serpent.”
Gallant shrugged, “That’s why he’s Frederick.”
Trent lowered his voice even further, “This could kill him. He’s still bleeding and can barely walk. Why not let us take care of the Horror?”
“But my old friend,” Gallant smiled and his features were harsh, “That’s why he’s Frederick.”
Tapestry studied the card covering the Chariot and let her finger trace over the faces of the two armed figures standing over a fallen warrior. She smiled and slid another card from the deck and laid it down covering the bottom half of the Star.
Kendra Forge walked out of the elevator and down the softly lit hallway. She noted the numbers on the apartments and stopped when she found the one belonging to the Jesby’s.
A honeyed voice filled the air near her ear, “You don’t have to do this. There is some danger to you.”
Kendra had wondered if her Ancient would try to talk her out of this. She smiled, “Right. But you said that it had been done before and I want to do it. Any other thoughts?”
There was no answer. Kendra nodded to herself. She pushed the buzzer.
The door opened and a tall young man stood there looking harried for a second. His eyes met hers and he blinked. She smiled, “Hello, Todd.” Her eyes glimmered with faint green stars.
Todd Jesby hesitated, “Hello?” His expression softened. He felt drawn into her eyes. A moment of confusion passed as he tried to sort out the details of her face and voice. He felt something compelling about this meeting, as if it had happened a hundred times before in a dream.
“Yes,” she breathed, “Dreams are important. Sometimes they are all we have. Dreams, love and standing together against darkness to keep watch for tomorrow. Don’t think. Don’t question. Just look at me. I’m here, Todd. I have to talk to you. Have to hold you in my arms again.”
He tried to say something. He imagined himself closing the door to clear his head. He stared at her eyes and wasn’t aware as his own eyes reflected green stardust.
“I’m here. Look at me. Hold me.” She lifted her arms to him.
His eyes suddenly widened and shone with ecstasy, “Heather! Oh my god, Heather, I’ve been so worried!” He wrapped her in his arms and began kissing her face. “Oh, baby. What happened? Who—?”
“Todd,” Kendra whispered, “Make love to me.”
With joyful haste he pulled her inside and closed the door behind her. He eagerly began tugging at her clothes.
Tapestry considered the card over the Star. It showed a figure standing in a boat looking at another on the shore. She shook her head and rubbed her nipples with her free hand. She frowned and slid another card from the deck and laid it down covering the bottom half of the Devil.
“Honored Patron, there is a problem.” The man bowed his hooded head.
The Celestial Fu glanced at Dr. Ling and pushed Petal Lick away. Slowly the tiny white haired Ancient closed her green robes and belted the sash. “Speak.”
“Inspector Huang is here with a warrant to dig in the gardens.”
Fu’s amber eyes narrowed with outrage, “Which of the judges in my Hong Kong issued such a document? Never mind. Take note of the man’s name and see that by this time next moon he is dead.” She stood up.
Heather Jesby was brought into the windowless room by a green hooded woman.
“You will all wait on my pleasure.” Fu stood and left the room with the messenger. Dr. Ling watched her go despite his bowed position. He walked over to Petal Lick and applied the solvent to the flesh-glue of her eyelid and handed her a white eye patch. The courtesan put it on with a metallic swish of bells. Then he returned to his recording instruments. He knew the Jesby woman would die when Fu returned. He had to be ready.
Heather looked about the room. She had no instructions again. She walked over to Corelle sitting on the floor smiling. She sat down next to her. “Do you know why I’m here?”
Petal nodded and took Heather’s hand, “Yes. My bride has told me to kill you with my Eye.”
Heather began to quiver. “Did you tell her about the secret game we were playing?”
“No. She has not asked? Should I?” Petal squeezed her hand.
“No. It should be a surprise. When she asks, you can tell her, of course.”
Heather leaned closer and whispered, “Corelle. Will it hurt?”
Petal felt something aching inside, “Yes. It will hurt a great deal but it will be quick. You will scream and then it will be over.”
Heather nodded shivering, “It is our bride’s will. I knew it would end like this. I love you, Corelle.”
“I love you, Heather.” Petal felt a pain. Her smooth face flinched.
Heather looked at her wantonly made-up face. “How are you feeling?”
“It hurts.” Petal sounded puzzled.
Heather studied her, “More than yesterday?”
