Epilogue:

The purpose of making this a separate chapter was for the people who want to review the new last chapter and can't do so because they reviewed the old last chapter. Please forgive me.

Celeste held the worn-out bound disk containing her late aunt's journals close to her chest, against one of her beating hearts. It meant everything to her that the journals had been left to her when her aunt had quietly gone to the hall of the aged on one recent summer night.  

            Her aunt and her divorced mother had been all she'd needed to feel loved. Her aunt never had married, but had worn a lovely green dress with small sour apples printed on it to Celeste's own wedding. "Darling, are you still awake and reading those things?" her mate asked, poking his head in.

            "Yes, but for now I'm done," she said, setting the disks between black-draped pictures of her beloved aunt and mother. She gently extinguished a low-burning white candle.

            "You've always loved reading, like her. You didn't cry at the funeral. Wasn't it lovely when they sent her coffin off into the sun? So ceremonial…"

            "There was no reason to cry. Mama was there waiting for her. I could feel it."

            He put an arm around her. "You know, I could too. Come on, let's get to bed before the boys call and ask for more money."

            She laughed as her mate swept her off to their double bed. In the darkness beyond, one antiquated SLAW unit sat out on a familiar railing, looking up at the night sky, wishing upon a single star.