Charmian must convince Wabasso to leave the Spirit Land behind...
|Main story folder & table of contents: "Return To Manitou Island"
Previous chapter: "Part 117: Pauguk"
PART ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTEEN:
CHARMIAN AND THE strange woman stared at each other in silence. The waterfall crashed and roared right near them, but Charmian couldn't even hear it anymore. She couldn't take her eyes from the woman with the beaded rabbit pouch in her lap.
"Wenonah," Charmian whispered, unable to believe it, yet knowing that it had to be true.
The woman's eyes--so much like Manabozho's--softened, and she smiled.
Charmian stared at her for another moment, then crept forward across the rocks. "I can't believe I'm really looking at you," she said. "I mean, I've heard about you--a lot--but actually seeing you..." She pushed herself up onto her knees and furrowed her brow. "That was you talking to me. Along with Ogimah-Quae, in my dream."
Wenonah tilted her head forward. "Dreams are the closest one can come to death, without their life being in danger," she explained. "Your dreams in particular, since you came to the Island, have brought you close to the Spirit Land."
"You were trying to help me." Charmian sat down and pulled her legs out in front of her, the waterfall's mist hovering over them. "You told me something--to 'remember where the barrier is thinnest, and when.'"
Wenonah looked somewhat apologetic. "I'm afraid I could not be more specific...but I know you will figure it out in time, on your own. From what I've been told of you, you're an intelligent girl. To tell you more would be...cheating."
Charmian's brow furrowed again. "Cheating...?" She chewed on her lip and lowered her eyes. "Chakenapok's game..."
"I am sorry for all the difficulty he's given you," Wenonah apologized, and Charmian glanced up to see the sadness now in her eyes. "Somehow, I feel as if this is my fault," she added.
Charmian shook her head. "No, it isn't! You couldn't help it!" She fiddled her fingers. "So...you know about him, then...?"
Wenonah nodded, and looked back down at the pouch. "I had hoped...they would all be well, after I was gone. Mudjikawiss made his father so proud...but after that, he wanted barely anything to do with them...I tried as hard as I could. Peepaukawiss and Wabasso turned out so well. But 'Bozho..." She trailed off, and Charmian saw her eyes grow wet. "I could not even be there for him. If I had been there...perhaps this never would have happened."
"You couldn't help that," Charmian said again. She moved closer on the rock. "I know you would've taken great care of him, if you'd been there..."
Wenonah lifted her head and looked at her, and smiled despite the tears in her eyes. "He's grown up well," she said, and Charmian blinked. "The manitous from the Island tell me. He's done so much for that place, and he doesn't even know it. From what I hear he stumbles a lot...but he keeps trying. He's made me as proud as any of the others."
Charmian started to smile as well. "I'll tell him," she promised. "He'll like hearing that. I know he misses you..." She trailed off and bit her lip. "Chakenapok..."
"I do not blame him," Wenonah said, and Charmian looked up at her again. Wenonah's face was set. "I know he did not mean what he did to me," she said. "I knew, when I saw him, that he was not controlling himself. No child looks like that."
"Another spirit had control of him," Charmian hastened to fill in. "Malsum. He's the one who made him kill you...but...everything since then, he's been doing on his own."
Wenonah's smile faded. "Then Wabasso..."
Charmian cringed and looked away. She picked at the rock and nodded reluctantly. "He...he meant that," she murmured.
The woman was silent for a moment or two, then lowered her head again. She ran her fingers along the beadwork. "If I had been there," she said softly, "it never would have turned out this way..."
"He's a lost spirit," Charmian said. "He's not on the Island, and he's not here in the Spirit Land. We found his body...but I never know how to get to him. I've tried a couple times, and..." She grimaced and rubbed her chest. "It never ends up working out like I plan it to."
"I cannot help you with this," Wenonah said. "But if you seek Wabasso, then you will find him here."
Charmian pushed herself up. "The spring! Right--?" When Wenonah nodded she frowned a little. "You said you haven't seen him yet--don't you want to talk to him?"
Wenonah smiled slightly. "Almost more than anything." When she didn't move, Charmian fidgeted. "But I won't."
Charmian's brow furrowed. "Huh...? But...why not...?"
