Since there is no real time reference in the movie I shall use early-spring of 2007 as the date of Leslie's 'death,' say Thursday, April 5th. Spring Break for Virginia schools was April 2-6. The birthday scene in the movie only revealed eleven candles on the cake. Eleven is an appropriate age for a fifth-grader, probably making Jesse's birth year 1996. This chapter covers a period from mid-2024 through mid-2025. Leslie has been dead for eighteen years and Jesse is now around thirty.

Thank you for reading. Please leave a review if you like (or dislike) my story.

IHateSnakes April 9, 2008

Warning: This story is rated T for teens, it is not really suitable for children. Chapter 1 contains references to substance abuse, a brief but moderately descriptive scene of tragedy, and self-murder. Please be aware that this is only fiction: do not read on if you think you might be disturbed or offended.

A Life Rescued
Part 1
Chapter 1 - The Nightmares

Disclaimer: The world of Terabithia belongs to Katherine Paterson and her publishers.
I'm just playing around in it for a while. No profit was, or will be received from this story.

He awoke in the middle of a full-fledged night-terror, the same one he'd experienced almost daily for eighteen years: Leslie Burke was walking casually towards the rope over the creek, PT following closely behind. Running next to her, Jesse Aarons was pleading, begging, crying for her to turn back. He tried to grab her arm but his ghostly existence would not take hold of her flesh: he was unseen and unheard. As in all the other times, he stood screaming for her to stop, but she continued forward. Picking up the long branch hidden in the brush, she hooked the end of the rope and stepped up onto the log, preparing to swing. PT jumped into her arms and she leapt up and onto the rope.

Knowing what was about to happen, Jesse closed his eyes, but the dream forced them open to witness it all over again. As Leslie and PT's full weight came down on the rope, it snapped. Because she was leaning back at the time, Leslie's body continued in its motion, turning her over in a half back-flip. It happened in a fraction of a second. Only inches above the swollen creek, she landed head first, her body following into the murky waters. Then, as she was about to disappear, what he could see of her body shuddered, convulsed, and limply disappeared into the water. Through his tears, Jesse jumped down into the raging creek and tried, as he had thousands of other times, to pull her up. But it was the same ending.

A face floating up through the murk, blood-stained hair shifting in the current, a dead look in the open eyes, and the voice: Where were you, Jess?

His screams filled the empty bedroom.

Dr. Janice Trefry
Prince William County Mental Health Clinic
Gunston Hall Office, Gunston, Virginia
Transcribed "Patient J" (Case 2311457) Notes for period February 3, 2024 through June 22, 2025

Patient J was a 30-year-old male who was well dressed, presented a well-organized and succinct history, and said he was unsure if he could "manage to survive" a few more months. He reported being profoundly depressed, sad, hopeless, and apathetic for several months, probably years. He had no history of psychiatric problems and reported a normal childhood, supportive family, and successful academic and occupational history, until recently. He said he drank heavily starting at age seventeen, did not smoke but had begun using drugs (type unspecified but not Marijuana.) He also described treatment for severe headaches. Before this episode, he claimed no prior suicidal ideation. Other records later showed this to be inaccurate.

For a good portion of the last eighteen years of his life, Jesse Aarons had studied math and physics. The fact that he hated both subjects probably accounted for much of his reclusive existence, as the time he would have otherwise spent socializing was used to keep his grades up - and his hope alive. Hope was an important aspect to the little project he pursued, because until the year 2023 no one worth a fat rat's behind, in any branch of Physics, from super-string theory to basic wave analysis, believed that time travel was possible. Actually, that wasn't completely true. Traveling forward in time had been proven in the late 1960's and early 1970's when the Apollo astronauts, traveling at great speed away from the earth, aged a fraction of a second less than their Earth-bound counterparts and thus – again – proved Einstein correct.

But, while an interesting part of relativity theory, going forward didn't help Jesse at all; he needed to go back in time. And the longer it took him to find a way to do it the further back he had to go. He wasn't certain if this was important, though it did seem logical.

The strain of his pursuits and lack of progress drove Jesse deeper into depression. By 2021 he had lost the only promising job he held at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, as an adjunct professor of Physics. Heavy drinking was beginning to affect his health and too many missed lectures gave cause for his dismissal. Of his family, he kept regular contact only with May Belle, (or May as she insisted on being called once she was grown,) but even that relationship was strained.

