Here Be Dragons (MM / ML Adult) (Complete)

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tequathisy
Addicted Roswellian
Posts: 292
Joined: Wed Aug 06, 2003 8:49 pm
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Post by tequathisy » Wed Apr 26, 2006 11:33 am

Hi everyone. thanks for all the feedback and a huge thanks to everyone who has nominated me in the awards. I'm so honored. And just to clear up a small bit of confusion. Mrs. Whitman is an original charatcer not a supporting character so if you'd like to nominate her that's where she go's, but maybe to avoid further confusion just call her Grandma Whitman.

Hope you like this part.

ISLANDGIRL5 really bad. Thanks for being my beta.
Behrlyliz that’s a good point
Xmag no, the granolith did not create the lake
rar1942 as I didn’t even know what that was until you told me you can rule out diphtheria
pixiegirl712 or something!!
Lolita there’s nothing like a witch to create mass hysteria in the 17th century.
FaithfulAngel24 Thank you
Maya more bad than good though
RhondaAnn yeah that was a really bad day.
Doublestuf aw, thank you. Yeah, Liz wants to be able to rest in peace.
Emz80m thank you
Ellie thanks
Behrystrwbry thanks
Flamehair no, not good
Tiredmuse better late than never. lol
sylvia37 thank you
Itzstacie nice to see you here. Glad you like it.
Alienmom thanks
montee916 thank you
christmasnazi so glad you gave it a try.
nibbles2 pretty much

Eleven


My husband is dead. My child is without a father. Jeremiah was a good man, a loving husband and a doting father. He tended to his flock faithfully and without failure. His loss is a huge loss for this whole community. I am distraught at his death and will miss him terribly.

And yet, even though he still lies in wake on our bed, even though he is not yet in the ground. I cannot help but feel the first spark of hope, like the first glimmer of light at daybreak or the first bud on the rose tree. I find myself watching the hill, waiting for him to come to me.



Maria turned the page of the journal to read the next entry, but it was blank. There was nothing more to be read. She stared at the white page in shock. Then flipped through the remainder of the pages. There was nothing.

"What am I supposed to do know?" Maria asked the empty room. She threw the journal down on the floor in frustration.

How could there be nothing more? How was she supposed to help Liz now? What could have happened to Liz that prevented her from writing in her journal? Had she left Rosalind's Well? But it seemed unlikely that she would go without taking her journal with her. Unless she had been forced to flee in a hurry. Had she been killed perhaps? Hanged as a witch by the townspeople and Pierce?

Pierce

A light flicked in the back of Maria's brain. She knew that name from somewhere. It frightened her even though she didn't know why. She racked her mind, trying to recall where she had read it.

Maria was almost certain it had something to do with school. She flung back the covers of her bed and climbed out. Her head was still slightly woozy but much better than it had been before. She picked up her laptop, which was lying on top of her suitcase. Michael must have brought it back earlier too.

Wow, Maria reflected, she must have been really out of it if she hadn't even thought about bringing her laptop back to Roswell with her. It was her most prized possession. Not only had she worked long hard hours to save up for it, but also it contained all her notes from the classes that she had attended and the books she had read, as well as the first draft of her thesis.

She turned it on and searched through her notes for twenty minutes until she found the entry she was looking for.

At some period in the late 17th century a group was formed on the East Coast of America. It was a secret organization founded by church leaders and influential men. They made it their mission to investigate any reports of witchcraft, practicing of the black arts and devil worship.

There is very little evidence, either primary or secondary to furnish us with details of the work they carried out but a Reverend Jacob Wheeler, d 1698 had written a letter to a friend shortly before he died. It said,

My friend,

I have a confession to make. A number of
years ago, there was a young girl in town
whose behavior was frightening her parents.
They believed she had been possessed. I
sat with her for a short time and said prayers
from my bible. The next day she was much
improved.

A month later a man came to my house late
at night. He told me that he had heard reports
of the young girls possession and how I had
aided her. He said that he was a member of a
special group dedicated to the fight against the
devil and his followers. They asked me to join
them.

Over the next few years, I traveled frequently to
a number of towns and villages where there were
reports of possession. I carried out a number of
investigations of suspected witchcraft. I worked
with a number of different men. We believed that
we were carrying out God's Work and that what
we were doing was absolutely right. I regret a
number of people were killed or hanged when they
were found guilty as a result of our investigation.
I was not there myself, but I know that a number
of the group assisted in the investigations in Salem
in ‘92. There were three members on the jury. At the
time I was as fully convinced of the guilt of those
eleven people as the jury was. Then of course as
you know, it was later revealed that they were
the victims of slander and hysteria. They were
innocent. Our group had put innocent people
to death.

I was consumed with guilt and began to question my
actions of the previous years.

Last month I was contacted by the leader of the group,
a man named Pierce. He wanted me to carry out an
investigation in Pennington. His letter implied that the
man under investigation was guilty and that I should
persuade the people of the town to condemn him to
death. He himself had not been to Pennington and
therefore could not have ascertained whether this man
was guilty or not.

I myself traveled to Pennington and interviewed the
man. I found him a suspicious man, with secrets.
But I could not put my hand on the bible and swear
that he was a practitioner of the black arts. I directed
the jury to him not guilty. Which they did. Three days
after I had returned home I was visited by Pierce. He
is an intimidating man, with piercing blue eyes and a
manner of speaking that chills me to my bones. He
was furious that I had not done as he had instructed.
I told him that I wished to have no more part of his
organization. That I was finished with persecuting
innocent people.

He left in quiet a temper and swore that if I would
not do as he asked, then he would do it himself.
The following week, I learned that the man in
Pennington whom I had found not guilty had drowned.
It is my belief that Pierce played a role in his death.
I wrote to the Sheriff of the town to tell him of my fears.
I believe this was a grave mistake. The Sheriff is in
collusion with Pierce and now I fear for my life.
Pierce is a dangerous man and his organization is a
danger to all of society. They care not for the truth.
I will attempt to raise awareness of them by sending letters
to all my friends. We must work together to ensure that
they cannot continue this secret reign of terror.

Your friend,
J Wheeler.

This is the only primary source we have that mentions the special organization directly. We have a handful of contemporary sources that allude to a secret organization. We are not certain who Pierce is but we do know that he has been mentioned as a witness at several witch trials along the eastern seaboard around that time. He disappeared in 1699. His sent a message to a colleague shortly before disappearing in late September, early October saying that he had been asked to investigate a report of witchcraft in R.W.

Where R.W is, we do not know.


Maria slumped back into her chair and expelled her breath. Things were becoming clearer. Pierce had been invited to Rosalind's Well to investigate Liz and perhaps the aliens. At a guess somebody had been found guilty - Either Max or Liz and as a result Pierce had been killed and Rosalind's Well buried under a lake by aliens and hidden from the rest of the world.

"So what am I supposed to do Liz? What do you want from me?" Maria sighed. There was no answer from the empty room. "What do you want? Vengeance? From who, the aliens? Pierce? I can't do that for you. Do you want me to clear your name? How can I do that? Unless…the only way to clear your name is to publish your journal. Is that what you want?"

Maria bent down and picked up the journal from the floor.

"If I show this to anybody it will expose everyone in this town, Michael, Mrs. Whitman, Kyle, Reverend Rendell. I can't do that Liz. I won't,” Maria whispered.

Suddenly she felt the hairs on her arm stand on end and she knew without turning around that there was somebody behind her. She knew that if she turned around that there would be nobody behind her. But Liz was there, listening.

"I didn't get it at first, why you kept his secret from your husband and your family. I couldn't understand why you would chose to protect him instead of saving your own life. But I do now, I understand. So you must understand why I can't let anybody find out about them. About Michael.”

Knock knock

Maria jumped at the sound of gentle knocking on her door and glanced at it fearfully. She half expected to find Liz on the other side of the door.

It was opened slowly and quietly, as though the person on the other side was expecting Maria to be asleep. Michael’s shaggy brown hair poked through the opening. “You’re up.”

“Yeah, come in,” Maria smiled, casually pushing the journal under the duvet.

“How are you feeling?” Michael asked, entering the room and taking a seat at the foot of the bed. He narrowed his eyes when he spotted the open laptop. “You’re supposed to be resting.”

“I am. I was. I just wanted to do some reading,” Maria covered. She stood up quickly with the intention of shutting the laptop down before Michael saw what she was reading. But when she stood up, her head swam and she stumbled forward.

Michael jumped up and caught her. “Sit down, you shouldn’t be out of bed,” he scolded, pulling her back down onto the bed.

“I’m fine, it was just a head rush,” Maria insisted, but she didn’t brush his arms away. She looked up at him and realized that there were only centimeters between them. Unconsciously, her tongue snaked out and moistened her lips.

“So are you here to arrest me?” She asked to break the silence.

“What?”

“You know…Courtney, is she pressing charges or whatever?”

“No, she uh…on mature recollection, she changed her version of events. She says it was an accident. As long as you don’t try to sue her she won’t take it any farther,” Michael told Maria, his eyes never wavering from her lips.

“That’s big of her,” Maria snorted.

“Mmhmm,” Michael, nodded his head ever so slightly, an action that brought his face closer to hers, so close that their lips were just about to touch.

“Mic-”

“Shh, don’t say anything,” He said gently, his lips brushing against hers as he spoke.

“How are you feeling now dear, oh I’m so sorry!” Michael and Maria sprang apart as Mrs. Whitman came cheerily into the room. Nobody looked more disappointed that the kiss had been interrupted than she did. Maria couldn’t help but laugh, to see the expression on the old woman’s face.

“I’m fine,” Maria blushed. She stood up, slowly. “Actually, I’m kind of hungry.”

Mrs. Whitman clapped her hands. “I’ll make you something to eat. I have broth on the stove or would you prefer to have something more substantial?”

“I’ll have dinner, please. I hit my head but my stomach’s working fine,” Maria grinned. “I’ll just wash up first.”

“Alright, come down when you’re ready,” Mrs. Whitman smiled. She moved to block Michael’s exit from the room. A look passed between them and she sighed but moved aside to allow him out.

“Maria…” Mrs. Whitman hesitated, looked over her shoulder to see if Michael was out of hearing range. “I’m delighted that…I’m glad you’re still here.”

“Me too.” Maria smiled.


<center>~*~</center>


It was obvious by the way that Mrs. Whitman was loitering in the kitchen throughout dinner that she was trying her best to give Maria and Michael enough space to resume where she had interrupted earlier. They said little throughout the meal, conscious that they were under scrutiny, but exchanged smiles everytime Mrs. Whitman remembered something else she had to attend to it the kitchen.

When the phone rang while they were eating desert, Maria wasn’t surprised. She guessed that Mrs. Whitman had arranged for one of her friends to call her so she would have an excuse to leave the house for the evening. But when Mrs. Whitman came back into the dining room, her lips were pressed thinly together.

“It’s for you,” she told her grandson.

Michael excused himself and went to take the call. Mrs. Whitman went with him. Maria could hear Michael talk briefly on the phone. Then there was a furious whispered conversation between him and his grandmother before they returned. Michael was wearing his jacket.

“I have to go out for a while,” he said apologetically to Maria.

“Has something happened?” Maria asked in concern.

“No,” Mrs. Whitman sighed, digging her spoon into her apple pie with venom.

“Just something that came up. I probably won’t be back until late so I guess I’ll see you tomorrow,” Michael told Maria. He kissed his grandmother’s cheek. “Don’t wait up. Goodnight grandma, Maria.”

“Goodnight.”

After dinner, Maria and Mrs. Whitman sat in the parlor for an hour. Their conversation was stilted, Maria was feeling drowsy now that she was full and Mrs. Whitman was clearly distracted by something, probably whatever it was that had called Michael away.

After a while Maria said goodnight and went to bed. She had wanted to go through her notes again to see if there were any other clues that could help her to help Liz. However after only five minutes of scrolling through her notes the screen began to blur and Maria realized that she was too tired, so she powered off her laptop and crawled into bed.

After pulling back the duvet Maria spotted the journal, lying open and face down in the bed where she had hidden it earlier that day. She picked it up to put it on the nightstand and as she did so, something in it caught her eye. She froze, afraid to open it up and see if it was really there. She could feel goosebumps forming on her arms again.

Reluctantly, Maria flipped over the journal. It fell open on the last entry, then by itself the page turned to reveal a new entry. It was in the same handwriting, but the ink was clearly fresh. She could smell its distinct aroma.

I have lain in my grave for three hundred years, but I have had no rest. I know only torment. I will never know rest until I am with him. Until we are together.

I beseech thee, my daughter, to help me. End my suffering and grant that I may finally rest in peace.


Maria wanted to scream. This is what Liz wanted of her? What did it mean exactly? Did she want Maria to dig up her body and bury it with Max’s? Because that was impossible, for many different reasons. Firstly, and most importantly, she had no clue where Liz’s body was buried or where to even begin looking for it. Though she had a gnawing feeling that she was probably buried in the graveyard beside her church which of course would be under Lake Rosalind. So even is somehow, Maria managed to find Liz's body she would then have to dig up Max’s grave, which was lying under stone slabs in the middle of the church.

“I’m really beginning to wish that I had never opened this thing,” Maria scowled. Knowing that she wasn’t going to be able to do anything about it tonight, Maria placed the journal on the nightstand and went to sleep.


<center>~*~</center>


That night she dreamed that she was in a wood. The sun was bright and the sky blue, but she had no idea what season it was. There were no leaves on the trees, but a blanket of white flowers. Their petals carpeted the ground and floated in the babbling stream. There was a man sitting on a fallen log on the opposite bank. At first she didn’t know him, but when he heard her approach he looked up and she saw that it was Michael. He held a white rose in his hand.

“Michael.” She was overjoyed to see him and ran towards him. She stopped when her feet splashed into the stream and she looked down to see how deep it was. When she looked back up, the stream had grown and now there was a lake between them.

Michael was a tiny figure on the far shore. Without thinking, Maria dived into the water, intending to swim to him but as soon as she hit the water she was sucked underneath and pulled down. She tried her best to return to the surface but she couldn’t. Her hands and feet were bound, her long skirt was heavy. Her lungs burned for air until she could take it no more and she took a gulp, instead of air she swallowed the dark, dirty water.

When she woke the duvet muffled her screams. She wrestled herself free of it and kicked it to the floor. Then she lay in the bed panting hard for air.

“Are you ok?” Michael was standing in the doorway, backlit by the hall light. He was still in the clothes he had been wearing when he had left that evening.

“I just had another bad dream,” Maria sat up and glanced at the clock. It was almost two thirty in the morning. “Did you just come in?”

“Yeah.”

“Is everything alright? Did something happen?” Maria asked.

Michael shook his head. “It was nothing. Mayor Harding had a few beefs he needed to air. It was to be expected I guess.”

“Why?”

“I wasn’t exactly nice to his daughter today,” Michael laughed. “How’s the head?”

Maria touched her head. “It’s fine. I never said thanks to you, for helping me out today.”

“Just doing my job,” Michael shrugged.

“Well, thanks anyway,” Maria smiled. “So why weren’t you nice to Harding’s daughter?”

Michael looked at her like she was crazy. “Because she drove like a maniac and almost killed you then tried to say it was all your fault.”

Maria blinked, processing what Michael had just said. “Wait, Courtney is Mayor Harding’s daughter?”

“You didn’t know?” Michael said with surprise.

“No. Oh my God, that means she’s descended from Tess,” Maria gasped, speaking out loud without realizing it.

By the door, Michael froze. “What did you just say?”

“Nothing…I don’t know,” Maria was stammering, confused by the change in his manner. But her mind was racing, Courtney was descended from Tess, she had to be. They had so much in common, blonde hair, bitchy, murderous intentions. The words she had used to warn Maria off Michael were scarily similar to those that Tess used to warn Liz off. Maria looked up at Michael. His mother was a Whitman, probably descend from Alex Whitman, who had been married to Isabel Evans, Max’s sister. Did that mean that Max was an ancestor of Michael? Was that why Courtney was so possessive of him. Had it something to do with Max and Tess?

“I should go to bed,” Michael yawned, interrupting her thoughts.

Maria made a split second decision. “Michael, wait.” She crawled down to the end of the bed and gestured for him to come closer. He hesitated a moment before coming back into the room and standing at the foot of her bed. Maria took a deep breath. “I need your help.”

A look of concern passed over Michael’s face and he sat down on the bed. “What is it?”

“I don’t think it was accident that brought me to Roswell. I don’t think it was fate either. I don’t know why she picked me but I was brought here for a reason and I’m not going to be able to go until I’ve done what I’ve supposed to. She won’t let me go.”

“Who’s she?”

“Liz Parker.”

Michael shrugged. “Who’s Liz Parker?”

This was it, the moment of truth. Maria took a deep breath and stepped into the abyss. “Liz Parker is the girl that Max Evans brought back from the dead three hundred years ago, shortly before she died.”

A whole range of emotions flashed across Michael’s handsome face. He cleared his throat. “What…uh…what are you talking about?”

“I know Michael. I don’t know everything but I know most of it. I know that you’re all aliens.”

Michael laughed, a hollow fake laugh. “Maybe we should have taken you to the hospital today. You’ve hit your head and -”

Maria cut his denial off “You came here from Antar three hundred years ago. Because your home planet had been destroyed by an explosion. Something called the granolith saved your people and you fled to earth.”

“How…? Who are you?” Michael demanded, grabbing Maria’s forearms tightly and shaking her.

