The darkness around you seems to draw away suddenly. You look up, and your eyes settle on the figure sitting on the altar in front of you. It smiles, and you realize now that the smile you once found terrifying now looks benevolent. You wait for the fear to overcome you, to choke you from the inside like it has so often on this night (this awful night), but it doesn't come. Surprised, you uncurl yourself from your protective ball and look up the creature cautiously.

"Now you're ready," it encourages.

And suddenly, you feel ready. The words don't make sense to a casual onlooker, but finally you understand them. You push yourself into an upright position on the floor and continue to look up at it. There is no fear, no hatred, no panic, no disgust. An overwhelming calm seems to have overcome you.

"See?" asks the creature. "You're fine."

Yes, you are fine. No, that's not it... You're different.

You're finally ALIVE.

Before, you couldn't understand what that term meant. It was something people said and something that just happened even if people didn't want it to. It meant having a pulse and taking deep breaths and living inside a warm and comfortable body. But now the meaning has taken on something knew. What you once took for granted now makes you grateful beyond words.

It dawns on you what the difference is between now and then.

You feel whole.

You stand up, empowered. For a second you look at the creature, which continues to smile encouragingly at your. Before, you would have thought it was necessary to say something. Before, you couldn't comprehend this feeling.

You almost speak up, almost. But then you know suddenly that it doesn't matter. Thanks is going out and being alive like you were taught to be alive. So you turn on your heel and walk away from the altar. As you step outside, the moon shines down on you as brightly as you've ever seen it.

But you were only a human then.

You begin to walk away, and you can't help but notice how long the shadow of the steeple behind you seems to be.


Author's notes: Well, this is it folks. It's been a long ride, but I loved every second way more then I had the right to. Writing Steeple and thinking Steeple changed a lot for me, and I think that I like these changes. I'm very happy to have gotten to work on this. It's like my child! Believe me, I was devastated when I missed Steeple's one year anniversary. For some reason I started thinking I began it in the summer, but that wasn't the case, and from there I was pretty much screwed. But I am so glad I wrote this. It's amazing to see how much my writing has evolved. I just love it!

My favorite chapter is the one where... people... do stuff, I guess. God, that would be like asking me to pick a favorite breath I took - impossible.

And in case anyone was wondering, NO, I did not cut this short because I'm a lazy bastard. I've had it planned to stop on chapter thirty for, I believe, over a year now. Notice how I've been subtly mentioning it in the first sentences? No? well go back and check.

Thank you dearly to all of my reviews. You've made this possible more than you could ever realize. I appreciate each and every one of you.

Good-bye reviews please? I promise I won't cry! (I probably will. God, I'm such a cheeseball.)