Wenonah looked at her beadwork. "He does not belong here," she murmured, as if to herself. "He has been here a while already...and already he is forgetting. Everything that led up to his death. He has a peaceful spirit, and as he died in such a way, he does not want to remember any of it." She met Charmian's eyes, which had grown confused. "I remember the Island--and Noko, and 'Basso and everything...because I want to. But 'Basso...he would not want to believe that his own brother could kill him. That he would not even be here, if not for his own flesh and blood. And so his memory is fading, and soon he will not even remember how he came to be here."
Charmian got to her feet, clutching at her vest in anxiety. "You mean--he won't remember me--? He won't remember the Island--?"
"He will likely remember all that happened, up to the point when Chakenapok returned to his life," Wenonah answered. "Everything after this...is questionable." She set the beadwork aside and rose, and they stood upon the rocks staring at each other.
"Mainlander," Wenonah said, in a tone that held Charmian's attention. "I did not want him to see me, because if he does, he will want to stay here all the more. Chakenapok tried this trick on 'Bozho and it nearly worked--until you awoke him. But that was merely a trick, and this is the real thing. If he sees me, I do not know if you can convince him to return. You have to find him before he forgets any more."
"But..." Charmian stared at her in confusion. "How do I convince him...?"
"Remind him of the Island," Wenonah said. "And of 'Bozho. And of Noko and Puka and Mudji. He will likely remember them, but they will mean little to him. They will likely be little more than faded scraps in his mind by now. Try to make them mean something again. I've already given him little reason to remain here. You must give him every reason to go back. If he doubts--if he prefers to stay--then there is little else you can do to bring him back with you. You are the only one who can convince him."
Charmian chewed on her lip hard enough to hurt. "I'll...I'll try," she murmured hesitantly after a moment, and Wenonah's tensed features relaxed somewhat. "But I don't know how well I can do...if he won't even remember me..."
"Use everything you have," Wenonah advised. "No matter how small. If he remembers, and if he cares enough, he will go with you."
Charmian nodded and sighed. "Okay." She fiddled with the edge of her vest for a moment before lifting her head and peering at the other woman. "Is...is there anything you want me to tell them? When I get back...?" she asked. "I'll tell 'Bozho what you said...but is there anything else? Just in case...well...this is the only time I ever see you...which I'm pretty much hoping it is."
Wenonah stared at her briefly, then smiled, and Charmian's own muscles started to relax. "They already know how much I love them," she said. "They will do fine, just as they always have."
Charmian nodded again. "Got it." She stepped down from the rock. "The spring in the glade--right?"
A nod. "He should be there. When you return, I'll be gone, so he should not see me. Good luck, Mainlander."
Charmian waved. "Bye, Wenonah. You have some great sons."
She turned and started walking. Before she had gone even five steps, Wenonah's voice stopped her again--"Mainlander. Would you do one thing for me--?"
Charmian turned back around. "Of course," she said. "What is it?"
Wenonah stared at her for a moment, and Charmian realized that she was hesitating, as if uncertain about something; this realization made her frown slightly in puzzlement. Up until now the older woman had been forthright enough. "Tell him," she said at last, nearly startling her, "that I forgive him." She paused, and her eyes grew wet again. "And that no matter what he has done, I will always love him."
Charmian almost opened her mouth, to ask who she meant, before she realized that as well. She looked at Wenonah for a long while, but saw no anger or bitterness in the woman's eyes. Her own eyes started to sting and she nodded.
"I will," she promised, and waved once more, before turning away to make her way to the spring. She glanced back to see Wenonah still standing upon the rocks near the waterfall, and the woman raised her hand in farewell, and she continued on her way.
By the time that she reached the edge of the woods and looked back once more, Wenonah was gone.
* * * * *
Charmian entered the small woods, stepping over roots and peering around trees. She could hear a trickling noise nearby, but the trees and undergrowth were so thick that she couldn't see its source so easily. She reached out to grasp hold of a tree trunk and pull herself over a log when a strange noise made her freeze, and the hair on the back of her neck stood up.
The sound shifted, growing lower, then higher. Charmian's eyes widened. It slowly resolved itself into a song, and she sucked in a breath when she recognized where she'd heard it before.
Wabasso...Wabasso's flute! I'd know that song anywhere!
"It's not making me tired," she thought aloud with a small frown, then shook it off. "It's the Spirit Land! Maybe it works differently here! 'Basso--?" she called; when no answer was forthcoming, she clambered over the log and poked through the bushes. All around her was an endless sea of green. "Wabasso?" she called out. "Where are you--? Is that you?" She tripped in a hole and had to catch herself against a tree, grimacing and shaking her foot. The song continued uninterrupted and she ducked and started practically digging her way through the shrubbery.
