The Most Magical Night of All
by Clarsah

Journal entry

       Tonight, Samhian, and winter approaches. The coldness of
the upcoming season has begun to settle here, in the depths of
the tunnels. We wrap ourselves against the oncoming cold. A
protection against the outer chill. But, it is the coldness
within that I can not escape.
       Samhian when even I can walk in the world of men without
fear. On this night the walls between the worlds grow thin. And
those of other worlds may walk safely in the world Above.
      Samhian night when I once walked with Catherine. Together
we strolled the streets of her world, the world Above hand in
hand. We walked until dawn and watched the sun rise together.  
       But now I walk the worlds alone.         
      - vincent

       The world Below prepared for winter. For many weeks, the
community  within the tunnels gathered and stored supplies needed
to get through  the cold months. There would be days, maybe even
weeks, when supplies  from the world Above would be difficult to
obtain. Even with the  assistance of the Helpers, winter was a
time of austerity in the  tunnels. An early frost promised the
beginning of an unusually cold  winter. But then, autumn had
already proven itself an unusual season.  Beginning with the day
Jacob was lost in the world Above.      
       Vincent shook his rough blonde hair as he thought of the
vision in the  candlelight. If Jacob had not continually talked
about the woman who had  found him Above, Vincent would have
believed he had dreamed the whole  thing. Still, he wasn't sure
if she was real, or the woodland spite she  seemed to be that day
in the park, when she brought Jacob home.   
       But now, more serious matter needed to be dealt with.
Several of the  boys, including Jacob, Vincent seven-year-old
son, had gone to the  caverns below the serpentine, in search of
ghosts. It wasn't a serious  infraction. The children of the
tunnels had been ghosts hunting below  the serpentine for
generations. And the adults of the tunnels had tried  to
discourage their quest for just as long.  
      Vincent heard Father lecturing as he approached Father's
study. One of  the larger chambers in the subterranean community,
the study was often a  gathering place. Many important decision
had been made in that room.   Many lectures, as now, had been
given to recalcitrant children. Vincent  had received his share
of lectures from Father there. He and his  brother, Devin.   
       "... now I assume that you all realize the grievousness of
your  behavior," A wave of nostalgia passed over Vincent as he
heard Father's  words. How many times had he been the focus of
that severe, yet loving  tone? " I hold you older boys
responsible. You know the dangers of going  below the
serpentine". Nearly those exact words had been spoken to  Devin.
Only that time had been over some misadventure at the Merry-Go- 
Round. Vincent suppressed a smile as he ducked into Father's
       Father, the patriarch of the community, was an older man
in his  sixties. His thick wavy hair and beard were almost
completely gray. He  walked back and forth in front of the boys
as he lectured. He waved his  reading glasses, in a gloved hand,
to add emphasis to the more important  points.  
       "Ah, Vincent there you are." Father acknowledged Vincent
as he  entered the room. "I take it that you've heard what these
boys have  done?"   
      "Yes, Father, Mary spoke with me on the way." Vincent's
voice, as  always, rumbled softly through the room. Vincent would
celebrate his  fortieth birthday next Yule season. A tall man
with unusually broad  shoulders, the cuffs of Vincent's muslin
shirt showed beneath the heavy  knitted sweater he wore for
additional warmth.  
       "All right boys, you may go." Father dismissed the youths
with a  decisive wave of his glasses.   
       All the boys took advantage of the dismissal to remove
themselves from  the critical eye of the tunnel's patriarch. All,
except Jacob.  
       "Grandfather, we..." Jacob's voice trailed off as his
grandfather  turned a stern look toward him. "We..." His valiant
effort to defend his  friends ended in the face of Father's
stare. If anyone could influence  Father it would be Jacob. But
the steely look on Father face silenced  his grandson. Unwilling
to challenge his Grandfather's further, Jacob  lowered his gaze
to the floor.   
       Vincent sensed his son's discomfort and waved for Jacob to
stop. The  boy turned from his Grandfather and went to his
father's side. Jacob was  visibly upset, but Vincent knew now was
not the time or place to discuss  the day' misadventures.  The
discussion between father and son would  have to wait.  