“Yes. Much more.” Petal looked deeply into Heather’s eyes, “It hurts to look at you. It hurts to know I will kill you.”
Heather squeezed Corelle’s hand, “I know that means you are getting better. The hurt means you are healing. Remember you aren’t killing me, Corelle. Our bride is. I’d like you to do something. I couldn’t ask you before; something stopped me. But suddenly I know it’s all right. You remember the secret game we played? When I took the metal from your ear? Let’s play again. I think I have a gold piercing in my ear, too. Would you take it out? I don’t want to die with it there.”
“Of course,” and Petal leaned over and began to nibble Heather’s ear. She used her tongue and she sent waves of pleasure into Heather. Then she found the small metal bit and used her teeth to pull it out. She swallowed it. Then Petal began nibbling her way down the ear rim.
Heather giggled. “Oh, thank you. It does make a difference. That was good.” She felt arousal flowing into her body from the kisses. This confirmed everything for Heather. Somehow the metal post had been a binding. It felt like a chain across her mind had been loosened.
Petal murmured, “We don’t have to stop.”
Heather answered by kissing her.
Tapestry frowned at the card and let her finger trace over the faces of the two entangled figures lying under the descending sword. Death for two? She took a deep breath and slid another card from the deck and laid it down covering the bottom half of the Knight.
Evelyn studied the tiny woman in green robes from under the bill of her blue cap. On the entry porch to the mansion, the inspector and the small woman chatted. Too far away to hear anything, Evelyn tried to memorize the pale face and the amber eyes. The Horror was beautiful and full of elegant grace. The sunlight angled and glinted from her amber eyes as if they were finest crystal. Evelyn decided suddenly that she it was all right to hate this unknown little Horror. She shifted her balance and waited within the group of a hundred men and women in dark blue coveralls from the Hong Kong police force. They all stood patiently with shovels and maps. If the information from Tapestry was correct, the prize-winning gardens at the back of the estate were fertilized with bodies from victims of the Horror.
Doris whispered, “One shot. I could kill her right now.”
Evelyn turned and stared at Doris. Doris’ hand was resting on the 9mm pistol in her utility belt. Under the black wig that she was wearing, her eyes burned with horrible intensity. Evelyn thought the idea of a pistol shot at this distance was crazy. “No. We kill when we have to.”
“I’ve got the rating. I’ve done it with targets. In the confusion—.” Doris’ voice had a shiver of unholy rage.
“Look at me, Doris,” commanded Evelyn.
Doris’ face showed some surprise as she met Evelyn’s eyes.
“We are here for Corelle. We don’t even know for certain that she’s here. I need both of us to get to her because only one of us might get to carry her out.”
Doris nodded and sighed, “Sorry. You’re right.”
They both turned to watch the two figures on the porch.
Tapestry rubbed the card of many armed figures moving to purpose. She felt dread. Failure? She frowned. She looked down at the next card waiting on top of the deck. The next card would cover her own involvement. She took a breath to relax and slid it from the deck and laid it down covering the bottom half of Judgment.
Frederick Fuermacher adjusted the bulletproof vest and tightened it once again against his mangled ribs. Sweat streamed down his back. His hands shook. It wasn’t getting any easier.
Gallant stepped beside him, “Nice speech. The squad is all ready. I haven’t heard you talk like that in a long time.”
“That reminds me of something. I might not make it through this. I plan to, but I’m not kidding myself. If I don’t make it, I need you to do something for me.”
“Name it, my master.”
Frederick took hold of Gallant’s hand in a sweaty grip. “No one interferes with my business and no one calls me a coward. Go to Australia and kill Tapestry.”
“Done.” Gallant nodded feeling the will and the power through the grip of his master.
Frederick smiled. “Let’s go. Dragon slaying time.”
Tapestry looked at the heart penetrated by the downward sword. She didn’t need to touch it. She felt the coldness in her blood. She shook her head slowly. Life was like that. She stuck her tongue out at the pierced heart card and slid another card from the deck and laid it down covering the bottom half of the Lovers.
Dr. Ling found the two writhing women on the floor distracting. He shook his head. It defied logic for the killing courtesan and her impending victim to be passionately mouthing each other’s sex. He found it uncomfortable. He was displeased with his hard-on.
The Celestial Fu returned through the double doors. Anger followed her like a wake. She had used the touch of her hand and her will to finally convince the Inspector to leave. She was infuriated to have been forced to touch him and mingle her River with his. He was common clay, no matter his position.