Before Maria could answer, they heard the sound of a door opening. Michael dropped his hold on Maria just as Mrs. Whitman appeared at the door of Maria’s bedroom. She peered in cautiously to make sure that she wasn’t interrupting another moment between them. “Michael, you’re back.”

“Yeah, just now,” Michael nodded, shooting a look of warning to Maria that made her swallow nervously. “I heard Maria up so I just wanted to make sure that she was alright.”

Mrs. Whitman smiled and ruffled his hair fondly. “Did everything go alright?”

“Yeah, it was just Harding blowing steam, nothing I couldn’t handle,” Michael assured her with a smile. He stood up and kissed her cheek. “I’m going to hit the sack now. Goodnight Grandma.” He nodded at Maria before leaving the room.

Mrs. Whitman shot a worried glance at Maria, clearly sensing the tension between her and Michael.

Maria gave her a small smile. “I’m fine,” she said before the older woman could ask.

“Good,” Mrs. Whitman laughed. “I’ll go back to bed. Sweet dreams dear.” She kissed Maria goodnight and went back to bed.

“That went well,” Maria snorted to herself. She buried her face in her hands, wondering what to do next. She knew that Michael wasn’t just going to go to bed and sleep after her revelation, and that he was probably waiting for his grandmother to go back to sleep before he came back to talk to her some more. At least that was the best case scenario. For all she knew he could have been marshalling the alien lynch mob at that very moment.

Well, whatever happened next, Maria didn’t want to do it in her yellow pyjamas so she quickly pulled on a pair of jeans and a sweater. As she was lacing up her sneakers, there was a gentle tap on the door.

She opened it to find Michael on the other side. He took in her clothes briefly, before jerking his head to indicate that she was to follow him.

Thump

Maria glanced behind her and saw that the journal had fallen off the nightstand. Apparently, Liz thought it would be a good idea to bring it with her. So Maria picked it up and stuffed it into her pocket. Silently she followed Michael down the stairs and outside.

It was a clear night, but cold and Maria shivered as soon as the night air hit her. She looked up at Michael waiting to see what he wanted to do.

“C’mon,” he told her, walking quickly down the street. Maria had to jog to keep up with his long strides. He lead her to a street she hadn’t seen before though judging by the signs she could make out under the street lamps they were now in down town Roswell. The place was deserted, there was nobody around and all the shops were dark. For a girl who was so used to living in the city that never sleeps it was strange to see a place that shut down at night.

Michael walked up the steps of an old stone building. Like the others it was locked and darkened. It was only when Maria had climbed the steps that she noticed the sign. Roswell Sheriff’s Station. Michael fished a set of keys out of his pocket and opened the door. He led Maria through a maze of corridors and up the stairs before entering an office.

Sheriff Michael Guerin The placename on the desk read. Maria looked around in curiosity. It looked like any normal police station office. Desk, filing cabinets, lots of paper. On the wall behind the desk there was a large map, which Maria noted, was of Roswell and the surrounding area.

“So this is where you work?” Maria said. It was the first thing that she had said since they left the house.

“Yeah.” Michael took the seat behind the desk. He watched her carefully for a moment. “Who are you?”

“I’m Maria Deluca, I’m a student from New York. I got lost in a rainstorm and wound up here in Roswell,” Maria answered. “The same as I was this morning. I’m not pretending to be anybody that I’m not. I’ve never lied to you.”

Michael raised his eyebrows. “How exactly did you get here?”

“There was a rainstorm. My route to Salem was flooded so I got diverted. Somehow, I took a wrong turn and I got lost. Then a girl appeared in the middle of the road. I stopped the car and got out but I couldn’t see her anywhere. So I got back into the car but it died. Then I noticed the lights of the town and followed them.”

“You didn’t notice the town when you were looking for the girl?” Michael asked.

Maria paused. “No, I didn’t. It wasn’t until I got back into the car. And the girl was Liz. She brought me here and she made my car break down. She did something to it so that Kyle couldn’t get it started again.”

“It’s just missing a part,” Michael interrupted.

“He can’t fix it because Liz is stopping him,” Maria insisted. “That’s why his powers don’t work on it. And she stopped him going to Safehaven to get a part because she doesn’t want me to leave. That’s why she stopped Courtney and I leaving today.”

Michael paused, apparently flummoxed that Maria had so casually mentioned Kyle’s powers. He shook his head. “What does she look like?”

“She’s beautiful, long brown hair. And she’s soaking wet, and her hands are tied together. That’s how she died, I’ve dreamt it. They tied her up and threw her in the lake.” Maria ran her hand through her won blonde hair. “I know this sounds crazy but that’s why she’s been haunting the lake.”

“There’s no such thing as ghosts,” Michael said at once, a reflex action.

“Yes there is. I’ve seen her Michael, several times. I’m not lying or crazy or concussed. I’m aware that I sound crazy or like a liar but I’m telling you the truth. How else would I know about you and Antar and everything?”

Michael looked away from Maria, she could see that he was debating with himself internally. Not wanting to believe her crazy story, but believing it anyway. After what seemed like an age, he turned back to her. “That day Kyle went to Safehaven, when he said that he swerved to avoid a dear on the road - What he really saw was a girl, like the one you’ve described.”

“See,” Maria exclaimed, pounding his desk with her fist. “Liz needs my help and she won’t let me go until I do whatever it is she wants.”

“What does she want?” Michael sighed. Then added hastily. “Hypothetically?”

Maria shrugged. “I’m not sure. Yesterday after the crash she played a song on the radio. I think there was a message in it.”

“What song?”

“Dido’s song, you know the one. I won’t go, I won’t leave until you’re resting here with me.” Maria sang the line of the song.

“You have a nice voice,” Michael commented bluntly, almost to himself.

Maria blushed. “Thanks.”

“So what does that mean?”

“I’m not an expert, but everyone says that ghosts only come back because they’ve left something undone in their past life or to seek revenge on the people who killed them. I think she drowns people in the lake as revenge for her murder, but there’s something else she wants that has to do with Max,” Maria sighed.

“But Max is dead, shouldn’t they be able to have out their little disagreement in the afterlife or whatever?” Michael asked.

“I don’t know,” Maria shook her head. “But I have to help her Michael.”

“Why should I help her. If you’re right she drowned my parents.”

Maria shrugged. “She was murdered and she’s spent three hundred years wandering Roswell, waiting for somebody to help her. She deserves to be able to rest in peace. And for some reason she’s picked me as the one to help her. Only, I don’t know what she wants me to do. Or even why she picked me.”

“There’s obviously something different about you. You can see ghosts and … aliens.”

“Kyle saw the ghost too and can’t everyone see you?” Maria frowned.

Michael hesitated before shaking his head. “No.”

Suddenly things were beginning to make a tiny bit of sense to Maria. “There’s a cloaking device or something on the town, isn’t there? That’s why there are no tourists and it’s not on any maps.”

“Something like that,” Michael scratched his eyebrow, a gesture that was becoming very familiar to Maria. “I shouldn’t be telling you this.”

“I won’t breathe a word of it, I promise,” Maria told him solemnly. “Will you help me help Liz in return?”

It was a full minute before Michael nodded reluctantly. “I’ll help.”

“Thank you Michael,” Maria pulled the journal out of her pocket and handed it to him. “Read this. Maybe you’ll be able to figure out what Liz needs.”

Michael took the journal and examined it. “Where did you find this?”

“In a secret compartment in the chest in my room,” Maria told him about how she had woke up freezing in the middle of her first night in Roswell and got a blanket from the chest, about the voice that had scared her causing her to drop the lid and somehow open the compartment that she had been unable to open since.

Michael opened the book, picked out the flower and left it out onto the desk without taking any notice of it.

Maria picked it up and sniffed its sweet fragrance. “Is it true that white roses don’t grow in Roswell?”

“Apparently not, I’m not really into gardening.” Michael shrugged, already engrossed in the first entry.

While she waited for him to read, Maria glanced around the office again and spotted a computer in the corner. “Hey, can I use that to get online? My friend was supposed to do some research for me.”

“Did you tell your friend about this?” Michael asked in alarm.

“No, of course not,” Maria assured him. “Can I?”

“Sure, knock yourself out.”

“Thanks.” Maria powered up the machine and logged onto her email account. She had received an email from Bobby with an attachment.

Maria,

I knew that I’d heard something about Elizabeth Parker before and did a bit of digging. I found this. A professor at my college conducted a project in the 1940’s, he sent his students out to gather local stories and legends. This is one that had been passed down through the centuries. It’s an interesting story but that’s all. There’s no record of anyone from the story except one person and there’s no place in the USA called Rosalind’s Well.

But here’s what I have.

Bobby


She opened the attachment and felt as though the breath had been sucked from her body. The opening line read:

The trial of Elizabeth Parker, accused of the murder by witchcraft of her husband Jeremiah Parker.


<center>~*~</center>
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tequathisy
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Post by tequathisy » Thu May 11, 2006 11:48 am

I'm back with another update. Can't wait to see what you think of this chapter. Be warned, it's not all fluffy clouds and rainbows.

pookie76 your wish is granted – here’s what happens to Liz.
Lolita thank you. You’ll find out about Max later.
Behrlyliz hmm, you were onto something there!! I think the fact that you like the candy parts is the biggest compliment so thank you.
Lillie glad you joined us lol. There’s an advantage to reading it all in one go, you pick up on all the little hints and clues. But no, the soil isn’t a clue it’s just the reason the residents of Roswell believe that white roses don’t grow there. There’s a different reason.
Kittens lol – that’s a tall task.
Kristy you’ll see what Pierce did here.
Itzstacie all those questions will be answered, just not in this part.
RhondaAnn pretty much
Grace52373 yeah, how did Maria see through the cloaking?
FaithfulAngel24 I love the rainbow writing. Thank you.
Xmag Interesting theory but not correct, but then again, you haven’t all the facts yet.
sylvia37 thank you
Flamehair yes, Courtney is Tess’s great great…grand daughter
Emz80m Yup, and other things!
Doublestuf it certainly will
Behrystrwbry your wait is over.
Tiredmuse thanks
Belleoftheball welcome.
nibbles2 thank you
NikkiA the lack of genetic variation? Uh…it’s an alien thing. LOL.
maya thanks



Chapter 12


<center>The trial of Elizabeth Parker, accused of the murder by witchcraft of her husband Jeremiah Parker.</center>


After a while a strange calm had come over Liz. Her body stopped shuddering with sobs and her tears dried. Gently, as though he was a newborn baby, Liz leaned Jeremiah's body back into the chair. She pressed his eyes closed with her thumb and placed a fond kiss on his forehead.

“I’m sorry Jeremiah.” She told him. Sorry for his untimely death when he still had so much god work to do. Sorry that he would now never see his beautiful daughter grow up to be a woman. Sorry that Rosalind’s Well had been robbed of such a wonderful man. Sorry that she had been coveting another man while they were married. And most of all Liz was sorry that even though Jeremiah was only dead a few hours that in the deep recesses of her heart, part of her was relieved because new hope had flickered to life.

Then Liz unbolted the door of the house and made her way to her neighbors house to awaken them with the sad news.

The next few hours passed by in a blur for Liz. She was aware of many people coming and going in her house. There was a lot of wailing and people shaking their heads in disbelief. Jeremiah's body was carried to the bed he had shared with Liz and laid out there. Nancy Rosalind and other women of the town washed him, shaved him and dressed him in his best outfit. Word of his death spread like wildfire and by the early afternoon there was a steady flow up people who had come to pay their last respects.

Many of them came forward and pressed her hand and muttered consoling words to Liz. Most of the people were visibly upset by Jeremiah's sudden death and were in tears. Liz felt strangely removed from the entire situation and found herself watching the hill, waiting. She knew that at some stage Max would come to pay his repects and Liz couldn’t help but feel excited about it. There seemed so much possibility in the future now.

Jeremiah was a dear friend and the father of her child but it was Max who made her heart sing with just a look. Before that day, she had known there was no chance of being with him. That all her dreams would be denied but now there was nothing standing in their way. They would have to wait an appropriate amount of time after Jeremiah's death of course. But Liz was happy to do that, she would not disrespect Jeremiah's memory, no matter how much she longed to be with Max. To feel his lips on hers, his hand on her bare skin, his fingers in her hair. She closed her eyes as she imagined their wedding night together.

When she opened her eyes she saw Max walk through the door. He sought her out immediately and their eyes locked at once. He stood rooted to the spot, unable to move. Liz felt her chest constrict, she was unable to breathe. It took all her will power not to break out into a smile. Another person came in the door behind Max and pushed against him, it gave Max the impetus he needed to make his way over to her.

“Liz.”

“Hello Max.”

He reached out and took her hands in his and held them gently. “I am sorry to hear of Reverend Parker’s death. Jeremiah was a good man.” He was genuinely sympathetic, Jeremiah and been an ally for the travellers when the arrived in Rosalind’s Well. He had been one of the very few who had gone out of his way to make them feel welcome and to offer them any assistance that he could.

“Thank you.” Liz gave him a small smile.

They said nothing more, but the look in their eyes was full of hope and promises for the future. It was too soon to talk of anything else but to mourn Jeremiah. They had the rest of their lives to say all they needed to say.

Max smiled softly at her, squeezed her hands gently and let them go. He backed away from Liz, reluctant to tear his eyes from hers. Liz too found herself watching him, even as the next person stepped forward to console her. It wasn’t until Max forced himself to turn around and walk into the room where Jeremiah's body was lying that Liz was able to give her attention to the wailing woman who was pumping her hand in grief. The rest of the afternoon passed quickly, Liz did not see Max again and a part of her was relieved. She did not think that she would be able to prevent herself from smiling happily. And she did not want to dishonor Jeremiah like that.

By the time it was getting dark, most of the town had passed through her doors and Liz's hand was paining her. Most of the people who remained now were family, either her own of Jeremiah's.

“Come Elizabeth. We are going to pray together.” Her father said to her, leading her by the arm into the bedroom she had avoided all day.

As soon as her eyes landed on Jeremiah, Liz was hit with a fresh wave of guilt and she began to weep. She wanted nothing more than to run away from the house so that she wouldn’t have to face him but she couldn’t. She owed it to Jeremiah to stay by his side until he was buried.

Jeffery Rosalind took up a prayer book and began to lead the assembly in prayer. He had barely begun however when there was a loud urgent knocking on the door. Liz's Uncle Noah went to answer it. He returned ashen faced to the room moments later and gestured for Jeffery to follow him.

Liz felt her heart speed up, she knew that something was about to happen. Moments later her father erupted angrily and began shouting. His words were muffled through the walls but it was clear that he was furious with whoever was at the door. Nancy glanced worriedly at Liz before hurrying out to see what all the commotion was about. On shaky legs, Liz followed her.

There were five men dressed in dark clothes in the kitchen. She recognised four of them at once, Doctor Bosonnet, Mr. Blake Mr. Stamp and the town’s sheriff James Brown. When the fifth man turned his eyes to her, she knew him too. It was Pierce, the witch hunter. Liz felt as though somebody had thrown a bucket of cold water over her.

“What do you want?” She asked.

Sheriff Brown reached out and removed a parchment of paper that her father was clutching tightly in his hands. He held it out to her but Liz wouldn’t take it. The sheriff cleared his throat. “We have come here to investigate the suspicious death of our Brother Jeremiah Parker and to make any arrests that we deem necessary.

“Arrests?” Nancy gasped. The word was carried into the other room where Liz could make out the sound of hushed conversation.

Pierce stepped forward, his eyes boring into Liz's. “Jeremiah Parker was murdered by foul means and we are here to discover who the perpetrator is.”

At his words, Nancy fainted. Liz rushed to her mother’s side and tried to revive her. In the commotion, Pierce pushed his way through the crowd and into the bedroom. Dr Bosonnet and Blake followed him. Sheriff Brown looked embarrassed but he followed them too and assisted in clearing the room. Ebeneezer Stamp hung his head and would not meet anybody’s eyes.

Jeffery took charge of the situation and managed to convince some of his cousins to go home for the night, assuring them that the matter would be resolved by morning. When it was only close family who remained he marched up to Stamp, caught him by the lapels and shoved him forcefully against the wall. Nobody lifted a hand to stop him.

“What is the meaning of this.” He hissed through gritted teeth.

Stamp did his best to wriggle free but Jeffrey’s hold was too strong. Finally Stamp desisted and slumped against the wall. “They think that she’s a witch.” He confided in a panicked whisper.

“Who? Who is a witch?” Jeffery demanded in fury.

“Her.” Stamp raised his hand and pointed a shaking finger at Liz. There was a collective gasp of horror in the room.

“What nonsense is this?” One of Jeremiah's brothers demanded.

“She has used magics in the past, we have proof of it.” Stamp stammered. “Bosonnet wrote to Pierce and asked him to come and investigate her. He’s an expert.”

“He’s an idiot. How can he make such a claim?” Jeffery thundered. “My daughter is not a witch. She is an honest Christian. How dare you come into her house and make such an accusation.”

A cold voice interrupted Jeffery and caused everyone in the room to turn towards the speaker. It was Pierce. “He dares because he is a good man, a brave man. It takes courage to stand up and face evil.”

“There is no evil here.” Jeffery spat at him.

Pierce seemed to glide towards Liz. “I beg to differ. There is a great evil at work here and she wears the face of beauty. Jeremiah Parker was murdered by witchcraft. I have travelled many years fighting the good fight and I have never been more certain than I am right now that I am in the presence of a witch. I can feel her evil in every bone in my body.”