Cripes, and here I thought the Spirit Land would at least have weed control!!
"'Basso...?" she called once more; the trees started thinning, and she lifted her head and batted aside a fern. The bubbling noise was even louder now and she pulled herself over one last boulder, only to find herself staring into a tiny hollow. It was taken up almost completely by the spring in the rocks, the water trickling down into a little pool. A lone figure sat upon its edge, playing the flute as if serenading the water itself. Charmian's heart started thudding hard in her chest.
She couldn't stop the huge grin from spreading across her face, and pushed herself up, waving her hand. "WABASSO!" she yelled; Wabasso's head jerked up, and he glanced at her in surprise, nearly dropping his flute. He blinked at her a few times as she scrambled down the rocks, laughing, and she nearly slipped in the spring launching herself at him when he stood. He staggered and fell back when she threw her arms around him, crowing gleefully.
"Wabasso!" she exclaimed. "I can't believe it! I found you!"
She lifted her head and he gave her a confused-looking smile. "I was not hiding," he said, and she laughed again at this. She took a step back and wiped at her eyes.
"You know that's not what I mean! I came to take you back! You wouldn't believe everything I went through just to GET here!"
Charmian nodded cheerfully. "Manitou Island!"
Wabasso's brow furrowed. "Manitou Island--?"
Charmian cut herself off abruptly. "You don't remember it--?" she cried.
He shook his head. "I remember Manitou Island--but--how do you know about it?" He tilted his head, puzzled. "Do you live there...?"
Charmian blinked at him, mouth falling open. "You...you don't remember me?" she asked. "Not even one bit...?"
He slowly shook his head again. "No...I am sorry." His brow furrowed more. "We have met before...?"
Charmian nodded, and pulled out the flute. "Of course we have! See--? It's just like yours! This is the real one!"
Wabasso leaned forward to look at the flute. "It does look like mine...but..." He lifted his head. "How did you get it--?"
Charmian nearly lost her tongue. "I got it from Manabozho!"
His eyes lit up. "'Bozho--?" She nodded wildly, grasping onto this shred of hope. It deflated as soon as he said, "You know 'Bozho?"
"Of COURSE!" she nearly yelled; he cringed back. "I know him, and you, and all the rest! Puka, and Mudji, and Noko!"
His eyes grew wide and he sat forward again. "You know all of them--?"
Charmian nearly pulled at her hair in frustration. "YES! From Manitou Island! I brought you all back there!"
He gave her a confused look. "But..." He paused. "I have not been to the Island in ages...how could I have gone back there...?"
"I went and found you! You were playing your flute--just like you were right now! It always put me to sleep!" She pointed at his necklace. "'Bozho wears one just like that, only reversed! Puka's always dancing around and screaming--and Mudji is a big pain in the ass!" She dug out Nokomis's pinecone. "And Noko gave me this!"
Wabasso reached out for the carving and carefully took it between his fingers. "I remember this!" he exclaimed softly, and smiled as he turned it about. "She always had me carry it so I would not get lost!" His smile faded. "I have not seen this in years..." He looked back up at her and frowned. "You say you 'brought me back' to the Island...so why do I not remember you? The last time I was there, I was leaving the Crooked Tree. That was so long ago."
"I brought you back to meet with 'Bozho and the others," Charmian insisted, putting the pinecone away. "Don't you recognize me at all?"
Wabasso peered into her face for a good long moment. "I feel like I should know you..." he said, finally; then, "But I do not remember...you said I went to see 'Bozho?"
Charmian nodded, still frustrated. "I got all four of you together. It's important. It has to do with Chakenapok."
He looked puzzled again. "Chakenapok...?"
"You don't remember him either--?" When he just looked at her she threw up her hands. "He's the reason you're dead! Haven't you wondered why you're even HERE--?"
"This is the Spirit Land." He frowned. "It does not matter why I am here, only that I am. I have not wondered..."
"You don't BELONG here!" Charmian exclaimed. "You weren't supposed to die! I came to bring you back!"
The look that he got on his face now was utterly indescribable. "Not...supposed to die...?" he echoed, voice faint. His eyes lowered. "But..."
She shook her head adamantly. "You don't belong here, Wabasso. You belong back on the Island, so you can help fight off Chakenapok. He's your little brother! Remember? He killed Wenonah when he was born--"
Wabasso got to his feet. "Nobody knows that!" he cried. "Only Noko and me! How do you know that--?"
