He spoke in a way that was meant to reassure, but it was clear all the same that he would be just as glad to quite this place as she."These are but shadows of the things that have been... They have no consciousness of us."
The light flickered and flashed before going dark, like a lightbulb giving its last burst of energy before dying out. The ghosts of the past faded with the light as well. Caitlyn and Hob stood in the darkness of the asylum's lounge. Light barely penetrated into the room from those too high windows, mostly boarded up, and all was shadows and shades of blackness. In that sightless silence that filled the room now, Hob somehow snaked his unburned hand into Caitlyn's. There was something different about the grip of his hand now, something more masculine and less childlike, though tender all the same.
He guided her out of the room, down the hallway past the stairs and back through the foyer. The light gradually made its presence known the closer they came to the exit. The stench of mold and decay receded with the darkness, replaced by the sweet smell of wild grass and leaves carried on the breeze. It was cleansing in its way. The scent of the outdoors and bright sunshine chased away the ghosts and visions of tortures long past. Through the ruins of the door and onto the concrete porch they strode; Hob stopped and breathed in deeply, a man tasting freedom for a second time.
Caitlyn's hand received another reassuring squeeze. Ruefully, Hob looked at her and grinned in relief.
His smile slipped into a puzzled expression as he regarded her, as if seeing her for the first time. His bandaged hand reached up and tucked a stray lock of her hair behind one ear tenderly. A smile reappears as if to express sympathy and understanding, knowing her thoughts of loneliness.
A finger pointed down at one of the cracked and broken sidewalks, half hidden by weeds and dirt. Like all the others, it led off across the campus in crazy zig-zag patterns. The forgotten paths still did their duty even though the doors they once led to are long gone. Only this one snaked its way around between the two buildings and further back into the property where apple trees waved their bare limbs at them. Here and there beneath their shade, gravestones of a small and mean sort peeked out from the heather and grass. A solitary graveyard, long forgotten by the city and state, hid behind the abandoned buildings and sheltered below the untended orchard."There are no happy endings, because nothing ends. "
Hob raised his hurt hand once more, foxfire flickering at his fingertips. Images began to form about the trees, faint in the fullness of the sunlight, but there all the same. Still keeping her hand in his, the fey man cocked his head to one side and looks at Caitlyn sidelong.
Even from this distance, the dim image of a man wearing a bowler hat could be seen to form before one of the stones. And a second Hob, translucent against the daylight, rested upon his haunches watching the man. At the phantasms feet appeared a large pad of paper and some crayons."Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more..."