Lailoken’s Daughter


Magus Mighty, Magus Bright

First Magus I see tonight

I wish I may, I wish I might

Devour the Body of Christ tonight

And through Him, in Me

The world shall kneel on bended knee.


Mia had woken that day with the image of the bull in her mind.  It was clear which bull it was too, for all the children on the plantation had taunted the great beast at one time or another, Mia included.  In tow with her older brother and friends, she had thrown stones at ribald beast until it rushed the fence and then, screaming in delight and fear, they ran, scattering like windborne cotton into the fields beyond.

The beast had a name:  George.  After evil King George III who had so ravaged the Americas, the Master had so named him and the name had stuck.  George, the great beast he was, and Mia and all the children of the plantation, black and white, were delightfully terrified of him.


And as Mia sat in the car beside the roadway with her slick hands drying in the air-conditioning, she knew there were no such thing as coincidence, only a series of trigger points upon which the universe turns, without which, the universe would literally unhinge itself and collapse into chaos.

George.  There had been a Saint named George, a dragon slayer, no less.

A George had killed her father, and she had seen it happen before it did happen.  At five, her vocabulary was inadequate to explain, inadequate to stop it from happening:  at five, she was inadequate in all ways.  And when she saw her father alive that morning at breakfast, her high-pitched, terrified screams exploded across the compound like gunshots.  Mothers came running at the caterwauling, for her wail had the tone of murder to it.

Mia thought it was his ghost she saw sitting calmly at the breakfast table eating his corn mash, grits, and toast.

In her dream, her father had died.  It had been by the violent, brute force of George’s horned head, but also, in her dream, she had buried him too, grieved for him, and finally, accepted him as gone.  So, seeing him sitting there, big and large in his shirt and pants, his black head all but shaved smooth and not at all crushed-in and broken almost in half, like it was supposed to be, was just too much for her.

He reached for her and catching her screaming, wriggling form, lifted her into his enormous lap and, taking her hand, said, “Touch my head.  It’s good, girl.”

He lifted her small hand to her touch the side of his head.

Mia trembled, his lap was completely frozen; his hands were as cold as ice; his head was as crumpled and crushed in as an old can of paraffin.  Her eyes were fooled, yes, seeing him whole, but her eye, the seeing-thing that lived inside her, knew better, showing her the truth; her father:  he was dead.

“Daddy, you dead.  You go see Jesus now.  He’ll be wondering where you is.”

Her bright little eyes watched him as he set her carefully down on the dirt floor of their little wooden shack.

He stared at her for a long time and then stood slowly and, taking his hat from a hook behind the door, he shouted to her, so loud all the others of the slavery heard him.

“Then I’ll be goin’.  You look after your mamma, you hear me, girl, or I come back an whip yer backside!”

“Mia, you get…,” screamed her mother who had watched them together in terrified silence.  She came whirling across the room like a black tornado to her dead and broken father and, catching his arm with one hand and with her other, sent Mia sprawling across the room on her back.  Together, her parents left the house, leaving Mia alone to play.

That was the last time she saw him.  She didn’t go the funeral.  She wasn’t invited.  And when the men folk brought him home and laid him out on that very same table for her mother to clean and prepare for burial, Mia had been taken away to the cook’s home.  Attached to the master’s house, it was about as far away as you could get from the hushed whispers and fear of the adults of the slavery.  Their African imaginations comingled with the new religion of Christianity offered up many possibilities, but all of them were dark and filled with heavy foreboding, and little Mia, the pinprick at their center, evil and otherworldly.

The children of the cook told her about her daddy and how George had killed him (as if she hadn’t already known), stupid kids.

There are no coincidences.

Mia gripped the steering wheel.  Her hands had dried.  The air conditioning had taken care of it.  That was a beginning, for each ending has a new beginning and Mia lifted her hands to her face and counted the lines upon them.  There were many, and each laced with the magic of the Earth, writhed and wormed to be let loose and breathe once more.

She opened her mouth and reached into it.  Beneath her tongue, she found the spit sealed scent of the dragon she had hidden there for safekeeping.

Cupping her hands, she cradled the wet little ball.  She blew gently upon it and whispered the magic of the Moon into it.  The little spitball unwrapped itself.  And to Mia’s surprise it unraveled to reveal a small piece of string.

*  *  *

Becky started from a fitful sleep as the creature returned to her cell.  For cell was the best word she could think of to describe the place she was being held prisoner.  And prisoner too, she decided, was an apt description for her new situation in life, and she silently cursed the name of Lilith under her breath, blaming her for every wrong thing that had ever happened to her during her short life.

