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The leaves of the tall eucalyptus trees lining the narrow lane sang an unfamiliar song in the warm breeze. Murmurs, mutterings of ghosts from another life, in a quaint language I had not heard before, yet understood.

“Come,” they said, “just follow the road.”

So I did, though it was twilight, but fear didn’t cross my mind. Where the eucalyptus trees ended, a horse carriage waited. The driver beckoned me with a smile. I rode the cab that took me down the path between the orange groves all the way to the edge of the sea.

I thanked him and stepped down. The full moon illuminated the beach and the waters of the bay. To the right, colourful beams of life from the slow town danced upon the water, to the left a haphazard array of dim lights twinkled like fireflies on the ancient sites.

There was music without music. I sat facing the full moon, my eyes drifting between the shores.

Then I saw Marvin, walking to the shore from the sea.

 

“How did you know I was here?” I asked.

“We have ways of understanding,” he said.

“Did you come to see me?”

“Yes, and to extinguish the fires.”

“What fires? There are no fires here.”

“Fires are everywhere, we help people deal with the pain.”

“You mean…”

“You know what I mean…”

“Where do they go?”

“There are many places, it depends on who they are.”

“I came back to find you and you were gone.”

“We cannot stay in the same place for longer than we have to.”

“So will you be gone again now?”

“I must, but this is so that you know I exist.”

“I know you do, but I couldn’t prove it.”

“Proof in the third dimensional existence is difficult. Awareness is unable to produce such physical evidence.”

“Will there be more fireballs? More sorrow?”

“I’m afraid so. Until they learn.”

Marvin stroked my hair and kissed me. Then he rose, and bowed his head, a farewell smile lingering on his face before he disappeared into the sea.

In the emptiness, I watched the moon’s reflection on the bay and pondered.

Still so much water to extinguish the pain of fire, despite the many more fireballs to come.

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