       "Jacob, we will speak later." Vincent said gently as he
smoothed the  ruffled hair on his son's head.  " Go and do as
Father said." Jacob left  the room before either man spoke again. 
       "Father, you mustn't be too hard on the boys. After all
Halloween has  always been an exciting time. A magical time. A
time were the children  can explore the worlds both here and
Above." Vincent doubted his effort  on the boys behalf would meet
with much more success than his son. In  his effort to protect
the members of the tunnel community, Father could  sometimes be
rather harsh. But for Jacob's sake Vincent would try.  
       "I seen to remember some other boys braving the ghosts
that live in  the caverns below the serpentine." Father's voice
now held a bemused  tone.  
       "Yes, Devin and I and some of the others..." Vincent
joined the older  man's reminiscing.  
       "And I don't remember any of you suffering unduly from the
punishment  you received". Father waved his glasses pointedly in
Vincent's  direction. Father's words were said half in jest, as
he sat down in his  favorite chair.    
     Vincent did not respond with his usual gentle laughter to
the chiding  jest. Father's words had awakened  memories of the
past. A companionable  silence fell between the two men.  
       "Vincent" Father said softly, not wanting to disturb his
son's  reveilles to suddenly. " What are you thinking of?"
Vincent slowly  walked around the table near Father before he
       "Catherine." The answer came as a  surprised neither men."
I was  remembering another Samhian night. A night when Catherine
and I walked  the world Above until dawn. We watched the sun rise
together. How  beautiful it was. " The softly spoken words were
edged with sadness.   
       "I'm sorry, Vincent." Father said with regret." I did not
mean to  bring back such painful memories" Father reached over to
place a  comforting hand on Vincent's arm.  
       "Its as Briget said 'tis such a sweet pain.'" Vincent
repeated the  words of Briget O'Donnell. Spoken on that night,
nine years ago.       
       Vincent left Father's study with the intent of searching
for Jacob. He  remembered the sting of Father's lectures and the
times when he and  Devin were in trouble. They would hide in one
of the smaller satellite  chambers, talk about the repugnant
nature of being an adult and vowing  to never grow up. Usually
this promise lasted until the next meal. Then  the growl of empty
stomachs would silence their complains and convince  them to
return home.       
      Father had given the boys extra duties that were to be
completed before  participating in the Halloween festivities that
evening. Jacob had been  sent to assist William in the kitchen.
But, that was sometime ago and  the  additional kitchen duties
should be completed by now.    
     The phone rang as Claire handed a customer a bag. She
signed. She had  planned to close the store early for Samhian.
But, the way things were  going, it no longer seemed likely. "Oh
well." she thought, "The best  laid plans of mice and men." She
quoted Steinbeck, as she reached for  this latest interruption,
the phone.  
      "Mystic Herb and Bookshop. This is Claire, how can I help
you?" She  recited the sing-songy response she always gave to the
demanding ring of  the phone. There was silence at the other end
of the line.  
      "Hello" she repeated, annoyance in her voice.   
       A child came over the line. "Come get me."   
      "What? Jacob?" He was the only child Claire could think of
that would  be calling with such a request.  
      "Claire, please come get me." The voice on the phone
sounded tearful.  
       "Jacob, where are you?" Claire knew for now that she was
talking to  the child she had found on her doorstep over a month
     She could hear Jacob repeat her question to someone in the
background  and the mumbled reply. "Fifth and Lexington."  Jacob
repeated the answer  clearly to Claire.    
      "Okay, I'll come get you , just stay where you are." Claire
hung up the  phone, once she had Jacob's assurance that he
wouldn't move.  
      She locked up the store then got into her car. she
consulted a map  before heading for the corner Jacob had
described. She soon realized  that the corner was near the park .
Jacob should be able to find his  way home from there. He could
almost see the park from that street  corner. Something was up.
Well, she would have to sort it out when she  got there.  
     Jacob was sitting on the curb at the corner when Claire
arrived. She  eased the car over and opened the door for him.  
      "Seat belt and lock the door." Claire remembered the last
and only time  Jacob had been in the car before.  
