Taïga is out walking Tramp, when suddenly the dog starts whining and backing away. He pulls so hard on the leash that Taïga has to let go.
‘Hey, Tramp! Come back!’ she shouts after the vanishing dog. What happened to him? Setting off the same way we came, and he who usually doesn’t want to go home again. At least I hope he runs straight back home…
She starts after her dog, but something makes her turn around again. The pretty pale girl from the party is standing on the sidewalk, looking at her with that same sad expression as at the party.
‘Hi!’ Taïga waves and starts crossing the street.
The girl takes off, but Taïga sets after her, swearing she won’t let her disappear again. Soundlessly the girl runs through the empty streets with Taïga in her wake.
The pale girl seems to want Taïga to follow her. Maintaining the distance that separates them, she checks regularly over her shoulder to see if Taïga is keeping up.
The pale girl runs towards a big white house on a deserted street Taïga has never been before.
Panting she stops when she recognizes the Salău’s home. Mitchell has told her about the terrible accident a few years ago, involving a little girl, and that nobody has ever seen the grieving parents since. What was her name again? Sarah? Sandra?
Suddenly everything becomes clear. It’s obvious! It must be the dead girl. That’s why nobody saw her at the party. But why does she decide to show herself to me like this? Maybe she wants me to help her… ‘Wait, Sanda!’
The girl stops on the porch facing the front door. She throws a last glance at Taïga, and beckons for her to approach. Taïga swallows. Mitchell has also told her about the horrible things that takes place in there…
Taïga walks up the stairs, hesitating an instant before reaching out towards the young girl who must be Sanda.
But before she can touch her, she seems to vanish into thin air. Taïga can only imagine that she’s still there because it feels like she’s looking at the door through rippling water. The rippling silhouette glides through the door, leaving Taïga gaping on the porch.
‘What was that about?’ she whispers, slowly advancing the few steps that separate her from the large double doors. She touches them in wonder, but there’s no way she can just slip through solid wood, so she just rings the bell.
A tall, pale man opens. At first Taïga thinks he’s a ghost too, but then he speaks. ‘Da?’
‘Err… Buna seara.’ She racks her brain for Romanian vocabulary, carefully pronouncing, ‘My name’s Taïga Grey and I’m here about Sanda.’
He just stares at her for a few seconds, then he slams the door shut in her face.
She puts her ear to the door. She can hear him mutter as he walks away, ‘Damned kids… Can’t leave us alone… Ever since the accident…’
Guiltily she backs away. The poor man must have thought she was there to prank them.
She retraces her steps down the porch. After a last glance at the spooky house, she turns on her heels and walks away. She will ask Granny what to do about Sanda. Maybe Mr. Salău will listen if an adult comes along.
‘Wait!’ A female voice stops her. ‘Please… Don’t leave yet. I… I would like to hear what you have to say about my daughter…’
The desperation in the woman’s voice chills Taïga’s heart and she turns around to face her.
She can’t help gasping at the sight of the woman behind her. She’s extremely pale and thin, and her eyes are puffy and red from crying. She seems to be in her late twenties, but what is unsettling Taïga is her hair. It is almost white. Mitchell’s stories about how Sanda’s mother’s hair turned white overnight from fright pops into her mind, and she stares wide-eyed at her. A movement on the porch draws Taïga’s attention. It is Sanda, once more beckoning.
Against her better judgement, she decides to follow the strange pale woman. Thoughts are running through her head all the while. No one knows where she is. What if Mitchell’s stories were true? What if the Salău will sequestrate her and do horrible things to her? What if her hair turns all white from… from… From what?
Taïga throws a last glance over her shoulder before passing the threshold.
She follows Mrs. Salău through the dark hall into the sitting room. Granny would love this, she thinks, taking in the ancient furniture and the tapestry on the walls all in different shades of grey. The only touch of color is a book on the low table. She recognizes the old movie poster image of Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler on the cover, making a mental note that she must finish the book this summer.
Sanda appears on the couch, quietly sitting with her hands clasped on her lap.
‘Te rog, ia loc.’ Mrs. Salău sits in one of the armchairs, nodding with her chin to the couch but Taïga hesitates. ‘Please, have a seat,’ she repeats in English.
‘Well, err… Your daughter, Sanda, is sitting there. On the sofa.’
Mrs. Salău looks at her, judging the sincerity of her words. Then her face brightens as her thin mouth twinkles into a wane little smile. ‘Does she? Where exactly?’ she says in Romanian.