Becky saw that it was the same individual as before.  The creature had an old scar that ran in a pale, white ream along one its feathered thighs.  The creature stood at her cell door, having devoured it.  It seemed that the material the door was made from was a sort of waxy kind of food it found edible.  The creature chattered, using its fore mandibles like little drumsticks.  It beat them against one another to make the sound.  It was a language of sorts, Becky assumed.  And with her knees pulled up tight under her chin and backed up hard against the rear wall, she shouted, “I don’t understand!  I told you this!  Let me go.  You have no right to keep me here.”

The creature paused and turned its head as if listening.

At the door, behind it, Becky saw three or four others crowding about to look in at her.  Scar turned to the nearest.  This one, with an odd-looking limb that protruded from out of its neck, passed a small cut log to Scar.  Scar took the log and shook it at Becky, chattering again as if in complaint.  Scar then tossed the log toward Becky; falling in front of her, the log bounced up off the waxy floor and hit her hard on the calf.  Becky jumped-up, “Ow!  You son-of-a-bitch!”  She took the log and threw it as hard as she could at Scar.  She missed, and Scar, drumming his little sticks wildly, scurried out of the doorway to avoid it.  Scar and his friends hurriedly rebuilt the doorway with their lower, slender limbs.  These limbs extending out from beneath their bellies, they were sinuous and flexible and moved like the arms of an octopus.  They quickly rebuilt the door from the bottom up.  Their limbs reminded Becky of prawn legs.  Where the substance came from they used to make the door, Becky shuddered to guess, but it seemed to come from somewhere inside them and what it might be, she did not want to know.

Within seconds, Scar and his friends had resealing Becky back inside and stared in at her through the caramel-glazed door as if in fear.

Becky slid down the wall of the cell with her face in her hands.  “Executionerofthewill, where are you?”  She said it softly, and realizing the person she had called for would not, nor could ever come for her, brought tears to her eyes.

Becky had made a few wrong turns in her life, the worst of them, undoubtedly, was this one:  the decision to spy on the man she thought was executionerofthewill.

Becky had read the Court Order executionerofthewill had submitted.  It allowed him to take exnzpat from his asylum and back to his rental home for a few hours the following Monday.  It was complete with specific authorizations from exnzpat’s doctors and the hospital.  Becky read the document quickly and made her decision on the spot.  She would confront him.  She had tried once before and failed, but if she did not try one more time, she decided, then she would always regret it.

When Monday came, she worked until just after lunch.  She pretended sick, and then took off work driving carefully in the direction of exnzpat’s private asylum.

It was raining.  Thunderstorms with gray bottoms sped across the sky leaving deep water and flooding along many of the county roads.  Becky did not have a plan, but she thought it prudent that executionerofthewill be done with his strange business with exnzpat before she spoke with him.  She wasn’t sure what she wanted to say, but she thought it best to start with an apology and an explanation of why she had turned him down when he had asked her out the year before.  That seemed the right place to begin…  She knew she had hurt him, but it was complicated.  A white lie she decided would be best, and after that, who knew, but at least they could move on from there.

The asylum looked like it had been a hospital in its early days, but when exactly those early days were, it was hard to tell, for it’s imposing brick and stone facade said the Victorian, but its upright army of four Greco-Roman columns said otherwise.  Its grounds were park-like with old-growth oaks and maples trimmed in a manner to best take advantage of the hospital’s extensive lawns.  A circular driveway rounded the entrance of the building and Becky found its well-tended flowerbeds and hedges pleasing to the eye as she made her way to the parking lot.  She pulled into what she hoped was a well-hidden spot beside a large SUV, and waited.

Becky did not wish to revisit the exnzpat place.  She had been there in the early days of the investigation and it had given her nightmares for weeks afterward.  She felt much better about confronting executionerofthewill here.  The place was leafy with benches and tables set strategically under the trees, and so that as wet as the day was, surely, she thought, a dry spot to talk could easily be found.  This was better she decided, and for the thousandth time that day, she looked at her watch.

She remained in her car.  The recent bout of rainfall had drenched the place and the green grass seemed greener for the rain.  She thought that if executionerofthewill saw her before she saw him he would have the upper hand.  Maybe even accuse her of stalking him.  She shuddered at the thought.  She did not want him to think that.  It would be better to stay away to begin with if that were the case.  And with that thought, she began to rethink the whole of her plan, which was really not much of a plan at all.

