12

The Visions of James Corbin

The Visions of James Corbin

By: James Konderla

James stood next to the grave and, after a moment, knelt.

"Hey, sis. How ya doin?" He asked.

He waited a few seconds before continuing. "I miss you a lot. I bet you know that, though. You know I wish you were here. You weren't just my sister…you were my best friend. I love you, Katherine." He placed a rose on the grave of his 10-year-old sister and let a tear slide down his face. It had been three years ago, to this day. They had been playing on the school playground (Katherine always loved to baby-sit the little kids while their parents rested) when someone had come up and shot, randomly, at the playground, hoping to kidnap one of the kids. But he had his Katherine in the stomach, killing her instantly. The man had run away, scared, and, without looking where he was going, had jumped in front of a diesel. And, if that hadn't been enough, 2 years before that James and Katherine had helped each other through the death of their parents!

James managed to wipe his tears away. "I will always love you, little sister."

He walked back through the graveyard and out through the main gates, walking through the town center. He looked at his reflection in a window as he passed. He was about 5' and had light brown hair that was, at the tips, blonde. He wore Black slacks, a black shirt, and a dark gray jacket.

His aunt would be concerned that he was out so late but, then again, she never really cared. James walked down the street, listening to his Walkman, until he heard something. He turned down the volume and stuck the earpieces into his pocket.

"Give me your purse, woman, or I'll kill you."

"Help!" A feminine voice called.

James ran to the source just as the man landed a punch in the woman's gut.

"Bad move, bitch." He aimed his weapon as James reached the end of the alley.

James was surprised, at the least, that the man had a long, old-fashioned, sword. "Hey! Leave her alone!" He called.

"You want some of this, kid!" He asked, brandishing his sword.

"Yeah, bring it!" James said, motioning the man forward.

The man let go of the woman's arm and she fled. He looked angrily at James. "Well, I guess we're all alone now." He ran at James, slashing his sword at James' chest. James dodged and the man hit the wall.

"Your gonna pay for that!"

He charged again but James grabbed a garbage can lid and jumped back, using it as a shield. He knew, as he felt the lid start to buckle, that the man would get through to him soon so he grabbed his pocketknife and slipped it up his sleeve. Finally the man pushed James from the alley and he caught a glimpse of the woman from before, running at the 2 with police in tow.

"Damn! I'm out of here!" The man said.

"Not so fast!" James made to trip him but messed up. A second later he felt metal slide into his gut. He hadn't noticed that the man had turned back towards him, the sword pointing straight at James' stomach. James mustered all of his strength and popped the dagger-like blade of his knife, plunging it into the man's leg. He fell forward with a scream and made to pull the knife out and attack James with it. He only got the knife out of his leg before he was tackled by a police officer. James' knees buckled and he fell to the ground, landing on his side.

Another officer ran to James' side.

"Shit! They got him good!" The officer said, pulling a walkie-talkie from his waist. "10-4. I need 2 ambulances here, in the village. I've got a young man with a sword through his gut and another with…"

All sound and light faded as James slid into a coma.

James awoke in Darkness. He was faintly aware of his body but, as he tried to sit up, he found that his gut hurt immensely. Someone forced him back down.

"Damn! What happened!" He said, clutching his stomach.

"You got stabbed." Said a feminine voice.

James blinked away the darkness and saw, standing in front of him, a Black-haired young woman of about 18 with hazelnut eyes. She was wearing a black dress and a lavender jacket.

"Michelle!" James said, smiling at her. They had been long time friends, though not as close as James and his sister had been.

She sat down on the side of his bed and took his hand in hers.

"How do you feel?" She asked, concerned.

"Good…surprisingly good." James said, wincing as he laid a hand on his gut.

"Michelle…tell me the truth. What happened?"

She looked into his eyes for a moment before smiling. "The guy who got you was a murderer from up north. He was trying to get across the border but he wanted to murder a few more before he did…he's in prison right now under heavy guard."

She didn't say that he had nearly killed James, they both knew it.

"Oh! Here!" She said. She reached into her purse and drew out a get-well card. "Cory signed it too." Cory was her boyfriend and, though she didn't yet know it, Cory had already talked about marriage with James and James had told him to go for it. There was a light knock on the door and a young orderly came in. She smiled, warmly, at the two.

"Michelle, honey, visiting hours are over."