‘Ehhh… right there.’ Taïga points with her finger at the rippling silhouette of Sanda who mirrors her mother’s smile.
Mrs. Salău gives up her seat to Taïga and sits carefully on the couch. ‘Am I all right here?’ she asks with a worried frown and Taïga nods. She’s sitting next to her daughter who looks up at her mother with huge eyes. Taïga blinks away a tear. She must find a way to help the little girl and her parents.
‘Now, will you please tell me how come you’re here?’ Mrs. Salău asks kindly.
‘I don’t know where to start…’
‘From the beginning seems like a good idea.’
‘A couple of weeks ago, Sanda showed at my par-’ Maybe it’s not a good idea to start at the party after all. ‘-at my place…’ She tells Mrs. Salău everything that happened that night, which wasn’t much. Her daughter had showed up and vanished.
‘… and then, tonight, she was waiting for me when I was walking my dog…’
Mrs. Salău listens attentively to her story, nodding and looking to her left where her daughter is supposed to be sitting.
Suddenly the door bursts open on Mr. Salău, making Taïga start. He strides purposefully into the living room, hovering in front of her. Nervously she opens and closes her mouth, looking up at his thunderous expression.
‘I think I told you to leave?’ he hisses.
‘Calm down, Jan. This little girl has seen Sanda,’ Mrs. Salău says in a trembling voice.
‘And you believe her?’ He doesn’t look away from Taïga, nailing her on her seat with his grim countenance.
‘As a matter of fact – I do.’ Mrs. Salău looks at her, nodding encouragingly. ‘Tell him, Taïga… Go on tell him that you can see her. That she’s here!’
Taïga is petrified. Her mouth opens and closes again and she only manages a croak, ‘She’s standing right behind you. Sir.’ She forces herself to look away feeling the tears threaten to burst forward.
‘Behind me? Oh my… I just walked on her toe!’ Mr. Salău pretends to stagger backwards.
‘Stop it, Jan! It’s not funny! Sit down and listen to her!’ Mrs. Salău raises her voice in anger.
‘Can’t you see!?! She only here to spy on us! Her friends are probably outside, waiting for her report!’
‘Please, Jan! You must listen-‘
Taïga can see Sanda changing from a rippling silhouette into that pale ethereal girl once more. In vain she tries to get her parents attention but they can’t see her, even less hear her…
Their eyes lock. ‘Help me…’
The girl’s tiny voice echoes inside her, bounces around her head until she feels the girl’s sorrow as if it were her own. A shockwave of ice-cold energy throws her backwards on the seat, her back arcs and she grips the armchair with both her hands.
‘Te rog, nu te împotrivi. (Please, don’t fight.)
‘Don’t interfere when-’ Mr Salău stops gesticulating.
‘Nu tipa la ea, tată. Te comporţi ca un urs!’ (Don’t scream at her, father. You are behaving like a bear!)
Slowly he turns away from his gaping wife, looking at Taïga who is slumped in the armchair with closed eyes. Her mouth moves but it is his daughter’s voice he is hearing, ‘Te rog, inorog, muică mămucă… inorog… inorog…’
‘SANDA! What have you done to Sanda!’ Mr. Salău grabs Taïga’s arms and shakes her like a puppet. ‘Answer me!’
‘Let go of me! You’re hurting me!’
Swearing he lets go of her, and she falls back into the realm of the huge armchair. Disoriented she blinks, fighting the tears. ‘I… I want to go home…’
Mrs. Salău falls on her knees in front of her, tears streaming down her face. ‘Vă mulţumesc. Vă mulţumesc. Thank you. Thank you.’
She stands up a little unsteadily, reaching out for her husband who is leaning his forehead against the windowpane, his shoulders shaking erratically.
‘Jan. It was Sanda. It was my little girl. Oh, my God. It was our little girl.’
He turns around abruptly, covering the distance to his wife in two steps and pulling her into his arms.
‘I know. Tatiana. I know.’
Taïga looks around the room, searching for Sanda.
‘Thank you,’ Sanda mouths but Taïga can’t hear her voice. Sanda looks exhausted, it must have taken an incredible effort to take over Taïga’s body, even for such a short moment. She reaches out her hand and Taïga lays her hand in hers, but can only feel an icing cold where there should have been softness and warmth. She knows she can’t leave the family like this. She must do whatever it takes to reunite them again. She clears her throat.