There was no sound when he finished speaking, everyone was watching him waiting for his next move. He turned to the Sheriff. “Arrest her.”

His command was greeted with uproar amongst Liz's furious relatives. It took almost an hour before Sheriff Brown and his cohorts had calmed them down and talked most of them into going home. During the confusion, Liz managed to pull Nancy into the bedroom where Jeremiah lay oblivious to the turmoil his death had caused. Liz bolted the bedroom door.

“Lizzie, what shall we do? They will surely kill you. Perhaps you can run, I have cousins who live in Newport if you go to them they will shelter you.” Nancy paced the length of the small room anxiously. Her mind racing with the nightmare possibilities that lay in prospect. She was holding baby Sarah in her arms, rocking her furiously and as she walked Sarah became more agitated.

“Give her to me.” Liz instructed, taking her child from Nancy and holding her close, maybe for the last time. A fat tear rolled down her cheek at that thought and sobs convulsed through her body. “Oh Mother.”

At once Nancy desisted from panicking and flew to her daughter’s side. She began to stroke her hair. “It will be fine my dear, you’ll see. Sheriff Brown will realise what a huge mistake he’s making and he will put a stop to this nonsense at once.”

“No, I think he is determined to see this through mother. He has come here before to make allegations. Ever since that day with the wolf he and the others have been watching me and waiting for an opportunity to make their allegations public.” Liz buried her face against her daughter for a moment seeking strength. When she looked back up at Nancy she was calmer. “Listen to me mother, these men mean me harm, I know it. I am afraid that if they come for me they will come for others. You and father may be in harm. Sarah too. You must leave. You must get out of here.”

“Don’t say such a thing. We would never leave you.” Nancy admonished, brushing away her own tears and straightening up.

“You must. I do not want Sarah to come to any harm.” Liz told her mother in a voice that brooked no argument. “Take her away, please. Take her to your cousins. If all falls well here I’ll join you there. If not, then you must never come back.”

“Liz…”

“Promise me mother.” Liz implored. She kissed Sarah’s rosy cheek and passed her to her mother. Quickly she began to pack up some of Sarah’s clothes. As she was searching through the chest for a warm blanket Liz's hand brushed across her journal.

The journal. She could not leave it in the chest where anybody could get their hands on it. Nor would she be able to conceal it on her person, no doubt Pierce would insist that Sheriff Brown search her in case she was trying to smuggle some wicked thing. She could give it to Nancy, but there was a danger that Nancy would read it and then pass it on to Pierce in an attempt to clear Liz's name and then Max and his people would be in grave danger.

Liz bit her lip. What could she do with it?

Her eyes roved around the room trying to find a safe place to hide the journal. She spotted a smaller chest in the corner. It belonged to Jeremiah and he used it to keep his papers and books in. There was a secret compartment in the lid that he used to hide a small amount of money and valuable, in case of emergencies.

After making sure that her mother was not watching, Liz crossed to the chest and opened it. She sought out the groove for opening the compartment with her fingers. It was small and almost impossible to make out unless a person knew what they were looking for. After three of four attempts, it finally came lose and Liz was able to exchange the small cloth bag that held the sum of money for the journal. She slid the opening for the compartment closed and pressed her hand against it to make sure it was closed firmly.

“Please stay closed.” She said in a pleaded whisper.

When she withdrew her hand Liz was alarmed to see she had left a silver handprint. It was faint, but visible. Her heart thudded in her chest. Not knowing what else to do, she blew on it.

Knock knock

“Open this door at once.” Pierce’s voice demanded.

Liz dropped the lid of the chest and said a quick prayer that the handprint would fade before anybody looked into the chest. She bundled the clothes together and thrust the small cloth bag at her mother. “It’s all the money I have and the locket that you gave me when I married Jeremiah, please give it to Sarah one day and tell her that I love her.”

“Liz.” Nancy wailed.

The men outside the door began banging loudly, they were trying to kick it in.

“It may not be necessary, perhaps all this will blow over as you think. But if it doesn’t, I need to know that Sarah is safe and that you will take care of her.” Liz told her mother urgently.

Sarah began to cry as the pounding on the door got louder. Liz took her in her arms and kissed her. “Goodbye little one. I love you and I always will.”

Then Liz gave her mother a loving kiss and gave Sarah back to her. “Take care of her.”

Nancy could only nod, no longer able to speak.

Liz walked to the door and opened it. She met Pierce’s cold gaze with her own. “I am ready now.”


<center>~*~</center>


For four days, Liz was confined to a small dark cell in the sheriff’s house. She was given bread and water twice a day. But nothing to read, nothing to wash herself in, nothing clean to wear. The cell was damp and cold and Liz was miserable. She had no visitors.

Lawrence Trilling came each morning to take her slop bucket away. He would not speak to her but he wore a smug smile on his face. Liz begged him for news of her family but he just smiled and said nothing.

On the fourth morning however he spoke. He stood at the bars, Liz's slop bucket in his hands and a smirk on his face. “Today’s the day.”

Liz's rushed to the bars. “Today? What is happening?”

“It’s judgement time. They’re going to burn you, witch.” Lawrence gloated.

“Please, Lawrence you know that I am no witch. Please do not tell them that. They will kill me, my poor child needs me. She has already lost her father, please Lawrence.”

“I will tell the court the truth as God is my witness.”

“But you are wrong. I have done nothing, please Lawrence. Please.”

Lawrence turned to walk away.

“Wait, come back. Tell me where are Sarah and my mother? Did they leave? And my father, where is he? Are they well? Has Jeremiah been buried?” Liz begged.

“They have all left you.” Lawrence laughed. “Even your friend from on top of the hill has not come down to ask how you are. Everyone knows what you are.” Then he dropped the bucket onto the floor with a loud clang. The contents splashed onto the floor, soaking the bottom of Liz's skirt before she had a chance to jump clear of it.


<center>~*~</center>


The town blacksmith had fashioned a metal bracelet that bound Liz's hands tightly behind her back. She was given no opportunity to change out of her smelly dirty clothes or even to wash her face. She didn’t have to see her appearance to know that she looked filthy.

Sheriff Brown and two of his men dragged her from the tiny cell and out into the sunlight. After four days in the gloom, its brightness hurt her eyes and she closed her eyes against it.

“The witch cannot bear the light of the sun.” A cold voice mocked.

Liz forced herself to open her eyes and meet Pierce’s gaze but he was not looking at her.

“Come, bring her in. I want to get this started.” He instructed the Sheriff before turning on his heel and marching into the church. He had to elbow his way through a large throng of people who were gathered outside it. Liz had never seen so many people in the town, even for Easter or Christmas services. They had come from all over to get a sight of the witch. She scanned them looking for familiar faces but saw few. Either the people of Rosalind’s Well were staying away or they were already inside.

When the crowd noticed her they began to chant and hiss. Liz flinched at their words.

Witch. Whore of Satan. Murderer. Witch.

There was so much hate and anger in the air. Tears began to stream down Liz's face and she fought to get away from the men.

“Please, no.” She pleaded.

“Why don’t you fly away on your broomstick?” A voice jeered. He was answered with raucous laughter from the baying mob.

Liz twisted her head to look over her shoulder to where the traveller’s homes stood on the hill. She was hoping to see Max, anyone coming to save her but there was nobody.

The sheriff’s men increased their grip on her arms and dragged her to the building. The crowd parted like the Red Sea to allow them to bring her in. The interior of the church was packed. Every available sitting and standing space was taken. The heat was stifling, even though it was a cold day outside. The murmur of conversation ceased as soon as she entered and all eyes turned to her. As she walked down the small aisle to the altar the people cowered away.

These people were her neighbors, her friends, her kin but they looked at her with anger and hatred. And fear. Liz now realised why Pierce had waited four days to bring her to trial. He needed the time to make them afraid of her, to make them believe that his accusations were true. And it seemed to have worked. She spotted some of her cousins in the crowd, men who had defended her at Jeremiah's wake were now shouting for her death as loudly as any other.

There were no friendly faces in the crown.

It hit her then. She was going to die.

Liz's legs buckled and she fell to the floor.

“The witch cannot walk in the house of God.” Pierce cried above the din of the crowd. It silenced those in the church. Nobody seemed to remember that Liz had attended services every week of her life in that church, that she had been baptised in the church, wedded in the church, that her child had been baptised in it.

The deputies caught her and dragged her towards the top of the church and thrust her into a small wooden enclosure.

As the town had no hall suitable for large assemblies, the church was used for town council meetings and trials. A long table had been set up on the altar to serve as the Judge’s bench. Behind it sat three men. Blake, Stamp and Hosen.

In other circumstances Liz might have laughed. Two of the three men serving as Judges were the ones who were accusing her and although Hosen was a good and honest man, he was also in massive debt to Doctor Bosonnet.

Blake hammered the gammel loudly and a hush fell in the church.

“Before we begin, we shall pray for the wisdom and courage to do what is right.” Blake announced. He bowed his head and began to pray. The crowd did the same. Liz ran her eyes over them searching out her parents. They were not amongst the crowd and although she was glad that they wouldn’t be here to see her death, she couldn’t help but feel lonely and abandoned.

The only other person in the building who did not have his head bowed was Pierce. He was leaning against a wall, watching her, a gloating smile on his lips. When their eyes met, Liz looked away quickly and bowed her head guiltily.

Finally Blake finished his prayer and called the trial to order.

Pierce stepped forward. “Esteemed gentlemen, good people of Rosalind’s Well, I have dedicated my adult life to fighting evil so that we can all live without fear. I know that the heart of evil is ugly and deformed. But it’s face – it can be beautiful. It can wear a mask of honesty and generosity. It can live amongst us for years without being detected. So I implore thee, forget what you know about this woman. Forget that she was always kind and sweet, it was not real. It was her disguise, instead listen to the facts that we will lay before you today and then judge her.”

“Thank you Brother Pierce. Will you begin?”

“Yes, I ask that the witness Brother Lawrence Trilling be admitted.”

Lawrence Trilling came marching into the church like a proud peacock, his chest thrust out. After years of being the laughing stock of the town he was being vindicated.

He placed his hand on the bible, swore to tell the truth then stood calmly at the altar waiting for Pierce’s questions. His chest was puffed out and he looked very pleased with himself. Liz supposed that after spending years as the town fool, Lawrence was now enjoying his status as a key witness in a witch trial.

“Please tell us about the evening of September 18th.” Pierce prompted.

“I was in the woods, up on the hill near to where the travellers live. There’s a stream there where the girls sometimes…anyway I heard a scream. I ran towards it, because I thought somebody was in danger. I saw a wolf, it was huge but it ran past me. It was whimpering.”

“Whimpering?” Pierce interrupted.

Lawrence nodded eagerly. “Yes, like a puppy that had been kicked.”

“So it was afraid? Something had frightened it?”

“Yes. I thought at first that somebody from the town or perhaps one of the travellers had done something to frighten him away. So I ran to where I had heard the scream.” Lawrence stopped and looked at the crowd to make sure that he had their full attention. Pleased that everybody was waiting with baited breath, he continued. “I saw her, Sister Parker. She was lying on the grass, there was blood on her stomach. She had been hurt.”

Pierce held up his hand to pause Lawrence. He crossed the room to stand in front of Liz and ran his eyes over her. Then he turned back to Lawrence. “From your description it sounds as though she was badly injured, this lady looks in perfect health to me.”

“That’s because something happened. There was another man there, one of the travellers. He was kneeling down in front of her to see if she was still alive and then it happened. There was a light from her stomach and then it healed itself.”

“If what you’re saying is true why did that other man not come forward to tell the truth as you bravely did?”

“She cast a spell on him, I heard her speak and then he stood up and ran away. I was afraid so I waited until the other men had arrived to assist her before I approached her. She had told them the wolf jumped past her and she had spilled berries on her dress when she fell. I said that she was lying but nobody believed me. She’s the minister’s wife, her father is Jeffery Rosalind and I’m the town’s fool. Who would believe me over her? But I know what I saw.” Lawrence finished bitterly.

Liz shook her head. Lawrence’s story about what he seen had changed dramatically.

Pierce nodded. “Thank you Lawrence, now tell me what happened next.”

“Nobody believed me. They would not listen. But I knew that I had witnessed something. I knew that there was a dark force at work in the town and that if I said nothing it would continue to wield its power here in Rosalind’s Well.”

“You are a brave man, Brother Trilling.” To Liz's dismay a number of people in the crowd nodded in agreement.

“I knew that I had to prove what I was saying so I started to watch her. I stood outside her house that night. I was in the shadows where I could not be seen. At first there was nobody around, there was nothing happening. Then when I was almost about to go home. I saw him coming down the hill. It was the same man from the wood that afternoon. He was …..uh….under a spell.”

“In a trance you mean?” Pierce asked pointedly.

“Yes, that’s it. He was in a trance. He stood at the well waiting. After about half an hour she came to the door of her house and called him over. They spoke, then she took his hands and did something to him again. I couldn’t see but it looked like she was putting another spell on him. Then he left.”

“I see. So what did you do then?”

“I waited until the next day and I went to see Sheriff Brown and Brother Blake. They did not believe me at first but after a while they started to ask questions and then they asked for proof.”

“And did you get proof.”

A smile lit of Lawrence’s face. “Yes.”

His declaration was met with gasps of shock.

“I saw that the dress she was wearing the day before was on the clothes line. It was slashed.” He placed his hand on his stomach and patted it. “Right here where the wolf had cut her, there were slashes. There were red stains too. The ones she had said were berry stains but they were dark, too dark to be berry stains. It was blood. I took the dress and showed it to the Sheriff and Brother Blake. The next night we went to see her and asked for an explanation for the rip. She said that she had cut it on some rocks but it was a lie. We all knew that.”

Pierce walked over to his desk and lifted a garment from it. Liz's heart sank when she recognised it as the dress. He held it up for the crowd to see and poked his fingers through the tear. A murmur ran through the crowd. “Is this the dress?”

“Yes, that’s it.”

“Have you anymore to say?”

“Blake and Doctor Bosonnet asked me to keep an eye on her. I did. A couple of days later we spent a day picking berries in the wood. Sister Parker was with us, I tried to keep an eye on her because I was worried that she might try something in the wood. But she managed to slip away. We started looking for her. One of the young men of the town Peter Abbott found her. He told me that she had been talking to one of the travellers in the wood. I knew from his description that it was the same man as the other times.”

“Who is that man?”

“I later learned his name is Maxwell Evans.”

“Thank you Brother Trilling. It takes a strong and brave man to come forward and speak out as you have done. We thank you for your service to the community.” Pierce smiled at him.

Lawrence nodded to him and stepped down from the altar. He took a seat in the front pew.

Pierce took his time pouring a glass of water for himself and then drinking it. The people in the church waited patiently for him to call his next witness.

His next witness was Peter Abbott who testified that he had witnessed Liz in a secret conversation with Max in the woods. “They looked like a pair of lovers.” He told the horrified crowd.

He was followed onto the stand by Hannah Morris. In the four days that Liz had been imprisoned, Hannah had given birth to her baby.

“He came early.” She told the crowd. And although Liz was certain that everyone knew Hannah Morris was lying because she had conceived the child out of wedlock, nobody seemed to doubt Hannah’s claim. “She did something to him that brought him out of my womb early. He has a mark on his face, she marked him.”

“Indeed?” Pierce asked. “Bring the child to me.”

A boy was sent to the house of Hannah’s mother to tell her to bring the infant to the church. She came in with the sleeping babe in her arms. There was a dark mark on his face, shaped almost like a bolt of lightening. Liz had seen similar marks on several other children through the years and knew that it was natural and would fade over time. But the crowd gasped in horror at the sight and blessed themselves.

Pierce took his time deliberating over the boy’s face before pulling out a book from his bag and flicking through its pages. He stopped at one that had a diagram on it and held it up for everyone to see. “This is the mark of the devil. As you can see, it is the same mark that scars this young child now.”

Hannah screamed as though somebody had poked a red-hot poker through her eye and jumped down from the stand. She clutched her infant to her body and rocked him violently. Her mother had to drag her from the church.

“Burn her. Burn the witch.” Came a voice from the crowd. It was taken up as a chant. “Burn the witch. Burn the witch. Burn the witch.”

The three judges banged hard on their gavels in a futile attempt to silence the crowd and restore order. But it was not until Pierce lifted his hand that the crowd quietened. Liz's heart sank in dismay at the sight. Pierce controlled this crowd now she realised and he knew it too. The light of triumph shone in his eyes.

“I would now like to call Brother Maxwell Evans to the stand.” He said in a loud clear voice.

Liz's knees trembled and a wave of relief washed over her. Everything would be all right now that Max was here, he would save her from the wolf as he had done before. She gripped the banister tightly, praying silently that Max wouldn’t have to reveal his secret to save her.

The door opened and Max entered the church. He walked to the altar without looking at Liz once and took his seat. Stamp held out the bible to him and Max placed his hand on top of it.

“Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?” Stamp asked.

“May the devil take my soul if I do not.” Max said in a firm voice. He looked over at Liz and quickly looked away again.

“Thank you Brother Max.” Pierce drawled. “We have heard testimony today from two different men who have told us that you were seen on different occasions with the accused. Their accounts have led us to believe that there was a relationship between you and her that was not as it should have been. Can you tell us anything.”

