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brightness hovered over him, one shining hand reaching to touch his hair. Then she bent and kissed the
dark head on the ground.
As the sparkling light faded, Damon sat up and shook his head. He saw Elena and went still, then, every
movement careful and self-contained, stood up. He didn't say anything, only looked as Elena turned back
to Stefan.
He was silhouetted against the fire. Bonnie had scarcely noticed how the red glow had grown so that it
almost eclipsed Elena's gold. But now she saw it and felt a thrill of alarm.
"My last gift to you," Elena said, and it began to rain.
Not a thunder-and-lightning storm, but a thorough pattering rain that soaked everything Bonnie
included and doused the fire. It was fresh and cool, and it seemed to wash all the horror of the last
hours away, cleansing the glade of everything that had happened there. Bonnie tilted her face up to it,
shutting her eyes, wanting to stretch out her arms and embrace it. At last it slackened and she looked
again at Elena.
Elena was looking at Stefan, and there was no smile on her lips now. The wordless sorrow was back in
her face.
"It's midnight," she said. "And I have to go."
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Bonnie knew instantly, at the sound of it, that "go" didn't just mean for the moment. "Go" meant forever.
Elena was going somewhere that no trance or dream could reach.
And Stefan knew it too.
"Just a few more minutes," he said, reaching for her.
"I'm sorry "
"Elena, wait I need to tell you "
"I can't!" For the first time the serenity of that bright face was destroyed, showing not only gentle sadness
but tearing grief. "Stefan, I can't wait. I'm so sorry." It was as if she were being pulled backward,
retreating from them into some dimension that Bonnie could not see. Maybe the same place Honoria
went when her task was finished, Bonnie thought. To be at peace.
But Elena's eyes didn't look as if she were at peace. They clung to Stefan, and she reached out her hand
toward his, hopelessly. They didn't touch. Wherever Elena was being pulled was too far away.
"Elena please!" It was the voice Stefan had called her with in his room. As if his heart was breaking.
"Stefan," she cried, both hands held out to him now. But she was diminishing, vanishing. Bonnie felt a
sob swell in her own chest, close her own throat. It wasn't fair. All they had ever wanted was to be
together. And now Elena's reward for helping the town and finishing her task was to be separated from
Stefan irrevocably. It just wasn'tfair .
"Stefan," Elena called again, but her voice came as if from a long distance. The brightness was almost
gone. Then, as Bonnie stared through helpless tears, it winked out.
Leaving the clearing silent once again.They were all gone, the ghosts of Fell's Church who had walked
for one night to keep more blood from being spilled. The bright spirit that had led them had vanished
without a trace, and even the moon and stars were covered by clouds.
Bonnie knew that the wetness on Stefan's face wasn't due to the rain that was still splashing down.
He was standing, chest heaving, looking at the last place where Elena's brightness had been seen. And
all the longing and the pain Bonnie had glimpsed on his face at times before was nothing to what she saw
now.
"It isn't fair," she whispered. Then she shouted it to the sky, not caring who she was addressing. "It isn't
fair!"
Stefan had been breathing more and more quickly. Now he lifted his face too, not in anger but in
unbearable pain. His eyes were searching the clouds as if he might find some last trace of golden light,
some flicker of brightness there. He couldn't. Bonnie saw the spasm go through him, like the agony of
Klaus's stake. And the cry that burst out of him was the most terrible thing she'd ever heard."Elena !"
Sixteen
Bonnie never could quite remember how the next few seconds went. She heard Stefan's cry that almost
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seemed to shake the earth beneath her. She saw Damon start toward him. And then she saw the flash.
A flash like Klaus's lightning, only not blue-white. This one was gold.
And so bright Bonnie felt that the sun had exploded in front of her eyes.All she could make out for
several seconds were whirling colors. And then she saw something in the middle of the clearing, near the
chimney stack. Something white, shaped like the ghosts, only more solid looking. Something small and
huddled that had to be anything but what her eyes were telling her it looked like.
Because it looked like a slender naked girl trembling on the forest floor. A girl with golden hair.
It looked like Elena.
Not the glowing, candle-lit Elena of the spirit world and not the pale, inhumanly beautiful girl who had
been Elena the vampire. This was an Elena whose creamy skin was blotching pink and showing
gooseflesh under the spatter of the rain. An Elena who looked bewildered as she slowly raised her head
and gazed around her, as if all the familiar things in the clearing were unfamiliar to her.
It's an illusion. Either that or they gave her a few minutes to say good-bye. Bonnie kept telling herself
that, but she couldn't make herself believe it.
"Bonnie?" said a voice uncertainly. A voice that wasn't like wind chimes at all. The voice of a frightened
young girl.
Bonnie'sknees gave out. A wild feeling was growing inside her. She tried to push it away, not daring to
even examine it yet. She just watched Elena.
Elena touched the grass in front of her. Hesitantly at first, then more and more firmly, quicker and
quicker. She picked up a leaf in fingers that seemed clumsy, put it down, patted the ground. Snatched it
up again. She grabbed a whole handful of wet leaves, held them to her, smelled them. She looked up at
Bonnie, the leaves scattering away. [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]