"Thank you, nurse. James…I'll see you on Wednesday." She leaned down and kissed James on the lips. He was a little surprised as she pulled away but she only giggled and stood, throwing her purse over her shoulder.

"I thought you could use that. Have a good night."

"You too." James called after her. James waited until after she was gone to smile. He liked her but he knew it would never be. He was happy that she had found Cory and wasn't at all jealous towards the two.

"So, how about dinner?" The orderly asked.

"Sure…am I allowed to eat?" James asked.

"Only fluids. We've got some potato chips and broth liquid that we can feed through intravenously." The orderly said.

"Fine…I'll have the broth and whatever else is healthy. I still won't be able to taste it!" James said, a little angry at not being able to eat.

"Oh cheer up! You'll be ready for real food in 2 weeks." And she left to get James' food.

James picked up the phone and dialed his Aunt's cell phone. There was a pause and, after a few rings, James' aunt picked up. He talked with her for a second before asking for her to bring him some books and games. This would be a boring few months, he knew.

'Well…at least I'll be okay.' He thought with relief. He switched on the news and, after dinner, fell asleep.

"I hate these gowns!" James said as the nurse helped him slip his arm into the right side of the hospital gown. He lay back down in bed and pulled his state-of-the-art laptop towards himself. He had bought this with a small portion of what his parent's had left him. He slipped a DVD into the drive and pressed the play button. Just as the movie got to a good part, there came a knock on his door.

"Come in!" He called, slipping his laptop back onto the table.

"James!"

James smiled as one of his other Aunts, Mary, came into the room. Mary was a rather attractive woman with blonde hair and 3 children. Today she wore a pretty white dress decorated with Roses.

"Hey, Mary. How are you?" James asked, gesturing to one of the empty seats.

"Good. You?" She asked, concerned.

"I'm fine. As long as these painkillers don't wear off I'll be fine! Did you get it?" James said, giving her a mischievous grin. She reached inside her purse and pulled out a small, wrapped, bundle.

"Thank you!" James said, giving her a hug. "They don't want me to have chocolate yet but…oh well! It'll be fine!"

James set the bundle next to his laptop and made the bed change into a sitting position. "So, where are the kids?"

"I left them with your uncle John." Mary explained. John was Mandy's husband. They had been married only a year now but Mandy already had a beautiful baby boy.

"Well…he's probably dead by now." James laughed and Mary joined in.

"James…are you really okay?" She said, still concerned.

"Of course! I took a sword to the gut but I'm fine now!" James said, smiling. He knew this was a lie, of course. The doctors had told him yesterday.

"You're lying." She said in a worried tone.

"Promise to keep it a secret…even from Mandy?"

She nodded, looking into his eyes.

"I'm dying."

When she started to cry James put a comforting hand on her shoulder. "Don't cry, Mary. I don't want anyone to cry."

She finally forced herself to stop crying and James smiled at her. It was a smile filled with a sense of loss, though, not of happiness. "There's something else, too."

He waited a moment for her to calm herself before continuing. "You know how my grades have been getting steadily better? Well…I'm a genius."

She nodded, as if she knew this.

"I mean a real Genius! Not just smart, I mean…well…they gave me an IQ test because I was bored and, after 3 tries to confirm it, my IQ tested at 295!"

Realization dawned on her face. "But…that's impossible!"

"Now…don't tell anybody any of this but, because of my, err, predicament they're letting me test out of all my classes at school and at the college." James said with pride.

"But…how long do you have?" She asked, trying not to cry.

"Doctor's don't know. I'm bleeding internally but it's coming slowly; they can't repair it, they tried 3 times now. They're guessing that I have anywhere from 6 months to over a year."

She nodded and stood, drying her eyes.

"Oh, Mary."

"Yeah?" She asked.

"Thanks for the chocolate."

She smiled and left.

'Well…that wasn't hard…I just hope the rest of the family doesn't take it any worse when I tell them.' James thought. He reached over, under his bed, and retrieved a college-level trigonometry book. He opened it to his bookmark and started reading, writing figures and calculations on a sketchpad on his bedside.

Eleven months later…

James looked down at the advanced engineering exam and smiled. He was used to getting A's on his exams but, with this exam completed, he had become a doctorate.

"Well, I'm a doctor now." James said, smiling at Michelle.

"So, do you want to go out to dinner, doctor? Our treat." Michelle offered. A blonde-haired, muscular, young man come from the bathroom and nodded.