Astonishingly, Mr. Salău seems to have calmed down. He leads his wife to the couch, asking Taïga if Sanda is still there before letting Tatiana sit. Taïga nods, she’s still not trusting the hot tempered man. He pulls up another armchair and sits down.
‘I’m sorry if my husband acted like an “urs” towards you, Taïga. There are no excuses…’ She lets the sentence trail, fumbling for a Kleenex. Mr. Salău reaches out and takes his wife’s hand.
‘Maybe you could tell us again how Sanda… err… contacted you?’ he asks roughly and Taïga takes a deep breath. She tells her story once again.
‘… but my grandmother probably can help-’
‘Can you do it again?’ Mr. Salău rudely interrupts.
‘Taïga shakes her head.
‘Why? You want money? Is that it?’
‘Of course not!’ Taïga is outraged. ‘It’s just that I think it takes Sanda a lot of energy just to make herself visible to me. She’s fading away as we speak – I can’t even hear her anymore.’
‘See? I told you so.’ Mr. Salău cocks his eyebrows in his wife’s direction.
Taïga murmurs, ‘What is an inorog muică mămucă? What does it mean?’
Sanda’s mother and father look at each other. Mr. Salău takes a deep breath.
‘Could you tell us what she’s wearing?’
Taïga glances at Sanda who smiles encouragingly. ‘I don’t know about the color, but she’s got a skirt with butterflies…’
Mrs. Salău starts crying again, but her husband forces a tightlipped smile and hands her his cell.
‘OK. Go ahead – call your Grandmother. We need all the help we can get…’
‘… at the Salău’s… No, I don’t have the address but if you wait a second I’ll ask.’
After giving Granny the street and number, she continues, ‘No, I didn’t call for you to pick me up. I need you to come and help us, Granny. Do you remember when I told you about that little girl I once saw in our backyard? Well, it seems it’s Sanda Salău! … I know she’s-’ She lowers her voice, ‘-dead… Uh-huh… Uh-huh… Can you help us?… Please, Granny…’
A few minutes later Granny parks her old car in the street and walks up the poorly lit walkway. The house is looming large and spooky white against the dark sky. She rings the bell and can hear footsteps approaching.
Poor souls… Let’s hope I can do something for them…
Missy wanted to come too, more out of curiosity than a desire to help. She had filled her sister in on the terrible accident once when they were discussing-. Hmm… What were they discussing, again? Granny can’t remember, but having her sister snoop around is a definitive no-no. She already knows way too much about her granddaughter’s abilities, and even though her sister is an expert in ghosts, she doesn’t think that exterminating the young girl is on Taïga’s top of the list…
Mr. Salău opens the door with his wife, Taïga and Sanda close behind him. They greet Granny eagerly, if still a little distraught. Granny shakes their hands, hugs her granddaughter and looks approvingly around at the grey hall. Her eyes narrow as she scans the surroundings with her sharp eyes, and they all wait for her to acknowledge Sanda.
Taïga catches her grandmother’s eyes and she knows in that fleeting instant that her grandmother can’t see the poor ghost. She hasn’t said anything to the hopeful parents, but their daughter has been fading since she took possession of Taïga’s body.
‘Can you show me her room? Maybe she will show herself to me somewhere where we’re surrounded by her familiar things?’
The parents look at each other and at Taïga who stammers, ‘She’s not here anymore. Maybe she’s in her room?’
Taïga hates to lie to them about their daughter, but she is befuddled. Sanda is right there, in front of Granny, but her grandmother doesn’t see her. She can’t help but being a little disappointed. She had put all her hopes in her witch grandmother, and now she’s here she can’t see the little girl. She wishes she hadn’t raised the Salău’s hopes…
‘Let’s go upstairs, her room is exactly as it was when she-’
‘- left us,’ Mrs. Salău ends her husband’s sentence, wiping away a tear with a scrunched up Kleenex.
They all go upstairs and Granny walks around the room, picking up things, putting them back again. Suddenly she recoils. ‘I can feel something! A presence…’
Taïga pushes past the parents into the room, immediately setting eyes on the unicorn on the dresser.
Inorog, muică mămucă, inorog… Inorog! Suddenly the word makes sense. Sanda is standing next to the dresser, a faint smile lightening up her dimming features. She’s not even a rippling shadow anymore, and Taïga fears she will disappear forever if they don’t do something soon.
She’s just about to say something when Granny’s eyes set on the soft toy. Apparently Granny has felt, if not seen, the little girl and the importance of the toy.
‘… and I think it’s bound to the cuddly unicorn on this dresser.’
