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Lucy came through, but not into someplace mysterious. She was in the hall, among three women: Lilah and Annelise, whom she had met, and Zinnia, who had called on her. And out of the door just down the hall came Henry.

And some time later, Lilah and Annelise and Zinnia stood with Lucy and Henry on the shore of a grey sea, with blue skies overhead. Birds called, crabs plied their sideways trades, trees bowed and waved in the shore breeze. A cottage sat on the crest of the hill above the beach.

“And this is where I am sentenced to spend the rest of my days?” asked Henry.

“We,” said Lucy.


“It’s not a big island,” said Lilah, “but you have what you need. I’m told you can pick the eggs from the rookery and there should be plenty of fruit and fish. And wood for cooking fuel. We’ve got you a bit of a library, by the way. I checked it out. No pun intended.” She looked at Annelise.

“So the security,” said Annelise. “Don’t try to get out. But,” she said, pulling a smooth, pretty, fist-sized rock out of her pocket, “you can contact us with this in case you need something.”

“No one will be able to get in,” said Zinnia, “except for us. The seal is secured to myself, George and Lilah and no one else. And the whole cosmos you have here, it’s well enough hidden that the chance of anyone finding it even if they’re looking for it—would be about the chance of you finding this rock if I threw it out into the lagoon. Less, actually, strictly speaking. But it gives you the general idea.”

“Ms. Bay,” said Lucy, “I don’t understand most of this, but I do understand that we owe this resolution to you and your people. I want you to know I am very, very grateful. When I thought I had lost Henry forever—!”

“I thought I might lose you forever too,” said Henry. “But I had only lost myself. Lilah, I have so much to thank you for. I don’t deserve any of it. But I will never turn it down.”

They stood gazing around and at one another. The wind blew. A pair of dolphins zigzagged off shore, then breached together and swam away.

“Well, this is where and when we have to leave you,” said Lilah.

“I can check in on you now and again,” said Zinnia. “You’ll find a supply of brandy. I’ll try and replenish it.”

“Please do,” said Henry.

“But I should also make some wine from the grapes there,” said Lucy. “We’ll make do.”

“We’ll make do,” said Henry. They kissed, and embraced, and kissed some more, and when they looked around, they found themselves alone on the beach.