     She could see the tear stains on Jacob's face as he got into
the car and  complied with her instructions. She made no comment
about the small  backpack that he placed on the floor at his
feet. Although it gave her a  pretty good idea of what was going
     Claire pulled away for the curb and headed to the park. She
and Jacob  would sort things out over hot chocolate. Then she
would send him home.  
     The search for Jacob was unnecessary and Vincent was
unconcerned when he  did not find Jacob immediately. The close
knit nature of the tunnel  community meant that someone knew of
Jacob's whereabouts. Vincent could  sense that Jacob was still
upset, but not in danger.   
     Instead, Vincent wandered directionlessly through the
tunnels as the  memories of the past crowded in upon the present. 
Some memories were  too painful to dwell on. Some were best left
to the dusty recesses of  the mind. Still others were
     Vincent quickened his pace, in an  effort to leave behind
the sorrow  that remembering brought. He careened the off uneven
rocks that made up  the tunnel walls. The pain of the bittersweet
memories of Catherine,  made Vincent oblivious to the bruises
sustained in the narrow turns and  corners of the tunnels.   
     Eventually, Vincent's flight carried him to the seldom-used
chambers  below the serpentine and past the chamber of the winds.
Few lived in  that region of the tunnels and those that did
seldom stayed long. The  only permanent inhabitant at that depth
was Narcissa. Narcissa was an  enigmatic woman, in her own way as
different from the rest of the tunnel  dwellers as Vincent
      Narcissa practiced a curious blend of West Indies mysticism
and voodoo.  Father was often critical of Narcissa reliance on
"superstition". But,  Vincent often went to Narcissa when neither
logic, reason nor science  held the answers he sought. Vincent
was only slightly surprised to find  that his wanderings had
brought him here. Narcissa knew the voices of  the spirits. And
Vincent needed her wisdom to help silence the spirits  that
troubled him.  
     "Vincent, come in child." Narcissa said, when Vincent
appeared at the  entrance to her chamber. It might seem strange
that this stooped, old,  blind woman would address a man as large
as Vincent as "child". But this  was Narcissa's way. Anyone who
sought her help or advice was always  addressed as "child".  
     Narcissa's chamber was filled with the light of what seemed
to be  hundreds of candles. Amongst the candles were trinkets and
treasure from  both the world  Above and Below. Some of the items
Narcissa had made,  others she had found, still others had been
given to her. Some of the  things were recognizable, some were
the trappings of her religion and  still others were
unrecognizable either in purpose or name. All of  Narcissa's
possessions were gathered on shelves and tables throughout  the
room, leaving only enough room the walk. Vincent never remembered 
Narcissa's chamber appearing any other way. It was a room filled
with  mysteries to spark a young boy's imagination.  A place to
dream dreams.  Maybe this was why he sought her out. In her
presence the worlds seemed  different. The impossible became
     "Narcissa," Vincent's deep voice rumbled through the
cluttered chamber.  "You should consider moving closer the main
chambers." His voice  expressed genuine concern.  
      "I can not hear the spirits there, with so many voices."
Narcissa  replied. "You did not come to ask me to leave my home.
You carry  troubled thoughts today. The dead rest in peace, but
your spirit does  not. What disturbs you child?"   
      Vincent didn't question how Narcissa knew the things she
did. He had  long since stopped questioning her unique abilities,
as he had stopped  questioning his own. Until they were gone.   
      "I was searching for Jacob. My foot steps led me here."
Vincent said.  He knew Narcissa would not be fooled by this
answer anymore than she had  been fooled by his request..  
       "But it is not the child you seek. He is safe," Narcissa
said. She  reached for a bowl, which she placed on the table in
the middle of the  chamber and filled with water. She let wax
from large candle dip into  the water and stared with unseeing
eyes at the swirls and shapes formed  there.  
     Vincent waited silently for Narcissa to speak. When she did,
the words  would be as obscure as the vision in her eyes. Their
true meaning,  Vincent knew, he would have to seek out himself.  
     "A woman. She walks on the edges of the worlds, Vincent. She
see what  others fear. Go to her. Seek her help. She knows..."
Narcissa's voice  trailed into silence as if she had forgotten he
was there.  Narcissa  spoke of things that few ever suspected
existed. And even fewer still  understood. Vincent pondered the
word Narcissa had spoken. Words that  held the answer to a
question he did not know.  