Max hung his head for a moment before looking back up at Pierce. “I admit that I behaved in a manner that was…ill advised. I met Sister Parker in the woods many months ago and was attracted to her. She was…is a very beautiful woman and I am only a man. I later learned that she was married to Reverend Parker. I was disappointed but I vowed to stay away from her.” He paused and looked at Liz. “But she would not let me stay away. Whenever I was in the woods she would appear, it was as though she knew when and where I was at all times. So I stopped going into the woods. She would meet me in town and beg me to meet with her, away from everyone else. She wanted us to be alone, to be lovers. I told her that I would not, could not, commit adultery with a married woman. I told her that I intended to propose to another woman. This made her furious.”

“What did she do?” Pierce asked.

Liz frowned, wondering what Max was trying to do to save her.

“She told me that if I married somebody else then she would kill her. That she would bring devastation to my people. I did not believe her, I though that she was lying or trying to scare me into running away with her.” Max shook his head. “Then one day I saw her in the wood and she was acting very strangely. I decided to follow her. She knelt down and began to pray…at least I thought she was praying. But even though I could not understand what she was saying, her words frightened me. The air grew cold. The she lay down and pulled her skirts up and opened her legs.”

“Max.” Liz cried out in alarm, a tear fell from her eye. Why was he telling these lies?

He looked at her apologetically then back to Pierce.

“Do not be afraid of her.” Pierce said quietly. “Go on.”

Max nodded. “I thought that she wanted me to go to her, to lie down with her.” Max paused and looked down at his hands. “I was tempted.” He admitted in a low voice.

“What happened?” Pierce prompted.

“A wolf came out of the trees. She was not afraid of him, the wolf lay between her legs.”

A strangled sob escaped Liz's throat. “No Max, please.” Liz pleaded.

“Silence witch.” Brother Stamp roared. “Continue Evans.”

“I shouted out and it caused the wolf to run. Elizabeth screamed at me in anger. I ran to her because I saw blood on her dress. I tried to help her but she brushed my hand away. “She told me that I was a fool, that the wolf would have given her the strength to defeat our enemies in the town so that we could be together. Then the wound on her stomach healed by itself. I was frightened and I ran away.”

“Why did you not tell anybody what you had seen?” Pierce asked.

“I was a coward. I was frightened of what she would do to me and to my people and I thought that nobody would believe me.” Max said while staring at his feet. “I apologise, I put other people in danger because of my cowardice and not that poor innocent baby bears her mark.”

“Have you met with her since then?”

“Yes. It is very strange. Sometimes I would find myself standing outside her house in the middle of the night even though I had no recollection of leaving my bed. She often begged me to leave Rosalind’s Well with her. I…” His voice cracked and he stopped speaking. “It is all my fault.”

Pierce strode up to where Max was sitting. “What is, tell me Maxwell.”

When Max resumed speaking, his tone was one of anguish. “I told her that I would not leave with her because she was married. I only said it because I thought it would make her leave me alone. Then she said that she would get rid of her husband and we could be together.”

“She said that to you? That she would get rid of her husband?”

“Yes.”

“No, Max, no I never said that. Why are you saying this?” Liz screamed.

But her pleas were drowned out by the angry shouts of the crowd. They were chanting again. “Burn the witch. Burn the witch.” Their voices were louder now, angrier. Liz collapsed onto her stool sobbing.

This time the judges didn’t even attempt to silence the crowd. They waited for Pierce to raise his hand again. “I ask that Doctor Bosonnet be called to the stand.” Pierce boomed.

Liz glanced up and was surprised to see that Max was nowhere in sight. All that was before her was a sea of angry faces and she knew that she was doomed.

Doctor Bosonnet was sworn in and he took the stand. He told Pierce about Lawrence Trilling coming to see him and telling him of his suspicions. He explained that he was loathe to accuse the wife of a Minister and the grand daughter of the town’s founder but that as evidence had mounted up he had been forced, reluctantly to accept that Elizabeth Parker was involved in witch craft. He revealed how they had tried to speak to Jeremiah about the matter but that the Reverend would not listen. He told them that they had decided to contact Pierce out of fear for the safety of Rosalind’s Well and the souls of its inhabitants.

Pierce listened attentively. “After you learned of Revered Parker’s death what did you do?”

“I knew at once that she had played some foul trick on him. So I gathered a group of men and we went to his house. She had her family there and they would not let us see him but we forced our way in. I was able to examine the body.”

“Tell me what you saw.”

“His skin was blue. His lips were swollen to twice their normal size. His eyes were swollen so that I could barely open them. When I examined his mouth I found that his tongue had swollen also. This is what had killed him. His tongue had swollen so much that it blocked his windpipe and he could not breathe. We searched the house from top to bottom but we could find no poisons. My conclusion is that she used her knowledge of the black arts to cause his tongue to swell and suffocate him.”

“Thank you Doctor.” Pierce nodded. Bosonnet stepped down and resumed his seat in front.

Again the crowd erupted into chants, Pierce signalled to them to be quiet and although the majority of the crowd were silent there were some who kept shouting. “Burn the witch. Burn the witch.”

Pierce walked over to Liz. “What do you have to say for yourself witch?”

Liz looked up at him through teary eyes. “I am no witch, my conscience is clear. I have never harmed another person, living or dead.”

“Speak up. We cannot hear you.” Judge Hosen shouted, the noise from the crowd was so much.

“Burn the witch. Burn the witch.”

“Jeremiah was a good husband and I did not kill him. I cannot explain why these people have turned on me.” Liz's voice rose, trying desperately to be heard over the chanting.

“Burn the witch. Burn the witch.”

“I am a good Christian. I have done no wrong. Please believe me. You have known me since I was a child.”

“Burn the witch. Burn the witch.”

“You have offered us no proof of your innocence.” Pierce yelled at her.

“Burn the witch. Burn the witch.”

“I have not been given the opportunity.” Liz shouted, her throat was burning as she shouted and she longed for water. “I am innocent of these charges.”

“Burn the witch. Burn the witch. Burn the witch. Burn the witch.”

“That is for us to decide.” Judge Stamp reminded her. He and his fellow judges rose and walked into the small room behind the altar.

As they deliberated the crowd continued to chant. “Burn the witch. Burn the witch.” They were clapping their hands and stamping their feet. The noise was unbearable and Liz covered her ears, weeping as she waited.

“Burn the witch. Burn the witch.”

Within five minutes the judges returned.

“Burn the witch. Burn the witch.”

SILENCE” Stamp roared.

The room suddenly became silent, so quiet that all that could be heard was Liz's almost silent sobs.

Stamp unfurled a piece of parchment and read from it. “After careful consideration we have found that the charges against Elizabeth Parker are true. She is a witch. And her punishment is death.”

At once the people began to cheer and clap.

“No, no, no, please no.” Liz screamed. “Please, spare me. No.”

“Take her away.” Hosen instructed.

The sheriff and his men came forwards and grabbed Liz roughly. In terror she clung to the banister. “No, save me. Max, please save me.”

“Come with us witch.” Brown hissed, pulling hard at her.

Liz heard him gasp in horror and suddenly he and his men jumped away from her. They were staring at her hands with terrified eyes. Liz looked down and screamed. There were two scorch marks on the wood where her hands had been and they were smoking.

A silence fell on the crowd and those in the back strained to see.

For a moment nobody moved, the shock was too great.

It was Pierce who stepped forward first and gripped her hard. “Come, bring her to the well.” He ordered the men.

With great unwillingness, Brown followed his example and held Liz by the other arm. They pulled her out of the dock and down the aisle. The crowd parted like the Red Sea to make way for them. Pierce marched purposefully towards the well in the center of the town. The people followed after him, careful not to get to close.

“No, please. Max, Max.” Liz screamed.

Pierce came to a stop in front of the well and dropped Liz in a heap on the ground. She scanned the crowd furtively searching for a friendly face but there were none. Only those of her neighbors, so twisted with hate, fear and anger that she barely recognised them. She could not see her parents anywhere. With a wail she realised that she would never see them again, not her beautiful daughter whom she loved so much. Nor Max, who had saved her once and shown her the universe, who had taken her heart to places that she could not comprehend. And who had now condemned her to death.

Pierce kicked her hard. “Shut up witch.”

Then he turned to the crowd. “The time has come to put an end to this evil.”

“Burn her.”

“No, she burned the wood in the church. Fire holds no danger for her. We must fight fire with water. We shall drown her.”

“No, no, no.” Liz sobbed.

“Our Lord used water to wash away our sins now we must do the same to her.” Pierce jerked his head to the sheriff who grasped Liz and lifted her off the ground. She wrestled her towards the well, Liz fought and kicked all the way until two other men stepped in and bound her feet. They held her in position over the well, awaiting Pierce’s signal.

“Lord, we have done your will today and fought the evil that sought to destroy this humble town and your people. We thank you Lord for the wisdom and guidance you have given us. Amen.”

“Amen.” The crowd chorused.

He turned to Liz. “May the Lord have mercy on your soul.”

“Please don’t do this.” Liz begged one last time.

“Liz.”

Above the chatter of the crowd and her own pleas she heard his voice. She craned her neck and saw him, standing on the crest of the cliff. He broke into a run down the hill.

“Max.” Liz screamed with all her might.

It was the last thing she ever said as at that moment Pierce nodded his head and the sheriff lifted her over the lip of the well and tossed her into the cold, dark water below.


<center>~*~</center>
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Post by tequathisy » Thu May 18, 2006 11:33 am

Thanks to everyone who laft fedback. I don't have time this evening to comment individually but I'm grateful for your support as always. I knew that Tess would be blamed for the events of the trial. :lol: Well I couldn't possible tell you if she was repsonsible or not but as we're nearing the end of this fic all your questions will be be aswered soon.

Hope you like this part.

Belleoftheball
Lolita
FaithfulAngel24
Kristy
Behrlyliz
Grace52373
RhondaAnn
Thanette
sylvia37
Xmag
NikkiA
Ellie
Luvya
nibbles2
montee916
Flamehair
Behrystrwbry

thank you all.


Chapter 13


“NO!”

Maria's scream tore through the still night, bringing Michael to his feet in an instant. In fright she had jerked back from the computer and toppled backwards to the ground where she lay, clutching and screaming at some invisible terror.

“It’s ok, I have you,” Michael told her, pulling her up into a seated position. She fought against him, wild eyed, not really seeing him. He shook her and called her name sternly.

“Maria.”

She went slack in his arms and slumped forward before jerking back up and glanced around in confusion. “Wha…what happened? Why am I down here?”

“You must have fallen asleep, you were screaming,” Michael told her. He brushed her hair from her cheek and pulled her off the floor and helped her to sit down.

After making sure that she wasn’t going to fall again he went to get her a drink of water from the cooler outside his office.

“Thanks.” Maria took a sip of the cold water and shook her head. “I wasn’t asleep, it wasn’t a dream. I saw it.”

Michael knelt in front of her. “Saw what?”

“I saw Liz die. I felt her terror. That’s what I’ve been dreaming about since I got here, her death.” She wrapped her arms around her body. “I sound crazy, right?”

“A little bit,” Michael confirmed with a small smile, “But I believe you. You’re connected to Liz.”

“But how? Why? Why did she bring me here. It’s been three hundred years. Why after all this time is she reaching out? I don’t get it!” Maria exclaimed in frustration.

“Don’t ask me, I’m new to this. But we’re going to figure it out, ok?” Michael patted her knee and waited for a response. When Maria nodded, he moved over to the chair in front of the computer and scrolled back up to the top of the document.

“Maybe you should finish reading the journal first,” Maria suggested.

Michael grinned at her. “I’ve already finished.”

“How long was I out for…or is speed reading like an alien power?” Maria asked, checking her watch to see how long had passed since they had arrived at the station.

“Something like that,” Michael told her, already absorbed in the account of the trial. He was finished in a few minutes and turned back to Maria. “How accurate is that?”

Maria considered it for a moment then shrugged. “According to my friend, not very accurate but he doesn’t even know that Rosalind’s Well existed so I guess he’s wrong.”

“Say it’s real, why did they drown her in the well. Wasn’t that their only source of drinking water in the own? Isn’t that gross?”

“Very.” Maria couldn’t help smile but it faded as the memory of Liz’s death came back to her. “They were terrified, even Pierce, they were convinced that she was a witch, that she had murdered Jeremiah and then they saw her scorch the wood on the dock with her hands. The well was the closest source of water, the stream is all the way up on the hill. And the lake didn’t exist at that point.”

Michael said nothing, deep in thought.

A full minute passed before he snapped out of it. “What do you think she wants? Revenge?”

Maria shook her head. “I don’t think so. She’s had her revenge, how many people has she drowned in that lake over the years? Maybe the lake itself was her work and now she’s tired. She just wants to rest. And she wants to be with Max.”

“Something doesn’t add up,” Michael said. “The legend is that Max made the lake. There’s a story but I can’t really remember it. We’ll ask Grandma in the morning.”

He printed off the file and shut down the computer. “So what now?”

“I wish I knew.” Maria shrugged helplessly. “I have no clue what she wants. I thought that she wanted to be buried with Max but if he betrayed her, why would she want that?”

“It’s been three hundred years, maybe she’s over it now?”

“Hardly,” Maria laughed bitterly. “She’s been killing men for three centuries and all of a sudden she just forgives him?”

“I guess not.” Michael sighed, he ran his hand through his hair. “But we don’t know the full story, things shouldn’t always be taken at face value.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, appearances can be deceptive.” Michael stood up suddenly and pulled Maria out of the office. He hurried down a corridor made his way to the stairs. “I think we should go with your gut instinct on this.”

“Where are we going?” Maria asked nervously as they descended into the basement of the building.

“I’ll explain in the car,” Michael whispered as he unlocked a heavy metal door and pushed it open.

Car? Maria wondered as she followed him into the dark room. “What are we doing down here?” She asked, following his lead and speaking in a low voice.

“We’re going to need a few things,” Michael explained. He opened another door and turned on the light, it shone through the glass on the door and lit up the room they were standing in.

Once her eyes adjusted to the dim light, Maria understood why they were speaking in low voices. One wall was made up of metal bars and behind them a man was in a deep sleep.

Maria frowned. “Is that Kyle? Why’s he in jail?”

“Because he broke the law,” Michael answered shortly.

“I had a broken tail light.”

Maria jumped at the sound of Kyle’s voice. He was sitting upright in his cot, blinking in the light.

“Sorry, didn’t mean to wake you. I’m just getting a few things and we’re leaving and you can go back to sleep,” Michael said apologetically.

Kyle nodded at Maria and grinned slyly. “I’m glad to see that my incarceration was worth it.”

“Shut up Kyle,” Michael warned.

“Or what? You’ll throw me in jail?” Kyle laughed. “I’m afraid that I won’t be able to work on your car tomorrow Ms Deluca, I’m unfortunately indisposed.” The he leaned closer to the bars and added in a stage whisper. “Which I think is the real reason I’m in here.” He winked at Maria before lying down.

Maria glanced at Michael and saw that he had turned an interesting shade of pink. He ducked back into the room for a moment. Kyle grinned and lay back down.

After a moment Michael reemerged carrying several things. He handed her two shovels then walked over to the cell door and inserted a key. “I’ll leave this open, you can go whenever you like.”

The only response he got was a loud snore.


<center>~*~</center>


“Where did this road come from?”

Michael laughed at the strangeness of the question. “I don’t know, wherever roads usually come from.”

“No, I mean, who made it? Was it you guys? And how do you electricity and Internet and money and a fully stocked bar if you don’t have anything to do with the outside world?”

“We’re not completely cut off. We actually have as much to do with the outside world as any small town. We just don’t let them know about us. You see we can…manipulate thoughts, make people see things that aren’t there or not see things that are. Most people don’t see the roads into Roswell, they just see forest and they never venture in. Unless we want them to come in which case we drop the forcefield. We can organize it for the phone company and the electricity companies to come here when we need them to and then forget all about Roswell when they leave.”

“Oh…is that…would that have happened to me? Will I forget you and everything else when I go home?”

“I don’t know,” Michael smiled at her. “You were different, you just arrived here out of the blue and nobody can figure out how you were able to see past the protections. There are some here that want to mind warp the memories from you but…”

“But?” Maria prompted.

“I’m not going to let that happen,” Michael told her. He reached across, took her hand in his and squeezed it gently.

“Thank you. So have you ever been outside Roswell?”

“Of course. I did my police training in Boston. I go to games there when I can. We’re like the Amish. Once we reach adulthood we’re sent out into the outside world to see what’s out there and to decide if Roswell is what we want.”

“Has anybody ever not come back?”

Michael shook his head. “Everyone comes back. It’s lonely out there when you can’t share your secret with anyone and you can’t really be yourself. Some people last for a few years but eventually we all come home.”

“Has anybody ever fallen in love with a human and brought them back here?” Maria asked, she could feel her heart thumping loudly as she waited for his answer.

“No. I’m sure that people have fallen in love with humans but for different reasons nobody has ever brought anyone back here.” Michael laughed bitterly. “There’s a rule, if we want to bring somebody to live here, or tell them our secret it has to be approved at the town meeting. And that will never happen.”

Maria ran her thumb across his knuckles. “Did you…were you ever tempted to stay in Boston?”

Michael brought the truck to a stop and shifted in his seat to face Maria. “Boston was great, but I always knew that I belonged in Roswell. I was…”

She waited with bated breath for him to continue. “You were what?”

But he just shook his head. “We’re here.”

Maria peered out into the darkness trying to see where they were. They were in the forest and she was pretty sure that it was where they had parked the previous day before their picnic. She glanced into the back of the truck where Michael had put the two shovels, a pickaxe and four powerful torches.

“You haven’t brought me out here to make me dig my own grave, have you?” She asked, not entirely joking.