Then, in 2022, after years of fruitless search for what was appearing to be an insurmountable problem, Jesse attempted suicide. He botched it badly and ended up in the hospital and in his first sessions of psychiatric counseling. They were a disaster. Refusing to share with his psychoanalyst his obsession with a long dead twelve year old girl caused a cascade of lies that became impossible to continue supporting. After a few months he discontinued the therapy and sponged off May while looking up the latest Theories of Temporal Transit, a new and highly controversial branch of physics that dealt with moving solid objects backward and forward in time, for this was the only way to bring Leslie back into his life. Or so he believed.

Currently, he felt sad and depressed; if something did not improve, he might consider suicide, but he had no clear plan or method. Patient J asked the nurse psychotherapist to provide treatment with antidepressants and psychotherapy to manage his depression for the short term (about 4 months) at his own expense until he could find full-time employment offering health benefits. He was moderately to severely depressed based on observation and a Beck Depression Score (Beck, Brown, Steer, Dahlsgaard, & Frishman, 1999; Wright, Thase, Beck, & Ludgate, 1993).

In late 2023, Jesse begged for, and was granted, an interview with Dr. Edmond Hastings of Cambridge University in England, one of the leaders of Temporal Transit Theory. Much against her better judgment, May lent Jesse the money to make the trip, but only on the condition that he resume therapy upon his return. He agreed to the stipulation and made his plane reservations and therapy appointment. Three weeks later he was sitting in front of Dr. Hastings at Cambridge University.

For this one hour interview, Jesse Aarons had bet the rest of his life, and for the first forty-five minutes it seemed a life was to be lost. Hastings, as with all other Temporal Transit theorists, had concluded that travel backwards in time was, as the rest of the world already knew, utterly impossible. As with moving an object at speeds approaching that of light, where the cost in energy became infinite, so moving an object backwards in time would require infinite energy. The explanation was only partly shocking to Jesse, for he knew that this last hope was a gamble with hugely unfavorable odds.

But Hastings saw the effect his words had on his guest and offered a sincere apology. Having seen many regrets within his own life, he had guessed correctly that the brash American was interested in time travel for personal reasons more than pure science. "Lad, there is a reason we can't move back and forth in time, at least I've come to believe there is. We have one chance in life and have to make the most of it. Sometimes it isn't fair, often is damn tragic," he gave Jesse a knowing look. "But when all is said and done, I think you'll find you've… What is it, lad?" Jesse's face had gone blank for a moment and just as suddenly lit up.

"Dr. Hastings, you…you may be right, maybe we do only have one chance. But…but, maybe… what about this: All your studies into temporal transit dealt with moving some thing back in time, a concrete object with mass, volume, and energy, correct?"

Hastings looked suspiciously at his guest for a few seconds before answering. "Yes, of course. We didn't see much point in moving nothing back in time."

To a very startled Chairman of the Physics Department at one of the most prestigious universities in the world, seeing a slightly barmy American laugh in his face was a little more than unusual. But it was also curious. Throughout history, Hastings knew, science - and life itself - had found meaning and advancement with one person or another's epiphanies. It's probably nothing, he thought silently, then again…

"Tell me what you are thinking, Mr. Aarons," he said most seriously, curiosity plain in his question.

Jesse continued to smile, to the point where Hastings was becoming a tad alarmed. Then he spoke. "Sir, what would it take to move… nothing backwards in time?"

Hastings nearly rebuked Jesse but saw he was in earnest. What is he thinking? the older man asked himself a second time. "I… I don't understand."

"Yes, sir, you do! You just don't know it yet. Please," Jesse held up a hand, he was almost hyperventilating again with excitement, an old habit he'd never broken. "Dr. Hastings, if you knew I had the answer to the most pressing question in your life, but I had died a few days ago, how would you find the answer to the question?"

"Hypothetically speaking, I suppose I would use the device – the same one which I have proven impossible to build - and go back and ask you. But Mr. Aarons, this is…most unusual. Do you have an idea of some sort?"

"YES!" Jesse shouted, startling the old man. "Sorry. That's just it! I have an idea: a thought. Dr. Hastings, you couldn't use your device to send yourself back because it would be impossible. So don't send yourself back, send the only part of you without mass or volume. Do you see now?"