Granny looks expectantly at the parents. Mrs. Salău breaks down, seeking refuge in her husband’s arms. He looks angrily at Granny. ‘It is Sanda’s favorite toy. The only thing the police brought back to us after she disappeared…’
‘I need to use the unicorn. May I?’ She doesn’t wait for an answer, just puts it under her arm and walks out of the room, talking over her shoulder, ‘I need to maneuver somewhere spacious. Come with me, Taïga!’
The four of them troop downstairs again, stopping in the big entrance hall.
‘You’d better wait somewhere else, both of you,’ Granny says. ‘This can get ugly.’
‘Ugly?’ Mr. Salău asks surprised.
‘What do you mean by ugly?’ His wife says at the same time, her eyes widened in fear.
‘You are gonna help her, Granny, aren’t you?’
‘Of course I am… At least I will try to,’ she adds under her breath.
‘Trying isn’t enough!’ Mr. Salău steps up close to Granny in an effort to stare her down.
Granny cranes her neck but doesn’t give way, meeting his pale gaze with her own. ‘I said I will do my best. Now, Mrs. Salău, take your husband with you into the living room.’
Tatiana Salău pats his arm tentatively, grabbing it and pulling him around to face her. ‘We must have faith in them, Jan.’
‘But what if they hurt her? I swear I’ll kill them both if they hurt my little girl-’
‘I know, Jan, I know. Let’s do as Mrs. Grey told us, wait in the living room,’ she coaxes, pulling him along.
Sanda’s parents resign themselves to wait. Clutching each other’s hands for moral support, they stare out the window with unseeing eyes, each of them lost in their own thoughts…
Granny puts the unicorn down in the middle of the large hall.
‘I never thought we would get rid of them.’ She takes her hat off, smoothing her hair with her flat hand before putting it back on. ‘Is she here?’
‘Err… No… But maybe she hides in the unicorn?’
‘You’re absolutely right. That’s why I brought it down here.’
She draws her lips into what is supposed to resemble a reassuring smile. Taïga retreats a few steps. She knows that look, and it doesn’t bode well.
‘Are you sure we won’t hurt her if she’s in there?’
Granny scratches her chin. She’s not sure at all. But the child is already dead, so what harm can she really do to her? She regrets not having let Missy come, she might have known how to not end the ghost. And as her younger sister is extremely touchy, she’ll probably sulk for ages, making Granny’s life – and Taïga’s – if not Hell, something rather close to it. She sighs.
‘I promise you, I’ll do my best. But I can’t bring her back for good. Just the time it takes for the family to say their goodbyes and hopefully come to rest.’
‘Will you know who the killer is?’ Taïga asks bluntly.
‘Why? Has she asked you for that? Does she want retribution?’
Taïga shakes her head. Sanda hasn’t mentioned revenge, but personally she thinks that the killer should not go free.
‘Well, I’m a Grey witch. Let’s leave punishments and payback to the few Black witches that walk the earth.’ She holds her granddaughter’s gaze. ‘Do you understand? We are here to bring peace, not war.’
Taïga is the first to look away. ‘Yes, Granny. I understand.’
She concentrates on the unicorn slumped on the floor. She hopes she’ll be able to bring on some pain and destruction to the guilty when she grows up. Maybe there are different shades of grey? She could maybe become a somewhat dark grey witch.
Granny takes out her wand and tentatively sweeps it through the air. This will be the first important spell she uses it on since it healed. It seems well enough, but she knows she’ll have to put a lot of effort into the spell, which will bring her a terrible migraine and nausea. She glances at her granddaughter who seems thoughtful, not leaving the unicorn with her eyes.
Taïga watches her grandmother struggle with the spell until her brow is gleaming with sweat. She licks her lips, hoping they were both right about the cuddly toy. Inorog… It must have meant something, and she can feel it’s linked to Sanda. But will Granny succeed in breaking the bonds imprisoning the little girl?
She watches her grandmother. She has tried the short spell once again – unsuccessfully. The old woman stands still, her eyes closed, looking pale and strained. Drawing a deep breath, she lifts her wand and this time Taïga’s heart reaches out to her grandmother. She mumbles the words with her, willing the spell to succeed. It must. They can’t just leave the Salău’s like this…
Bring forth the ghost’
Something happens. The unicorn looks like it’s trembling slightly and the rippling silhouette of Sanda seem to rise from it until Taïga can see her whole body, apart from the ankles that are still imprisoned in the toy’s cuddly body.
