“He’s close,” Abigail said. “You trust me, don’t you?”
“Completely.” Barlowe took a deep breath as he gathered Abigail in his arms. “See you on the other side.”
Quentin stood outside Abigail’s apartment, the anticipation of taking her and Barlowe together made his breath come in quick gasps.
Materializing through the door, he floated into her bedroom, leaving the crumbling husk of what once was Dr. Marshall Payne abandoned in the hallway, blowing away like so much dust.
Watching them make love, a shadowy voyeur, Quentin waited for the perfect time to assume Barlowe’s body.
Sensing Quentin had arrived, Abigail touched the emerald pendant at her throat and drew Barlowe’s essence into the gemstone. At the same moment, Quentin merged with the detective.
Abigail felt Barlowe’s body shutter, and she knew Quentin was there too.
For a split second, looking down at Abigail, Quentin showed her the image of his true face. Instead of fear, he saw triumph, then he saw the emeralds nestled between her breasts. She returned his gesture, slipping out of her Iona skin, and into Abigail. In that instant, he knew what she had done. He knew she won, and that he was lost forever.
Scientific experts and theologians debate over when a human fetus is a viable entity. Some say it’s when the child can live outside the womb, others say it is in the heartbeat of conception.
Conception, where there is no sentience, no awareness of being. The only time a creature like Quentin can be captured. When all his evil, all his memories, are returned to nothing. That realm when he no longer exists.
Just as Barlowe and Abigail came together to create a child, a vessel was also created to hold what was once great evil, but was now the hope of a new life. In that moment Abigail knew she had captured two men – one for power, the other for love.
As the exchange was made, as Quentin’s essence was drawn into Abigail’s womb, Barlowe’s essence flowed out of the emerald haven, and reanimated his body.
Abigail rolled Barlowe onto his back, resting her ear on his chest, hoping to hear a heartbeat.
Barlowe finally coughed like a drowning man coming up for air. He felt both exhilaration and nausea.
“How’d we do?” He wiped his mouth and eyes with the back of his hands, and tried to catch his breath. With Abigail’s help, he sat up.
She was beside him on the edge of the bed, holding his hands. Tears threatened at the corners of her eyes.
“We did good,” she whispered. “He’s gone.”
“Are we good?” Barlowe didn’t want this to be his last time with Abigail. “Is this over between us?”
“Oh, no, Det. Barlowe,” Abigail said. “You can’t get rid of me that easily.”
Barlowe laid back on the pillows, feelings of relief and exhaustion overwhelming him. He took Abigail into his arms, and closed his eyes.
They stayed intertwine until Barlowe’s quiet snores told Abigail he had fallen asleep. She watched him, his eyelids twitching in a dream. Laying her hands on her stomach, she smiled.
“Well, little one,” she whispered. “What kind of trouble will we get into?”