Epilogue

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Two universes collide in an infinite Void. The energy of their impact creates a whole new world and life. Human life. What are the odds? And what are the odds that those human lives, holding their precious souls like candles cupped between delicate fingers, would be the key to sustaining both universes throughout time?

There are some equations that are not meant to be calculated.

For the first time, Jaylina understood what that meant, to not intuit the calculation, but to appreciate the beauty of the Now.

That was long ago. She had long since returned to the material world. She no longer experienced that dizzying feeling of being far from home. She'd found her home and took her place as a revered shaman of the People of the Water. Though great and worthy men courted her, she kept her word to Michael. She thought of him often. She knew with all her heart that he was still out there somewhere searching for his daughter while Luna waited for him back home. This did not bother Jaylina. It gave her contentment. She told him once she had enough love for both of them and that had not changed.

Shadow and darkness continued to exist in the world. She knew he would be there, keeping an eye out. All humankind had its part to play. The Left Hand of Light silently watched over our material world like a traveler tending a warm and gathering fire while the human race found its essence and united it. The world, a beacon of human light. Perhaps he was there now, watching her from afar from some other dimension. The thought gave her solace.

Jaylina had a presence. A knowing. She and Afunakwa set about re-teaching the People of the Water. Never again could they lose their grasp on their unending task to protect the Mouth of the World and the souls of humankind. There, her gifts were respected. Adored.

Once in a while someone would knock at the door to bring food or to ask her questions about loved ones they'd recently lost. Jaylina could not commune with the dead, could not cross as Michael could. She would do her best to sooth, to say that they had gone to a better place. Sometimes they left in happiness, sometimes in tears. But they believed, because they could see in Jaylina eyes something there. She had seen. She had been.

"Remember," Bellamy had instructed her once.

She put her hand on the scratched and filth-stained cover of an antique journal, her last connection to Bellamy Clayhaus Martin. She had found it in the cellars of an abandoned building once when she traveled with Afunakwa to the mainlands to search for their father. They had traveled for days on dusty northern coastal roads and found a broken building not far from the sea. She rooted for hours through the vine-covered ruins until she found what she was looking for. Afunakwa never asked her why, and she never told anyone.

Jaylina sat by the open window of her bako while gentle sunshine lay like a blanket over her shoulders.

We are all connected, we souls, the sun and the moon. Even to the stars and universes beyond our ken. The thought still made her tremble with awe.

A young boy ran into the room. His eyes were violet-blue. "Mother, may I go outside?"

"Of course you may, Aiden," she said with a smile. Then he was gone. She wondered for a moment if he had ever been there.

She once explained to Michael that millions of years from now, our sun would perish. If humankind somehow survived that, billions of years later our galaxy would freeze and die. What was the point of recording information that would someday evaporate like water on a hot plate? Why try if the entropy of our realm was destined to approach zero?

Hope, he had answered.

She took out a paper and pen and began to write her story of the human race. Her first story she dedicated to Michael. It was all about the affair between a forgiving green land and its relentless lover, the sea.

While she wrote, Bellamy's words from his journal haunted her.

In halls of light that rise above the sea
we climb as fishes watch us from below.
We escalate beyond earth's canopy
into a place of things we cannot know.

To leave our world and touch the moon's cool face,
to catch the solar wind in silken sail,
less lightly burdened spirits stay the race.
Poor laden souls that tow their sorrows fail.

Like fireflies we light among the stars,
cast off the fleshy nets that once we wore;
released to heaven from our earthly jars,
we peer behind the universe's door.

          The sky, a lens that focuses the night;
          the earth, a beacon of our human light.



THE END

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