      Narcissa turned from the bowl and said no more. Vincent
knew that it  was useless to ask Narcissa to explain. She would
say no more; hers was  a world of vision. So, he kissed the old
woman gently on the cheek,  turned and left. Narcissa seemed
unaware of his leaving. But a knowing  smile on her face
suggested she knew where he would go and what he would  find
there. Even though Vincent did not.  Not yet.  
     Vincent returned to the main tunnels while still pondering
Narcissa's  words. He  met his son at the intersection of two
main tunnels. Jacob's  was head down and he dragged small
backpack behind him.   
     Jacob almost ran into his father. An air of disappointment
surrounded  him. From the looks of the pack Vincent suspected his
son has been  Above. Jacob stared at his father's boots before
slowly raising his head  to look up at his father's face. There
were traces of tear on Jacob's  face.  
       "Jacob?" Vincent's voice was filled with concern at the
disheveled  appearance of his son.  Vincent had known Jacob was
upset, but the  extent of his distress was surprising. Vincent
wondered at the depths of  his own distress, that he had not
sensed that Jacob was be so upset.  
       "She wouldn't let me stay." Jacob answered somewhat
       "Who wouldn't let you stay?" Vincent could not image one
of the tunnel  dweller rejecting an upset child.  
       "Claire." was Jacob's surprise answer. It took Vincent a
moment to  realize who his son was talking about.  
       "The woman you met Above?" Vincent knelt next to his
disappointed son,  as tears threatened to once again spill from
Jacob's eyes.  
     Jacob nodded his head yes, but said no more. He dug into his
pocket and  pulled out a crumpled note. Vincent opened the
letter. The handwriting  was almost a childish scrawl. Penmanship
had never been one of Claire's  strong suits.   

To Jacob's Father:  
      I understand that Jacob and some friend got into some
trouble this  morning. Although I have told Jacob I would help
him, I explained that l  would not help him runaway. 
       Jacob is more than welcome to visit me, with your
permission. Please  feel free to contact me.      Claire 
      As Vincent read the letter, he at wondered at its
appearance. Was the  letter written by the same woman that
Narcissa spoke of? Did its  arrival, following so closely on the
heels of Narcissa's divination,  foretell of some prominence?
Thoughts of Claire conjured up images of a  image created by
candle light and a forest spite in a dawn woods.  
     The woman, Claire, definitely seemed to have gained a hold
over Jacob.  That his son would seek comfort from a stranger in
the world Above, both  disturbed and perplexed Vincent. Was it
possible? Was she the mystical  creature that he thought her to
be that day in the park? Was he indeed  hunting something and did
the woman who wrote this letter hold the key?  
       Vincent and Jacob returned to the inner chambers of the
tunnels. They  missed dinner. But, Vincent knew that William
would have saved them each  a plate. Indeed, there were two
plates, still warm, in one of the  smaller ovens. They ate
quickly. Soon it would be time for Jacob to  change into his
Halloween costume. Father would tell his usually  assortment of
ghost stories. The children would beg to hear the "Tale of 
Icabod Crane and the Headless Horseman" as they did each year.
Then they  would go to the homes of the helpers Above for
     Vincent did not punish Jacob for running away. Father would
disapprove.  But Claire insistence that Jacob return home
probable taught his son  more than anything that he could do or
     Vincent again wondered at the woman who was becoming such an
important  part of his son's life and by extenuation his own.  
     "You can't seriously be considering going to see this woman"
Father's  voice was raised in concern and frustration. That
Vincent would even  consider the idea was unthinkable. Father
thought they had gotten beyond  this point after Catherine's
death. Vincent's contact with the world  Above, in the last seven
years, had been limited. Occasionally Vincent  still wandered the
streets Above at night. His brief relationship with  Diana had
resulted in Jacob's recovery from Gabriel. Since then, Diana's 
involvement with Vincent and the world Below had dwindled to
yearly  visits at  Winterfest. But now the note lay on the table
between them.  
