Deep peace of the running wave to you.
Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
Deep peace of the shining stars to you.
Deep peace of the infinite peace to you.
Time has passed, the Wheel has turned. It is time for you to move on.
You will walk hand in hand with the Lord and Lady and with your ancestors who came before you.
Eva let out a sob before pulling herself together. This was not goodbye. She would never let him go. But he deserved the honor of last rites. He deserved to be observed and prayed for. That, at least, she could do for him. Amanda was holding her own vigil for him, as was her right as a parent but this was hers. That was her right as his soulmate.
“Deep peace of the running wave to you,” she began again, making her third rotation. “Deep peace of the flowing air to you. Deep peace of the quiet earth to you. Deep peace of the shining stars to you. Deep peace of the infinite peace to you.” She lifted his soul up and out of his body, the movement automatic to her now. “Let him come into your Divine Love, and let him know that he has left behind a life of legacy, that he shall be remembered and loved.”
Exhausted, heart aching, Eva knelt beside Matt and laid her hands gently on his body. She was done for the night. As she rested against her husband, a rush of anger coursed through her. “The Builder take you, Matt! How could you leave me?”
Eva closed her eyes and took a deep breath, trying to calm down. Anger would not bring him back. How was she going to fix this? Maybe she could find Siobhan and ask her to do for Matt what she’d done for Maya. Maybe there was a spell that could bring him back. There had to be, otherwise why the vigil? He could be brought back! She could –
“You cut my hair? I thought you loved me.” Eva jerked back on her knees, shocked into silence. “And the Builder, fıstığım? That’s quite a thing to say to a dead man.”
Matias grinned softly at her. “I forgive you.”
“What… Am I dreaming?” Eva looked down her husband’s body. He still lay on the alter she had set up and wore the clothes she and Al had put on him this morning.
“Yes and no.” Matt slowly opened his eyes to look at her. “You feel asleep but this isn’t a dream.”
“Are you alive? Tell me where you are and I will come get you!” She reached for him and suddenly they were standing in a room full of half-empty bookcases. There was nothing else, no furniture, no doors, just books.
“I am not, Eva. My body, my soul is gone. What you see here is a figment.”
It was like discovering he was dead all over again. “No. I can’t…” She tried to process his words through her internal screaming. This was important. “A figment? You cast a death spell?”
“It was the only way I could think of to get a message to you. To try and help.”
“But why? You could have healed yourself or…” Or what? She’d read the autopsy report. He’d suffered a pulmonary laceration caused by broken ribs. That had been what killed him. She felt a tear slide down her face. “You’re not real.”
Matt smiled softly at her. “For right now, I’m as real as I was last month.”
“Can I touch you?” When he nodded, she reached up to stroke his cheek. He felt real, warm and slightly odd with his clean-shaven jaw. “I’ve never seen you without a beard.”
He gave her a mock frown. “You shaved my beard? And it stayed gone?”
Eva gave a watery laugh before launching herself at him, capturing his mouth to hers in a kiss. She missed him so much. Why couldn’t this be real? She would just never wake up. She’d spend eternity like this if it meant she could be with him just a little longer.
“Play chess with me.”
“There’s no…” Before she could finish her sentence, a chessboard appeared. Matt’s chessboard. “Okay then.”
They played three rounds, all of which Matt won. Honestly, Eva wasn’t paying attention. She kept sneaking glances at him, still awed that he was here. Not in the flesh but solid and present. Laughter bubbled up inside her as he made his usual faces and mumbled his usual curses.
Eva couldn’t fully relax, though. In this oddly dark space, he was unusually bright. He wasn’t real. He was here for a reason. “Matt…”
Matias sighed and sat back. “Yes, I know. Eva, you think you know who killed me but it’s more complicated than that. These people – they had help.”
“We figured as much. A pyromancer or metalist. Someone who could cause an explosion without bombs.”
“It was Michelle, fıstığım.”
Eva gave a short laugh. She couldn’t have heard right. “Michelle is neither of those things.”
“And yet, she’s the one working for them. I saw her shoot a bolt of fire with my own eyes.”
“But why?” Eva shook her head. “Why would she want to hurt you? She’s your sister!”
“I don’t think she’s thinking straight. She’s lost a lot to us and she’s looking for revenge.”
“She’s lost a lot? SHE’S LOST?!!? She killed you. I lost YOU!” Eva stood up, her chair tilting over backward at her angry movements.
“Come, sit down for a minute,” Matt urged.
Eva was not surprised to find a sofa suddenly in the room. She let Matt lead her to it and sit her down. She couldn’t do this. It was too much. There was so much hurt and anger inside her, it felt like anything more and she would burst.
“I need you to be strong just for a little bit longer, Eva.” Matt knelt in front of her and stroked her hip. “I need you to understand so you can protect our family.”
She took a deep breath, hoping to steel herself for more bad news. “Okay.”
“Stephanie is her daughter. Michelle and Glasgow’s. When he died…” Matt took a deep breath. “When I killed him, she sent her daughter to live with us. Partly, I think, in the hopes we would find out and because I am family. And Michelle, for all her twisted logic, wanted her daughter to be with family.”
Eva pressed her hands to her face. She’d never been brave or strong. Those traits had gone to her twin brothers. What was she supposed to do? What did Matt want from her?
“Protect our family, Eva. You are brave and you are strong. And you love fiercely. I’m worried Michelle will come after you and Alistair next. I worry about Stephanie. She needs to be told and it can’t be from Michelle. Steph isn’t… She’s a lot like Michelle. She’ll need you.” He pulled her hands away from her face. “I need you to let me go. Finish the ritual, fıstığım. Send my soul away.”
“I can’t!” Eva cried out, clutching his shoulders. “I’m nothing without you.”
Matt pressed her close, kissing her and she knew he was saying goodbye. She held on more tightly. Wrapping her arms around him.
“I thought about you towards the end. About our life together. I was the one who was nothing, who had nothing. You gave me everything that I treasured in this life, A home, a family, love. I would do it all over again, Eva. If it meant I’d die the same way or worse, I would do it again.”
“I love you so much, Matt. Please…”
“I love you too, fıstığım and this isn’t goodbye. We are soulmates, remember? I will find you in the next life like I found you in this one. How could I ever miss the light that shines so bright from you?” He hugged her to him. “It’s time.”
Eva felt a sudden heaviness and blinked open her eyes. The room was back to normal. Glancing down, she found Matt on the altar, where he’d been all night. He really was gone. She felt the tears come and she did nothing to stop them.
Weary and unable to stand, she lifted her arms up and pushed out. “Deep peace of the running wave to you. Deep peace of the flowing air to you. Deep peace of the quiet earth to you. Deep peace of the shining stars to you. Deep peace of the infinite peace to you.”
Her voice broke and she was racked with sobs before she continued. “Take him by the hand and guide him back into your heart, for this is what is right and just. Let him walk unerringly down the path that leads to your Love. This is our will and so mote it be.”
“I love you, Matt. In this life and in all the lives to come.” She bowed her head and exhaled. “Amen and Amen.”