Hastings did not immediately understand. At least he did not believe he understood. But he found himself halfway into shaking his head no before he stopping. "A…message in a bottle?"

"Yes, and no. A message in a bottle has mass. Leave off the bottle and the paper within."

Now Hastings completed shaking his head. "Lad, if there's no bottle and no message there's nothing. I'm sorry, but… Now what?!" Hastings growled; Jesse was laughing again. He had been willing, earlier, to concede an interesting theoretical question to Aarons, but now?

"I apologize, sir, I meant no disrespect.

"Go on…" Hastings started to say when the intercom on his desk buzzed. "Busy, Anna, give me another half hour." He switched the device off.

"Sir, you and your group of esteemed colleagues are absolutely correct: You couldn't send so much as that message you just gave to Anna back in time. But what about this, sir: A thought? A memory? They have no mass, no volume, yet are powerful enough in themselves to defy Einstein at a whim. Right this second I can be on a planet in the Andromeda galaxy, in my thoughts – thousands of light-years away. There are no barriers, outside of our own imagination, where thought cannot travel. If my thoughts can defy relativity, why not…?"

"Hold on, lad," Hastings interrupted, and looking far more interested in the conversation. "I see what you're getting at. It's original, I'll give you that. Bloody Hell, it's damn intriguing. But how would you catch a thought or memory, store it, and transmit it? And how could you possibly be sure it got to the correct person?"

"Well, sir, I didn't say it would be easy," Jesse admitted sheepishly. "I was hoping you could help me."

Over the next 4 months he was seen weekly in psychotherapy and treated with tricyclic antidepressants. Once the antidepressants reached an adequate blood level, they evoked significant side effects (e.g., tachycardia) and had to be changed. He was placed on MAOIs after TCAs were ineffective or poorly tolerated and complained bitterly about the diet restrictions for ripe fruit, brewer's yeast, and red wine. When SSRIs became available, they were prescribed. Finding the effective antidepressant without intolerable side effects was a challenge.

A month later Jesse received a long correspondence from his new English friend. Much of what it said was expected, but Jesse looked for one piece of confirmation with his theory, and he found it.

We have concluded, therefore, that your hypothesis has merit: It is theoretically possible for a non-mass, non-volume 'object' to travel backwards in time. However, in conceding this possibility we must also point out the severe, and very likely real probability, that a transit such as this could not be achieved due to our (current) inability to capture a thought, transmit the thought, and then have it merge with a sentient being who might understand the meaning of the message. And these are just some of the problems such research would face. The time-travel paradox would still apply; the moral, ethical and legal implications of such an action are, in our opinion, highly suspect; and not least of all, there is no way to ever know if the action was successful…

Smiling, Jesse reread the affirming portion letter over and over.

we have concluded, therefore, that your hypothesis has merit: it is theoretically possible for a non-mass, non-volume 'object' to travel backwards in time…

Then he attacked the problems.

we must also point out the severe, and very likely real possibility that a transit such as this could not be achieved due to the (current) inability to capture a thought, transmit the thought, and then have it merge with a sentient being who might understand the meaning of the message.

Terabithia itself seemed to hold the key to solving the problems of capturing and transmitting a thought, or as Jesse had come to think of it, a message. Since Terabithia existed in his mind, it knew no limits of time and space.

But this brought up another problem: if he sent a message back in time, he could not be both the originator of the message and the transmitter. If that were possible then his thoughts and wishes for Leslie to live again, shortly after she died, would have already been realized. No, Jesse knew he had to separate himself from the message; someone or something else had to transmit it for him. But who, or what?

There were a few possibilities: He could ask May to send the message back, but Terabithia did not exist in her mind the same way it had in his and Leslie's. So the likelihood of success using his sister was very low.

He could create a new persona in Terabithia whose sole purpose was to move the message back to 2007, but once again, it would be an imperfect medium since it did not know Leslie.

This perplexing puzzle finally resolved itself just a few weeks before Jesse's last visit to May in 2025. There was one powerful entity in Terabithia who knew both himself and Leslie intimately: The Dark Master. But to gain the Dark Master's cooperation would be very difficult and dangerous. The being represented all of his and Leslie's fears, and fed on them. And though Leslie's contribution to the Dark Master's power had died along with her, his own more than made up for it. He was sure the nightmares and the Dark Master were somehow connected.