"Nah. I couldn't. You two already have plans…"

"Cory and I would be happy to!" Michelle said. James looked around at the piles of papers and books all around his room and sighed. He spent most of his time, these days, in bed. He was tired almost all the time but he never let it interfere with his lessons, which he took over the Internet.

"What's up, James?" Cody asked, sitting next to Michelle. The two were now getting married. Cody had taken James' advice and proposed to Michelle over a candle-lit dinner (she had accidentally let slip to James that it was her ideal proposal scene).

"It's just that, for the past 11 months, I've been testing out of classes left and right and I've wasted all my time! I should be out there, living life like normal!"

"It's okay, James. You still have a chance." Michelle said, softly.

"No, I don't! I've got my books to work on and that'll take up all my time. Do me a favor, Cory. Don't pass through life like me. Live every moment like it's your last."

Cory nodded, patting James on the back. James picked up one of his notebooks and sighed. He felt he had to write down all his thoughts, all his dreams. He had seen weird dreams, lately. He had seen and heard things, in his dreams, which could only be called "Visions". These Visions had shown him things that could benefit all of humanity and so, now, he felt it his job to write them down. At least it would leave a sizable imprint in his name for future generations.

"Oh no you don't!" Michelle grabbed the notebook and tossed it to Cory. "Your coming to dinner with us!" She said, pulling James out of bed.

"Fine!" James said, happily. "But I have to be back by eight…I'll need all the rest I can for tomorrow." For tomorrow was the day he had chosen to tell his family about his impending death and what he had been working on for the past year.

James' family was shocked. First he took the adults aside, walking them outside of his uncle's shop, where the gathering was taking place, and then, after they had calmed down, he went inside the shop where his cousins were sitting. He looked at each of them as they lay around, occupying a few chairs, the old, moth-eaten, couch, or the shaggy-carpet floor. There was his oldest cousin, Shannon. Shannon has beautiful blonde hair and wore Blue Jeans and a tank top. The two of them had never been close, James and Shannon, but they did stay in touch (Shannon lived a ways away). She owned a mother-like personality, especially when it came to her brothers and sister. She was only 13 but, in James' opinion, she was mature beyond her years. Then there was Jessica, a year younger than Shannon. She had hair that was so light that it looked a mix between Blonde and Brown. Jessica was closer to James than Shannon was and she had a kind, caring, personality. There was also Jessica's little brother, Raymond. He was a rather tough kid with hair that he had died black. He was skinny but could, actually, kick Cory's but. Fourth in line was Shannon's younger brother, Lee. Lee was one of the only one's out of the bunch with Blonde hair. Lee had the personality of a curious, yet mature, kid. There was also Lee's younger brother, Travis, who was a younger version of Lee and his baby sister, Michelle, who was asleep in a playpen with a few other babies. There were a number of other kids but James wasn't as close to those children as he would have liked to be.

"Hey, Guys. Can I talk to you?" James asked, sitting on one of the unused chairs. It hurt to stand for while and, he guessed, that was the anemia taking effect. Shannon picked up the remote and switched off the TV, sitting up on the couch.

"You all know that I've been really busy the last year and you've all asked about it so I'm here to tell you why. A year ago, when I was attacked by that guy," who is now on death row, James added to himself, "I was diagnosed with something called Anemia."

"Isn't that…bleeding internally or something?" Jessica asked.

James nodded to the 12-year-old. "Yes, Jessie. Anyway the doctor's tried to fix it but…they couldn't. Now, at the time, they told me something and I just forgot about it…until my doctor's appointment 2 months ago…"

"What is it?" Shannon asked, concerned. She had already pieced it together, I knew by the look on her face. She was smarter than the rest, smarter than her parents even.

"The bleeding is…speeding up."

"But can't you just make more blood or get a transplant?" Raymond asked.

"It's too fast for that…I'm dying."

The group was silent. Jessica was the first to react. She got up and threw her arms around James, crying onto his shoulder. James held her for a while, soothing her. Lee hugged his sister, who was determined not to cry and Raymond came up beside Jessica and I and threw his arms around us.

"I don't want ANY of you to cry." James said, knowing it was impossible now. Finally, though, Jessica let go and Shannon approached James.

"James…I'm sorry…"

And she hugged him, crying onto his shoulder.

"Don't be sorry. You have nothing to be sorry about!" James whispered into her ear.

"I never let myself get close to you…I'm sorry."

