Later that night, in bed, Sean and Mary were talking.
“The question is, are you really ready to marry a witch?” said Mary. “It isn’t too late to back out.”
“The question is, are you ready to marry into a family with this history?” Sean said.
“I would think that that is a valid question for almost all couples, although in your case I think that the witch part is more pressing issue than any concern I may have about your relatives,” Mary said.
“Do you consider yourself a witch?” asked Sean, “How do you define the word?”
“It’s becoming obvious that my experiences in the last few days are a form of ritual initiation through revelation,” said Mary, “Whatever term one might use, the result is indistinguishable from what would commonly be referred to as witchcraft. I’d prefer not to call it that—it is such a loaded term—and still a pejorative for most people. I’m sorting through a lot of this stuff. What I’ve come up with so far is this: I’m in a special situation, even though it is obvious that what I’m going through has happened many times in the past and will continue to happen. Historically, I don’t have to tell you what happened to witches in the past. I think that now I am in a position to go much further in spreading the acknowledgment of this advanced state of human awareness, hopefully without having to become a martyr.”
“Why is this important?” asked Sean.
“The ecological crises of the modern world demand a profound change in the collective psyche. With the new interconnected world, via the internet, there is an unprecedented opportunity to effect great changes in a very short time, even though the forces against such a change are formidable and ruthless,” said Mary, “We have to restore the world to a healthy balance; our Mother is dying.”
After a pause, Sean said: “Okay. That makes sense to me. You’ll need a good data wrangler, I’m at your service. I can give you a great recommendation from my previous employer.”
“I’ll run it by HR,” said Mary, smiling, “I take that as a yes, that you’re still up for the wedding?”
“We’ll get married at ten, have a luncheon with Tina and Edwin, and then depart for three nights of marital bliss,” said Sean, “I told Tina that we would be back Sunday afternoon. After that, we’ll return to your plan for world domination.”
“After our honeymoon,” began Mary, “And when I finish with the remaining portals, we’ll head back to Seattle. There will be a lot for us to do there: wrapping up any loose ends from the ADR sale, deciphering Emily’s books, dealing with Roger Ramsen, and getting ready for the baby. I don’t even have a doctor.”
“Have you told your stepmother yet?” said Sean.
“No, but I’ve been thinking about it. I need to talk to her—find out more about my background—find out where I came from. I have a feeling that it may be very important.”
Þora Maria Sigmundsdóttir woke to the sound of her son’s laughter over the baby monitor. Although it was four in the morning, the Icelandic sunlight was already peeking around the edges of the dark shade on the window. “Jæja,” she muttered. The longer days were welcome but they were definitely a problem when it came to toddlers getting up early. “At least young Vilhjálmur Stefán is happy,” she thought, donning her robe and slippers to check in on the tot. Entering his room, she saw that he was standing in his crib, holding on to the rail with one hand and waving the other as he bounced up and down. She thought: “He’ll have to get a youth bed soon; he’ll be climbing out of the crib any day now.” She watched him for a few moments until she figured out what he was laughing at. A stuffed toy puffin, hovering near the child's crib, was floating about the room—following the motions of where the boy was pointing.
“Vilhjálmur!” she said.
The child turned his head to look at her and the bird tumbled to the floor. Þora picked him up and held him, looking into his eyes.
“Hvers konar skepna ertu?” she said.
Although Mary had been asleep for some time, Sean was still wide awake. Propping his head in his hand, he watched Mary sleeping, the faint glow of the yard light was just bright enough to enable him to discern her facial features. He thought that she was dreaming; he could see her eyes moving rapidly under their eyelids. She began to smile and, as her grin grew larger, she opened her lips and made a laughing sound; garbled but unmistakable. The sound made Sean smile and he lowered his head and closed his eyes.
“Things are going to be alright,” he thought, “Everything will be alright.”
In a minute he was asleep.