"...Won´t you hear me sing;

These songs of freedom

Were all I ever had...

Redemption song"

Bob Marley/Redemption Song

"What the hell???" Phil was confused. "Sean how did you get back here, I don't…" Then it hit him like a punch. "He tricked me. The bastard tricked me into coming here to get rid of me." he glanced at his son, grateful that he was okay, then closed his eyes, concentrated hard and began to fade away. Suddenly, just when he was half way there he felt someone or something shove him back down. He landed back in their living room again. He stood up and tried again, this time with triple the determination, but again he was forced back down. "Simon, you can't keep me from her. Do you hear me?! I won't let you win." Over and over and over he tried, but each time he found himself where he started. He was getting weaker, and knew that there would be no way he could get 'home' this way anymore… at least for now. He didn't know what to do or where to go. How was he supposed to save her if he was stuck here? He sensed that time was short. She wouldn't survive much longer. He still didn't understand why he wanted her soul so badly. It didn't make any sense to him. But Simon's reasons were not his concern right now, just his actions. Phil knew that everytime Simon touched her more and more of her soul was taken away. Death for the dead, he had been told.

What else did they say about these characters… sometimes they liked to haunt. Haunt! That's it! He knew he would need help getting back, and there was only one person and one place that he could go. He went home.

Jan followed Simon around as if attached to an invisible leash. All the while he held her hand, and all the while he was stealing her essence, her soul. She was so weak now, so tired all she really wanted to do was sleep, but Simon wouldn't let her. And she had to follow him; after all she did belong to him now. They walked the streets in a haze, the raining pounding on them. They walked through the park and she saw that her beautiful roses had drowned and been washed away by all the water.

He led her with purpose. He kept a special place in the park for himself and for the souls he was taking. An altar of sorts where he offered up the dead to his brothers and sisters. This one though was special, oh what a prize she was. Hers was not just one soul, but encompassed four or more. And they would all cease to exist once he took her one last time.

Phil had enough energy to propel himself to his old house. He stood in front of it and remembered. How many times had we played out in this yard, how many times did I open this door, not knowing what I would find behind it? I guess this time is no different. He slipped through the wood as easy as slicing through pie, and stood in his foyer. He took a few steps down and looked around. It was pretty much just as he left it, but dirtier. They could never sell the place because it was "haunted."

"Brynn, Brynn where are you?" he yelled, knowing she was here someplace. He stepped further into the room and then stopped. A low moan sounded from the bedroom. He went up the stairs and opened the bedroom door. There in front of him was his wife, or what used to be his wife. Her head was bowed and she was sitting in the exact spot where their bed used to be, cross legged on the floor. Her beautiful blonde hair was matted and filthy, her hands shook and needle marks coarsed up and down her arms. This was her punishment, he thought to himself, to see herself as she really was. The real Brynn.

"Brynn," he whispered gently, "it's me, it's Phil." She raised her head and looked at him. Her eyes were bloodshot and her face showed the punishment of time spent locked in this place. He pitied her. "Go away, go away!" she screeched at him, and now he knew why this place wouldn't sell. "Brynn, I need your help." he pleaded, edging closer to her until he was sitting on the floor in front of her. "I already helped you once." she cackled loudly, on the verge of madness. "Brynn, only you can help me now, and you owe me that much." He tried to reason with her,

"I do not hate you and I did not come here to make your 'life' worse. I came here because this is where I died and this is the only place that I can leave from to go back to the middle lands." She kept looking at the floor, drawing circles in the dust that had accumulated there. He wished Andy could see her like this, maybe it would set him straight before his fate ends up like hers. He reached out and took her hands in his. They were very dry and cold. "Brynn, the kids are okay, you know?" she looked into his eyes. "Really, Phil, are they really? I miss them so. I never get to see them, ever. I want to see my babies."

She began to wail again, tears streaking the dirt on her face. Phil did the only thing he could do, he reach over and pulled her to him and held her. "Oh, Phil, I didn't mean to hurt you. I don't know what happened that night, I never meant to hurt you, I swear." She let it pour out of her. "I know honey, I know." He comforted her with his words. "They won't let me go through, you know. They tease me all the time but I can't get through." she told him. "So the door still IS here!" he said, "Brynn I need you to summon the light for me. I need to get back, and I think since I went through it once before here it will allow me to pass through again. But I can't open it, only you can because you have never been through. Brynn, please do this last thing for me, I am begging you, please."

She stared into his eyes and saw his sincerity. "But I am so tired, Phil, so tired of that damn door." He waited, not knowing what he would do if she said no. She sighed deeply, and stood up. "Alright, Phil, I will try just this once for you. It is the least I can do for you. You weren't meant to stay here like me." She walked ahead of him and hung on to the banister. Phil stood beside her and waited. Brynn closed her eyes and concentrated as hard as she could on the light. Suddenly there it was before them, a huge revolving tunnel of light.

"Hurry up, Phil, I can't hold it open for long." she told him. "Brynn, thank you. I will come back and visit you okay?" he said, but she had turned away. He looked at the light and tentatively stepped inside. Almost immediately it began to pull on him and suck him in. Next thing he knew he was being swept up in its strong tide.

Brynn had begun to walk away when she noticed something. The door wasn't closing this time. It was tugging at her, pulling her forward. She stared in disbelief… "Could it be? Will it finally let me go through?" She walked slowly towards it, felt the wind from it gripping her. Then she heard a voice, it was a man's voice, deep and commanding.

"Come through child, your selfish act has redeemed you." She put one foot inside the tunnel and it did not push her back. Placing both feet inside, she wept with joy. Then she was gone and that tunnel closed up forever.

Part 25