      "How can I not?" Vincent replied forceful. He gestured to
the note with  his open hand.  Then his hand fell to his side, a
gesture of frustration  that matched Father's. This argument
seemed absurd. Father had learned  to trust Catherine and then
Diana's. Why was he unwilling to trust this  woman who had
already proven herself to be worthy of that trust?   
       "We don't know this woman." Father countered.  
       "Don't we. She has returned Jacob to us. Twice." Vincent's
voice  matched Fathers' in intensity.  The argument was academic.
Both men knew that. Ultimately neither man  would give in.  
       "So, you will encourage Jacob to continue relying on this
stranger."  Father opted for a change in tactics.  
      "Am I suppose to ignore her kindness." Vincent's open hand
slammed down  over the note. Frustrated at Father's stubbornness
in the face of the  obvious, Vincent crumpled the note into his
       "You trust her? Do you? What if she sees you? Then what?
She might not  return your son so readily the next time." Genuine
fear entered Father's  voice.  
      "Yes, I trust her. And she need not see me. "Vincent forced
a calm  confidence into his voice that he hoped would ease
Father's fears.  
       "And if you're wrong?" Father never completely escaped his
fear of the  world Above. It was bad enough that Vincent's
actions would endanger  himself, but this time Jacob could be at
risk too.  
      "I'm not wrong. Jacob's not wrong. I know she can be
trusted."  Vincent's voice once more tightened frustration.   
       Narcissa's words still rang in his head. She was not wrong
either. But  to bring Narcissa into this argument would increase
Father's concerns.  
     "So, you can sense this woman." A glimmer of hope broke
through the  frustration in Father's voice. A hope that Vincent's
empathic abilities  might be strengthening, even after all this
     "No" Vincent said softly, with a shake of his head.  
     "So you're going." Father sat down defeated into the chair
beside the  table.  
     "Yes, I'm going." Vincent replied resolutely as he retrieved
his heavy  black cloak from the back of another chair. " Father,
try not to worry."  He said gently as he kissed Father lightly on
the head. "I'LL be back."  
      Father did not reply. He just watched his son as he left
the room.  Vincent had never fully recovered his empathic
abilities and that  concerned Father. Without his abilities to
protect him, Father prayed  that Vincent would not walk in to
trouble as he ventured Above.  Father  hoped that what limited
abilities that remained would be enough to  protect Vincent. 
       A cold misty rain fell as Vincent emerged from the world
Below. The  night was clouded by fog that parted silently as
Vincent passed through  it. It was as if the weather had
conspired with the night to fill the  world with magic.   
       Claire returned home late from the Samhian ritual that she
had  attended. She started water for tea and the headed to the
bedroom to  change clothes. She returned to the kitchen as the
pot started to  whistle. Her ritual garb had been exchanged for
an overly large  sweatshirt and sweat pants. A pair of wool socks
would repeal the cold  and dampness, allowing Claire to venture
on the porch without shoes.   
     Claire took the pot, a mug and herbs to the porch that led
off the  kitchen and placed them on a table there. She lit a
small candle before  pouring the hot liquid into the mug. The
pungent smell of the herbs  filled the air as steam liquid rose
from the mug. The steam mixed with  the cool mist of the night
and swirled in to the darkness. Claire sat  down, clutching the
warm mug in her hands. She stared out into the night  as she
absorbed the sensations surrounding her. The night, the fog, the 
rain, the warmth of the cup in her hands, everything around her.
She  pulled it to her, becoming one with it.  
      She heard a soft sound as Vincent landed on the porch
above. She heard  him quietly descend the stairs behind her.  The
muffled sound of his  feet blending with the swish of his cloak
added to the symphony of the  night. Claire did not move. She
gave no indication that she was aware of  Vincent's presence.
Instead she continued to gaze out into the darkness,  letting the
night and the rain become music in her mind. Samhian was a 
magical night. Claire sat silently, unmoving, she stared into the 
darkness before her.  
     Vincent remained quite behind her, studying her. Not knowing
what to do  or say. Something about the woman in front of him
seemed surreal,  ethereal, someone imagined or dreamed. She
seemed to be made of lines  and shadows. Her pale skin looked
like porcelain in the limited light of  the candle. Smooth,
flawless and fragile. Her dark hair was a dark  shadow against
the even darker night. Despite the misty image, the  velvety
sound of her breath let him know she was real.   