She mentally added Inspector Huang to the list of people who would die soon.
She stopped when she saw the two on the floor. Her anger found focus, “I do not recall telling you two to have pleasure. I told you to wait on my pleasure.” She crossed the room and seated herself. She adjusted her robes. Looking up she was startled to see that Heather and Petal were still sucking at each other’s flowers. Livid heat blossomed behind her amber eyes.
“Stand up! Immediately!” The voice was much larger than the small body could have produced.
Heather and Petal both jerked to their feet as if they had been pulled up on wires. They stood tall like stiff boards. So did the guards and Dr. Ling.
“Petal it is time for you to do as I bid. Heather, stand there in the center of the dragon inlay. Dr. Ling, begin your recordings.” Fu noted that Petal wore a white silk eye patch. Good. This gloriously awaited moment was at hand.
Heather turned to Corelle even as she began to move to obey, “Tell Todd I loved him.”
Petal nodded. “I will.”
Heather took her place standing in the center of the room. Fu laughed. “Perhaps I shall have Todd brought here, Heather Jesby. Yes. It will be a courtesy for your service to me.”
Heather felt the phantom knife penetrate her ego and she winced. Todd submerged in this evil? Then she shook it off. “I love you, Corelle.” She swallowed. Heal quickly.
Fu looked at Petal, “Now. Kill her slowly to better illuminate the recordings.”
Petal reached up and lifted the patch.
Heather looked directly into the storm—Mygodinheaven.
—Needles melting. Dancing in her hot flesh. Sharp points vaporizing. Amber eyes burning. Frozen eyes melting. Fury. Shameless. Agony banished. Obedience found. Arousal released. Warning given. Death. Her hot liquid sex. Her mind penetrated and raised up. Her fingers crushing her hot pussy lips. So damned hot. Pleasure. Worshipping her beautiful eye. Her eye. Her hot legs opening for her hand. Crouched in front of her. Riding her power. Fingering herself. Her tormentor with white hair draped over her gorgeous robe of sailing dragons. Sweating. Pleased now by Corelle. Standing tall and riding the pleasure. Her slick hot cunt. Loving. Bending to her. Submitting. Her slave. Sinking into her beautiful eye. Tell her about love. Forget the chorus of angry voices. Ignore the cathedral of demons telling her how to die. Ecstasy. More and more. Higher. Her soul smoked. The broken dreams forced into daylight—
Heather screamed. No. It wasn’t quick. It was slow. Corelle had said it would be quick. She felt herself dancing within her superheated flesh.
Petal regretted but she hadn’t chosen. She hadn’t decided. The bite of the Eye was quick. One swift bite could swallow of all the light within Heather, but Fu had ordered slow death. There was only one way to make it slow. Reversing the process. Sending the power to Heather to make the marriage of the greater light with the lesser. Yes. Heather would die in incandescence. She would burn away. Petal felt the storm passing through her eye stir the Corelle thing hidden below. She shuddered.
—Dancing in her hot flesh. Fury. Heat. Shameless. Sex with Todd. Oh, Todd! Plentiful pleasure. Agony banished. Arousal released. Death coming. Her burning hot liquid sex. Her flaming mind penetrated and raised up. Her fingers crushing her scalding hot pussy lips. So damned hot. Pleasure. Worshipping her beautiful eye. Her eye. Spreading her hot legs open for Corelle’s eye. Crouched in front of her. Fuck. Riding her power. Fingering herself. Burning. Corelle. Standing tall and riding the pleasure. Fuck. Her slick hot cunt. Loving. Fuck. Bending to her. Submitting. Her slave. Sinking into her beautiful eye. Tell her how good the flames of love are. Todd. Fuckfuckfuck. Slamming her cunt down again and again on the light.—
Heather kept screaming. Corelle was suddenly there with her inside her head. It wasn’t quick. It was slow. It was gloriously slow.
Tapestry looked at the last card covering the Lovers. She could continue to put down more cards, but she would only fatigue herself and there were other things she had to do yet today. She put down the deck and rubbed her face with both hands. Just like life. Some good. Some bad. Things begin as other things end.
It was probably time to change her residence.
“Jack?” She heard him grumble from somewhere in the kitchen. “We’re moving. Remember you liked Monaco?” She got to her feet and put her hand on the last card and studied it.
