A train rolls to a stop at the platform of the little local station. The smoke and steam from the engine rises in puffs of fiery orange and deep violet against the setting sun in the west. Barney is one of the first passengers to disembark at this stop. He puts his coat on in the early autumn chill. A porter sets his traveling case on the platform. Barney takes it up as he makes his way out to his cherished old car in the lot.

The old car rumbles its way through the countryside past farm fields and houses. Some already have their lights on within for the twilight evening is growing darker by the minute. The deep blue night sky of a setting sun is giving way to a full harvest moon that is on the rise by the time Barney reaches the familiar road that leads directly home. Just a few more houses and bends in the road 'til he is home again. On the last bend, he can see the golden light within the Blue Castle. Smoke billowing from the old stone chimney glows faint in the light of the climbing moon. Barney smiles with contentment to be back where he has always belonged.

He pulls the car into its small space by the roadside and takes out his traveling case. He whistles towards his cabin on the island. Warm light pours out of the doorway as Valancy opens it. She almost leaps from the porch and crosses the yard to the boat landing.

Barney brings the watercraft to a stop at the landing. He sets his case onto the weatherbeaten boards and hops onto the dock where his wife is waiting. He ties the boat up and turns to catch Valancy in his arms with a tight embrace. She gives him a quick kiss just like he had given her on the night that he had first brought her to the Blue Castle cabin. As her lips withdraw, he takes up her chin with the light touch of his fingertips and pulls her back in to a kiss much deeper than ever they had shared before. The moment is thorough, sweet and warm against the chill of the night.

"Have you missed me, Moonlight?" Barney's voice is soft and wooing in a whisper.

"It seems a hundred years since you went away." Valancy relishes in being enfolded by her betrothed again.

"I won't leave you again."

They walk together hand in hand across the yard.

"You must. I'd be miserable if I thought you wanted to go somewhere and didn't because of me. I want you to feel perfectly free."

Barney laughs in his sincere yet cynical fashion.

"There is no such thing as freedom on earth. Only different kinds of bondage and comparative bondages. You think you are free now because you've escaped from a peculiarly unbearable kind of bondage. But are you? You love me — that's a bondage."

"Who said or wrote that - the prison unto which we doom ourselves, no prison is?" Valancy countered with a laugh.

Barney releases his hand and pulls her closer with an arm around her shoulders.

"Ah, now you have it. That's all the freedom we can hope for — the freedom to choose our prison. Moonlight..."

His other arm now fully enfolds her again. He looks out across the lake and into their home then back to her.

"Valancy, I'm glad to be home again. When I came down through the woods and saw my home lights — mine — gleaming out from under the old pines. It was something that I had never seen before - oh, girl, I was glad - glad."

They hold on to each other as though no time or distance should separate what they have together here at home.

The End...