     Although Claire did not respond to Vincent's presence, she
could feel  him there. Waiting. She felt everything, the rain and
the cold, the warm  cup in her hands, and Vincent. All of these
were part of the deepening  night that surrounded them. She sat
in silence, unafraid, absorbing  everything around her. Feeling
it. Investigating it. Using all of her  senses she explored the
night and all that was within it. Even the man  whose presence
threatened to crowd out all the rest.  
       "Are you going to just stand there or are you going to say 
something?" Claire's whisper abruptly broke the deepening silence 
between them. There was a gentle teasing to her voice.  
       "I'm sorry, I did not want to disturb you." Vincent
answered uncertain  how to proceed, "You seemed so intent on the
night...the rain"  
       "You didn't disturb me. After all you are part of this
night, like the  rain, I can feel you in it." came Claire's
strange, but strangely  familiar, response.  
        Vincent knew the feelings she spoke of, he had once been
able to feel  a presence of another in the dark. But still he
could not escape the  sense that some enchantment surrounded him.
An enchantment that pulled  him in. That carried him to a place
both familiar and unexpectedly new.  He wondered again if she
real or some kind of a phantom that would  disappear into the
vapors of the rain and the night. But the words she  spoke next
seemed to fill night with magic. As if she cast a spell of 
shimmering lights into the fog.  
     "The night wraps her arms around me. And encloses me in her
quite  familiarity.  
     The night surrounds me in her silence. And draws me close to
those who  call her friend.  
     The night welcomes me in to her warm embrace. And I am one
her. One with  all who know her name."   
       "You speak the words beautifully" Vincent responded as
much the  meaning as to the actual words themselves.  
       "Thank you, they are my words" Claire turned in her chair
as she  acknowledged Vincent's complement.     
       "Please, don't turn around" Vincent cautioned. His voice
too harsh for  the night. His words stopped Claire's motion.  
       "Why not?" came Claire simple, quite question.  
       "My appearance." Vincent felt awkward for the first time
in many  years, not since the when Catherine had first seen his
face. "I don't  want to frighten you"  
        "Should I be frightened?"  Her voice whispered again. The
question  hung in the air between them. "Are you some aberration
come from the  underworld this Samhian night? Come to steal me
away to the world below  like some modern day Persephone." The
teasing quality returned to  Claire's voice. She hoped her words
would ease the tension she felt in  the man behind her..   
       Silence filled the air. Vincent began to question the
wisdom of coming  here. Maybe Father was right. Maybe this was a
fool's errand, brought  about by the ramblings of an old woman.
Or maybe the woman before him  truly was the fairy spirit he
thought she was that day in the park.   
       The silences deepened between them once again. Claire
sensed the  confusion and conflict within the man behind her. She
waited patiently  for Vincent to answer.  
       "No" Vincent started awkwardly. Everything about the woman
before him  was a bit unnerving. It was as if she cast an
enchantment the day she  brought Jacob back. A spell that
inexplicable pulled him toward her.  Toward this moment.  
       "Please, allow me to begin again. I don't wish to frighten
you"  Vincent said as he struggled to regain his composure." I am
Jacob's  father. My name is Vincent."  
       "I know." Claire's whisper interrupted. Indeed she had
known. Almost  before he appeared on her porch, she knew he would
be here, on this  night. On Samhian Night. The night when the
walls between the worlds  grows thin.  
       "I came to thank you for what you have done for my son."
The mellow  sound of Vincent's voice passed through Claire.  
       "He is a remarkable child.  I enjoyed the opportunities
I've had to  spent with him." Claire's voice was a silky whisper. 
       "Yes he is, thank you." a sadness crept into Vincent's
voice as he  thought of Catherine. Catherine, who had spent only
a few moments with  Jacob before he was taken from her. Before
she died. Something about the  woman in front of him the made him
feel Catherine's absence, suddenly,  sharply.  
       Claire sensed Vincent's sudden sadness. "What is it that
makes you so  sad?"  
       Claire heard a faint sound as Vincent shook his head
trying the clear  the thoughts within. She felt the sadness and
loneliness that threatened  to overwhelm him.  