“No, not your grave. I think I know where Liz is buried.”

“What? How?”

Michael paused for a moment. “All my life I’ve been having these strange dreams. It took me years to realize that it was about this place. I thought I was dreaming about it because it’s where my parents died. Ever since you came to Roswell they’ve been stronger. And you’re in them. That’s partly why I brought you out here yesterday.”

“What has that got to do with Liz?”

“I don’t know really, it’s just a feeling. There’s something about that spot that calls me to it, wants me to take you there. I can’t explain it, I just know.” Michael looked at her with imploring eyes, silently asking her to understand.

And she did. “It’s because you’re related to Max,” she realized.

He shrugged “Maybe. I don’t think that he betrayed her like it seemed at her trial. We had the power to change people’s perceptions back then too and something else, shapeshifters.”

“Oh my God.”

“I think that Max wants me to help you and Liz. He needs it too. I think…I think he can’t find peace until Liz has.”

Maria opened the door and climbed out. “Then let’s go.”

They gathered the shovels and the rest of the things they would need and set off. The forest was particularly creepy in the dark, and even the light of the two torches did nothing to lessen it. Maria kept as close to Michael as she could but it was difficult because their arms were full.

“What exactly are you afraid of?” Michael asked after Maria had jumped in terror for the fifth time. “Ghosts?”

“Maybe,” Maria admitted sheepishly. Monsters, wild animals, getting lost and wandering for days without food or water.

Michael chuckled under his breath. “Don’t worry, I’ll protect you.”

And Maria found that it was enough to stop her worrying.


<center>~*~</center>


In the clearing, Michael set the lamps in different trees so that they illuminated most of the clearing. Then he picked up his shovel and turned to Maria. “Any idea where we should start digging?”

“I thought you said that you knew.”

“I know it’s here, somewhere, but not exactly where. I was hoping that Liz might be calling out to you.”

“Not really. But…I think you’re right. I can feel it too.” Maria shrugged.

“Yeah. It’s pretty strong.” Michael ran his hand through his hair. “We’re going to be here for a week if we have to dig all this up.”

Maria had to bite her lip to stop herself from telling him that a week in his company didn’t sound too bad. But then frowned at the thought of digging for a week. “Ok, let’s try something. Close your eyes and walk around. See where you’re drawn to.”

Michael looked dubious but as he had no other suggestion he obediently closed his eyes.

“Now, focus on the feeling you’ve been getting,” Maria instructed. She took a slow, deep breath and exhaled. Across the clearing, she heard Michael do the same. “Good, now keep your eyes closed and go.”

Almost at once, Maria felt herself being pulled by force across the clearing and when she came to a stop her heart was thudding loudly. She drove her shovel into the earth. “Alright, open your eyes.”

When she looked up, she found herself staring into Michael’s face.

He smirked at her. “So are we drawn to each other or to this spot?”

Maria looked down and saw that his shovel was mere inches from where she had placed hers. “Did you really keep your eyes closed?”

“Yes.” Michael laughed. “Let’s get digging.”

“So, you don’t have any powers to do this do you?” Maria groaned.

“Unfortunately not.”

With a sigh, Maria lifted her shovel and began to dig.

After the long summer, the ground was hard and dry which made digging a slow progress. By the time they were a foot into the ground, they had both removed their jackets and sweaters and were down to their t-shirts. They worked easily together, but said little, instead pouring all the energy into digging the hole.

By dawn, the hole was three feet deep and five foot wide and they still hadn’t found anything. Neither of them said anything about stopping. They both knew that they were digging in the right place and it was only a matter of time before they found something.

“I have to stop,” Maria panted, throwing her shovel to the ground and climbing out of the hole. “I need a break.”

“Ok.” Michael jumped out and handed her a bottle of water.

She gulped it down gratefully. “So, I have a question. When we find Liz, what are we going to do about Max? People will notice if we start digging a giant hole in the church”

“I don’t know. We’ll think of something.”

“Please don’t let it involve more digging.” Maria whimpered as she looked down at her hands. They were red and blistered from the effort gone into digging the hole and were quite painful.

Michael knelt down before her and took her hands gently in his own. Maria felt a tingling sensation and when she looked down her skin was healed and the redness was gone.

“Oh my god. You can heal?” She gasped.

“Not exactly. Something like that is very simple, it’s just a matter of molecular manipulation. I can’t heal serious stuff, like when you were hurt in the car accident or say, if a wolf attacked you. That belongs to the king.”

“The King? You guys have a King? Is it Mayor Harding?” Maria asked.

Michael shook his head. “No, our last king was Max. He died without an heir. It should have gone to his sister Isabel, but for some reason, none of her children ever possessed the royal seal.”

“Why not? Where did it go?”

“It just vanished. Most people believe that it’s because we’re on earth now and we’ve taken human form.”

“But you don’t?”

“I did.” Michael nodded at the hole. “Now I’m not so sure.” He glanced back down at her hands. “Are you up for some more digging?”

“I guess,” Maria pouted.

Michael picked up the empty water bottle. “Tell you what, there’s a stream over that way, about a minutes walk. Why don’t you go fill up bottle there and I’ll keep digging here.”

“Ok, thanks.” Maria smiled and took the bottle.

“Just keep the shoreline of the lake in sight and you won’t get lost,” Michael suggested. He handed her a flashlight, even though it was almost bright enough without it.

She found the stream easily enough and was able to fill the bottle with its cool clear water. As she was making her way back through the wood she heard Michael give a loud shout followed by a splash.

“Maria.”

There was something in the way Michael had called her name that made her break into a run. He had sounded terrified. She broke into the clearing to find that it was empty. There was no sign of Michael.

“Michael, where are you?” She yelled as loud as she could.

There was no response so she ran to the jetty. Small waves were rippling across its usually calm surface and splashing against the legs of the jetty. She scanned the water for a sign of what had caused them. “Michael!” Suddenly the surface was broken and Michael’s head appeared briefly before being pulled back down, thrashing furiously.

Without pausing to wonder what on earth Michael was doing in the lake, Maria pulled off her shoes. But before she could dive in an ice cold hand clamped around her wrist.

Maria spun around and screamed. Liz was standing behind her and she had an iron fast grip on Maria’s arm.

“Let me go!” Maria cried, trying desperately to wrench her arm free.

When Liz spoke, Maria heard the words though Liz never moved her lips. “No, don’t go into the lake. You’ll never come out.”

“Why are you doing this to him? He’s trying to help you,” Maria pleaded, tears streaming down her cheek. She was fighting as hard as she could to get away from Liz but the ghost’s grip remained fast.

“Please Liz, please let me go. I have to help him!” Michael was still underwater, there was no way he could still be holding his breath. He was dying, Maria realized in horror. “Please, Liz don’t do this to him. I love him.”

“It is not me.”

Maria froze and she turned to face Liz. “If not you then who is it? Please Liz let me go. I have to help him.”

“They will take you too.”

“I don’t care!” Maria cried out. Then she either used all her strength to escape Liz's clutch, or Liz let her free, but suddenly Maria found herself stumbling backwards. She caught herself in time and dived into the lake.

The water was far colder than she had expected and Maria found it difficult to catch her breath when she surfaced. She sought out Michael, could see him flailing in the water some distance away and immediately began to swim towards him. She was aware of Liz standing on the shore.

Then suddenly she felt a hand grab her ankle and pull her under the water. It happened so quickly that Maria screamed, immediately water poured into her mouth and she began to choke. She kicked out at he hand on her ankle, but there were more, grabbing her knee, her arms, her jeans, her hair. Pulling her into the darkness below. There were too many to fight off.

Then she understood what Liz had meant. It wasn’t Liz who was luring men to their deaths. It was the ghosts of the inhabitants of Rosalind’s Well.

Somehow she managed to get her head above the water long enough to scream. “LIZ.” Then just as quickly, she was pulled below again. This time she sucked in a breath as she went under but as she fought to free herself from the grip of those trying to pull her down, her lungs began to burn with the need for air.

She held on until she could no longer then took a breath, again the water rushed into her mouth and down into her lungs. Darkness enveloped her.

And just when she thought that all was lost, there came a bright light and another hand grabbed her arm. But this time she was being pulled up and out of the water. It was Liz.

Liz pulled her out of the water and over to the jetty. Maria grabbed it and clung tightly to its timber frame, coughing and spluttering. She looked around for Liz and saw that she had dived back into the water. “Michael.” Sparing no thought for the danger she had just escaped, Maria quickly let go off the jetty to swim after Liz. But she noticed something different, her feet were touching the bottom of the lake and the water only came up to her waist. And the further she went into the lake, the shallower it became. By the time she reached Michael, the water was below her knees and receding fast.

Michael lay face down in the water, lifeless. Maria hurried to him and turned him over onto his back and pulled him out of the water and the thick mud. She wanted to get him away from the lake. With a strength she didn’t know she possessed, Maria was able to haul Michael up onto the grassy bank.

“Michael, wake up. Talk to me,” She pleaded as she knelt before him and slapped his cheeks. Michael showed no sign of waking up so Maria began mouth to mouth. “Please, wake up!” She pleaded between breaths.

It seemed that an age passed before Michael coughed up water and sucked air deep into his lungs. His eyes fluttered open and Maria noticed that they were lighter than they usually were. More amber than usual.

“Michael!” She cried happily.

He reached up and caressed her cheek. “Liz.” Then he pulled her towards him so that their lips met.

Almost at once she was bombarded with images, flashing before her eyes.


<center>~*~</center>
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Post by tequathisy » Fri May 26, 2006 11:42 am

Wow, once again - thank you for all the amazing feedback. I can't believe it, but this is the penultimate chapter. Hope you like.


Belleoftheball thanks
Lorastar thank you
NikkiA thanks
RhondaAnn Well, he had to think of a way to keep her in Roswell.
Xmag you’re about 95% right. You’ll have to wait for the next part to see how Michael ended up in the lake.
Behrlyliz
D2Tymes wow, thank you. Yes Michael put Kyle in jail so that he wouldn’t be able to work on Maria’s car. As for how Michael ended up in the lake – that will be explained in the next part.
Ellie
nina282 you’ll find out why Max acted that way in this part.
Flamehair yes, Michael is descended from Isabel and therefore, Max’s last living relative. So this is Max’s last chance.
Emz80m thanks
maya thank you
ladyjr15 thank you
Oz go back to your studying.
Shiesty23 you too
FaithfulAngel24 no, you’re pretty close.
Pheobe04 Wow, I’m so glad that I’m doing justice to that period of history. Thank you.
Doublestuf If the aliens are Amish, does that mean the Amish are aliens?
ISLANDGIRL5 I love your avi.
Lillie I don’t think there’s a bigger compliment than having a dreamer like my candy couple.
Fehr'sBearno, there’s no way I’d kill Michael.


Fourteen


Max Evans had travelled hundreds of light years across uncharted space, crash-landed on an alien planet and led his people through the harsh and unfriendly plains of North America. He had expected a difficult time, expected to find the New World unfriendly and strange. He had never expected to fall in love or to find a place where he knew he belonged.

Not long after landing on earth, Max and a delegation of his fellow travellers had travelled along the east coast of America in search of a place to set up home. They were looking for a place that they could settle, close to humans but not amongst them. A place where they could mix with them freely but maintain their privacy and solitude too, at least until they were sure that they could pass for humans. It seemed like a simple enough plan, but finding such a place proved far more difficult than imagined. As a last resort they set out for the town of Safehaven, its name was full of promise and Max hoped that it would provide a harbor for his people.

When they were a day’s ride from Safehaven, Max and his companions camped out in a forest for the night. He had taken a stroll through the trees, seeking some time to himself. The burden of leading his people was wearisome and he liked to spend time alone to gather his strength.

As he walked he had seen a flash of white between the trees and he paused and hid behind a large oak, not wanting to be seen by a human.

A beautiful young woman had stepped out from the shadows and passed him by. He only had a glimpse of her face for a brief second but it was enough. Silently, he had followed her ducking from tree to tree until they had reached the edge of the forest. He stood and watched as she ran down the hill to a small town nestled in a valley below.

That was all it took and Max knew that he had found home.


<center>~*~</center>


“Maxwell, are you listening?”

Max blinked, suddenly transported from his memories to his present day surroundings. Four pairs of expectant eyes were watching him closely, obviously waiting for an answer. “I…uh”

“He wasn’t listening,” Tess laughed. “We were just wondering whether it would be best to go ahead and have the wedding in two weeks time as we had planned or wait a few months, out of respect to Reverend Parker?”

“We should wait,” Max said at once. A look of hurt flashed across Tess’s face but she covered it quickly.

“Of course, you’re right. It is too soon.” She put a hand on his arm and pressed it gently.

“I’m sorry Tess.” Max told her guiltily. He knew that he his behavior over the past few weeks must have been hurting Tess. He had offered to marry her, then all but ignored and avoided her and could not muster any enthusiasm for the wedding. The house that would become their marital home was almost completed and everybody expected them to marry when it was done. It was his duty as leader of the people to set a good example. He was exceedingly fond of Tess and could find no fault in her. She was sweet, charming, friendly, amusing, industrious and very pretty. Yet the thought of marrying her weighed him down like a death sentence.

His only thoughts were of Liz.

He had always known, even the first time that he had seen her that they could never be together. As king of his people he would be expected to marry one of his own kind. Finding out that she was married and had a child came almost as a relief because it ended any fantasy he had that perhaps something could happen between them. So he had been content to watch her from afar.

Then Jeremiah had died and hope had awakened in him again. When he had gone to express his condolences, he had seen that same hope in Liz's eyes.

It had been the best and worst moment of his life - To see that she loved him as he loved her but to know that he was promised to another woman and would have to honor that promise.

Tess rubbed his arm to bring his attention back. “Do not be sorry Maxwell, what is another three or four months when we will spend the rest of our lives together? I am disappointed of course, but at least we have each other. When I think of poor Elizabeth, widowed so young and with a small child. I feel so sorry for her.”

“She is young and pretty and has some money and her family are well connected. She is in a fortunate position and I have no doubt that she will marry again quickly,” Diane Evans spoke up.

“She will have her pick of the men,” Gloria Whitman, soon to be Isabel’s mother in law laughed.

Isabel grinned. “As long as she doesn’t come after my Alexander.”

“Or my Maxwell,” Tess added.

Max stood up abruptly, pushing Tess’s hand away. “I must go. I have some things to attend to.” He hurried out of the house and made his way to the trees, hoping to find a place to be alone.

But luck was not on his side that day. Alex Whitman was coming in the opposite direction and waved cheerfully when he was Max. “Hello Maxwell, I’ve just been up to the site we have planned for the well and I had an idea how-”

“Not today Alex,” Max sighed, ordinarily he would always make time for Alex but today he wasn’t in the mood for his cheerful friend. He made for a thick clump of trees and bushed his way through the bramble and undergrowth.

To his surprise he heard Alex following him and stopped. “Alex, I apologise for snapping at you, but I would appreciate some time alone.”

“I am afraid that I am under strict orders not to leave you alone.”

“From who?” Max demanded.

“Your sister.” Alex took a seat on a fallen tree trunk and removed his cap. “She knows.”

Max’s heart almost stopped. “She knows what?”

“About you and Elizabeth Parker.”

“What?” Max murmured, his knees gave way and he stumbled to sit by Alex. “How?”

Alex shrugged. “Woman’s intuition? Isabel always seems to have a sixth sense about these things. She says that it’s clear you have feelings for her. And that Elizabeth returns them.”

Max had to look away from Alex so that his soon to be brother in law would not see the stricken look on his face. His words cut him like a strip of leather across his back.

“You know that it cannot be. Not for you,” Alex said gently.

“I know,” Max replied in a choked voice.

“For another one of us, it might be possible to be with a human in a few years when we have perfected the genetic restructuring. But you are our king, you must marry one of us.” Alex was trying hard not to sound as if he was giving a lecture, but there was a tone of reprobation in his voice.

“I know,” Max said again, louder this time, angrier.

“And you have already promised Tess that-”

“I know!” Max snapped. He buried his face in his hands. “I know that it cannot be. I accepted that from the beginning. It was easy at first. She was married and didn’t know that I existed, but now…The torture is not that she doesn’t love me but that she does. If she was happy and in love with her husband then I could live with that, it would hurt but I could accept it because I want her to be happy. But now she’s a widow and wants to be with me and I cannot allow it to happen.”

“I am sorry Maxwell. It is not fair on you,” Alex said sympathetically.

“Does Tess know anything of this?”

“I think not. She has never said anything of this to Isabel at least and she seems to be very happy at the prospect of marriage to you. I do not think that would be the case if she suspected that you were in love with another woman.”

Max breathed a sigh of relief, at least Tess would not be hurt by any of this.

“Have you seen her since her husband passed?”

“Yes, this morning.” Max shook his head to get rid of the image of the way Liz had looked at him out of his mind. She had looked almost hopeful and it killed him to know that he would have to crush that hope.

“It must be difficult for you to stay here. I know that if anything happened to Isabel I could not stay away from her. If she needed support or comfort…” Alex trailed off, not really knowing what to say.

“It is,” Max agreed. It was hell to know that Liz was alone, upset, with no one to look after her or protect her. He would give anything to run down the hill, take her in his arms and never let her go again. Oh, what he would give to be able to hold her just once. And he knew that the desire to go to her would only get stronger everyday.

Alex seemed to be thinking the same thing. “James Valenti is taking a few men to Safehaven tonight to get supplies. They may be gone for a few days…Perhaps you should go with them.”