The asylum’s grounds, under the infrequent appearance of the sun, had a soothing effect on her self-doubt at the confrontation; one-minute the world was grey and pouring and the next, shiny, wet, and slick as the sun peeked out from the scudding, rough sky above.  The greenery of the grounds became monochrome and amber, and the silvery film of bubbles on her windscreen seemed to build a barrier between her and the world outside the car.

Becky looked at her watch once again.  She remembered the Court Order:  exnzpat was to be back by 4pm, no excuses.  There was just ten minutes left.

And suddenly, up the driveway he came.  She saw the flat, black top of the BMW coming up through the gates.  It looked like a great, black whale surfacing for air as it rose above the lower hedges down near the main road.  Becky’s gut twisted from nervous fear.  To see him better, she wound down the driver’s side window to clear the droplets of silvery rain bubbles from it.

To Becky’s relief, he did not enter the parking lot; instead, he parked in front of the building’s main entrance.  Out of the car came two very large black men and executionerofthewill.  To Becky’s surprise, one of the black men had been driving the car, and as he stepped up to the rear door, he shoved executionerofthewill aside.  Executionerofthewill had exited the rear door and stood looking in at the passenger there.  The driver bumped him deliberately to one side to help with getting the blinded and deformed exnzpat from out of the back seat.  It wasn’t so much the push the man gave executionerofthewill it was the way he did it.  It was rough and clearly deliberate.  But executionerofthewill did not seem to mind, and that behavior, in Becky’s experience of him, seemed to be quite unlike him, but it was the next thing he did that really surprised her.  He walked round the three men and coming up behind exnzpat, tried to hug him.  The two black men holding exnzpat tightly between them, and realizing what executionerofthewill was trying to do, turned and snarled at him.  The distance from the scene was too far for Becky to hear what was said, but from the angry looks the men gave executionerofthewill, there was no mistaking what was said.  Together the four entered the building, executionerofthewill rebuked, trailed behind.

Exnzpat seemed disoriented, and that made sense, he was blind, but between the two big men, he seemed to struggle.  Becky guessed that whatever it was that the poor man had wanted or needed by returning to the place he murdered his family in, had not gone well for him.  However, it did appear that executionerofthewill seemed happy, almost ecstatic, even.  Perhaps because he had returned exnzpat to the hospital on time, but it was hard to be sure because he seemed almost jovial and that in itself, seemed completely out of character too.

Becky was glad to see the suspicious, darkened countenance he had been wearing on Friday gone from his face.  He seemed almost… almost like a different man.  And so Becky, watching from her car, hesitated, and when executionerofthewill reappeared a few minutes later, she hesitated once again.  He was skipping down the steps as if he were a small child at a game of hopscotch.

He seemed excited and oblivious to the world.  He practically danced his way to his car; he jangled a large key chain and sorted through them to find that which belonged to BMW.

Becky thought the change that had come over him remarkable.  Seeing his face clearly now, she saw he was happy, almost ecstatically so.  And startled by this transformation she watched transfixed as he jumped into the BMW and peeled off down driveway, although as soon as he reached the street, he slowed to the point of a crawl.

Becky blinked once then twice.  She’d missed her chance!  After all this trouble, she couldn’t believe it.  She started her car, backed quickly out of the parking spot, and sped to catch-up.  She needn’t have worried.  He was stopped at the gates and Becky, afraid he’d see her following, stopped at the top of the drive, waiting for him to move on.  Thankfully, there was no one behind her.

Executionerofthewill sat in the driveway for almost five minutes before he pulled carefully out onto the street.  To Becky, he seemed afraid, almost as if he had not driven for years and was now being overcautious because of it.  She watched as he crawled out onto the road and hugged the emergency lane, even though the traffic was light.

Becky, suddenly feeling foolish, followed.

A few blocks from the hospital, he pulled into an International House of Pancakes.  The parking lot was almost empty; it was not yet 5pm, early for an IHOP.

Becky passed the restaurant.  She drove on for a few miles and then, finding a gas station, pulled into it.

She topped her tank, thinking furiously.  Sneaking about like this was just plain creepy.  It made her think of the hundreds of restraining orders she had written up for the Court.  Was she that person?  No.  She told herself firmly, she was not.

The only way to handle this was to confront him and get it over with; and with her mind made up, she paid for her gas and drove back to the IHOP.

She parked on the other side of the restaurant and then this is where things got weird.

