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He had let everything else go, picked her up, and carried her down the hill beside the house and the passageway to the small beach, where he’d sat her in the rocky sand so that she could breathe in the fresh air — where he could attempt to breathe in air. He sat on the log near her. Not too close. He was unsure now.

When she looked up at him, her eyes pulled him into some kind of void within himself. The intensity of them made him feel as though, for a second, he was actually feeling what she was feeling, a violent storm of warm lights — spiraling; was that her or him? For that brief moment, he thought he would follow her to the ends of the earth. It almost seemed genuine; though he knew it was not. Still, he lingered in the illusion of it.

It was clear she didn’t know what she possessed. Everyone else felt it. As well as the animals. It was magnetic and as lunacy-provoking as the moon. She was invaluable, and Layton would find the key to unlock her.

She was magnificent.

He’d watched her break into a million pieces every time she’d gone into her room alone, shining in the dark, and then built herself back up again. And every time, she had come out to her people with a sober face, only to give them something they needed, a little life. There was an intense ever flow of crashing waves in her soul, a force as vital and vivacious as blood, blood that brings nourishment and oxygen, with the power to live and grow, create life. It was the source of life and essence of vitality. If only she knew.


She had the Vitality of blood.