Max’s response was immediate. “No.” He could not bear the thought of being so far from Liz when she would need him most.

“Elizabeth has parents and friend who love her. They will take care of her. You must stay away from her, you know that. Go to Safehaven, remove yourself from temptation. It would be best for everyone, including Elizabeth. Tess will realise that something is wrong if you stay here moping, as will everyone else. You will not be able to stay away from Elizabeth. Think of the damage you will do to her reputation if anything were to happen between you.”

The wisdom of Max’s words sank in. He knew that Alex was right, he needed to leave Rosalind’s Well before he did something stupid and ruined everything.

He nodded. “Alright.”

Alex clapped his back. “I’ll make the arrangements.”


<center>~*~</center>

Safehaven was a bustling, thriving town. The promise of its name had lured many different emigrants and refugees from all over Europe so there were many different languages, cultures, foods and drinks available. It was easy to mix with the crowds without drawing attention. The aliens found it a welcome relief from the claustrophobia of Rosalind’s Well.

James Valenti and his crew had come in search of things that were not available in Rosalind’s Well. Building materials, chemicals the use of which the humans were still largely ignorant of, cloth, foodstuffs. The travellers would put all into great use.

They welcomed Max to their group happily and made every attempt to interest him in what they were doing, but it quickly became clear that Max’s mind was still back in Rosalind’s Well so they soon left him to himself.

For two days, Max wandered around the town aimlessly. It was teeming with people who were attending a large monthly market but Max barely noticed the crowds. His thoughts were with Liz always. At night he lay in his bed at the inn where they were staying, sleeping fitfully. He could not risk it because he knew that he would find himself in her dreams.

On the third and final day in Safehaven, Max wandered a little way out of the town. He found a small inn, almost empty of patrons and ordered a bear. He had heard of the effect of beer on men and thought the idea of forgetting his trouble for one afternoon was too great to pass up.

He downed his first glass quickly and called for another. As he was waiting for it to be brought to his table, the door of the inn opened and two people came in. One was carrying a child. At first Max ignored them but as the baby gurgled and laughed Max’s eyes were drawn to her.

“Sarah.”

His exclamation caused the two adults with her to look in his direction.

“Brother Evans,” Jeffrey Rosalind said with surprise. He glanced with clear disapproval at the newly poured glass of beer sitting on Max’s table.

Max could not believe that Jeffrey Parker and his wife were here in Safehaven. Why would they have come here? He automatically looked around for Liz. He knew that she would not be far from her beloved daughter. But there was no sign of her.

“What brings you to Safehaven? I thought that you would be in Rosalind’s Well still. Is Reverend Parker’s funeral over already?” Max asked.

“These are dark days my friend,” Jeffrey said, shaking his head in despair. “A dreadful thing has occurred.” Max took in his appearance, he was pale and haggard. And looked far older than Max remembered.

“Liz?”

Nancy began to wail, it alarmed Sarah who began to fret too.

“She has been arrested for witchcraft. She will be tried in a week’s time. They claim that she murdered Jeremiah,” Jeffrey explained.

It was as though all the air left his body, Max simply could not breathe. “But that is absurd, they cannot have found any evidence to back up this claim.”

“They do not need evidence, they will make their own,” Jeffery said bitterly.

“But, why are you here. Should you not be in Rosalind’s Well with her?” Max asked.

Jeffrey threw his hands up helplessly. “They will not let us see her. Before she was arrested, Elizabeth instructed us to bring Sarah away. She was terrified that they would harm her too. I am escorting my wife to stay with her cousin who lives near Boston. Then I will return in time for the trial.”

“I am returning to Rosalind’s Well first thing tomorrow. I will do whatever I can to assist her,” Max declared.

“Thank you Brother,” Jeffrey sighed.

Nancy’s sobs had subsided and she leaned across the table to pat his arm gratefully. “Thank you. As soon as the allegation was made all of our friends deserted her and we could find nobody to help us.”

“I apologise. If I had known I would have made every effort….” Max reached into his pocket and pulled out some money. It wasn’t a lot but he handed it to Jeffery. “Take it, for the little one,” he insisted before the older man could object.

“Thank you,” Jeffery said again.

Max stood up abruptly. “I must go now. Good luck to you and I pray that when we meet again, Elizabeth will be with us.”

“The blessings of God on you,” Nancy called after him as he departed the inn.


<center>~*~</center>


Although Max had intended to leave Safehaven at once and hopefully be back in Rosalind’s Well by nighttime, he soon discovered that it would not be possible. James Valenti and his men had finished their business and had begun the task of enjoying the remainder of their stay in Safehaven. It took almost two hours for Max to find them supping ale in a tavern. By that time they had consumed a great quantity of drink and would not consider leaving for neither love nor money.

Even if Max could have somehow persuaded them to leave at once, they were far too drunk to have any hope of loading their wagons and driving back to Rosalind’s Well. The best that James Valenti could offer was that they would soon have had their fill and would return to the inn where they were staying for sleep so that they could leave at first light the next morning.

Max’s next thought was to ride by himself but he had no horse and they could not spare one as all were needed to pull the full wagons back to Rosalind’s Well. As he had given all his money to the Rosalind’s, Max could not buy one and James Valenti had none to lend. As a last resort, Max transformed a few small coins into larger currency but at that late stage all the horse dealers were gone or drunk and he could find none to buy.

So there was nothing for it but to wait. He had no sleep that night and rose very early. He loaded the wagons by himself and harnessed the horses while it was still dark. As soon as the first sliver of light appeared on the horizon he roused his fellow travellers and got them onto the wagons. There was some grumbling but nobody spoke aloud. They would not dare as it was clear that Max wanted to get back to Rosalind’s Well as fast as he could.

Although they travelled at a fast pace, pushing the horses to their limits, Max felt as though they were crawling backwards. In his eyes they made no progress. When the first wagon stopped at the bottom of a steep hill to allow the horses time to draw breath before making the ascent, Max grabbed the whip from the driver and was about to lash the horse to move on when James Valenti grabbed his arm.

“Come with m,.” James ordered, pulling Max from his seat and along the road until they were out of earshot of the other men.

“We have no time for this,” Max yelled, pulling away.

“The horses must rest. You will not get to Rosalind’s Well any faster if they collapse half way up that hill. Give them some time,” James warned. “And while we’re waiting, why don’t you tell me why it is so urgent to get back home.”

“There is something I must attend to, as a matter of urgency,” Max told him angrily.

“Perhaps there is someway I can help?”

Max considered it for a moment. Back in the old days, when royalty still meant something on Antar, the Valenti family had been the most loyal members of the royal guard. Although it was mostly done away with now, people still thought of James Valenti as the King’s protector in the way they still thought of Max as king.

“Alright,” Max conceded, he would need some assistance to help Liz. From the corner of his eye he could see the men pretending not to be watching what was going on between him and James. Max jerked his head for James to walk further away from the wagons.

“A few weeks ago, I used my powers to save Jeremiah Parker’s wife when she was attacked by a wolf.”

James gasped, incredulous that Max of all people would be the one to expose his people and risk their lives.

“I know that it was wrong, but…I ….I could not let her die.”

“Of course,” James nodded, understanding but at the same time worried about the repercussions.

“Liz…Sister Elizabeth can be trusted, she swore that she would tell no one and I believe her. Yesterday in Safehaven, I met her father. He told me that she has been arrested for witchcraft, it is believed that she murdered her husband.”

“And you think she will tell the trial about us in order to save her own neck?” James supplied.

Max shook his head. “No, I know that she will not breathe a word of it. But they may have proof that the wolf injured her. She will not tell them that I healed her.”

James realised what Max was saying. “So they will use that to find her guilty.”

“I cannot allow her to die to protect me,” Max said urgently. “Her parents have left Rosalind’s Well to take her daughter to some cousins who live near Boston. It is my intention to rescue her from the gaol tonight and take her to them before Jeffrey comes back.”

“You cannot undertake that on your own. They will have the gaol guarded. I will help you.”

“Thank you James. I ask you not to speak of this to anyone else.”

“Of course, but you may need others to help you. May I suggest that you allow me to scout the area first and then we can make the necessary arrangements. I know that my son will assist us.”

Max grasped his hand and shook it, hopeful for the first time since he had learned the horrific news that he could save Liz. He would have to send her away and would probably never see her again. But she would be alive and safe and that was everything he wanted.


<center>~*~</center>



Even with James Valenti’s assurances that he would help, Max could not relax. The closer he got to Rosalind’s Well the more uneasy he grew, the ball of fear in the pit of his stomach increased with every step the horses took. Something was happening, something terrible.

As soon as the wagons came in sight of the settlement on top of the hill, people began to run towards them. It was clear by their anxious expressions that they had not come to welcome to weary travellers home. Isabel was the leading the charge and Max jumped down from his seat and ran to meet her.

“Maxwell, thank goodness you are back. Something dreadful has occurred. I tried to stop them.” Isabel panted. By this time everyone else had caught up with her and circled the brother and sister. Many were shouting and Max could not make out anything that was being said.

“Silence!” He shouted, although his voice was not loud it commanded authority and everyone fell silent. He held Isabel by the arms. “Now, tell me what has happened.”

Isabel shook her head. “Not here, come into the house.”

She pulled him through the crowd to the house that had been built for her and Alexander when they were married. The crowd followed after them and would have come into the house but Isabel shut the door on them firmly. Max requested that James Valenti be allowed in as well. He came in with his son Noah. There were several people gathered inside. Their parents, Diane and Philip. Alexander’s parents Charles and Gloria, Tess and her mother Martha.

“What is going on?” Max asked at once.

Philip Evans stepped forward. “The wife of Jeremiah Parker has been arrested. They say that she is a witch and that she murdered Reverend Parker. They have a witch hunter in the town. He came up here asking questions. He wanted to speak with you. Apparently, you may be able to help in the case against her.”

Against her?” Max asked in surprise.

“Somebody saw you with her the day she was attacked by the wolf.” Philip paused for a moment. Maxwell, did you heal her?”

“Yes.”

His response caused some people to gasp in shock but it seemed that many there already had guessed the truth.

“Maxwell, we have rules…” Philip began but stopped himself from lecturing his son. He ran his hand through his hair. “This is very dangerous. She could expose us.”

“She will not. I trust her. I know that she will not endanger me. She is a good, honorable person. We have nothing to worry about with her.”

“If they find her guilty, they will execute her. She has a young child. Do you really think that she will allow them to execute her if she can offer them information about people who have real powers. Nobody is that honorable Maxwell,” Philip said apologetically.

“Liz is,” Max insisted. He spoke with such heartfelt emotion that there was no doubt that he cared very much for Elizabeth Parker. He heard Tess sob quietly and when he looked at her tears were running down her face. He grimaced. He had not wanted to hurt Tess.

“It really doesn’t matter whether she is or not because they will not listen to her anyway,” Isabel said, her voice was angry. “Edward Harding and Calvin Langely took it upon themselves to take care of matters.”

“I am sorry Maxwell,” Tess said with a fresh burst of tears. “My father, he made me….he made use my power.”
Max gripped her arms and shook her hard. “What did you do?” He demanded through gritted teeth. Her mother and Diane Evans rushed forward to rescue the sobbing girl from his hold.

“I’m sorry,” Tess repeated. Martha and Diane attempted to soothe her and in a few minutes, her sons had subsided. “The man, Pierce, he told my father that somebody had seen you do something to her. He guessed that you had healed her. So he made me mindwarp Pierce and the man to give them a new memory of what had happened. They think that Elizabeth healed herself.”

“How could you do that?” Max roared.

His anger reduced Tess to another bout of tears. He sighed. “I apologise Tess. Forgive me.”

Tess wrung her hands together. “I knew that it was wrong, I begged my father to find another way but he forced me. He told me that if I did not do it, then Pierce would come for us, that we would all be burned. I…wanted to wait for you to come back but he insisted. I was afraid of Pierce, he is so frightening. Please forgive me Maxwell. I cannot bear to have you angry with me.”

Max took her small hand in his and pressed it gently. “I am not angry with you Tess. Your father had no right to make that kind of decision without my permission.”

“Maxwell, there’s more,” Alexander said gently. “Edward took your form, he is gone to give evidence against her.”

“He is gone already?” Max repeated uncertainly. “I thought the trial would not be happening for another week.”

“They changed their minds. It is happening today, right now,” Isabel exclaimed.

Max stood up abruptly and made for the door. His path was blocked at once by several people.

It was James Valenti who spoke to him first. “What are you going to do. You cannot go down there, they believe that you are already there, if they see two of you then they will need an explanation. I know that you want to help this girl but you cannot risk the lives of everyone in this community. You are our king, you have a duty to protect us.”

“I will not allow her to die for me,” Max said in a calm voice. He pushed passed Valenti and the others and flung open the door. The assembled crowd parted to let him through. As they moved out his way, the town in the valley below came into view.

He saw a large crowd gathered around the well, he strained his eyes and could make out a tall man who seemed to be leading them in prayer. Beside him two other men held a struggling figure in white.

“LIZ.” Max roared and began to race down the hill.

People hurried behind him, trying to stop him but he ran too fast to be caught. Finally he reached the bottom of the hill and tried to get through the thick mass of people. He elbowed, pushed, kicked, shouted but everyone was doing the same. All were trying to get closer to the well to see what was happening. With strength he did not know he possessed, Max managed to force his way to the front.

A man with dark hair and piercing blue eyes looked up at him and smiled. “Brother Maxwell, come closer. The witch has been defeated.” He waved to the people around Max. “Allow him through, he was one who helped end the creatures evil ways.”

He held out his hand to shake Max’s. There was a smile of triumph on his face. Max swung his fist and connected soundly, knocking Pierce to the ground and out cold. The Sheriff and his men immediately tried to subdue Max but he pushed them away forcefully.

He caught the rope that was hanging over the lip of the well and pulled it up. Somebody tried to stop him but he put one hand up and pushed him away. The shove was so hard that it sent the man flying into the crowd. James Valenti and Philip Evans had managed to pushed their way through the crowd and they began pushing the people back, not wanting them to get to close to Max in fear of what he would do.

The weight at the end of the rope felt heavy and as Max pulled it up, he realised it was not moving. He did not notice that his hand was bleeding from the effort of pulling Liz up single-handedly. Finally she was at the top and reached for her and pulled her clear of the well and placed her gently on the ground.

He brushed her soaking wet hair from her face and patted her face. “Liz, please look at me.” She did not stir. He held his ear to her chest put could feel no heart beat so he placed his hands where he had placed them once before and poured his energy into Liz. “Please look at me.” But he could make no connection. His power was of no use.

Liz was dead and there was nothing now that could bring her back.

“NO, nnoooooo !” He screamed.

His blatant anguish silenced the crowd. Some people began to scream or cry, the witch hysteria had passed and they now recognised that they had killed a young woman. A woman they had known all their lives.

Max scooped her body up and held it close to his chest. She felt cold and heavy. He rose to his feet and carried her through the crowd. Nobody attempted to stop him. He walked through the empty streets, up the hill and into the woods where they had first met.

He stopped at the place where he had saved her life and knelt down. He held her lifeless body against his and rocked her gently, tears streamed down his cheeks. His body wracked with huge sobs. After an age, the tears stopped and he calmed down.

“I am so sorry Liz. I never meant for this to happen.” He pressed his lips against her cold mouth and kissed her. Their first and last kiss.

Then he lay her on the ground as he focused his powers to create a large hole in the earth. When it was ready, he lifted Liz up gently and carried her to it. Slowly he lowered her down and stood at the edge, gazing at her. Still beautiful, even in death.

Finally when he could take it no more, he made the earth trickle back into the grave covering her body.


<center>~*~</center>


He stayed at the graveside for hours. Not noticing as day became night, as the temperature turned chilly and damp, as small animals crawled out of their homes and began to forage for food around him.

He wished that he had lain in the grave with Liz so that they could be together. At some stage, the thought of Pierce and the townspeople who had brought him here, who had accused Liz, who had found her guilty roused him from his grieving and he stood up.

Max strode through the trees and down the hill. It was late night and nobody was about. Most of the houses were in darkness, telling him that everyone was sleeping.

Everyone, except one person. A man was standing by the well. Max recognised his silhouette as that of Pierce. Silently he made his way towards him.

At the last moment, Pierce swung around. Before he had a chance to react in any way. Max grabbed his head and twisted it. Pierce’s neck broke with an audible snap. Max pushed his body over the edge of the well down into the water.

Killing Pierce had given him no satisfaction. It had not been Pierce who had first accused her. It was not Pierce who betrayed her in the worst way. It was the people of Rosalind’s Well and Max wanted to make them all pay.

He raised his hand over the well and soon it began to glow. With a gurgling sound, the water of the well rushed up and poured over the lip, out onto the ground. It kept flowing, down the streets silently. Soon it was seeping under the doors of houses, rising to the windowsills. Max was standing waist high and still the water rose. It was up to his chest, flooding the rooms of all the houses, washing over the sleeping residents of Rosalind’s Well. Some woke with a start and struggled vainly to escape the quickly rising water, most died in their beds still asleep.

Max did not move as the water reached his mouth and then his nose. He did not stop when he was fully submerged. Not once did he resist his oncoming death.


<center>~*~</center>


Alex Whitman was awakened by a scream of shock. He jumped up quickly, hands over his head expecting to be besieged by blows.

“It came from downstairs,” Isabel told him in a quiet voice.