James held her, failing to stop the tears from running down his cheeks.

The next morning James could barely lift his arm. Papers and books lay on his bed from his late-night reading and he pushed them away, a particularly thick book making a thump as it hit the floor. He tried to call out but nothing came from his mouth.

"Hello?" He tried again, his voice sounding horse. He hoped somebody was home, as he felt like he couldn't make it to the bathroom and back. And, to his relief, he heard something move beyond the door.

"Your awake! How do you feel?" A voice asked. It took him a moment to register that it was Shannon. Her family had been staying at Mandy's house for the reunion.

"I can't…I can't move!"

She rushed to him, worried, but he smiled.

"I have my good days and my bad days. Where's your parents?"

"They went home yesterday. I'm staying to help take care of you because aunt Mandy has work and the baby." She said, handing James a cup of water. James sipped it and set it back down.

"How long was I out?"

"Nearly three days. We got home and you just dropped into bed. I thought you were dead until Lee poked you and you groaned."

James rubbed his head as if remembering the poke. "Shannon…can you hand me the papers on my desk?"

"You need rest." She said, shaking her head.

"I need to finish my book." James urged.

"Book? What about?" She asked, opening the mini-fridge next to the bed and handing James what he could only guess was a 3-day-old taco from Taco Bell. James sniffed it, questioningly, and opened the wrapper, taking a bite. He spat it out, immediately.

"Yuk! It's way past expiration!" He tossed it into a trashcan. "My books about Cold Fusion."

"Cold Fusion? I think I remember hearing something about it in school. Isn't it highly unstable or something?" She asked.

"Yeah but I've developed a theory that I think can change all that." James said, taking the notebook she handed to him.

"Look here. This is what scientists have been looking at…the equation…when it's really this right here!" James motioned to two different equations and she gasped, understanding half of it.

"Wow! Where did you come up with all this?" She was stunned.

"Not sure…it just comes to me. Anyway, if I could get this to the military…"

"And how do you propose to do that?" She asked, clearly taunting her cousin. James playfully ruffled her hair, which she fixed with a comb.

"Are you kidding! I've gotten offers from half a million news stations for just being a genius! Thing of what would happen if I told them I'd figured out Cold Fusion and it actually worked!"

After seven months James found that he had not only over-lived his expected lifespan of a year, but that he had also finished three books and started two more. James had also managed to get his doctorate in Mathematical Theories with a minor in Nuclear Theory. But, as the months had worn on, James had finally discovered the price for all his work: he was growing weaker.

By now he had to use a cane and, even then, he still needed help to walk down the hall. Shannon was always there for him, though. She had moved down, six months after James had broke the news to the family, when she had heard that James was growing weaker. The family had also decided to all carry cell phones, fearing that he was on his deathbed.

"Hah! Deathbed!" James would say, smiling. He always smiled, never appeared sad. He even, gently, tried to shrug off the help Shannon gave him. He knew half of it was his pride but, somehow, he also figured that his pride was all he had left and he had to cling to it. But, as the seventh month closed, James finally discovered just how intelligent he was.

"What's that?" Shannon asked one morning, motioning to a printout with the Presidential seal on it. James smiled proudly.

"That, my beautiful maid," he joked, "Is an e-mail from the Chief of Staff. We've been corresponding for a week now. It seams that he liked the complementary copies of my books."

Shannon smiled and picked up a pile of old papers, setting them in a box. "Whatever, Mr. Genius. You sure are messy!"

He shrugged. "You ever seen a picture of Einstein's lad? Mine's nothing compared to his!"

Shannon walked by James' desk and picked up one of his books. "Is this it?"

"One of them." James said, sitting up. She came to sit by him and opened it up.

"How do you know all of this? It took Franklin almost his whole life to get struck by lightning."

James laughed at this. "Yeah…I've had help."

She looked at him, questioningly.

"Ever since Katherine died," James began, "I've been having…visions. Sometimes these visions involve math, sometimes they involve cooking." He joked.

"It's just that…these visions show me a lot of great things, including earth's future. And all this war and stuff…it's leading us away from that future." James continued. "And I don't want that."

Shannon smiled and set the book down. "I think that's enough for now." She grabbed the notebook James had been writing in and set it on his nightstand. "Get some rest."

James nodded. Somehow she could always tell when he needed rest, even if he couldn't. As she left, though, James felt a weird feeling in the pit of his stomach…like he would never see her again. He called after her. "Leave the door open!"