So what could he offer the Dark Master in return for his cooperation? This would be something requiring a great deal of thought.

The final obstacles to Jesse's great experiment centered around the last problem Dr. Hastings mentioned: how could he be sure that the message melded with the correct person and how could he be certain the recipient understood the message? Upon reflection, Jesse came up with the answer. If he sent the message to himself, at a specific time and place where it would make sense, there should be no problem. But the unknown factor here was the message. Could it (and should it) be of unlimited length? And what could he do to prevent a paradox?

Deciding there was nothing he could do about the paradox issue, without abandoning his quest altogether, Jesse resolved to limit possible ill consequences by making the message very short. For days he worked, sleeplessly, on the words to use. Since the message had to be delivered at a time in the past when he was aware of Terabithia, a warning to not create the imaginary world would not work. No, he needed something short, direct, meaningful, and convincing. So he thought back in time to the spring of 2007, looking for a specific event that, given the proper message, would supply his earlier self a concrete idea that would save Leslie's life. After much consideration he found it.

Jesse knew time was short as the later half of June 2025 passed. Sleep, now, was nearly impossible, and was filled with nightmares when it came. It was just a matter of steeling himself for something he had tried unsuccessfully once before: Suicide. His faith rebelled against the choice, but his heart embraced it. If the past eighteen years had not been pure Hell, he might have reconsidered. Living with his selfish decision to have Ms. Edmonds all to himself on the trip into Washington, he knew, was what had cost Leslie her life. If I'd been there… he reflected, if I'd been there. Even the Leslie Burke in his nightmares knew he should have been with her.

Choking back sobs, Jesse finished the letter he would soon give to May. He left another shorter note to the rest of his family on the rickety desk in his slum-like apartment. Then, after showering and changing, he left for the last time and went to see his favorite sister.

Patient J had only slight insight into his level of depression and distress until he was face to face with the therapist or the consulting psychiatrist. Treating his depression was challenging because of the adverse effects from antidepressants and because he effectively hid his alcohol abuse. After nearly a year of antidepressants and therapy, Patient J requested electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), because it appeared more effective and more affordable than medications and therapy. He had a good response from his ECT treatments but then decided he needed in-depth Jungian therapy to explore early childhood issues. Dr. X referred him to a mentor with expertise in Jungian therapy.

It had been eighteen years, almost to the day, since Jess Aarons had dared to step out of his world and return to the realm of Terabithia. Not that he hadn't wished to, by any means, but the pain and depression he had been able to suppress all those years faced him again as he stared across the creek into the heavily overgrown woods. It was almost time to go back for the final journey, to see the rusted old car, the rotting tree house, and the myriad of sounds and smells that he had forced from his mind for so long. But not yet. There was one more thing to do. He carefully crossed the bridge and closed his eyes. A moment later it was done.

With his heart in his throat, Jesse left the woods and re-crossed the bridge.

Walking the all too familiar road to his parent's former house took him past what remained of the Burke home, now just a pile of burned-out timbers and rusty metal fixtures pointing out of the ground at absurd angles. He'd heard years before that it had been destroyed by a lightening strike and fire. The claps of an approaching thunder storm, as if to remind the burned-out remains of their power, mocked the quiet of the moment. The property seemed to be cursed; perhaps, Jesse thought, it was all for the better that it was gone. He walked on and covered the final hundred yards to the bend in the road, the house lay beyond.

Rain started now, one of Virginia's patented downpours that cleared the sky of clouds after a few minutes, but left the soil soaked, the creeks swollen, and the air oppressive with humidity. Though he carried an umbrella, Jesse simply dropped it in the pooling ooze of mud at his feet. The rain came down in torrents.

Memories! He wanted to turn and see Leslie alive again, standing in the rain as he had last seen her, drenched, holding Prince Terian and smiling. But it was too much; he couldn't stand to do it again and be disappointed, he knew it would break his resolve.

Jesse stepped forward around the curve of the drive and saw his old home. So familiar… To the right, the greenhouse was still kept up perfectly, as it had been the last few years. The porch light was still drawing insects. The meaningless faux-shutters remained, with the one next to the bathroom slightly crooked. But the last fifty yards of the driveway had been paved.

At least I wouldn't track in too much mud.

