Just as Mary was putting the map and Emily’s drawings into her portfolio, Sean walked into the shop.
“You must be Marilyn’s boy. I knew you when you were little,” Edwin said, “I’ve been talking to Mary, she tells me you two are getting married tomorrow morning.”
“That’s right. I do remember you, vaguely. I think I was in this shop, with my mother, when I was young,” Sean said, looking around, “It was a toy store then.”
“So it was. It’s hardly a store at all anymore. Just a collection of things nobody needs; things nobody wants,” said Edwin, smiling, “Business is good.”
“I’ve been showing Emily’s drawings to Mr. Duddle. He knows where most of the places are located,” said Mary, “He gave me a map.”
“So, Edwin, I take it that you are aware of Mary’s powers?”
“Yes, I received some instruction from Emily before she left. I know that Mary is the chosen one,” said Edwin, “I have been waiting for her for a long time.”
“Sean, Edwin has agreed to be a witness tomorrow,” said Mary, “Edwin, we’ll be at the courthouse at 10 A.M. Shall we pick you up here at, say, nine-thirty?”
“Yes, that would be nice. I’ll be here. It would be my pleasure.”
Sean and Mary left the shop and returned to their car.
“Edwin studied art with Emily, and he was in Tina’s high school class as well,” said Mary, “He’s familiar with some of the paranormal things Emily knew about, although I don’t think he was ever into it as deep as Emily was, or I am, for that matter. He had a tiff with Tina, years ago, so there may be some tension between them. But Tina told me that it would be alright if he was there. I think Emily would have wanted it that way.”
“Speaking of Emily, has she ‘possessed’ you lately?”
“No, I think she only makes herself manifest at certain times. It isn’t as if she’s hovering over me. I’ve been thinking about the ‘powers’ that she and I share. It isn’t that Emily is here now, it’s as if she is stuck in the past, yet… is somehow able to look forward to the future through a common plane-something which underlies space and time. When this happens she is able to make use of me.”
Sean looked perplexed.
“I’m starting to understand these strange things I’ve been going through,” Mary continued, “Some of those things were in the past—like you and Molly in the motel, or Ramsen stabbing you in the bathroom. They aren’t visions, they are more akin to looking at a video. I need some connection to the event, like your scars, for example, to make it work. Perhaps, when I’ve become more developed, I’ll be able to look into the future, in the way Emily has.”
“Speaking of the future,” said Sean, “I just made arrangements for our honeymoon.”
“I didn’t see that coming—I must not be as advanced as I thought I was,” said Mary, laughing, “Are you going to tell me where we’re going, or will it be a total surprise?”
“Whichever way you’d like it,” said Sean, “It isn’t far away, and it seems to be very nice.”
“Surprise me,” Mary said, “Let’s go back to Tina’s. After lunch, we can check out that bridge, the one in Emily’s drawing. I’m ready for another lesson.”
“It’s about a mile to the bridge from Tina’s,” said Sean, “ Its a nice walk. We can turn it into a picnic.”
“You’re just full of romantic ideas today, aren’t you?”
Sean found an old wicker basket in Henry’s workshop. It had been covered with dust but it cleaned up nicely. Mary made sandwiches and packed them in the basket with a couple of apples and pretzel sticks, some water, and a Lindt chocolate bar. She used her phone to take several photos of Emily’s drawing of the bridge, including a close-up of that area which had been marked on the back of the paper. Happy Hollow Road was quiet. The afternoon sun was warming the gravel but the the shadows along side it were cool—shaded by a canopy of trees. They walked until they reached the place where a roadblock had been erected.
“Tina said that the bridge had been taken out five years ago,” said Sean, “It was beyond repair and, with only a handful of farms on this road, wasn’t worth replacing.”
“What a glorious day. Any enhanced perception I might have is swamped by this,” Mary said, “Whispers from the wind, the quiet symphony of the insects at work, birds calling—I can see why you were sad to leave this place when you were little.”
“This is it, is it not? Why we have been put on earth. You and me, under the afternoon sun, walking the earth, surrounded by life,” said Sean, “At a time like this I begin to think that all the work I've done in my life has been meaningless.”
“And I’ve wondered about my work as well. ADR was just a way to cash in on the miseries that people had created in their own squalid version of reality,” she said, ”If it wasn’t so compelling, I’d be willing to describe this quest of mine, whatever it is, as merely another way to avoid living in the now.”
“It is compelling, isn’t it? The urge to know the previously unknowable; it’s the curse of humanity—it’s what separates us from the other animals,” said Sean.
“Adam and Eve: Sin,” Mary continued, as she moved toward the roadblock, “Sin, in its original sense, is merely knowledge. What I’m looking for understanding. Where Adam accepted things on their face value, Eve was looking for deeper meaning.”
A garter snake, disturbed from its sunbath, slithered between Mary’s feet.
“Care for an apple?” said Mary.