I went to my granddaughter’s room. What a beautiful child. Her lips were in a soft pout as she slept. Her thick, rich hair embraced the pillow and looked like it could have been a fine piece of silk. I softly stroked her brow. Her beautiful, dark eyes opened and beheld me like a treasured friend.
“It is time,” I told her. “You know that I will not feel pain. You know that my spirit will follow yours?”
The child smiled softly and reached out her arms to hug me.
“I will go first and lead the way. You must not lose spiritual sight of me, Grandmamma,” she whispered firmly.
Philippe had promised me that she would not witness my murder. He told me that the child’s body would pass out of this dimension before my physical body was destroyed. I was frightened, of course, but also excited to see my beloved home—to walk beside my father and wade my toes in the river again—to sit in the hard wooden pew of the Lindal Hill Chapel and sing the old church hymns.
We left the house on Montague Street at midnight and went for a carriage ride down the river. Somewhere, near a short bridge, we stopped. It was raining badly, and there was mud everywhere, but we had waited for the rain. Now that it was here, we were excited to get it all over with. Philippe hid the carriage under large imposing trees. Meredith Mae and I walked up close to the bridge but kept ourselves hidden from the road. It was a fierce, black night. Under a large tree I stared into my granddaughter’s eyes as we held hands.
“Are you ready?” I asked her.
She looked at me sweetly and nodded. Soon, she started to sway and hum. I knew Philippe stood behind me with a pistol pointed at the back of my head. I do not know how long it was that we stood together like that, but at some point, I could no longer see the black night or hear the heavy rain. Meredith Mae was all that I saw. I heard nothing either, not even the sound of her singing. Then, in one fantastic second, the body of my granddaughter was replaced with emptiness, and in almost that same instant, a quick, sharp fire in my brain threw back my head, and with some mighty force; I flew out in circles so fast that I lost sight of everything except my own speed.
Suddenly I stopped moving, and it was then that I knew I had returned to darkness. Through this opaque mist, I could see Patience’s body on the ground. The fear subsided and the anxiety of weightlessness set in. I watched Philippe tie stones around her wrists. The body of Patience Guyon Cummings had fallen in an almost seated position, the white dress now filthy, the hair a bloodied knot, and the shocked still-open mouth that seemed to catch the rain like drops of wine was still.
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