His finger went automatically to the doorbell, then withdrew; the resolution so strong earlier in the day was beginning to fail. Again he touched it, knowing…hoping, it would be the final time.

It MUST be the final time.

Swearing under his breath at his weakness, he pressed the button and heard the familiar buzzing inside. A shadow floated in the background and then the door flew open.

Patient J had a rocky downhill course with occupational difficulties and several hospitalizations. When Dr. X learned that the Patient J had committed suicide, she had an overwhelming sense of loss, embarrassment, and anger. She felt numb and disconnected, although she went through the motions of business as usual and colleagues seemed not to notice anything different. While objectively realizing this may not have been anyone's fault, Dr. X contemplated what if this or that had been done. She felt guilty that she had not done something more, as though that might have forestalled suicide. Perhaps she should have more forcefully expressed her concerns about the potential consequences of the impasse to the analyst. Although she had not been the treating psychotherapist before the suicide, she wondered if the family and her colleagues would blame her in some way for not preventing the suicide. Although this seemed unrealistic, it remained a worry and concern.

"Jesse!" May cried in delight at the sight of her waterlogged brother. "You dumb-dumb, where's your umbrella?"

Smiling at the reproach, Jesse stepped into the house and shed his slicker and shoes before greeting his sister with a damp hug. "Hi, May. How's my favorite sister?"

"I'm fine." She hesitated, looking him over. "You, on the other hand, look like crap." May held her protesting brother still with a firm grip of her right hand while she pushed his long drenched hair out of his face with the other. "How's therapy going?"

"Oh, fine, I had my last session with him, um, last week… I'm going to try something different next," he added quickly, seeing his sister's scowl.

"Not like the last time, I hope."

"May, I don't want to fight… please?"

"That's just it, Jesse, you're not fighting, you're giving up," May scolded with the lower half of her face in a scowl. Throwing a towel to her brother, she tried to calm herself with some deep breaths. In the meantime, Jesse walked into the living room and flopped resignedly on the couch, wiping his face.

"Jesse, I love you more than anything, but you have to give her up, she's killing you."

It was the same old argument. Shaking his head, he answered, but not with the same answer he'd been giving for almost two decades. "I know, but it's been difficult. Um, and that's why I'm here, sis." His voice cracked with emotion.

As May looked down on her only brother she felt the same infuriating combination of rage and sympathy she had dealt with since Leslie Burke's death. She had had some hope for him in the weeks following the tragedy, but slowly, just as surely as the sun rose and set, Jesse had slipped back into the shell of depression he'd lived in before meeting his blonde friend. And along with his spirit and willingness to live, Terabithia seemed to have disappeared.

"Ok, then what? I mean, you are always welcome, but… honestly, Jess!" Sitting next to her brother, May leaned into him and felt his unsteady breathing.

After a long pause, Jesse compose himself. "May, I need you to come with me…to…to Terabithia. One last time. It's time for me to say good bye."

Automatically, enthusiastically, she said yes, for this was something she had hoped for, wished for, prayed for ever since the day Jesse had told her he wouldn't take her back a few weeks after the tragedy.

But what caused his sudden change of heart? Just a moment ago he was…. Perhaps he IS finally accepting Leslie's death, a bit late, but this has to be good, doesn't it? she asked herself. "Of course, Jess, anything, you know that. I…I'm sorry I snapped a moment ago, it's just…"

"May, it's ok, really. Are you sure you want to do this?"

"Jess, if it will help you, then yes, most definitely." The sincerity in his sister's face moved Jesse and he pulled her into a warm embrace.

"Ok, let's go," he announced, jumping up.


"Sure, why not?"

"Jess, it's pouring outside. I don't even know if the bridge is still there."

"Don't worry, I checked, it's still there," Jesse said smiling. Then, pulling his alarmed sister up and towards the door, they were off. May managed to grab a rain coat from the hook in the hallway and slipped into it before they were in the deluge.

With a spark of cheer and determination she had not seen in her brother in many years, May ran along the now mud-infested driveway, past the Burke's old house and down the path. As they approached the bridge, barely visible through the driving rain, they saw the remnants of the old rope that had caused so much pain over the years. Feeling a brief hesitation in her brother, May wondered if he was losing his conviction, but before she could think further on the subject he yanked her arm and they continued the journey a few more yards.

And they were there.

