"There's no reason to go on now..."
"They're all gone..."
"They're gone forever... What reason is there for me to keep fighting?"
Lulu sat with her head in her hands, tears streaking her face. They were dead... Each of them... Gestas, Dismas, John, Ghee, Irene, Daz, Godrith, and now, Moses and Karman. Lulu sucked in her breath too quickly and coughed. What could she do? She was alone... A car passed by her and she gasped, ducking into the shadows of an alleyway. Though it was night, the streets of New York still bustled with activity. Too much activity, it seemed... Lulu wiped her eyes and continued down the alleyway. The scent of flowers tickled her nose as the summer wind blew her hood off her head. When she reached the end of the alley, a small garden spread out in front of her. Lilacs and freesias bloomed in the heat. Lulu looked around for a moment. At the opposite end of the garden, a blonde woman in a dull yellow suit stood, staring at the moon. Lulu stepped forward in astonishment.
The woman turned and smiled.
Lulu's smile grew as Ghee, Moses, Karman, John, Godrith, Gestas, Dismas and Daz appeared behind her.
Lulu could feel the tears coming back, but this time, they were happy. They hadn't left her. They were here! She began to step toward them again, but, as she did, they slowly began to fade away. Lulu's face contorted into a mask of terror as they dissolved.
"No! Wait, you guys, come back!"
Irene stood, her smile sad now. She shook her head silently. Lulu sobbed aloud and reached out for her. Irene reached back, but her hand disappeared as Lulu laid her fingers on Irene's palm.
Lulu collapsed in the garden's pathway, her tears falling on the dusty bricks. She sobbed and sobbed, not caring who saw her. She sobbed until she was shaking on the ground. She sobbed until she couldn't breath. She sobbed until she heard her.
"Lulu... Lulu, don't cry."
Lulu lifted her head.
Irene smiled sadly and knelt down next to Lulu. She embraced her tenderly, like she had before the Thorn had claimed her. Lulu wiped her eyes and sniffled. Moses spoke next.
"We're still here, Lulu. We always will be."
Karman appeared next to him.
"We'll be in your heart and in your memories."
Ghee materialized on a low brick wall, staring at the moon, per usual. He turned to gaze at Lulu.
"So long as the moon still rises, like the cursed sun, we will always be with you."
Daz and Godrith came into view next to Moses and Karman. They smiled, but said nothing.
"Everyone... You... You never did abandon me."
Irene stroked her hair in a motherly fashion.
"No, Lulu. We'll always be in your memories. We love you."
Lulu wiped away fresh tears.
"I love you, too..."
With that, the group once again vanished like whispers into the night. This time, Lulu did not cry. Her heart sank with grief, but, she knew they would not leave her. They were always with her. She held her hand over her heart and closed her eyes. In her mind she formed a silent message.
"Will you promise to wait for me?"
The rest of the Schiff answered her in one voice, silent, but powerful.
"Always and forever."