‘Granny, she’s here,’ Taïga whispers.
Granny sweeps her wand through the air again with renewed force, but her face remains strained.
Bring forth the dead child!’
The rippling silhouette is stabilizing in the air. Slowly it is filling in, becoming less translucent. And there she is, a little blonde girl gently materializing before their eyes. It is like watching a painter coloring a statue. She grows from ethereal grey to a vision in pink and light purple. She’s still pale, but very much alive. Her brown eyes glitter and she raises her hands in wonder, looking at her arms, then pinching her skirt, swirling tentatively around.
Granny just stares agape and Taïga realizes that she can finally see Sanda. She claps her hands. ‘You did it, Granny!’
Suddenly the temperature seem to drop unnaturally low and a chill fills the air, making Taïga’s breath blow like steam from her nose and mouth. She looks at Sanda, frowning. What is the girl doing? Is she going to take over her body again? She braces herself, watching Granny reach out in slow-motion and touch the girl’s silky hair. Her grandmother says something but her voice is sounding impossibly low and slow.
Black smoke is billowing out from under the unicorn, tendrils unfurl like ink in water and slide whispering along the floor towards Granny and Sanda. And herself. She wants to warn them, to run, but her limbs are petrified. The black smoke rises hissing and whining behind Sanda and Taïga can feel her blood rush to her feet, leaving a metallic taste of iron in her mouth. Finally she seems able to move again and she slinks behind her grandmother.
‘He’s here…’ she whispers with numb lips.
‘Who’s here?’ Granny’s voice is back to normal. She kneels in front of her granddaughter, moving her hand in front of Taïga’s staring eyes. ‘Who’s here? Answer me, Taïga.’
But at the same time as Taïga murmurs ‘Death…’ Granny can feel the evil presence behind her. Hairs standing on her neck, she slowly rises and turns around.
‘Run girls! Run! I’ll take care of this!’
Granny pushes Taïga forward, and the little girl can feel the emptiness like a void of chilling despair as she’s propelled through the Reaper’s hovering body. Time seems to stop and a raspy voice fills her head.
‘She… is… mine…’
Taïga lifts her head to see who is talking, but she’s in total darkness. Her eyes strain so hard to see that it hurts. ‘Please, let her go. I just wanted to help her be with her family again,’ she pleads, and suddenly she is through.
She grabs Sanda’s hand and they run down the hall for shelter with Sanda’s parents.
The two girls erupt into the living room, the door banging against the wall. Both parents turn around at the commotion, their faces lighting up in wonder when they set eye on their daughter. Sanda dashes across the floor and throws herself into her father’s arms.
Taïga glances back over her shoulder before entering the living room, but the hooded shadow hasn’t turned around. His black silhouette is darker than anything Taïga has ever seen before and it stands out against the light sparkles from Granny’s wand. She hopes Granny’s magic is strong enough to take care of this. But she said she would, and she has never had any reason to doubt her grandmother before. So she closes the door behind her, leaning against it.
‘Sanda? Is it really you?’ Jan hugs his daughter hard, and kisses her hair, tears running freely down his cheeks.
Taïga can feel her own tears overflowing as she watches the family re-united at last.
Granny is struggling to remember the formula used to banish evil spirits. Even though she doesn’t know if Death is considered an evil spirit or a demon or just a plain ghost. Stammering, she waves her wand in desperation. ‘Go away… all evil spirits, ahem… All evil spirits, leave this-’
Granny still can’t see the Grim Reaper, but she can feel him being there and somehow she can hear him, too, like an echo inside her own head.
‘There… is… a… price… to… pay…’ the unemotional voice says, pausing after each word and Granny knows perfectly well what he’s talking about.
‘But I’m not exactly taking her, I’m just borrowing her for a little while. So the parents can get err… closure. I’ll return her to you-’
‘Closure…’ A cackling sound that she identifies as a laugh fills her head and she lifts both hands to her ears to shut it out. In vain.
‘The… bargain… is… with… your… granddaughter… I… will… take… what… is… mine…’
‘What about my granddaughter?’ Granny recoils from the gravelly voice and the sudden cold that is pushing towards her. ‘Don’t you dare… hurt… her…’
‘Who… are… you… to… threaten… me…?
Granny feels her eyes roll backwards and she tries to fight the spiraling sensation of falling… falling…
‘I have missed you so much, muică mămucă,’ Sanda repeats again and again clinging to her mother as if she never wants to let go.