       "Catherine, Jacob's mother. She died when Jacob was born.
She held  him once, for a few moments and then..." Vincent's
heart tightened in  his broad chest as he spoke the words. Words
he had spoken to few. Words  he rarely spoke to anyone. Only
Father knew all of it. The lose, the  pain, the guilt, the anger,
everything. His emotions crashed over Claire  like a storm
ravaged sea.  
       "Then he must be a truly extraordinary child, to have
exacted such a  price." Claire whispered, as she tried to calm
the storm within.   
       Vincent stepped to the edge of the porch. He seemed not to
hear her  last words He leaned upon the porch rail, becoming lost
in the deepening  memories.   
     Claire could see the silhouette of his profile clearly in
the darkness.  His face, she remembered from the candlelit image
reflected in the bowl.   
       The night surrounded them. Enclosed them in a protective
circle that  excluded all else. Even the rain was forgotten.   
       Vincent gazed out into the night as the memories
threatened to  overwhelm him. He rarely spoke of his life with
Catherine, even with  those who had been part of it. It was as if
to speak of their dream  would in some way lessen its fragile,
beautiful magic. But, something.  Maybe the night. Maybe Samhian.
Maybe it was the woman behind him.   Something made the dream
seem less delicate. Somehow the words came.  
       "I found her on a night much like this, cold and raining.
She was left  in the park. Bleeding. Dying. I brought her to my
world to save her  life. She changed my life forever..."   
      Vincent spoke into the night and silently Claire listened.
To Vincent's  story. To Catherine's story. The story of their
love unfolded into the  night. Claire felt the sorrow and the joy
as Vincent spoke. She could  feel the emotions inside this unique
man change and shift with the  words. To Claire every nuance of
emotion was a palatable, living thing.  The agonizing pain, the
heady delight, and the clarity of their love as  it coursed
through Vincent's very soul.  
     Claire had always been exceptionally perceptive. She had an
ability to  see and feel things other's did not. But, what she
shared now, Vincent's  story, tore at the very depth of her soul.
She felt every word. Each one  threatened to tear her apart.    
       Rarely was she so helpless in the wake of another's
emotions. Still,  she took in every emotion, the anger and the
love. Claire felt herself  roll with one. Like a gale torn ship,
she was rocked and crashed in the  surf of emotions. She was
tossed and bruised by the intensity of  Vincent's feeling.  None
the less, she stood, unyielding, in the face of  the storm.
Unwilling to relinquish the gift of Vincent's words. For she 
knew what a precious gift they were.  
       In the end the words came no more. The storm subsided. And
the silence  slowly surrounded them once more. Only the music of
the gently rain  could be heard.   
     Claire rose from her chair and joined Vincent at the porch
railing. For  a moment they stood motionless beside each other,
lost in thought,  staring into the night. Then Claire turned to
Vincent. When he did not  turn to look at her , she reached up
and took his chin gently in her  small hand and turned his face
to hers.   
     Vincent tried to avoided her gaze hoping the shadows of his
cloak would  hide his face. But Claire strong fingers resisted
his efforts to pull  away. As she held his face to hers, Claire
reached up and wiped the  tears from his whiskered cheek. It was
then that Vincent looked into her  eyes.  And there he found
acceptance. Acceptance of all that was and all  that is.  
       "Claire" Vincent whispered her name like an offering to
the night.   Journal entry   
       I spoke of Catherine as I have not spoken of her to anyone
before. I  poured out our story, my story, Catherine's story, to
the night, to  Claire. She listened silently. Treasuring each
word. She took them in,  change them and gave them back. The
memories are no less brillent. 
       Yet with each word, with each memory shared, the pain
began to  lessen. And the cold inside of me began to warm.  
       By some magic Claire has taken away the pain and the
sorrow. And left  only the joy. The hope, The possibility.        

       The dream of...                   

          Love - vincent  

About the Author:  

The author is a resident of Central Virginia. Besides working on
my third B&TB story, I'm enjoy the colors of fall.  I have been a
B&TB fan since its original showing. I really enjoy hearing your
comments. I can be contacted at