Mourners at the casket of a warrior. Swords flying. Blood washing the floor. She sighed. It felt better than it looked but she wasn’t sure. Things were not nearly done.
Jack walked in and waved a huge salami in her direction. “Interested?”
She laughed and felt the heat flash through her loins. She didn’t want food.
It was time. Kendra rolled over on top of the drowsing Todd. She slid her sopping pussy along his cock and felt him become hard again. She rose up and then slid onto his cock and felt it begin. She eased aside as Heather arrived within her flesh, “Todd, I love you. I never wanted to go away. I won’t see you again after this last time.”
His hips worked against her. “Wha—?” He looked up and admired Heather’s intoxicating eyes and blinked. Was one eye green? He thought drunkenly, Heather’s eyes were blue.
Hurry! Kendra encouraged Heather.
“I’m here, baby. I’m dancing inside the flesh. I’m inside the Eye and I can’t fucking take it much longer.” She hammered her cunt down on his cock.
“Heather,” he groaned. A blinding orgasm was building.
“Todd. I love you. Corelle will come and say goodbye for me. I love you!” She screamed and became an incandescent star. Todd came and passed out.
Kendra slumped on his chest. She didn’t quite pass out. The burning heat of Heather’s passage was painful. Slowly, she slid off of him feeling spent. Her pussy felt scalded. She unhurriedly gathered her clothes and dressed. She bent down and kissed his sleeping forehead.
Then she let herself out of the apartment and made sure the door locked behind her.
Evelyn knocked out the cook.
Doris shot the man just outside the kitchen in the back of his hooded head. Evelyn nodded, impressed with how little noise the pistols made with the silencers in place. They immediately left the kitchen and both moved along the hallway.
The men wearing flak vests rolled over the rear fence. Three dropped to the ground and immediately began to shoot anyone walking in the garden. Three more dropped to the soil behind them and ran forward for concealment.
Somewhere an alarm went off. Three more men came over the high wall and dropped to the ground. Multiple shots popped.
The Celestial Fu could only hear the howling ecstasy of Heather Jesby. The Ancient was mesmerized by the display of power before her. Invisible to mortal eyes, a line of force ran between Jesby and the Serpent and it was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen. She knew in an instant that she must possess it for her own.
A Great Light was enflaming the mortal woman. Fu marveled. She had never seen the River; only ever felt it as it hummed in her own blood. Now she was seeing the twisting passionate River before her eyes as it exalted Heather Jesby to a greater force than the one that burned within Fu’s own heart.
Jealousy twined about her Ancient heart. “No more! Kill her quickly, Petal! Do not share any more of the River with that little worm!”
But no one could hear anything but the magnificent scream Heather was making. Petal did not stop.
And so the essence of Heather was quickly consumed. Her body slipped to the floor smoking from the eyes, mouth and genitals.
Evelyn shot a woman in her blank hooded face and rushed past. Alarms were going off now though Evelyn couldn’t imagine what they had done wrong. They had slipped away from the police force as planned as the unit left the grounds. They had worked their way to the kitchen entrance and gone in when a man had dumped garbage.
Now they were in a hornet’s nest. Doris shot two men who rushed around the corner. One got off a shot. Doris loaded a new clip into the pistol from her belt.
Evelyn was following blind hunches. She thought she had heard a scream before the alarms went off. She headed for the distant double doors inlaid with Chinese characters.
Fu stared at the dead woman with something like envy. That was a beautiful and glorious death.
Staring sadly at Heather’s remains, Petal shook as a huge storm rose up from within her, tearing at the delicate tracery of distorted ideas that made up her world. Fury burned across her images of herself and her bride. The Serpent rose up inside and smote Petal Lick in a series of powerful blows that shocked, then scattered the intricate seductions of the golden needles. Petal Lick fell apart.
With a scream of rage, Corelle tackled Fu. Dr. Ling shouted. The guards pulled short blades and dashed to intervene on behalf of their Patron.
The double doors were kicked open.
Evelyn saw the sprawled dead woman on the floor and a rush of bodies moving. She saw the old man notice them first. He wasn’t wearing a hood. He had a face. She hesitated.
Doris didn’t. She shot him through the left eye.
