I remember. I was carried, up the stairs. Neither the soot nor the ash bothered me. I realized after a moment that it was because I no longer needed – need — to breathe. I exist in a state beyond that. I’ve been changed. So has the priest. The Ritual of 2014 – the Last Ritual – continues. Yes, some things happened differently than we’d planned – thanks to Evelyn Diedz. Emmett was supposed to be the sacrifice. Rick was supposed to become the Rail Man. The priest and the mailman were supposed to be food. But the priest became the Anointed Thing, the Guardian Monster — the Rail Man. And, he must feed. And, he will. The powder and the blood did their job; I did mine, and now I have what matters most. My thoughts are clear. The madness is gone. My thoughts are of the here and now, again. The madness has left me. My madness has departed. My beloved has come back to me – is coming back to me. I feel him, deep inside of me. It hurt me, when we were joined together … united again by the angels — so deep and intimate a thing to experience, so perfect and divine. But, pain brings with it new life. I feel my belly stretching, even now. I feel him move inside of me. And both of us will forever be protected. I see our protector beside me, wearing the garb of his calling, ready to do the great works of our glorious new religion as it spreads across the world. Our protector breathes, but he’s untroubled by the soot and ash, too. He will walk among them, in the dark, as they sleep. He will feed. We have the power of Evelyn’s book, again. We will make it — a new blood-written text. We will tell the tale of our covenant with the Earth as the planet burns with fire. To show the world how it began, and how it will end. We have the book. We have our guardian. We have each other! And together, the three of us are a new trinity that shall burn the wrongness of this world away moment by moment and step by step. Weep with joy for the coming of the final dawn — The Prince awakens! Speak of truth for the opening of the door — The Flowergirl arrives! Call out with upraised hands and cry for blood — The Rail Man returns!