[This post is from Thomas Merlin Ambrose’s point of view.]
“But I don’t understand why—or how.”
“Have you talked to Phelan about it?”
I bit my lip, staring at the ground for a few seconds. “He said we’d talk about what happened down there later. But then stuff started to happen and we haven’t gotten to talk about it yet.”
“Mm.” Somehow, even the single syllable managed to sound incredibly weighty and concerned. “I’ll nudge him in your direction. It sounds important, anyway. I think you two do need to have that talk.”
“So you think it’s important?”
I closed my eyes, chin dipping toward my chest. “Yes,” I whispered. “Yes, I think it’s important—but I don’t understand why it happened, Aunt Caro. I don’t know what it means, just that it happened. I don’t even know what it was. Was it some kind of dream? An echo? Something else?”
“If anyone here knows what it is, Lin, Phelan will.” She squeezed me gently and I winced. “And if you follow through on what you’re intending, then it’s important that you have the conversation sooner rather than later.”
“You mean going,” I said, swallowing. “You mean leaving with them when they go.”
“It’s the only way you’ll get the answers about your mom and dad that you’re looking for, isn’t it?”
I nodded slowly. “That’s not the only reason why I’m going to go, though.”
“I didn’t think it was.” Carolyn looked at me and smiled sadly. “It’s something you have to do, isn’t it?”
She nodded slowly. “I get it. I do. But we’ll still worry about you.” She pressed a kiss to my head. “We love you, Lin.”
“I know, Aunt Caro.”
We stepped onto the bridge. She kept her arm around my shoulders as we walked, footsteps echoing hollowly. How the bridge was still standing after all this time, I wasn’t sure. Maybe it had just been built that well. Maybe it was something else.
It was one of those mysteries of my world that I’d always been content to leave as just that—a mystery. Until now, my world had been far smaller than I realized.
Realizing that I was about to leave the cocoon of my childhood for something much bigger was a little jarring. Maybe that had been why I’d seen what I’d seen.
It didn’t make sense, but it was something. Stranger things had been connected.
At least, that was what I kept telling myself as we walked back to the village together in silence.