Charmian stood up as well. "I've MET him! He's a lost spirit now--and HE'S the reason why you're dead!"
Wabasso's mouth fell open. "Chakenapok? He was just a baby! How can someone who is dead kill someone--?"
Charmian clenched her fists. "I know you don't want to believe it but you HAVE to! He controlled the Shadow Wolves, and they attacked us--" She grabbed his wrist and turned around, starting to stomp back over the rocks. "Come on."
Wabasso stumbled after her. "Where are we going--?"
"I'm going to make you remember whether you like it or not!" They clambered their way through the woods and out into the open, heading for the little river again. As they drew closer, Charmian flung up one hand to point at the cascading water. "See--?"
His brow furrowed. "The waterfall--?"
She nodded. "Remember? It's just like where you fell! Only there were more trees there, and it was winter!" She pulled him up over the rocks and pointed down into the water; he peered in. "A Shadow Wolf went after you, and you fell from the tree," she said. "You broke through the ice--it killed you. Manabozho found your flute in the water. He gave it to me, to try to find you." She held up the flute. "You gave me a vision with it, remember--? On Arch Rock. I couldn't concentrate, so you played it, and I had a vision." Desperate, she started dredging her mind for any little detail that might spark his memory. "Puka went all nuts over that Michinimakinong lady--remember? Remember that joke he played on us, with the soot flower? Our faces went all black! Then Mudjikawiss was about ready to kill us! Remember? That huge knife of his? Remember the bear in the woods--? It was going to kill me, but you stopped it and gave it my candy bar. Remember when we went into the Fairy Realm--? That's when the Shadow Wolves attacked us--you tried to save me--you died trying to protect me from them. You fell under the water and you drowned."
During her speech he lifted his head and stared at her, his eyes growing ever more bewildered. She tossed out memory after memory yet all they seemed to do was confuse him even more. "But...I do not even know your name," he whispered once she fell silent. "I died saving you...?"
Charmian's eyes watered. "YES! It's MY fault you're here! Chakenapok killed you, but it's MY fault! I came to bring you back because we need you, and 'Bozho's so upset without you--I told him I would bring you back, because we need all four of you, and he never got to say goodbye--"
Wabasso blinked, and his spine stiffened. It was as if a voice echoed in Charmian's head--Why didn't you even say goodbye?--and she somehow knew that that was what he was thinking too. She actually put a hand to her head in confusion, the sensation was so startling. Wabasso started to relax, though his brow furrowed even further, and he slowly turned his head to look at the water, fingers fiddling with his rabbit necklace.
"I..." His voice was faint, hesitant. "I do not remember this..."
"You HAVE to remember!" Charmian cried. "I can't go back without you! Can't you remember anything at all? Please try harder! I have to take you back to the living world--!"
Wabasso pulled away from her. "Why should I go back there--?" he exclaimed. "If I have died--then this is where I belong! No matter how I died! If I go back, it will upset everything!"
"No it won't!" Charmian shook her head, frustrated. "You weren't SUPPOSED to die! It was an accident! Chakenapok killed you--you died violently--this is why you don't remember! Wenonah told me so!"
He gawked at her. "Mother--?"
Charmian grimaced and waved her hands. "You HAVE to come back! 'Bozho needs you back--Puka and Mudji--Noko and everybody! I know you remember them! If you don't come back, they could die!"
Wabasso's eyes filled with tears; he took a step back, then another one, shaking his head. "I--I belong here," he protested weakly. "I would not have made it along the Spirit Road if it were not so! And you said you spoke with Mother! Is she here--?"
Charmian lunged at him and grabbed his wrist, making him gasp. "Please come back!" she cried. "Without you, what am I supposed to do now--?"
Wabasso's eyes suddenly flared blue. Charmian gasped and yanked her hand back just as words--I always followed you. I was always one step behind you. But I'm grown now. It was my turn to be one step ahead. Why did you go? What am I supposed to do now?--shot through her head. She rubbed at her fingers, eyes wide--the voice had been Manabozho's. But--she'd never heard him say anything like that! Where could that have come from--?
Wabasso was staring at her--or rather, through her--as if he'd just been struck dumb. The blue glow faded slowly from his eyes and he blinked a few times, then looked around himself, dazed.
