[The final chapter of The Holder of Deliverance.]

“Why does the snow fall?”
“It snows to mask Their eternal sadness.”

“Why does the river flow?”
“It flows to carry those that have died peacefully to their final resting place.”

“Why does the Pendulum swing?”
“It swings for each lost soul that has seen their final deliverance. Allow me to tell you their tale.”

Winter passed away with the months, and it had reached that delicate time of the year when the snow had long stopped falling, but the first early spring rain hadn’t yet come. The streets of Manhattan were bare, and color was only just beginning to return, even to this concrete jungle. Reds and greens were beginning to stand out more, now that the fierce grip of January and February were gone.

The only spot where the color refused to return was in the figure of a white woman standing in the street under an apartment building. The message carved into the brick wall behind her had worn away. The apartment above that had once belonged to a foolish young man had been cleared out, the new tenants already moved in.

As the world continued to move on, she waited. As long as she waited, he would come. Hours turned into days, and turned into weeks. Until finally, the day came when her patience was rewarded.

A young man approached her, also dressed in a white robe, similar to hers. The fool himself was no more. The man that stood before her was the Holder of Deliverance, and nothing more. Even though he looked like the same person, his eyes showed no naiveté, and no compassion, but only a hint at what he held in his heart. Unbounded knowledge, and unknowable fear.

“Are you the Holder of Deliverance?” she asked, echoing the words once spoken to her by Jules Quincy.

He responded in turn, “Deliverance is held by only those that have so earned it.”

He did not lead her away to the river, as she would have in that situation. Instead, he nodded at her knowingly and drew the Pendulum directly out of his pocket.

“You’ve come for this, haven’t you?”

She hesitated, before holding out her hands like a beggar. “I only want to check on it.”

Deliverance scanned her up and down impassively, and in an act unheard of to Seekers, the Holder placed it into the palm of her hands softly, the silver chain curling around the diamond-like head.

He waited, watching her carefully. For a moment, a hint of want flitted in her eyes, and her fingers wrapped around it. Then, she closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She squeezed the Pendulum in her hand once tightly before handing it back to Deliverance.

If this had still been the same boy, he would have thanked her, or wished her well. Instead, Deliverance merely shook his head at her, wearing an odd expression. One that she couldn’t quite read. It was the face of a Holder, the face of a world she had been released from.

“You won’t find me here anymore.”

“No,” she said firmly, “I won’t.”

The Holder of Deliverance reached into the wall and tore open the black scar. Black, oily water poured from the bottom of the slit and across the ground, staining the concrete. Without giving a second look to the woman, the man stepped inside the scar, letting it snap shut behind him. The wall was left unmarked, and in the next moment, the black water was gone.

She didn’t know where she should go now, but she didn’t feel so lost anymore. Before, only the Pendulum lay before her. Now, there was everything. Though the world was returning to color, she remained as a patch of white, a reminder of the winter that it had left behind.

“It doesn’t always follow the formula.”
Last modified on 2010-01-01 19:49:07Viewed 6009 times

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