High Winds

 Part 6


        He could hear her voice, and struggled to see through the blackness
that engulfed him.  Slowly, a light penetrated the darkness, and he saw
her, walking toward him.

        "Gabrielle," he breathed, and tried to walk forward, but his feet were
frozen in place.  She came to him, and Ezra held out his hand and
gently ran his fingers down her cheek.  He could feel the softness of
her skin again, something he had longed for, since...

        "Gabri, what is this place?"  He asked her, looking at his

        "You are in a place between Heaven and Earth," Gabrielle explained.
        Ezra was confused.  "What am I doing here?  Am I dead?"

        "No," she said quietly, "You are one of the few who get to choose."


        "You must make the choice: Either return to the world, and your life
there," she pointed behind him, and he turned to see Four Corners, as
if through a window.  It was in the infirmary.  He could see Nathan and
Chris, sitting beside one of the beds...

        Ezra realized that it was he who was in the bed.  He winced at the
sight of himself, how pale his skin was.  Ezra turned back to

        "Or," she continued, "you can leave the world you know, and...come
with me..."

        "I'm coming with you," he said firmly, and took a step toward her.
        "Ezra, wait," Gabrielle started, "Is my my opinion of any relevance to
your decision?" she asked.
        "Of course it is," he told her.

        Gabrielle looked at the ground.  "I...I want you to go back."

        "But, Gab-"

        "I do not want you cut down like this, by #that man!# You've done so
well, Ezra.  Since you met those six men, your life has done a complete
one-eighty, something I was trying to do.  Do you want all that you've
done for yourself, for the many people you've helped protect, to mean
nothing?  If you come with me, Jakob has attained what he wanted: you
dead.  Everyone who has witnessed the suffering he has inflicted on
others would be gone.  He will have won.  And these six men, they are
your friends, and whether you believe it or not, they care about you,"
she paused, tears welling in her eyes.  "Ezra, please..."

        He looked at the window to the infirmary, and heard Chris and Nathan

        #"Is he going to be all right?" Chris asked.  There was a short

        "I don't know what to say, Chris," Nathan started, " It was good that
you found that other fella when you did, but he's lost a lot of blood
already...we just have to pray that he'll wake up.  If he does, he
should be able to recover..."#

        Ezra faced Gabrielle, and looked at her helplessly.  She moved closer,
and put her hands on his chest.  "Please, go...for me..."

        He softly touched her cheek, and Gabrielle looked down and took a step
away.  She continued to back away, and Ezra could see her form
dematerializing.  He tried to reach out for her, but he was frozen in
place again, and he watched in agony as Gabrielle disappeared.  He was
alone, in this void, and he didn't know what to do.  Ezra tried to step
forward, found he could move again, and slowly turned around.  He had
forgotten about the window, that showed the infirmary.  Ezra walked
toward it, and grazed it with his fingers.  It rippled, like water.  He
looked over his shoulder, knew she was never coming back.  He'd do what
she wanted.

        Ezra sighed, then stepped through the window.  He shut his eyes
against a blinding light, and fell...

To be continued...

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