The three thick tree trunks upon which the planks lay still looked solid, but the railing of the bridge was long gone. Jesse had told her years ago that the wood he'd used was of a good quality so she was not concerned on that point, either. What did draw her attention was the thin green layer of moss growth on the planks which they would have to traverse. That was bound to be slippery. It was only a few yards across but it suddenly looked like a football field to May when she considered the rushing water and rocks below.

Jesse, however, was not to be stopped. He had poised himself and his sister on the bank – on the brink – and now he had to carry through with his plan. Jesse had cried many tears through the years, but he hoped the ones he was shedding now would be the last for a long time. Maybe forever. If his sister could see the tears of pain and sorrow running down his face she would have surely run away. But the driving rain hid any trace of them and he tightened his grip. Without looking back he led them safely across.

"To Terabithia?"

Her voice was strangely constricted, but she answered nonetheless. "To Terabithia."

The walk past the old car and now crumbled tree house went by silently. It was a difficult path, much undergrowth that hadn't been present eighteen years earlier had sprung up and made the way slow. Thorns scraped their legs through clothing; they were both completely saturated and May's shoes threatened to pull off in the thickening muck. But they made it, without any real difficulties, to the tree house where it had started. And now, for Jesse, it was here that the end began.

He turned and faced his sister and saw that she knew.

But through the look of pure anguish etched over her still youthful face Jesse saw understanding. The funny thing was, he knew, his sister really did not understand what he was doing, she only though she did.

"Jess?" Her voice was steady but he saw her shaking. First, he reached into a pocket and brought out the old foil tiara May used to wear. Without a word he placed it on her head. Then Jesse smiled at her and closed his eyes.

It happened just like it had years before, and earlier in the day. The rain stopped, the sun came out, a warm wind blew around them and dried their clothing which had turned into royal robes. They had returned to Terabithia.

She felt a deep sadness and loss at Patient J's death. She had enjoyed Patient J, who was a bright, competent man with a delightful talent for drawing who valued family, work, friends, and community. On the one hand, she recognized that he was a high-risk patient whose depression was resistant and challenging; on the other hand, she felt angry and frustrated that the suicide had not been prevented and tempted to second-guess the therapist's decisions.

When he opened his eyes again, Jesse saw his sister beaming at him as she hadn't done for a very long time. He also knew he was about to hurt her deeply.

"May, you must stay nearby for me. I need your strength." He stopped, there were tears flowing freely down his sister's cheeks now.

She knows…

He nodded. "I have to do this, sis - you know I do. But it's not what you think it is…"

May fell to the forest floor and cried bitterly as her brother looked on. He tried to talk to her a few times but she would only push him away. Finally, knowing he had to proceed, he leaned over and kissed her head. Then he walked on.

Jesse struggled for a while through unfamiliar undergrowth until he found the secluded place that no one knew about: Not May, not even Leslie. When he needed to be alone he would sometimes sit there for a while and regain his strength. It was a retreat from both worlds he had lived in. Now it would become something else. He had an appointment to keep and couldn't be late. The price was already more than he should have promised, but it was what he truly believed was right.

Once there, he sat and waited, but not for long. A dark mist swirled and approached.

"So, your majesty," the voice sneered, "you were serious. How commendable. Are you ready?"

"Even you, Dark Master, cannot break the laws of Terabithia. You will do as I say and as you promised." Keeping his voice steady and his head bowed, Jesse prayed it was true. The simple fact was that he didn't truly know if the Dark Master could do what he was being paid for.

"Are you ready then, Jesse Aarons?"

He sighed and nodded.

The sickening presence of the Dark Master swirled around him, he felt something forming in his mind . . . . then he pulled the trigger.

When questioned at an informal review of this case, on or about June 28, 2025, the Jungian mentor confessed to inadequate monitoring of Patient J in the last two weeks of his life. A single traumatic childhood (Patient J age 12) event, the loss of a very close friend for which he blamed himself, redirected the mentor's line of therapy. Six days prior to the Patient J's suicide the mentor had the last session with the man at which time he showed concrete signs of delusional psychosis and schizophrenia. He learned of Patient J's suicide through a female sibling who gave him every assurance that her brother was far happier now than he had been since he was twelve. The sibling refused to consent to an interview and expressed a desire to be left alone and not contacted again.

A few hundred yards away, May's world went black.

Revision 1.1, April, 2008