"'B...'Bozho..." he whispered, then looked down toward the water. His brow furrowed and Charmian moved to stand beside him; their reflections rippled.
"Branches," Wabasso said, in the same perplexed voice. "Something...something dark, like smoke."
Charmian's eyes lit up. She grasped his wrist again and nodded. "That's it! That's right!"
"'Bozho was there." He looked skyward as if seeing something. "Trees all around...black and white..." His stare drifted back down toward the water rippling in the pool, the mist from the fall getting them damp. He shivered and rubbed his arms.
"I feel cold," he murmured. "And...I cannot breathe."
Charmian continued nodding, clasping him tighter. "That's it!" she said softly. "You're remembering!"
"Everything is dark now..." He stared at the water for a few moments, confused, then turned his head to look at her. His eyes searched her face, up and down, then he furrowed his brow slightly.
"Char...Charmian...?" he said, tentative.
Charmian took in a shaky breath. Then her eyes filled with tears, and a smile spread across her face. She nodded, the tears spilling from her eyes.
"Yeah!" she whispered. "That's me!" She rubbed at her eyes. "You see--? You do remember!"
He continued staring at her for a moment, as if not quite positive, then looked again toward the pool. "But...how could I forget all of that...?" he murmured. "It is almost like...none of it ever even happened...how would I forget?"
"It's the Spirit Land." Charmian drew his attention back. "They told me. The longer you're here, the more likely you are to forget. You didn't want to remember how you died--so you forgot everything after that, and anything having to do with that."
"Chakenapok," Wabasso blurted out, and started rubbing at his arms again, shaking as if with cold. Charmian started pulling him away from the fall. "He...he is the one...?" he asked, voice cracking, as they went; Charmian winced but said nothing. "He is the reason why I died...?"
"Malsum's the reason why you died," she said, and they stepped down onto the grass. She turned to face him. "He knew that without you, we can't fight him, and we can't get Chakenapok back. That's why I'm taking you back with me. Pauguk said it was okay--so we're going back to the living world."
He slowly pulled his hand free. "But...if I died..." He looked around himself hesitantly.
"It's okay." She took his wrist again. "You have to come back." She stepped to the side so their eyes met, and she gave him the most pleading look that she could. "Wabasso," she said, "I need you to want to come back with me--otherwise, it won't work. You have to want to return, and leave this behind. I really need you to do this for me. Please, Wabasso? Can you try?"
Wabasso bit his lip. He fiddled with his necklace, and peered back toward the glade with the spring. Charmian saw the reluctance on his face, and quailed a little. She stepped in front of him again.
"Manitou Island," she said. "'Bozho, and Puka, and Mudji, and Noko. They're all back there waiting for you."
He looked at her again, hope in his eyes. Then it dimmed, just slightly.
"But...Mother is not," he murmured.
Charmian bit the inside of her mouth. She slowly shook her head.
"No," she said quietly. "She isn't."
Wabasso's shoulders sank and his stare drifted toward the ground. Then he lifted it just slightly, and looked at something at Charmian's side; she glanced down and saw that she held his flute. He looked at the one that he carried, then reached for the real one, lifting it up before him. He ran his fingers along the smooth wood.
"I carved this when I was little," he said softly. "Mother cut the tree I took it from...and 'Bozho stole it from me once." A faint smile came to his face.
"He said he couldn't play it," Charmian said.
His head popped up and his eyes went wide. The next thing she knew, he was laughing.
"No, he could not," he admitted. "When he tried, it sounded like a sparrow being strangled!"
A grin spread across Charmian's face and she started laughing too. "I bet he'd like hearing that from you in person," she said, at which their laughter died, and he wiped a hand across his eyes. He smiled and handed the real flute back, tucking the other one away.
"Yes," he murmured, "I think he would." He sniffed and lifted his head to look at her, taking a breath and letting it out. "All right," he said. "I will go with you."
Charmian's face lit up and she nodded. She took him by the hand and waved. "Come on! We'll be alive again in no time!"
They made their way back up the trail at the other side of the valley, and back through the woods that Charmian had traversed earlier. When they reached the smaller valley that she had walked across from the Spirit Road, she wasn't sure of which direction to take, and they stood looking about themselves, rubbing at their heads.
"I have to admit, I'm not quite sure what to do now," Charmian murmured. A look at Wabasso produced only a shrug.
"I have...never been dead before," he said somewhat meekly.