“Oh.” Alex lowered his hands sheepishly and smiled as his betrothed. Isabel had been so upset at the events of the previous day that she had implored him to stay the night with her. Her virtue remained intact but that would not matter if her parents or brother had discovered him in her room before their marriage.

From outside came the sounds of more screaming and shouts of surprise.

Alex and Isabel frowned. The small bedroom was at the back of the house so they could not see what had caused the alarm. Isabel climbed out of the bed, opened the door quietly and peered out to make sure that nobody was on the landing. She could see that the front door was flung wide open so she signalled for Alex to follow her down the stairs.

When they reached the front door and made their way outside they froze in shock. A cry of disbelief spilled from Isabel’s lips. “What is this?”

There was a large lake, glittering in the sunlight where the town of Rosalind’s Well should have been. It came right up the top of the hill and to the edge of the forest on all its other banks. The whole community of travellers was standing on the newly formed shore staring at the lake in amazement and shock, looking at each other in askance. Most were still in their nightclothes.

“Can you see what I see?” Alex asked.

“I see a lake.” Isabel nodded. She glanced around the crowd and saw her father and mother in each other’s arms.

Alex’s mother ran to him crying. “Alexander, I thought you were gone. Thank goodness you are alright.” She hugged him tightly and waved at the lake. “Can you believe this? How could this have happened without anyone hearing anything?”

“Maxwell?” Isabel screamed suddenly. “He’s not here!” She began to run from group to group crying his name.

“Oh dear God,” Alex gasped.

“What is it Alexander?” His mother asked.

“Maxwell, he did this. In revenge for what they did to Elizabeth.”

At that moment James Valenti and his son came running along the shore.

“I have walked a good way in that direction and I can see nobody. Not one human,” James panted.

Isabel dashed to him. “Maxwell, have you seen Maxwell?”

James shook his head. “No.”

Diane, Tess and several other women burst into tears. Men hung their heads in grief. Their king was gone.


<center>~*~</center>


Nine days later the body of Max Evans washed up on the shore. His was the only body that was ever found.

A week later a small wooden chest floated to the top. It was beautifully carved and contained men’s clothing.

Diane Evans found it as she took her early morning walk along the shore of the lake. She used the clothes to make bandages and cloths. The chest she gave to her daughter on her wedding day.


<center>~*~</center>
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Post by tequathisy » Sat Jun 10, 2006 10:21 am

Well, this is the final part. I'll have the epilogue up next week. This won't answer all your questions, there are somethings that can't quite be explained but if anything confuses you or doesn't make sense let me know and I'll try to explain.

Enjoy.

ISLANDGIRL5 Thank you for all your wonderful help throughout this fic.
Evans3
Behrlyliz Yeah, it would be foolish to take Tess’s statement of innocence at face value. She wanted rid of Liz and now mission accomplished. Let’s just say that it didn’t take much for her father to persuade her.
Ellie
Thanette
NikkiA
Lolita
RhondaAnn
Flamehair
Xmag
Fehr'sBear
sylvia37
LovinGuerin2Much
D2Tymes
Behrystrwbry
nibbles2
Antarian
Zea wow, thank you.
Marteloise
Antarian Chick Sarah was born before Max healed Liz so it couldn’t have changed her. So, no, Maria didn’t see past the cloak because she was part alien. (Though in my first draft of the story that was the case)



Fifteen


The flashes ended and Max pulled back, looking deep into Liz’s beautiful brown eyes. “Three hundred years, I have waited for this moment. I have had no sleep, no food, no rest, no peace. I have known only loneliness and the endless night. Forgive me Liz.”

Liz ran her hand gently down Max’s cheek and cupped his face. “There is nothing to forgive. I know that you did not betray me. I knew when I saw you on the hill. But Max, why did you make the lake?”

“I wanted to avenge your death.”

“All those people, Max. They were innocent, all those children.”

Max closed his eyes as though he was in great pain. “I have lived in that town for these last three centuries with them, with their hate and anger. I know that what I did was wrong and I wish to atone for it. But my anger blinded me at the time. All I could picture was what they had done to you and I wanted them to suffer as I did.”

“Oh Max,” Liz said bitterly. “You could have done so much. Your people needed you. You had so much life left to live.”

“A life without you is no life.” He brushed back her long brown hair so that he could see her beautiful face. “But why are you here? I would have thought that you would go straight to heaven.”

“Heaven? How can it be heaven if you are here? To lie in your arms, to feel your lips on mine. That is the only heaven I could imagine.” Liz pressed her forehead against Max’s. “How could I go on and leave you behind?”

Max smiled, reveling in the feel of her breath on his face, the touch of her skin under his hand. “If only I had known that you were here, waiting for me.”

“Don’t think of that now. We’re here together at last and there is nothing to stop us now,” Liz told him, as she looked up at him through her long lashes and smile.

Slowly, their lips came together. Halting and tentative at first, afraid that after all this time the opportunity would be snatched away again. Their kiss was long and tender and when they broke apart, both pairs of eyes were shining with tears of happiness. They came together again, this time more urgent, more demanding. Finally after three hundred years, they had what they had craved most.

Their hands began to roam, exploring each other’s bodies with gently caresses. Their clothes fell by the way side until there was nothing between them. Gently Max lowered Liz to the ground and lay on top of her, balancing himself on his elbows so that she would not have to bear his weight.

“I love you Liz, I loved you from the very first moment I laid eyes on you,” Max told her in a reverent whisper.

“I love you too Max. You were the only one I ever loved this way.”

With great tenderness, he eased himself inside her and they began to move in a slow and gentle rhythm. The silence of the wood was broken only by their gasps of pleasure and their cries of ecstasy. They came many times before they lay sated in each other’s arms.

“Promise me that nothing will ever part us again,” Liz pleaded.

“I promise, I will be with you always,” he told her with a kiss.

When they broke apart, they found that they were bathed in a bright golden light. Beyond it they could hear the happy voices of people at play. Many were the voices of friends and loved ones. They looked at each other and smiled.

Max rose to his feet and held out his hand to help Liz up. She found that she was wearing a simple white dress, her feet were bare, and she had white roses woven into her hair, which was flowing freely down her back. Max too was dressed in white, a simple shirt and pants. He wore one white rose in his buttonhole.

For a moment they stood and gazed at the town of Rosalind’s Well beneath them in the valley and then at the town of Roswell on the distant shore.

“Come,” she said, and led him into the light.


<center>~*~</center>


Maria awoke first to find herself wrapped in Michael’s arms. It was a very pleasant way to wake up she decided. That is until she realised that they were both completely naked, covered in mud and lying on grass in the open air.

“Oh my God,” she gasped and sat bolt upright. She shook her head, trying to figure out what had happened. Had they….? She looked down at her body and laughed. Her flesh was covered in muddy handprints, dragged across her body. Michael’s hand lay on her stomach and there was no doubt that it was his hands that had touched her.

Beside her Michael stirred. He ran his finger along her arm to her shoulder but froze at midpoint as he suddenly realised their situation.

He sat up in a flash. “Uh…we…that wasn’t a dream?”

“No, we were possessed by the ghosts of Max and Liz.” Maria told him and to his immense relief she didn’t sound angry. Bemused if anything.

Acting on impulse he dropped a kiss on her shoulder. She turned to him with a smile and placed a gentle kiss on his lips.

“Hey, can I ask you a question?”

Michael nodded, nuzzling her neck.

“What the hell happened to the lake?”

He looked in the direction she was staring at and his mouth fell open. The lake was gone, completely vanished. In its place was a large valley, covered in mud. At the bottom, rising out of the mud were the shapes of houses, but they too were caked and it was hard to distinguish them from the mud. They both knew it from the flashes they had shared. They were looking at the original Rosalind’s Well.

“It was Max. He wants them to find peace too,” Michael said simply. He looked over at the far shore and could make out people assembling on the bank. People were streaming from their houses to gather together. He could imagine the looks of bewilderment on their faces. “We should get back.”

They stood up and found their clothes, which had been scattered in various locations around the clearing. Michael used his powers to dry them off, but they were still caked in dirt so dressing was both difficult and uncomfortable.

“Wait, what about Liz?” Maria asked pointing to the nearly dug grave.

“We’ll bring Max back here. That’s what he wants,” Michael said. He held out his hand to her and they made their way back through the woods to where the truck was parked.


<center>~*~</center>


The entire community of Roswell was gathered together in groups along what had been the shore of the lake but was the top of a very muddy hill. Most were still in their night-clothes in a scene that was so reminiscent of the one Maria had shared earlier with Michael that she half wondered if she was actually conscious.

“Ready?” Michael asked, jogging her from her thoughts.

Maria nodded. “I guess.”

“Don’t worry, I’ll look after you,” Michael teased. They climbed out of the truck and made their way through the crowd to where Mrs. Whitman was talking to two men. One was Kyle Valenti.

“There you are Michael. We were looking for you,” Kyle called. “Something tells me that this is your doing.”

Michael laughed. “Actually, yes and no. Maria, this is Kyle’s dad Jim.”

He shook her hand. “It’s nice to finally meet you Ms Deluca, I’ve heard a lot about you.”

All Maria could do was stare in shock. He was the image of the James Valenti who had tried to help Max.

“Are you alright dear?” Mrs. Whitman asked. “I was so worried when I woke up this morning and you were both gone and I saw this.” She gestured at the departed lake.

“I’m fine. It’s just…I had a very strange night.”

At that moment Mayor Harding came up to Michael. He glared at Maria. “Excuse us Ms Delancy, but I need to speak with the sheriff alone.”

“Sorry, Mayor, but Maria stays. She’s the one with the answers,” Michael informed the mayor. He addressed the large crowd that had gravitated around him from the moment he had appeared. “Everyone go back home, get some breakfast and change your clothes. You’re going to get very dirty so old clothes are best. I’ll meet you all back here in an hour and then we’ve some work to do.”

Back in Mrs. Whitman’s house, Maria and Michael attempted to go upstairs to change out of their filthy clothes but instead found themselves being pulled into the kitchen where Mayor Harding, Reverend Rendell and some other people that Maria didn’t know were gathered. Mrs. Whitman immediately began getting food and coffee for everyone but apart from Kyle, nobody touched it.

“Will you please tell us what the hell is going on?” The Mayor demanded.

Maria took a deep breath and pulled the journal out from her back pocket. “Three hundred years ago, your King, Maxwell Evans saved the life of a girl when she was attacked by a wolf. Her name was Elizabeth Parker.”

In as much detail as she could, Maria explained everything from the moment Liz had caused her to stall the car on that fateful rainy night to pulling Michael from the lake and the flashes they had shared. They only thing she omitted were the events that had occurred after the flashes had ended. Though that didn’t stop her from blushing beet red just from thinking about it.

As she spoke, there was absolute silence from her audience. She could see from their faces that most were dubious about her story, which she had to admit sounded a little far fetched. But every so often, a couple would nod as though what she had said made sense, or filled in a gap for them.

When she was finished, Mayor Harding turned to Michael and glared at him. “And you believe this nonsense?”

“It’s not nonsense. Most of it we already knew, at least we had all heard the stories. And I’ve read the journal, it’s real,” Michael answered.

“So why is this happening now all of a sudden? Why Maria? Why hasn’t it happened to any of the girls who’ve lived in this town and this house during the years?” Reverend Rendell asked.

“I have a theory about that,” Jim Valenti spoke up. He picked up the journal and leafed through it until he found the last entry, the one Liz had written just the night before. “She calls Maria my daughter. I think that Maria is her descendant, just like Michael is a descendent of Max’s.”

“That’s not possible, Liz's family were all killed in the flood,” Mrs. Whitman reminded him.

“No, that’s incorrect. Liz's parents and her daughter were on their way to Boston at the time of the flood. When the travellers put the mindwarps in place, it would have removed their memories of this place,” one of the other men pointed out.

Jim nodded. “There’s another part of the story that I don’t think has ever been told outside my family. My grandfather told me that after Max had flooded the town, the original James Valenti went to look for the Rosalind’s. He told them that Elizabeth was dead and gave them money. They changed their name from Rosalind to Rose.”

Maria started in surprise. “Rose?”

“Yes. Does that mean something to you?”

“My middle name is Rose. It’s a tradition in my family, all the girls have been called something Rose. We’ve never had the same family name so we use the same middle name. The first record of somebody from our family was a Sarah Rose, born in 1699. We never knew if she was born here or came here from Europe. We’ve never been able to find any record of her family before 1699.”

“What a coincidence,” Mayor Harding snorted.

“It’s not coincidence, it’s fate,” Michael informed him with disdain. “Liz brought Maria here because she was the only one who could help her find the peace she wants. Not just for herself but for Max and all those people who were drowned at the bottom of that lake.”

“What do you mean by that?” His grandmother asked.

“Liz's ghost has been haunting the woods because she’s looking for Max. That’s where they used to meet. But Max’s ghost was trapped at the bottom of the lake with all the people he killed. They’ve been haunting the lake in revenge for what he did to them. They lured men in by pretending that somebody they loved was drowning, they would jump in and then they were pulled to the bottom of the lake.”

“We assumed that the ghost in the wood and the ghost in the lake were one and the same, but obviously not,” Kyle exclaimed. “So what do we have to do?”

“We have to bury them in a proper Christian burial ground,” Michael informed the group.

“You mean, you want us to go into that…mudpile and dig up a couple of hundred bodies?”

“Yes. Aliens killed them and then wiped them off the face of the planet, they didn’t get a memorial, or a prayer, not even a gravestone. They deserve that,” Michael sighed.


<center>~*~</center>


By the time everyone assembled back on the lakeshore, most people already seemed to know what was going on. Word spreads quickly in small towns. The people had gathered all the necessary equipment together and were dividing into teams under the leadership of Jim Valenti. Even Mayor Harding seemed to have come round to the idea.

Michael and Maria left them to their task and made their way up the hill to the church.

“So, how are we going to do this?” Maria asked staring at the huge slab of stone covering Max’s grave.

“Easy,” Michael smirked. He held his hand over the stone and concentrated. After a moment, a light shone from his hand and the stone slid up and off the grave. With a wave of his hand, the dirt beneath simply disappeared and revealed a coffin beneath.

Maria stared at him in open-mouthed shock. “How…how…why did we spend half the night digging that stupid hole if you could do that?” She asked, half in surprise and half in outrage.

“I couldn’t do it before Max possessed me, but now I can.”

“He gave you his powers?”

“I don’t know, I just feel stronger.” Michael shrugged. “He tried to save me, you know?”

“When?”

“In the lake, when the others were pulling me down, he was fighting them off and trying to save me.”

“Oh.” Maria thought back to something Michael had said earlier, about men being lured in to save somebody they loved. “So why did you jump in the lake in the first place?”

“Because I thought you were drowning. I saw you in the water and heard you screaming for help. Thanks for saving my life, by the way.”

Maria smiled. “No problem.”

“I guess that’s what happened my parents. My dad thought my Mom was drowning and jumped in to save her and then my Mom tried to save him.”

“I’m sorry Michael,” Maria said helplessly, for some reason feeling responsible for events she had no control over.

“It’s ok.” He shook his head and was silent for a moment before clapped his hand and jumped into the hole he had created. He managed to lift the coffin up and together they carried it out of the church to the truck he had parked outside. They loaded it onto the back and secured it with rope to prevent it from slipping about as they traveled.

Maria looked towards the lake where she could see teams of people making their way slowly through the mud to the center of the valley. “I guess we got the easy job.”

“We spent the entire night digging a hole, almost drowned and then were possessed by ghosts. What was easy about it?”

“It wasn’t all bad,” Maria winked before opening the door of the truck to get in.

Before she could climb in, Michael caught her by the waist and turned her to face him. “About before…I know that we were possessed and it wasn’t really us who…you know…did the deed but. Here’s the thing. I like you, a lot. Actually, I’m in love with you and I was just wondering if maybe you’d like to…uh…” He trailed off embarrassed.

“Do it for real?” Maria teased.

“That’s not what I meant,” Michael blushed and then grinned. “But I wouldn’t say no. What I meant was, Max and Liz they belonged together but they never had that chance. I don’t want to lose my chance with you. I want us to be together.”

Maria slipped her arms around his neck and pulled him close. “Me too.”

“There’s going to be a lot of opposition,” Michael pointed out.

“So?” Maria shrugged. “I happen to think that you’re worth it.”

“And you’re fine with me being an alien and everything?”

“But you’re not an alien,” Maria realized suddenly. She gestured to the American flag billowing in the breeze in front of the church and another one that somebody had hung in front of the police station down the street.* “You might not be human exactly, but you were born here in the US. So were your parents and your grandparents. And their grandparents. You can trace your ancestry here all the way back to 1699. That’s more than most Americans can do.”

“Ok, so you’re fine with me being a different species?” Michael laughed.

“If it’s ok with you, it’s ok with me.” Maria grinned. She leaned forward and kissed him gently. “We should get going.”

Michael released her reluctantly and they climbed into the jeep.


<center>~*~</center>


It turned out that carrying a coffin through a dense forest was far from easy, especially when there were only two people to do the job. By the time they reached Liz's gravesite they were both exhausted and Maria thought her arms were going to fall off.

They lay it down on the ground carefully and collapsed beside it in relief. “Thank God,” Maria panted.

After they had regained their breath, Michael used his powers to remove the final layer of dirt from the grave and revealed Liz's body. For some reason, Maria had been half expecting Liz to look the same as she went into the grave and was a little freaked out when she was confronted with the sight of the skeleton.

“It looks tiny!” She squeaked.