"Okay. I'll come and check on you in a few hours." And she left.

James rolled over and, on the verge of sleep, he saw a picture of a small planet, beautiful and flowing with blue and green.

He smiled in his sleep. "Mars is going to be beautiful in a thousand years."

James slept for 3 days. He awoke, again, in darkness. This time, though, the darkness was that of night. He stared out the window for a second, wondering if he was dead or alive. Then he felt a hand on his shoulder and knew it was the later.

"Wake up! Geese, he's out like a log!" A familiar, male, voice said.

"Keep trying! We're not leaving without him!" A second, female, voice said.

"Guys…he needs his rest!"

"Shannon? Michelle? Cory? What are you all doing…"

Michelle put a finger to his lips, silencing him. Michelle had visited him in the past year but tomorrow, James knew, was her wedding day. Why were both Cory and Michelle here then?

"We're breaking you out!" Cory said, rifling through James' dresser for some decent pants. He finally drew out a pair of black khakis and a dress shirt.

"Why? It's the middle of the night!" James said, yawning.

"James…I want you at my wedding and you said that 'if you can get me out of the house without the press knowing, I'll go'. Well…"

James smiled at her and gave her a kiss on her cheek. Cory gave a disapproving glare but he knew it was just a friendly kiss. Shannon helped to get James out of bed, which wasn't too hard. The long sleep had given James quiet a bit of energy. Cory was soon helping James into his clothes. When he was finished, James was led out into the living room where he found Shannon and Michelle talking. Shannon had a beautiful, black, dress draped over a hanger lying on the back of the couch.

"Where are you going?" He asked, though he knew the answer.

"Shannon caught us and said that she'd let you go only if she was there to take care of you." Cory said, ruffling her hair. She shrugged him off and James laughed.

"In that case…get my books."

The wedding was a simple one that took place in the local community center. Since Michelle had a large family, though she was an only sibling, the wedding was restricted to her closest friends and her family. It still surprised James to see that it was so crowded.

James sat, writing his books and sipping Champaign, as the couples started to dance. Shannon was dancing with one of Michelle's cousins and James looked at her, for a second, and thought 'she finally found someone, good for her!'

"Put down those books." Michelle said, stepping in front of him. She wore a simple, white, dress that looked beautiful on her.

"Michelle…you look beautiful. Congratulations." He gave her a warm smile and she grabbed his arm, jerking him out of his seat.

"Wha…"

"We're dancing!" She ordered. James let out a loud laugh and took her hand, placing his other on her waist. She leaned her head on his shoulder and let him lead.

"I must confess…I've never danced before." James whispered into her ear.

"And I must confess that you're a pretty fast learner." She joked. The two of them continued to dance until, near the end of the song, James' side began to hurt and his breath went shallow.

"Michelle…"

She looked up into his eyes, concerned. She began to lead him off the floor but he collapsed against her, almost pulling her down. Cory hurried over from where he had been talking to his father-in-law and helped Michelle carry James to a chair. Shannon was soon helping them.

"Don't let go." James said, grasping Michelle's hand. She closed hers around his as he fell to the floor, Cory's strength giving out for a second. He pulled both Michelle and Shannon down with him. "God…call 911."

Cory nodded and ran off for the phone as the partygoers all moved away. James' body suddenly felt light, as if he was no longer a part of it. Indeed he felt as if he was rising from his body and found that he couldn't move his arms or legs.

"James…just hold on! Cory's calling the ambulance!" Shannon said, holding James' other hand.

He smiled at her. "My books…get them, please."

She nodded and ran to get them.

"Michelle…" His breath was now getting shorter.

"What is it?" She asked, leaning over him. Shannon ran back with a small stack of books in her arms. James nodded towards one of them.

"Take the green one…it's for you…my wedding present. Shannon…The purple goes with the papers in my safe…the yellow…"

"The yellow?" Shannon asked, barely holding back her tears.

"…The yellow…" he gasped. "…They go with the CD in my safe with the red cover." And his head went limp, his eyes closing. Both Michelle and Shannon tried but they couldn't wake him.

"Your nephew almost died. He's lost a lot of blood and…we're not sure how long he'll have."

James sat up in bed. He knew that voice: it was his personal doctor.

"Is there…anything you can do?"

James smiled. Mandy was still his guardian, even if she had her own child to take care of.