A hooded woman whirled on them and rushed at them with only her hands shaped like claws. Evelyn shot her. Then there were two men upon them quickly with gleaming knives. A pair of quick shots and the men staggered but did not go down.
Then the knives were flashing at them. Doris got off another shot, but her attacker didn’t stop.
Evelyn went smoothly into a defensive counter. She passed by his downward slash. She saw the blood on his chest and quickly shot him in the crotch. He went down with a wail. She shot him again. Then she realized the dead woman was Heather. Her still pale face was distorted into a horribly frozen scream.
Evelyn had a half-second to reflect the scream that had led them here so quickly had been Heather’s.
Doris was down under the weight of the other guard and they were grappling with the gun. Evelyn glanced around to find the Horror. There was a martial battle in progress. A blurring of pale hands and hissing breath between a white skinned woman and the green robed Horror. Evelyn despaired that the attacking woman might injure the Ancient before they could force her to tell Corelle’s location. An instant debate and Evelyn lifted her pistol to wound the nude. The unclothed woman lost her black wig as she spun to avoid a lashing kick from her smaller opponent. She had auburn hair cut close to her head. Then the white eye patch hardly visible against the white flesh registered.
Evelyn whirled back towards Doris and went down on one knee to change her angle of fire. She shot the guard on top of her companion in the head. A spatter of blood danced across Doris’ face and she heaved him off.
When Doris rolled to her feet, Evelyn saw the bloody ragged slash in her friend’s leg.
Then automatic gunfire sounded further down the hallway.
Fu blocked another shaky strike from Petal. “Obey me, my little toy. You are slower with each breath.”
“Petal is gone, bitch,” hissed the Serpent. “I’m going to shit on your bones.” She tried a stretching kick.
Fu blocked it easily smiling, “However you recovered, you belonged to me and you will again. You are weakened from your use of the Eye. Think. You have murdered your lover for me. You are weak.” Fu heard the shots and gauged events again. Then she heard automatic weapons fire; a distinct sound that did not match the weapons her people used. There were invaders in her palace.
From fifteen feet away, Evelyn shot the Horror in the chest, staggering her. Doris Connor’s shot hit Fu in the forehead two seconds later, twisting her head slightly. Corelle saw the torn flesh at Fu’s temple and the wet red unmarked bone exposed.
Fu clamped her teeth together and smashed her sandaled heel down on the floor, breaking the hidden transmitter inside the sole.
The power in the mansion shut off. The room plunged into darkness.
“Crap!” screamed Evelyn. “Corelle! We need to get out!” She couldn’t see a thing. No windows. No lights anywhere.
Fu whispered in the darkness, “Serpent. Until next time.” Then nothing.
Corelle flipped up her eye patch. She read the luminous figures of the room and recognized Doris and Evelyn by their intimate auras. No sign of the Celestial Fu. “I’ll find you. I know the stink of you now.” Corelle heard the weapons fire nearing.
“Doris. Evelyn. This way. Follow my voice.” Corelle scanned around and squinted looking for traces. There. A heat wake in a line for the wall. She moved that way. “This way. The back wall.”
Doris bumped into someone and grabbed.
“Easy!” Evelyn held her. “How bad are you cut?”
“Where’s Corelle?” Doris said heatedly.
“Here,” was the answer out of the dark, “follow my voice. I’ve found a way out. Move quickly unless you brought that army with you.”
“I couldn’t fit one in my coveralls or I would have, " snapped Evelyn.
Doris laughed. They found each other at the rear wall and moved through it. Corelle closed the panel again. They went down into the darkness below.
Tapestry stretched her back and padded barefoot into the living room. She found a discarded pack of cigarettes and shook one out. She lit it and took her first drag. She looked at the sunrise.
It might be over now.
She walked over to the table where her last reading was undisturbed. She leaned over the cards and trailed her fingers across the Chariot. Hmmm. Alive. She moved her fingertips to the Star. Also, very alive.
She dared to touch the Devil. She winced and jerked her hand away. Alive.
She gently touched the Knight. Alive.
She touched her own card. Danger. She nodded.
She touched the Lovers. Alive? Yes, very much.
She blew a smoke ring. Amazing. She was certain that there had been an important death hovering over the major cards. It must have been an interesting battle. Not that anyone will bother telling me what happened. No, of course not. That’s the way it always was.
Jack walked into the living room from the bedroom. His hair stuck out at odd angles and his eyes were half closed.