She turned and looked around them. The elk from before were winding their way back toward the valley, and on a whim Charmian waved her arm and whistled loudly. They halted and the lead elk gave her a disapproving look.
What? he snapped, and she jumped.
"AGH!!" she exclaimed, Wabasso echoing her surprise. The elk frowned and she rubbed at her head in embarrassment. "Um...sorry," she apologized. "I was...just wondering, if...you might know the way out of this place? We have to get back to the living world. I'm not sure which way to go."
Lots of people who first come here claim this, the elk snorted.
"I know, but I have express permission," Charmian protested. "Pauguk said it was okay. So which way do we go?"
The elk snorted again and tossed his head. Do we look as if we know such things? Ask the Road itself. If anyone knows a way it will be the Road.
Charmian blushed. "Thank you," she mumbled, but the elk merely gave a loud whistle and led his herd on its way. She frowned a little. "I think I know somebody he'd get along with pretty well," she said, then waved at Wabasso and started toward the little dirt trail. "Come on then...this way."
They walked up the trail, and it grew wider as they went. They reached the top of the hill and started walking through a growing mist; Charmian looked down when she noticed Wabasso clinging to her arm, and then looked up to see him glancing furtively from side to side, feathers flaring. As soon as he noticed her curious stare he let go, blushing and ducking his head. "Um...sorry."
"It's okay." She made a face. "After everything I went through on this Road--I think I know the feeling!" She knelt down and placed her hand against it, reaching for her tobacco pouch and sprinkling a small amount across the gravel. "Road? It's me, again..."
She sensed familiarity, and felt some relief. At least it was responding this time. "No hard feelings about earlier, all right?" she said. "I was just wondering...how we get back from here. Is it a four-day walk? I mean, now that I have him, you aren't going to pull any more tricks, are you...?"
She sensed the negative, then felt her head being steered sideways. The mist thinned and a side trail opened up on the right some ways ahead. She furrowed her brow on seeing it.
"A shortcut," Wabasso said suddenly, his words echoing what she was thinking. "The way back does not take four days--only the way here."
"No more tricks, either," Charmian added, and let out a sigh. "All right then...thanks, Road." She sprinkled a bit more tobacco, felt a vague thank you, and then put the pouch away and got to her feet. "Shortcut it is, then," she said, dusting off her hands. "And let's just hope it's nothing like Marten's."
Wabasso smiled slightly and followed as they started walking along the path, the rest of the Road vanishing as they did so. The mist grew thicker, and Charmian felt Wabasso take her hand; she grasped his in return, actually grateful for the company, and hoped that the Road would keep its promise of no more tricks.
"I still cannot believe that I had almost forgotten," Wabasso murmured.
"It's not your fault," she reassured him. "It happens to lots of people. Manabozho will just be glad to have you back."
"It was almost as if none of this had ever even happened," he continued. "Even now, it is as if this mist is in my head, clouding everything; none of it feels as if it were real."
"Once you get back it'll start to return to you. And then we can take care of everything." She looked back at him. "'Basso?" He lifted his head to meet her eyes, a questioning look in his own. "Thanks for coming with me," she said, and he blinked, then flushed a little.
"I want to," he said, and smiled.
Charmian smiled in return, then turned back to face the trail. "I don't know how long it is...but anything's better than four days! By the time we get back I'll probably be starving to death--no pun intended!"
"You went through a vision just to reach me here...?"
"This is kind of the only way I could get here. Right now I'm probably drooling all over Arch Rock." She laughed. "When I wake up, I bet 'Bozho will be drawing things all over my face...maybe you can play your flute and knock him out for me..."
Wabasso's grip on her hand began to loosen, and she heard him suck in a breath. "Charmian--?" he said, in such a voice that she halted immediately, and looked back at him. Her eyes grew wide and her mouth fell open.
She could see right through him!
"Wabasso--?" she blurted out stupidly, and whirled around. He lifted his free hand before his face and stared at it with wide eyes--she could see his face through his hand! And behind him she could see the Road and the mist--even as she watched, he started rippling and growing fainter, and his head jerked up, panic entering his eyes.
"Charmian--!" he cried out. "What's--"
"Wabasso!" She tried to grip his hand tighter--only to realize, to her horror, that there was nothing there to grip anymore. She stared him right in the eyes as he faded, and dashed at him, throwing her arms around him. "Wabasso--!"
"Charmian...!" Wabasso's voice echoed faintly, as her arms went around nothing, and with that he vanished.
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