The night was dark, but it did not matter; he did not need light to see. He had followed this path many times; he took every step from memory.
He stood at the window and watched. He felt her fear stronger than he felt anything else. The light in the room went out. He moved silently away from the window to the front door. The knob turned with a slight squeak and he pushed it open. No one woke in alarm to his entry. He easily found her room and listened. He heard the sound of her sleeping breath. The time had come.
The door glided open at his touch and he stepped across the threshold. The room was darker than it should have been, even with a cloud filled night sky. She murmured something inaudible. Her body trembled in response to the battle she fought.
His fingertips gently touched her forehead. Her eyes flashed open, causing the thick darkness to dissipate into silvery shadows. She sat up.
“Father Michael?” she said. “Is that you?”
There was no answer. She laid her head back on the pillows and fell quickly back to sleep.
She passed the church as she always did but, until today, had never stopped. She entered looking around at the stained-glass windows.
“Good morning my child,” the priest said. “May I help you?”
“Can I speak to Father Michael?”
“Father Michael? Father Michael isn’t with us anymore.”
“Anymore? He didn’t say he was going anywhere when I talked with him last night. Where did he go?”
“This better not be a cruel joke young lady.”
“I was thinking the same thing, Father.”
He crossed himself and muttered, “he’s returned.”
“What? Who’s returned?”
“Father Michael has been laying at rest in the crypt for more than 300 years.”

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