Several Bits in Between
Eclipse Goodby to the Kosters
Spring had reached the Koster’s back yard. Crocuses, gold and white and purple, filled side flower beds. Massed green sword points of daffodil shoots rose between them, their first white and pink and button-red blooms opening to the morning sun. It was a Sunday morning. Eclipse could hear the thoughts of four Koster children, breakfast completed, sitting on their back sunporch, doing their homework. Their parents were still upstairs, enjoying a final cup of coffee.
“No time like the present,” Eclipse said to herself. She strode across the lawn, surrounded by blades of grass and grape hyacinth leaves just turning green after a winter’s sleep.
Heather Koster looked up from her homework, stared, and ran to the door. “You’re dead,” she announced as she pulled it open. With those words brothers and sister looked up from their own work.
“I’m tougher than I look,” Elipse explained. “I just came to say good-bye.”
“Mom! Dad!” Peter shouted. “Eclipse is here!”
A gloomy Victoria Wilson sat on her favorite perch above Thornberry pond, her feet not quite touching the water. A brisk breeze blew across the water, raising tiny waves that lapped against the stone wall below her. She should be cold, she thought, but her magic, no, her gifts, the gifts Eclipse had given her as a safety precaution, were keeping her warm. She had to be careful with using them, though. Telling mom and dad about Adara had been challenging enough, even with Eclipse at her shoulder. Telling them that she could now fly, catch bullets in her bare hands, and punch holes in reinforced concrete walls would be too much. She’d done the right thing, she told herself, accepting Eclipse’s gifts, even if they came with a price she hadn’t considered. Her gifts, she thought, did offer her a job opportunity, or would if she were a better actor. All those silly superheroine TV shows needed stuntwomen. She would be perfect, if she had any idea how to get to first base as a candidate.
“Victoria?” Someone had come up behind her, without her hearing a thing. She looked over her shoulder, and sprang to her feet.
“Eclipse? You’re dead?” she managed.
“In the flesh,” Eclipse answered.
Victoria reached out, confirming Eclipse was solid, not an illusion. Touch turned into hug.
“I’m here to say good-bye,” Eclipse said. “Our universes are parallel. I’m going home. My pets will miss me.”
“Thank you,” Victoria said. “Thank you for helping me with my parents. And for saving everyone in the world.”
“You’re welcome,” Eclipse said. “For me it’s always ‘Life, lighter than atoms. Duty, heavier than worlds.’ Don’t copy me. It’s a great way to get yourself killed.”
“Sounds good to me,” Victoria said. “Perhaps you should change?
“Please don’t tell anyone I’m alive,” Eclipse asked. “But I had to come back to see you. Because the memory of me dying…it might turn you away from using your gifts, when you absolutely had to.”
“I, oh, you’re right,” Victoria said. “I was getting depressed. Having these gifts, not being able to tell anyone, getting my parents really mad at me…but you being alive, at least I don’t have to be so afraid of the gifts.”
“That’s what I wanted to hear,” Eclipse said, “and was afraid I wouldn’t.”
“Will you ever be back?” Victoria asked.
“Never say never,” Eclipse answered. “But not likely. It’s an incredibly long trip.”
“Well, then, good-bye.”
“Yes, good-bye.” Eclipse faded into the blue of a bouquet of bachelor’s buttons, the jingle of sleigh bells ringing softly in the cold air of early spring.