Friday, December 10, 2004

 

the child, twenty-five


The Master was at her side. He did not come there; he simply was there. Smiled down on her. Pulled up a chair and sat by her. Slipped his arm around her and breathed his breath upon her.

'Thank you,' she whispered, looking adoringly up into his face.

'My peace upon you, Starr, and within you. And through you. My peace.'

She leaned against his strong shoulder, feeling as ever his strength flowing into her.

'What just happened?'

That was Stone. He was looking at her with such a peculiar expression on his face. 'Starr?' he said. A nervous laugh escaped him. 'You're, uh, acting like someone just came and sat down with us.'

'Someone just did. The Master did.'

He laughed nervously again. 'But I don't see anyone...'

'You don't?'

'He doesn't, no,' said the Master.

She looked up at him, so real and present to her eyes. Her favorite saying of, 'I don't understand,' formed on her tongue.

But she never spoke it. 'You don't need to understand,' the Master said gently. 'Only know this, dear - that of all people, Stone must know who and what you are. And so I am showing him, here and now, what it will be to be with you. All his life.'

She had no answer to that. She did not need one.

Stone leaned closer to her, staring intently at the space beside her that she was obviously holding a private conversation with. 'What is he saying?' he asked.

'That he's...' But the Master shook his head, and she fell silent. And then it struck her. 'Stone? You asked what he is telling me? You believe he's here then? You don't think I'm crazy?'

'Crazy? You? Of course not!' he replied. And then, 'Look, Starr. When I first met you, it was plain to me that you see things I don't. There was something you were looking at then that was scaring the daylights out of you. And I didn't see a thing.'

'I saw the Master. He was showing me something. And, yes, it frightened me.'

'What did he show you?'

This time a nod of permission. 'His true size,' she replied.

Stone tilted his head and looked away again, thinking on what the Master's true size must be, seeing with his imagination what had been withheld from his eyes that day. And then he grinned. 'Oh, that must have been a sight!' he said. And then he added, 'All right. I understand now why you nearly collapsed. But you're not frightened now. And he's holding you in his arms right now.'

'How...? You can see him!' she exclaimed.

'No,' he chuckled. 'But I can see you. And the way you are leaning on him, if you were just pretending to lean on someone who wasn't really there, you'd be falling over sideways out of your chair.'

Stone fell silent for a bit. And when he spoke again, his voice was so wistful that Starr's heart ached for him. 'I wish...' he said, 'but I hate that word wish. I long...' he sighed. '...to be able to see the Master the way you do. And hear him, the way you obviously hear him. Me, I can't say I've really seen him since he pulled me out of the mire of my dungeon and brought me here. And as for hearing him - I would love to hear his voice ringing in my ears. And maybe some handwriting on the wall to go with it, just for confirmation. But I don't usually have something extraordinary like that - like what you're seeing - happen to me. For me, it's little things, here and there, adding up into a pattern. And then I follow the bit of pattern I can see, following it where it leads - and it's only afterwards, usually, that I will look back over it all and see, yes, this was what the Master wanted me to do.'

He paused. 'I would like for it to be clearer. I would like to see him stand before me, even if I scared me till I fell on my face, like you nearly did. But it doesn't happen like that for me.'

She looked into the Master's face. A nod to her.

'Maybe,' she said, 'some day it will.'

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