She took her time exiting her car, dithering where she could; she poked through her glove compartment looking for a small compact she kept in there, even though there was one in her purse, and she had the rear vision mirror right there in front of her too.  She was a fool, she knew.  This whole thing was stupid.  She was stupid.  Why was she drawn to this self-centered jerk to begin with?  No one, when he worked for the city, really liked him.  Oh, he had friends, but behind his back, they accused him of arrogance.  But was he arrogant?  She knew those same friends too, but Becky knew confidence and arrogance to be strange bedfellows.  Confidence, to men of small actions, is easily misconstrued as arrogance.  There was more to him.  And she knew it.  Call it a woman’s intuition, but there was something in him that she felt worthy of this girlish pursuit.

Galvanized for the worst she stepped from her buttery colored car and went into the restaurant.

In her mind, she imagined their meeting.  “Oh, hi.  What are you doing here?” she would say.  Then he would say something like, “Oh, hi, Becky.  Nice to see you, would you like to join me?” or some such silly thing.  But what really happened was the last thing she expected:  he didn’t recognize her at all.

When she approached his table he waved his hand indicating that he wanted more coffee, his face, so stuffed with pancake, he barely looked up, but he saw her and in his eyes, she saw not one shred of recognition in them.

He was enjoying his meal, digging into a stack of pancakes, syrup, and cream almost as tall as his head.  He was like a hooligan with a baseball bat at an English football game.  He seemed completely absorbed, but nonetheless, he saw her, he looked into her eyes, and without recognition, pointed with that familiar gesture, demanding more coffee.

An instantaneous hurt gave way to shocking awe, for Becky saw the telltale, golden hue of natural magic all about him.

It was not as if he was not acting as himself, it was clear he was not himself and did not know her at all!

Becky backed away from his table, spoke quickly with the nearest server, telling her I wanted coffee, and then ran from the restaurant.

Becky sat in her car and waited: again.

She understood more than a normal person should about the macrocosm of nature.  And she was a normal person, and this, she reminded herself, despite her father’s insistence to the contrary, was a true fact.  She was normal and there was no such thing as magical beings, ghosts, or aliens.  There were, she knew, only children, men, women, and monsters in the universe, and that was enough.  And she knew only one monster:  her father.

Divorced, her parents kept her loosely latched between them.  Her father remained in the big house in upstate New York, and her mother, in the apartment in Manhattan.  It was an hour train ride between and, each weekend, until she turned eighteen, Becky lived two very different lives.  In one world, she was the happy schoolgirl, surrounded by friends, a loving mother and an earnest stepfather; and in the other, she became the terrified bride of Endor.

Her father was a strange man who wore a shimmering, silver cape about his broad shoulders.  He carried a scepter adorned in garish rhinestone and demanded she address him as Lailoken, for that, he told her, was his cosmic name (his true name).  Becky, instead, called him Bill, because that was his name and she was just too damned embarrassed to call him dad, father, or pa, but better yet, calling him Bill, infuriated him.  In return, he called her Elizabeth, her real name.  Her mother had always called her Becky.  It was a contraction of Elizabeth, which was also her mother’s name, and to avoid confusion, Becky she remained.  But when her father called her Elizabeth Becky cringed at its sound, for it was as if he were speaking to a lover instead of a daughter.  And for Bill, seduction began with his voice:  tone, pitch, and quality.  ‘Elizabeth’ rolled off his libertine tongue as if he were the Marquis de Sade demanding, nay expecting, some indecent recognition.

Her father (he said) was a Celestial Intelligencer, but he never fooled her.  He was a wealthy, independent stockbroker who worked from home and had far too much time on his hands.

The train ride north was the worst of it.  For as the train wound through the forest that bordered the Hudson River, Becky saw the place through Washington Irving’s eyes, and in the last two hundred years since Rip Van Winkle had staggered, swayed, and slept here, little had changed.  If anything, the twenty-first century saw the place more isolated.  The population shrank as farming moved west and wealthy men from the city purchased large tracks of the forest.  They built their stone mansions atop New England’s broken stone walls that Robert Frost had written so eloquently about.  Many of their homes rivaled and even dwarfed the fortified castles of Versailles, the villas of Rome’s great Appian Way, and those garish edifices of the English aristocracy’s nineteenth century.  But you wouldn’t know it to see it, for the deep, closely knit trunks of the forest hid all of it from casual eyes.