‘My darling, darling…’ Tatiana’s voice is broken by emotions. She hides her tears in her daughter’s hair, holding her as tight as she possibly can. Taïga smiles at the scene, feeling happy and grateful that her grandmother could help them. For a moment she has forgotten about what is taking place in the hall.
A loud thump coming from the hallway makes Taïga start. She pushes away from the door and cautiously peeks into the dim hall. She can distinguish a lifeless heap on the tiled floor and there’s no sight of the Grim Reaper.
‘Call 961!’ she calls over her shoulder before dashing out into the dimly lit corridor, sprinting over to her grandmother’s side.
‘Granny!’ She turns her over onto her back, shaking her shoulder frantically. ‘Don’t die on me! Please!’
Granny grunts and opens her eyes, blinking a little disoriented at the sight of her granddaughter’s worried face. ‘Where am I? Why are you crying? Oh, my head hurts…’
Taïga hiccups and dries her tears. ‘Oh, Granny, you scared me.’ But suddenly she feels something inside her, like someone squeezing her heart, and a shiver runs down her spine. Her eyes glazes over and now it’s Granny’s turn to panic.
‘Oh my God, she’s having a seizure!’ She looks in despair around her. ‘Or she’s fainting! Oh my God. She’s not dying, is she!?!’ She shakes her granddaughter’s shoulders, slapping her face repeatedly.
Taïga focuses on her grandmother. ‘What is it, Taïga? Talk to me!’
‘I… I don’t know…’
In the living room no one has noticed Taïga’s departure, being to occupied with their own reunion. Sanda holds on to her mother, but something is wrong. Terribly wrong…
Sanda’s mother and father are fading away into rippling shadows and the little girl finds herself for a brief moment hugging emptiness.
Then she fades, too, and she can once again hold on to her mother.
‘What’s happening, muică mămucă?’ she asks with a trembling voice.
Mrs. Salău smiles bravely. ‘Don’t worry, darling…’
The room is suddenly chilling cold and a low whisper echoes through it. The Reaper is hovering in the far corner, surrounded by swirling black smoke.
‘It is… time… to… leave…’
Taïga helps her grandmother to her feet and rushes back to the living room, only to see Sanda disappear through the wall.
She tries to grab the little girl but only succeeds in banging her head against the wall. ‘Shit!’ Rubbing her aching forehead, she runs back out into the corridor, literally bumping into her grandmother.
‘What’s happening? Where are you going?’ Granny cries after her, but she doesn’t answer. She slides to a stop on the porch, staring at the scene unfolding in the garden. She can hardly believe her eyes!
The whole family is facing the Grim Reaper, looking past him up at her. They smile at each other, radiating happiness.
All ghosts. They are all ghosts! But why?
Immediately the Reaper’s gravelly voice sounds in her head, ‘You… asked… for… it… Remember? … They… will… be… together… now… Forever…’
One after the other, the whole family walks into the Reaper’s open arms, vanishing inside him.
‘But I didn’t mean they should all die!’ she cries out in desperation.
Taïga starts down the stairs, hell-bent on getting there before the Grim Reaper disappears, too. But of course she’s too late.
Her grandmother bursts out onto the porch, ‘Wait, Taïga! What is happening?’
Taïga stares in disbelief at the three gravestones at her feet. ‘They are all gone, Granny.’
Something bursts inside her at the sight of the gravestones, realizing they have gone through all this trouble for nothing. Granny can’t keep her tears at bay either. She hugs her granddaughter, trying to find the necessary comforting words.
‘It wasn’t for nothing. You said they looked happy. They are together now, and that’s all that matters to them.’
‘Do you mean that it’s better to be dead and together, than alive and separated from the one’s you love?’
Granny ponders the question. ‘No. But they had suffered for such a long time, not knowing if their child was dead or alive. Now they’ve got closure.’
Taïga doesn’t understand fully, but somehow she gets the gist of it.
‘I love you, Granny! Please don’t leave me…’ she sobs into the soothing warmth of her grandmother’s embrace.
‘It’s late.’ Granny takes a step back, blowing her nose.
‘Just a minute, Granny.’ Taïga rushes back inside but is soon back again, carrying Sanda’s fluffy unicorn.
With infinite care she installs the sad looking soft toy next to the gravestone carrying Sanda’s name, before sliding her hand into Granny’s and together walk down the ill lit path to the waiting car.
Part I – End of Chapter 33
You have just finished reading about how The Grey Witches came to Vulturu in the Transylvanian Mountains.
If not, you could always go straight to the Next Chapter…