She smiled. “Morning, Beast.”
He grunted, “Ugh.” He made a line for the smell of coffee in the kitchen.
She grinned. “Hey, you better get ready for me. I want to see how good you look as a French poodle. I’m fuckin’ horny.”
He made a noise in the kitchen to show he had heard her.
Todd Jesby opened the door. Five women stood there watching him. It was a little strange for a moment and he fumbled his first words with surprise. “Y-yes?”
“We’re friends of Heather, Todd. May we come in?” the speaker had an eye patch and her auburn hair was cut like a boy’s. “I have a message she asked me to give you.”
The haircut wasn’t very flattering, he noted with surprise. He swallowed. “You’re Corelle?” It clicked finally. Corelle D’Amber, the billionaire entrepreneur that Heather had interviewed.
She looked surprised. “Yes.”
“I knew you were coming. Sure. Everyone please come in. I’m sorry, the place is a mess.” He stepped aside as they moved past him. He closed the door and looked at them again. “I really didn’t know Heather had so many friends. Thanks for coming.”
The others followed Corelle through the door and stopped to introduce themselves. “I’m Evelyn.” And the strawberry blonde shook his hand firmly. Stern face. He smiled at her.
Brown haired. “Doris Connor.” She was almost pretty. Nice legs. He nodded.
“Dara Henson.” Really good-looking figure. Nice smile. Hair dark as night.
Corelle was looking around the room. She picked up a picture of Todd and Heather in wedding attire and admired it. She set it down.
“Suzie Adler. Pleased to meet you, Todd.” Blonde. Sharp dresser.
He finally smiled and ran his fingers through his hair. For no reason he could think of, he was suddenly embarrassed. The room felt warm and close. “Can I get you all something to drink?”
Corelle shook her head, “Maybe later.” She smiled. “We won’t impose on you. I’m here because Heather asked me to say goodbye.” Corelle stepped forward and put her hands gently on either side of Todd’s startled face. She kissed him and it was long and gentle. He responded in a slightly baffled way. He was flushed.
She broke the kiss. “She loved you very much. Because of her, I love you, too.”
He took a deep breath, “You were with her when she died?”
Corelle thought about what might happen to her or Todd if she admitted that as she stepped back, “Yes. She saved my life.”
Todd nodded and whispered, “She was here, too.” He looked down at the carpet where they had made love the last time. “No one saw her come in the building or leave, but she was here with me at the end.”
Suzie caught her breath. Evelyn watched Todd’s face. Dara tried to smother a look of awe.
Corelle said simply, “I believe you. I recognize the apartment.” She cleared her throat. “If you ever need anything, Todd. Just call me. You or any of your family. Ever. Just call.”
Dara stepped forward hesitantly, “Todd? May I kiss you?”
His body responded with arousal. He couldn’t think of what to say. He noticed that all the women were looking at him intensely.
Dara took the pause for an answer. She leaned up on her toes and kissed him, “Goodbye, Todd. I love you.” She walked to the door and stood watching.
Doris took a step and put a hand on his shoulder. She kissed him, " Goodbye, Todd. I love you.” She stepped away.
Todd took another shaky breath. Shivered. He was stunned and groping for an understanding of his own reactions.
Suzie smiled at him, “Goodbye, Todd. I love you.” She took two steps and wrapped her arms around his broad shoulders and gave him a lingering kiss. Then she walked to the door pulling a tissue out of her purse. She dabbed at her eyes.
Evelyn bit her lower lip. She looked at the young man. In an abrupt motion, she stepped up and kissed him quickly, “Goodbye, Todd. I’ll always have love for you.” Her voice shook slightly.
Dara opened the door at a nod from Corelle and left with a last smile at Todd. Doris followed through the open door and then Suzie. Evelyn took the lever on her way out and pulled the door closed.
Todd cleared his throat twice, “What happened? Shouldn’t I know?” He looked at Corelle.
Corelle admired his poise, “You know everything you need to know. You know what Heather wanted you to know. She wanted you to be safe, Todd.”
He thought about that. “She was here. She told me you would come.”
“How?” He asked.
“I don’t know.”
“So will I ever see you all again?” He felt that they had passed special something to him.
Corelle hesitated. “Only if you really need us. Please pray you never do.” She smiled sadly, squeezed his shoulder and walked out of the apartment closing the door softly.