The forest was an ominous place.  You could walk its trails and roads and not see another human being for an hour.  Becky had once seen a black bear.  It was rare to see them, for they are excellent hiders, but humans, they were better hiders than bear and within this forest the mansions of rich men faded like ghosts.  Becky shuddered at the memory of the forest.  Outwardly it gave the appearance of a soft and quiet thing, and the land too, subdued by that which grew upon it, lay in subversive stupor as if dead in mourning under its heavy blanket; red in fall, green in summer, and brackish brown atop snow in winter, for above all, no matter the season, the forest was a deathly quiet place.  And it always seemed so.

Irving’s name for the dark frowning brow of the Kaatskills to the west, the Fairy Mountains, seemed neither exaggerated nor unexpected when traveling beneath them.  And Becky, knowing and intimate with the worst of the humans of the forest, knew the spell the place kept upon its people.  Sleepy Hollow was a real place, but its headless horseman was nothing more than an amusing tale, for there were far worse things than a headless man lurking about this forest, for what harm could such a creature really do?  Very little, Becky knew, but a monster, now that was something worthy of a young girl’s consideration.  And as Becky sat, strumming her fingers upon the steering wheel of her car and waiting for me to exit the restaurant, she sighed softly in fear of the man she had once called Bill.

Bill claimed he could manipulate the dead and Becky, virginal and pure, was the perfect conduit, he had said.  And it was not as if he was alone in his fantasy, for Bill actually had a following of like minded individuals.  To a naive eye, one might call them Devil Worshipers but the truth of it was quite a bit stranger.  The Hermetic Seal of the Golden Awakening was but one name Bill used to describe his order.  A more modern word and the better word, and the word Becky used most often, was cult.  Bill hated that and, unlike his name, he had no rejoinder.

Bill’s followers were the idle rich of New England, but only those of deep religious convictions, for in their hearts and minds they knew Christ as King.  Lailoken, their charismatic connection, was priest, but of an order entirely his own making.  Its fountainhead, which Bill was quick to point out to new members, sprang from ancient stone and flowed as naturally with time as does a river to an ocean.  Bill’s followers did seem to be mainly women, their husbands spending the week in the city, left them to their own devices and did not seem to care much what they did with their time.  And so they flocked to Bill like moths before a colorful, shimmering flame and Becky, the skeptical daughter, challenged him always on his true motivations.  Bill did have charisma; Becky at least would admit that much of him.  Most madmen have something about them that draws others to them:  Manson, Reverend Jim Jones, L. Ron Hubbard, and Bill were all quite alike in their passions, and seeing it manifest round them like a spinning, murder of crows, it draws weaker minds easily.  And together, within this rotating, falling black halo they tend to congeal and collapse as if they were nothing more than an airborne brick coated in thick tar but with the expectation of flight.

Bill was a fake, Becky knew, for in his heart he remained insincere, his motivation was money and the power it has over others.

On arrival at the big house, it never surprised Becky much to find strange, seminude women wandering her father’s home.  Becky would lock herself in her room and stay there until dinner or, if Bill were so inclined, he would drag her from her room and parade her about like a Kentucky Show Horse before a prospective new member of his Order.

Becky was fourteen when she met Matt E.  He was two years older than she was.  She found him sitting in the rear reading room one Friday night.  Matt E was a cocky young man with a buzz haircut, a pale face and blond, almost transparent, eyebrows.  He was reading Margret Thatcher’s “The Path to Power,” and she decided she disliked him immediately.

But Matt E was polite.  He stood and introduced himself, after which he added rather painfully, “…I think my mother is having an affair with your father.”

Becky shrugged.  “He has affairs with lots of mothers but mine.”

Becky wanted to walk away but the ridiculous book the boy clutched tightly under one arm, rankled her.  “Good book?” she asked.

The boy’s face lit up like June bug’s backside at twilight.  “Oh, yes.  I want to be a politician someday,” he said seriously, missing Becky’s sarcasm completely.  “She was brilliant,” he added looking admiringly at the cover.

Becky stared at him in astonishment.  Could someone really be so naive?

Becky herself had not the slightest idea what she wanted to do with her life and, begrudgingly, she admired the stupid boy’s enthusiasm for his own future (as misguided as it surely must be).  So Becky decided that such a stupid boy as this, deserved a second chance.  And so, as the years passed, the two became close.  But as a brother and sister are close, for the relationship between father and mother seemed to blossom.  And most weekends, on returning to the house, Becky found the boy sitting quietly reading some treatise on politics, war, or history, and each time she would attempt to engage him in fun.  Whether it be movies in the house’s theater, walking her father’s extensive gardens, or joining him in reading, she with her schoolbooks and he with his terrible books; and over time, ever so slowly, the two became friends.

