Chapter 26: Down to Sleep

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Tamesis followed a gravel path down rows upon rows of headstones. Some were marble, some were granite. Squared corners, rounded corners, crosses... Her grip on the bouquet of lilies intensified as she turned left. At the sixth plot she knelt down and placed the white flowers on a heart-shaped slab of engraved limestone.

Once more returned 
to the River from which we all flow.

In Everloving Memory of
Rimona Silvey-Winters

Fourteen years already. Tamesis sighed deeply. I miss you, Mom. Her fingers trailed the engraved letters. I hope you don't mind me visiting you in my dreams, but I need you. Please, grant me strength. Protect me. Help me protect the woman I love.

Her hand slipped off the stone to her thigh. The silky fabric of her dress covered the tattoo, but she didn't need to see it to feel its power.

You wouldn't believe the mess we're in—or, the mess that found us. Still, in my attempt to help resolve it I made some terrible mistakes. I'm sorry, Mom. I fucked up.

She clenched her dress and suppressed the tears that stung her eyes.

I'm sorry I took prescription drugs without an actual prescription. I'm sorry I risked an overdose.

The corners of her mouth rose in an attempted smile, but her eyes betrayed her sorrow and regret.

I'm sorry for the fact I'd do it again if it would help...and if Devon would allow it. This stalker is driving me nuts—us nuts. I fear I'll end up in an asylum if this doesn't stop soon. Her jaw clenched. And Devon in the hospital.

Nearing footsteps on the gravel path caught her attention.

Speaking of the Devil. She took a deep breath. Devon and I are going to try and settle this tonight. Please, watch over us.

She kissed the tips of two fingers and placed them on the limestone, briefly closing her eyes. The steps halted, the rustling of the wind through the trees the only sound remaining. Satisfied, Tamesis rose and straightened her dress. She turned around, expecting to see Devon standing there, patiently waiting for her.

Instead, she stood eye to eye with Elymas.

Taken aback by his respectful distance, hands in the pockets of his long coat, Tamesis remained still, unsure what to do. His expression was serious, his eyes lacking the usual malice.

The silence between them lingered until Tamesis broke it. "What do you want?"

He nodded towards the grave. "Do you miss her?"

Tamesis frowned, confused by him seemingly avoiding her question. "Of course I do. She was my mother."

He took a few steps closer, gaze fixed on the engravings. "Yet you were, what? Eight?"

"Does that matter? I still remember her." She balled her fists. "What do you want? You here to desecrate her grave? Her memory? Does that get you off?"

He looked up at her, still serious. "There are a lot of things that get me off. So how about we talk about the things that actually do." A grin finally crept onto his face. "You know what I want."

Tamesis crossed her arms and glared at him. "Keep dreaming then, because Devon doesn't want you."

"Which is why I am here." He sat down on one of the gravestones. "Our last reality together got cut—"

"Reality?" Tamesis exclaimed. "You're insane! This is not reality. Nothing we create in here is."

He wagged his finger and shook his head. "When it comes to memories, what is the difference between those of dreams and those of Earth?"

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