"There is a procedure…the president's medical advisor feels that it could work but there's a 90 chance of failure…"

"Do it!" James croaked. The door opened and the doctor stepped in, Mandy directly behind him. Her hair was a mess and her shirt was stained with what James knew were tears.

"James! Your awake!" The doctor said, trying to change the subject.

"I'm not afraid of death…and I'm 18 now, old enough to decide for myself."

The doctor nodded, reluctantly. "I'll make the arrangements."

He turned and left, leaving James and Mandy alone. She sat next to his bed and looked at him.

"James…" She started.

"Shh... I'm fine, see? Don't blame anyone, this was bound to happen." He said, laying a comforting hand on her shoulder.

"James!" She burst into tears. "You were always so strong! Even after Katie's death…"

He smiled and held her chin in his hand. "No more tears, Amanda. We all knew this day would come. Nobody can escape death, not even you." He looked towards the door where Shannon was leaning against the frame, looking in on them.

"Mandy…can you leave us alone?"

She looked behind her, noticing Shannon for the first time. "Of course." She gave James a forced smile and left.

"So…your awake…" Shannon said, inching forward. When she got within a foot of the bed, she collapsed into a chair, crying. James pulled her towards him and cradled her as she climbed up on the bed with him.

"Shannon, I have a very important task for you. Soon I'll sleep again but...before I do…"

"James…If you sleep again…if you go into another coma…you'll die." She said, between sobs.

"Shannon, honey. Be strong. Look at me for a second. Grieve for the dead, not for the living."

She nodded and sat up, sliding into a chair.

"Now, go to my backpack…there on the dresser. Take out the box."

She walked to a backpack that stood on the dresser and took out a metal cashbox.

"Open it."

"I can't…"

"It's unlocked, Shannon. I always trusted you…open it."

She opened the box and took out the small, hardcover, book that lay inside. "The Visions of James Corbin." She read, smiling. "Your book."

James nodded as she sat back down.

"I want you to protect it and, when the time comes, send it out into the world."

"I don't…understand." She said, quietly.

"You will soon, Shannon. You will soon. Now, listen. There's something you have to know. When I die, you will start to, every once in a while, have visions. Don't ignore them, write them down and record them. When someone else claims to have had a vision use your judgment…only you will be able to tell the true from the false."

He felt a cold feeling creeping into his chest and his breathing slowed. "Shannon." He said, urgently. "Listen to me."

He was speaking so low that Shannon had to put her face close to his just to hear him. "Shannon…you will marry and have children, many of them…a boy…two boys…and three girls…three beautiful girls." He said, his breath coming in gasps.

"Guard the Visions, Shannon…you…are…The Keeper." He gasped. Then he lay still. She looked into his eyes and knew, with an overwhelming sadness, that he was dead.

Many words were spoken at his memorial. In the first row sat Michelle, leaning on Cory. Next to her was Shannon, with her husband who was trying to comfort her. Then there came Mandy and the rest of James' family, baby Joshua being the youngest. Finally, though, the priest finished his eulogy and Shannon stepped up to the podium. She found strength that she did not have as she looked out at the crowd. In front of her sat the people who loved and knew James and, as she looked in each of their faces, she found strength.

"James Corbin was a great man. I was with him…when he passed...Five years ago." She paused; letting the crowd fix it's gaze on her. "James and I were not close until I found out about his death. It was then that he shared his secret with me…on his bedside that he gave me his greatest gift. James was one of those very few people who touched the world so deeply that the touch was not felt…only remembered. James was the first…The Writer. I am the Keeper…and I will keep his words until I died." She finished and walked down from the podium and laid a rose on his grave. She stepped back and bowed, deeply.

As she walked off, twenty people stood in unison. These people were all different, from different races, countries, and nationalities. There were blacks, whites, Arabs, and Muslims; Catholics, Protestants, and many other religions represented in those twenty.

The only similarity was the clothes. For they all wore long, black, robes with matching hoods. Fastened to each of these robes was a golden, 6-pointed, star. The twenty slowly filed from their seats and reached into their robes, drawing out gloved hands that each clasped a different flower; one from each of the robed-figures' home lands. As each approached the tombstone they dropped to their knees and kissed the ground in front of it, laying their flower. Shannon had held her promise. It had only taken five years for those with genuine visions to come forward, each facing their own, public, torments. But, through these people, Shannon had found the start to something that even she didn't understand. She had found the Keepers of the Visions of James Corbin.

The End