When Matt E got his driver’s license they would drive to White Plains, and together they would spend hours at the movies or drink coffee in the many coffee shops there.  Sometimes he would meet with his friends and she would meet with her friends, and then the two would part company for the day only to meet up later again before Becky’s curfew.

The world the two knew of was privileged and narrow and the set the two kept pace with was that of the Ivy League, and sometimes, all together, both age groups would take the ferry to East Egg for parties, but never West Egg (for that was beneath them).  Saturdays, returning in the morning for breakfast in Larchmont, they would sit and speak of the party, school, college, and friends; their lives were unhurried and easy, or at least upon the surface they looked to be.  Midnight Saturday was the only curfew set by Bill and only Matt E knew of Becky’s dread of that late hour.

And she liked this best about Matt E, he never fought her when she wanted to tarry in town and shop or take in one last movie before curfew.  It was only an hour’s drive to the house and so there was never any real hurry (she said).  As their weekend wound down, Becky would linger and procrastinate.  Matt E would gently urge her along, bidding goodbye to their friends long before it was time to go, for Becky could always find one last thing to add to a conversation, or one last coffee to order.  Matt E became an expert at reading the signs, and long before curfew, he would gather her together as if gathering the tresses on the wedding dress of a reluctant bride and gently push her out the door and into his car.  Always, they spoke of nothing on the drive home.  Occasionally, a deer would skip across the road in front of them, and Matt E would swerve, brake, and swear, but that was about it.  For it was like this:  on Monday, God had created the Heaven and the Earth.  On Tuesday, He separated the air from the space, a division of firmaments no less.  On Wednesday, God separated water from land.  On Thursday, He put lights into the sky to separate night from day.  On Friday, He created all those things that swim and all those things that fly.  Saturday, He made the animals of the land, and finally man.  At last, on Sunday, he slept.  And resting so, it was impossible for him to pay attention to what he had made.  And so, on Sundays then, the necromancer, the pretender, the priest, the trickster, and the Magus come out to play.  Sundays are also a time for the gullible, for they, above all others, have forgotten the meaning of the days of the week.

And arriving as close to midnight as possible to delay the inevitable, Becky was afforded a few hours of sleep before the maid came with her wedding dress.

Matt E was not allowed to attend those Sunday sessions, though he heard about them from his mother, who spoke of them in awe.  Becky never spoke a word of it, but he once asked her, “Is it true you see gold dust on everything that’s magic?”

“First, Mattie,” she said, leaning her head against his shoulder, “there is no such thing as magic.  There is something going on, but I don’t know what it is, but yes, when I see things, you know, the future or the stuff that Bill wants me to see, I see it coated in a golden hue.  It’s more like honey or syrup than dust.”

Becky thought about pancakes and syrup as she watched executionerofthewill leave the restaurant and climb back into the black BMW.  And again, as he had done at the hospital, make his way cautiously out onto the road.  She followed him, keeping well back, but this time she no longer felt foolish, for something was very wrong, of that, she was completely sure.

Executionerofthewill was dripping in syrup, and it wasn’t from pancakes.

*  *  *

It was a somber passage we made, Lilith and I.  Lilith simply pointed and I led the way.  We passed through the little wood nestled within the cupola of the hanging mountain with its strange mounds of piled and cut wood.  Each mound reminded me of the stone and rock cairn beneath which we had laid Lincoln, and each tugged at my heart as we passed, for so much did they look like burial mounds, and perhaps that was what they really were.  And Lilith, she wore her pain like flowing summer dress; it was everywhere about her.  It billowed about us in unrelenting gossamer waves, each one seemingly more powerful than the last.  It was debilitating.  I stopped countless times, leaning my head against trees to steady myself as each wave crashed over me and then inexorably ebbed, and in its ebbing I found my feet again and moved on as quickly as I dared before the next wave hit.  Our attachment–our linked minds–was like gravity, for each action there was a reaction, and Lilith’s sorrow beat against me as if I were driftwood.

Lincoln had not been my first dog, but yes, I felt sorrow because of his loss, but for Lilith Lincoln was her only dog, but more than that, she must face the length and breadth of all universal time and space without him.  Lincoln, she attempted to explain, was not exactly as he appeared to be.  He had been more, much more, and her despair at his death was more, much more, than I could ever imagine.