“Yeah,” Michael said sadly. “It’s hard to imagine a whole town of people turning on somebody that small.”

“So what do we do? Do we put Liz in the coffin or Max in the grave?” Maria asked.

“Let’s put him in there,” Michael decided.

“Wait, you said that the villagers wanted a proper Christian burial, should we really leave Max and Liz out here? Maybe we should have put them in the grave in the church.”

“I think they want to be here. This is a special place to them, it’s where Max healed Liz.”

Maria nodded. “Ok.”

Michael removed the lid from the coffin. “Wow, that’s Max Evans. The last king of Antar.”

“I guess that in the end, Kings and beggars all look the same,” Maria commented. She gestured to the grave. “I’ll get in there and you pass him down to me.”

“Are you sure?” Michael asked in surprise.

In answer Maria climbed into the grave and knelt down beside Liz, her great, great… great grandmother. She rubbed the white skull gently. “Hi Liz. I’m sorry that I took so long to figure it out, but we’re going to make things right now. Thanks for saving my life today.”

“Ready?” Michael asked. Maria nodded and wordlessly he began to pass Max’s bones down to her. Each bone was handled with great care and delicacy, hand to hand. Maria lay them gently beside Liz's. She didn’t know much time had passed before the job was completed. When she was done, Michael pulled her up and they stood on the edge of the grave to say a silent prayer.

“Are you ok?” Michael asked.

Maria nodded and brushed away the fat tear that had rolled down her cheek. “Yeah.”

He put his arms around her and hugged her. “I know that what happened to them was sad but it brought us together and I’ll always be thankful for that.”

“Me too.” They kissed, a long slow kiss.

When Maria pulled away she gasped. “Look Michael.”

The bodies in the grave seemed to have shifted so that instead of lying side by side, they lay wrapped in each other’s arms. She knew that it was a ridiculous thing to think, but they looked happy.

“I think that’s it,” Michael said at last and put his hand out.

“Wait!” Maria exclaimed and rushed over to the bag she had carried on her back through they forest. She pulled out the journal and made sure that the white rose was inside. It was still as fresh as the day Max had given it to Liz. She knelt back down in front of the grave and placed it between the couple.

“Ok. All done.”

Michael held out his hand and slowly the dirt trickled back over the grave until it was almost impossible to tell that there had ever been a hole there.


<center>~*~</center>



By sunset that evening, a remarkable amount of work had been done. Over three hundred bodies had been retrieved from their muddy graves in the valley, wrapped in a white sheet and taken to a field beside the town’s graveyard. There, a grave had been dug for each body found and they were all marked with a simple wooden cross. It was a difficult job, upsetting in many ways but there was something cathartic about it too. The community of Roswell had shouldered a burden of guilt for centuries and it was now a great relief to finally put it to rest.

After they had returned to the town, Michael and Maria split up. Michael went down into the valley to help with the digging while Maria had stayed on top to help wrap the bodies and bury them. The children were sent out into the woods and came back with cartloads of flowers, which they made into small bundles.

When the last body was wrapped and buried, the townspeople gathered together for a prayer service. It was simple and short but very beautiful. As it has grown dark the women had produced candles and lit them. Maria couldn’t help but think of each twinkling light as soul that was finally being laid to rest.

Michael had joined her and slipped his hand into hers as the service began. As it drew to a conclusion he nudged her elbow and jerked his chin in the direction of the far shore. In the twilight Maria could see what looked like two people standing on the jetty. They seemed to be glowing. After a moment they just faded from sight.

“I just want to stand in the shower for about an hour and then go to bed until next Friday,” Maria laughed as they walked back to the house.

“I want food,” Michael sighed.

Happily, his grandmother had guessed they would both be hungry and had already prepared sandwiches and soup. As they devoured them, the telephone rang and Mrs. Whitman hurried to answer it. She came back a minute later with a coy smile on her face. “That was Ruby, she’s a little nervous and upset about everything that happened today so I’m going to go over to hers for a while. I might even stay the night.”

A little later, after Mrs. Whitman had departed, leaving them alone, Maria and Michael trudged wearily up the stairs. They quickly decided that as there probably wasn’t enough water for two showers that it would be best if they shared one, to conserve the hot water. They stood under the steaming hot water for over an hour, letting it wash away their aches and pains and enough earth to build a house on. They took time soaping each other down, making sure that no part of their bodies were missed before getting out and drying off.

“This feels weird,” Maria commented as she climbed into her bed.

“Oh…I can sleep in my own room if you’d prefer,” Michael offered, unable to conceal the look of hurt on his face.

“No, not that.” Maria grabbed his arm and pulled him onto the bed beside her. “This feels right. I meant, ever since I got here I’ve been spending my nights reading that journal and now it’s all over.”

Michael lay down and held out his arm for her to lie beside him. “That’s a good thing. That journal was the epitome of all the bad things that happened and the mistakes that were made in this town. And now they’ve been put right. We can escape the past now and look forward to the future.”

“Absolutely,” Maria agreed, snuggling close to him.

They lay in silence for a few minutes, just enjoying the pleasure of being in each other’s arms. Michael was running his fingers gently through her long damp hair. Just as Maria was drifting off, he spoke.

“About the future, do you…where…?” He stopped and took a deep breath. “My future is with you, wherever you are, Roswell, New York, Timbuktu. But I was just wondering if you’ve given any thought to it….Is it too early to be having this conversation?”

“Actually, I’ve sort of just assumed that we’d stay here. Ever since I got here, I haven’t been able to imagine myself living anywhere else. Roswell feels like home.”

Michael gave a small laugh.

“What, is that funny?”

“No, it’s just remember yesterday when you were asking me about Boston? And I said that I had knew I belonged in Roswell because and then I stopped.”

“Yeah, you said that you were…”

He pulled her closed and kissed her gently. “I was waiting for you to come home.”


<center>~*~</center>


Maria awoke alone in bed, the sun was streaming in through the windows and she realized that it was probably late in the morning. She felt guilty for having slept so long but it passed quickly when she reminded herself that she hadn’t had any sleep the night before.

Just as she was about to get out of bed and go looking for Michael, and maybe some food, she heard him coming up the stairs so she stayed where she was. They had both been too tired and sore to do anything when they went to bed last night except sleep, but she was feeling great and hoping to change that.

The door opened and Michael came in quietly. He was carrying a tray of breakfast. “Oh good, you’re awake.”

“You made me breakfast?” Maria smiled.

Michael considered it for a moment before shaking his head. “Actually, Grandma made it. She also made us lunch and dinner. She’s going to be gone all day so it’s just the two of us.”

A devilish smile lit Maria’s face. As much as she loved the old woman, Maria was thrilled to know she was out of the way. Having her downstairs would have put a major crimp in her plan to jump her grandson’s bones. She pulled Michael to him and kissed him soundly. “I guess we’ll just have to find a way to amuse ourselves.”

Michael returned the kiss for a minute before pulling away and gesturing for her to get out of the bed. She followed him to the window and gasped, looking up at him for an explanation.

He shrugged. “It was like that when I woke up. I guess we’ve laid all the ghosts to rest.”

“Good for the ghosts, now lets lay something else to rest.” Maria giggled and pulled him back to bed.

Outside, the blue waters of Lake Rosalind were twinkling in the sunlight.


<center>~*~</center>



*This line was inspired by and paraphrased from Midwest Max’s Brilliant disguise, part of the Born to Run series. Used with permission of the author. Thanks MM.
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Post by tequathisy » Wed Jun 14, 2006 9:35 am

well, here it is. My last part. I can't believe this story is over. It's been in my head for years and I never thought that I'd write it but thanks to xmag I did. I'm so glad that so many people have liked it. Thanks for all the support.

I won't be posting my next fic for a few months. It will be called All is not Lost and will be Au with aliens.

LovinGuerin2Much I’m sad to see it go too.
Christmasnazi Thanks
RhondaAnn Well, Michael and Maria had no complaints. LOL. Over the last three centuries, the aliens had forgotten part of themselves, the way all immigrants lose part of their heritage when they came to America. Being possessed by Max, woke up a dormant alien side of Michael.
Maya thank you
Ellie thanks
Behrlyliz I love getting fb from you, you’re so complimentry (plus I get to drool over your SN avi)
Flamehair
Xmag Thanks for talking me into writing this fic.
Emz80m thanks
sylvia37 thanks
Belleoftheball thanks
D2Tymes thank you
Kittens No, Max sent Pierce straight to hell.
Tiredmuse thanks



Epilogue



Nine months later.


Dear Bethany Rose,

It’s a tradition in our family for each new mother to begin a journal for her daughter. The idea is that when you marry, it will be chock full of wisdom, advice, recipes and other useful household tips that I have gained over the years. I’m not sure how I’ll ever be able to fill this one for you as your grandmother and great grandmother seem to spend every waking minute doing everything they possibly can for you, your brother, your father and I. Since the day I found out that I was pregnant, I don’t think I’ve been allowed to pour so much as a glass of water for myself. So don’t expect much in the way of recipes and stuff.

I’m sitting in your nursery now, watching you and Evan sleep in your cribs, so tiny and so beautiful. I can’t believe that you’re ours. Your father had to go to work today or he would be here beside me with the same dopey grin that he’s been wearing for the last four days. He loves you both so much already. It makes my heart soar to see the way his is with you, the way he holds you and sings to you. I’m sure that by the time you’re old enough to read this letter that you’ll know how awful his singing voice is but when he sings to you and Evan, it sounds beautiful. No, really, it does.

I never knew my father. That’s another tradition in my family, I don’t know if it really was a curse or just bad luck, or maybe because until now Roswell had been hidden to us but we’ve never been the best at picking good men to father our offspring. It sounds funny, especially as I don’t believe in witches but ever since the story of Liz and Max was uncovered and people heard about my family’s disastrous luck with men everyone had been saying that Tess Harding was a witch and she cast the spell on us so that we would never find happiness with a man in revenge for losing Max to Liz. It’s ridiculous of course. But if I did believe it, I also believe that the curse is broken now. Michael is a good man and I know that he’s not going anywhere. You’re going to have your Daddy with you for a long time.

It’s May now, summer is coming and this place is so beautiful. You’re going to love growing up here. Everyone is so friendly and nice. Ok, maybe that’s not exactly true, there has been some difficulty getting a few of the locals to accept the changes. But ever since the day the lake vanished and the ghosts of the past were put to rest, there’s been a change in Roswell. A huge change. The mindwarps have been removed and visitors come here, usually at weekends. Already there have been cafes and craft shops opened to cater for them and they take boats out on the lake. Hopefully all this will be normal for you, but when I came here first, there was such an air of secrecy and fear of discovery that welcoming visitors here was unimaginable.

The main voice of opposition came from the Harding family, of course. Part of me understands their point. They have worked so hard to protect the secret and everyone’s lives. I know how terrified I am that somebody will find out and you two will be hurt. But I don’t want to hide you away from the world. I want you to be a part of it, to see more than the woods of Roswell. The Hardings will just have to learn that they can’t keep everyone locked up here forever. Rumor has it that Courtney has applied for a job in Boston. I hope she gets it. Not because I’m a nice person and I wish her well but because I’d love to see the back of her. She hasn’t said or done anything since Michael and I got together but I see the way she glares at me. Of course, when you and your brother were born with the royal seal, the people who opposed my marriage to your dad quickly shut up.

And no, you are not royalty. This is America, we don’t have kings and queens here. It just means that anyone who didn’t think humans and Antarians couldn’t mix have been proved wrong.

So much has changed in these last nine months, not just in Roswell. My mother and I have come to live here permanently. I’ll always remember driving into town with mom that first day. She got out of the car and looked around and then looked back at me and said. “This is the place I’ve been dreaming about all my life. This is home.” I had never intended to tell her about your father’s true origins but when she said that I knew that she would understand. So I took her out to where Liz and Max are buried and I told her the story. When I was finished, she nodded and told me that the reason we had moved to the east coast from New Mexico was because she felt something calling her, she knew that this is where she belonged. So she lives here permanently now. She and Grandma Gloria get on like a house on fire. She has also got to know Jim Valenti very well too. Last night I caught them making out in the pantry. Maybe you know him as Grandpa now.

There’s talk in town about opening a museum, dedicated to the people who built Roswell, both travellers and human. I’ve been asked to be curator. It would be a good way to put my History masters to use I suppose and a chance to make sure that they story of Liz and all the people of Rosalind’s Well is not forgotten, if told in a slightly incorrect way. I feel a responsibility to Liz and Max and all those people so I’ll probably take the offer up. But not until you and Evan are older.

I hope that we’ve done a good job raising you and your brother. I know you’ll make daddy, Grandma Amy, Grandma Gloria and I proud. I love you both so much and I always will.

Your mother,

Maria Guerin.


<center>~*~</center>


Michael removed his boots and crept quietly up the stairs to the nursery, the room that had been Maria’s when she first came to stay. He cracked open the door and smiled at the sight that lay before him. His beautiful wife was sitting in a large rocking chair singing to their gorgeous twins.

“Hi, how are they?” He asked as he came into the room and stood by their cribs.

“As good as gold.” Maria smiled. She stood up and wrapped her arms around his waist. “How was your day?”

“Pretty good. Have you been outside at all today?”

“Sure, we took the twins to the library to show them off. I thought Susie was going to run away with one of them. Everyone agrees that Evan looks just like you.”

“He’s handsome., Michael declared proudly. He kissed his wife and took a seat on the rocking chair, pulling her onto is lap. “And Bethany is beautiful, like her mother.”

Bethany looked very like her mother, except for her eyes, which were a deep chocolate brown. Liz's eyes.

Maria smiled. “Thank you.”

“Let’s go for a walk, I want to show you something,” Michael said after they had sat in silent awe of their children long enough.

“But…”

“Grandma and Amy will look after the twins for an hour,” Michael insisted. He pulled her up and they made their way downstairs. Amy Deluca and Mrs. Whitman were busy making apple pies in the kitchen.

“Maria and I are going for a walk, can you keep an eye on the twins?” Michael asked.

“Of course,” the two women said at once.

Michael turned to his wife. “Ready?”

Maria bit her lip. She knew that it was silly, her mother and Mrs. Whitman were more than capable of watching the twins for an hour but this would be the first time she left them alone and it made her anxious. “I forgot the baby monitor, I’ll just go get it.” She slipped out of Michael’s grasp and ran lightly up the stairs.

When she pushed the door open she gasped in surprise, but not fear. There was a figure in white standing over the cribs, watching the sleeping children. She looked up as Maria entered and smiled.

It was the first time that she had seen the ghost since that fateful day nine months ago, though she had been certain that Liz had been standing at the head of the bed the whole time she was in labor.

“Liz.”

Liz stroked Evan’s head fondly. “Evan Maxwell and Bethany Rose. They are beautiful children Maria.” Her voice had a musical quality to it. “You’re a very lucky woman Maria to be married to the man you love and to have his children, never take it for granted.”

Maria laughed. “God, if I had known ten months ago that this would be my life, married, with four day old twins living in the smallest of small towns, I would have run screaming. And here I am, the happiest I have ever been and I fully intend to remind myself of that for the rest of my life. Thank you Liz. I owe it all to you.”

A beautiful smile graced Liz's features. Without seeming to move, she came forward until she was standing in front of Maria. Then she placed her arms around her. Unlike the day at the lake when her touch had been painfully cold, Maria now felt a great warmth emanating from Liz.

“You remind me so much of Sarah. It gives me great joy to see you happy. Thank you Maria, thank you for freeing us. Do not worry for you children, We will always be watching over them.” Liz kissed Maria’s cheek then went back to crib.

As Maria climbed back down the stairs, she could hear the faint sound of Liz's voice singing gently to the babies. But when she switched on the baby monitor there was only the soft sound of the twins sleeping.

“Is everything ok?” Michael teased fondly.

Maria handed the monitor to her mother. “Everything’s fine.”


<center>~*~</center>


The path from the road to the jetty had become a lot more worn now that people knew it was safe to go back in the water but it’s distance from town and the fact that it was a burial place for two ghosts acted as a deterrent to keep most people away so it was usually secluded when Maria and Michael strolled to it as they liked to do in the evenings. Although it had been two months since Maria had been here last, she had been confined to the town for the last few months of her pregnancy, forbidden to move too far by an over protective husband, mother and Grandmother.

So it was the first time Maria had seen the wood in springtime, when all the leaves were bursting to life and flower blossoms scented the air with their sweet perfume. They strolled along leisurely, content in each other’s company.

When they entered the clearing, Maria’s eyes were immediately drawn as always to the spot where they had buried Max and Liz. To her surprise, it was different than she remembered it.

From the very spot where their grave lay a bush and shot up. Although it couldn’t possibly be more than two months old, it was already shoulder high and it was covered with the most beautiful white roses Maria had ever seen. At first she though that they were just large flowers but when she got closer she realised that each flower was in fact two, growing on the one stem.

“It’s so beautiful. Where did it come from?” Maria asked.

“It just appeared, four days ago,” Michael told her.

“Wow.” Maria touched one of the flowers gently but didn’t pluck any from the branches.

They sat on the jetty for a while admiring the view before going home, leaving Max and Liz to rest in peace.


THE END


<center>~*~</center>
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Kath7
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Post by Kath7 » Thu Jul 13, 2006 11:25 am

Congrats on your Round 9 awards! I can't wait to read this. It's at the top of my TBR list.

Kath

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Itzstacie
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Re: Here Be Dragons (MM / ML Adult) (Complete)

Post by Itzstacie » Sat Nov 15, 2008 11:21 pm

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