Written by jrcsalter

They found Holly waiting in the living room, the television tuned to the news channel. It was reporting on Allison’s duel, and now had helicopter shots of the ruined city.   Allison took a couple of breaths and visibly calmed down. She looked to Kate and fell into her arms. ‘Oh, I missed you,’ Allison said.   Kate seemed a little wary of Allison, but she returned the embrace and kissed her, tears streaming.   Atharron had found a first aid kit and began cleaning himself up. ‘I told you not to trust that girl,’ he said.   Allison let go of Kate and rounded on him. In one swift motion, she threw her fist into his cheek. ‘I’m not in the mood for “I told you so’s”.’   ‘It was a trap. She defected far too easily, those vampires knew exactly where we would be, and Rob found Kate almost as soon as he started to look for her. He planned this. Anna was never on our side. Face it. Your daughter is gone.’   Allison stepped back and huffed, ‘I hate you.’   ‘You may do, but you can’t deny the facts.’   Allison sighed. ‘Once you’ve finished with those bandages, you’re leaving.’ She turned to Kate. ‘What about your dad?’   Kate looked up. ‘I haven’t seen him since I got taken.’   ‘No,’ Allison said, ‘because he’s supposed to be dead. Atharron thinks that he was a diversion. That he wasn’t actually Nicky Harris.’   ‘I know my own father when I see him.’   Atharron cracked a bitter laugh. ‘Just like Allison knows her own daughter?’   The room fell quiet until Holly broke the silence. ‘Where’s Rob?’ she asked.   Allison looked around also, as if seeing his absence for the first time. Atharron stopped his bandaging to face Holly. He took a deep breath. ‘Vampires. There was nothing I could do.’   Holly’s eyes widened. She looked to the rest of them and screwed her eyes up as if to stop the tears which fell. Allison moved to her, embracing her, and Holly cried into her neck. After a second or two Holly jumped back. ‘Sorry,’ she said, ‘you gave me an electric shock.’ She stood up and walked upstairs. ‘I need to go to bed.’   Allison stood as well. ‘We won,’ she said to the room. ‘Sort of. In exchange for the Emissary’s life, we have given two of our own.’   ‘I know we all liked Rob,’ Kate said, ‘but I’m sure he still only counts as one person.’   Allison braved her face. ‘Rob is one … I am another.’   Kate creased her brow. ‘What?’   ‘Mathew died. His power emptied into me and I cannot contain it. I feel it rising inside me like a shaken bottle of Champagne. My outburst just now was a mere fraction of it and I cannot contain it all. I am going to die soon. I feel it. I can see it. I have a week. Two weeks. I don’t know.’ Kate held out her arms and drew Allison into them.

Over the next week, Allison set her affairs in order and wrote her will, preparing for her death. She cancelled all gigs and remained at home. Towards the end, she decided she would make one last album. Using the material she wrote after Kate had been taken, she recorded the songs in her house along with Chad. She recorded the bass herself separately and mixed it in with the rest afterwards. She dedicated the work to Rob and the album’s due date ended up being three days after her death.   Four days after she finished her final piece, she went to bed and Kate lay next to her. They kissed and Kate drew back. ‘Ow. You shocked me,’ she said. They clasped hands, and again Kate received a shock.   ‘It’s started,’ Allison said. ‘I don’t know why I’m so afraid. I know what’s out there for me, but I’m scared. Katie,’ she cried, ‘help me.’ Kate looked lost. ‘I don’t know how.’   ‘No, of course you don’t. You need to leave.’   ‘What?’   ‘Leave. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but whatever it is, you are not going to get caught in it.’   ‘I just got you back.’ Kate squeezed Allison’s hand tighter. ‘I’m not going anywhere.’ She smiled. ‘And besides, I made a promise to you. Until the End.’ Kate embraced Allison, and the minor voltage emanating from her. Kate twitched when small sparks leapt from Allison’s skin, but she ignored them and they lay down together.   A branch of lightning fled from Allison and smashed into the wall beside her. Another jumped across the room. And another. Soon the entire bedroom was filled with flashing blue light and flickering orange flames, but Allison saw nothing except Kate’s affectionate and fearful eyes looking back at her.

Allison opened her eyes and saw trees surrounding her and green grass beneath her bare feet. A blue sky covered the garden, and Allison knew she was okay. She looked to her left and saw Kate smiling back at her.   They walked, naked and carefree, through the path, looking around at the beauty. They turned a corner, and a man waited for them. He looked no different than when he was alive, and he laughed as Allison ran, throwing her arms around him, unable to contain her joy at being reunited with her father. When they separated, she clasped Kate’s hand again and the three walked farther. Later on, they met up with Rob, and at the end of the path they followed, Allison saw a gate. Behind it stood her dreams. Cat appeared, her halo shining brighter than the Sun, to lead them to the beginning.

Cover image: by JRCSalter


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