Epilogue: Valley of a Thousand Flowers

Internal Report//24541//Lysandra Eldridge

Over the last several weeks, there has been a remarkable change in Lysandra's attitude and personality, noted by myself, Dr Harrison and Dr Clark. Gradual improvement has occurred since detainment to Red Block with reduced alter activity. Apparent personality merge is now likely as she has noted no new empty spaces in her memory. Furthermore, she claims to have no more visions of her deceased brother and father- most likely owing to the improved group techniques.

However, more notable have been the most recent changes. Lysandra now presents a more positive attitude, and seems to more easily socialise with other patients. Several visits home have produced favourable results, with no relapses. On the 18th, Lysandra will become an outpatient and return home permanently, though continued sessions with her local therapist are suggested.

Due to the care and techniques of Lily Valley, Lysandra Eldridge is a changed person, and should hopefully be able to integrate positively with society. And- though it is perhaps wrong to say this- the change seems to even have affected her physically. Her irises, an abnormal silver tone, appear even to have graded to blue. (Deleted)

Dr P. D Green//15.4//

The sun was shining as Lysandra lugged her bag down the gravel path, the little grey stones crunching dryly beneath her feet. She clasped it underneath with both hands, and heaved it up into the boot of her mother's car. She slammed the top down.

"It go in alright?" asked Andrea, her head appearing round the side of the driver's door.

"I don't have that much stuff, you know," said Lysandra, smiling in amusement.

Andrea grinned. "You ought to have got your friend over there bring it for you. Men like being chivalrous, no matter what they might claim." She tossed her thumb over her shoulder, where Blaze sat out of hearing distance on a wall with Mary-Rose.

Lysandra crossed her arms, and let out a deep thrumming "Hmm…" sound. "Blaze'll save the damsels, but I don't think he counts chivalry as lugging their bags around," she said. Blaze caught her eye, and he winked at her.

Gravel crunched from behind, and Selina approached, a wedge of paperwork in her hands. Today she sported hair that was a sky blue, and had on earrings that dangled down to her shoulders.

"That took some sorting out," she sighed tiredly, raking a ring spangled hand through her hair. "I thought they were never gonna let you go."

"You mean I'm free to go now?" Lysandra asked, the picture of excitement.

"Yeah," said Selina, watching the smile grow on her niece's face with satisfaction. "They won't come after you with needles now. I've done the paperwork- they can't fight that!" She patted the booklet sized wedge proudly, and flipped through it with her thumb. It let out a satisfying fwick! of success.

"I don't suppose you're sad that you're leaving?" asked Andrea, slipping out of the car seat to come stand by her daughter.

"Are you kidding?" exclaimed Lysandra, her eyes sparkling. "You send me back there and I'll make sure they give you enough paperwork to take up a lifetime."

Andrea laughed her booming laugh, putting a hand on Lysandra's shoulder. "Don't worry- you've leaving for good. Still, you got better, so they can't have been doing such a bad job, right?"

Lysandra said nothing, and glanced over to Selina, who smiled secretively at her.

Andrea placed her cool hand on Lysandra's cheek and surveyed her, reminding her daughter a little of a rigorous drill instructor.

"It's good to see you've got some colour in your cheeks," she said, apparently satisfied. "You're always so pale all the time. I know you moaned about it here, but they really have worked wonders with you; I swear you even look different."

Lysandra just smiled hesitantly in reply. She herself saw the change- it was inevitable that others would too. Since she broke the connection with the Otherworld, she had lost the ghostly touch on her cheeks. Her white lips seemed pinker- so much so that she'd been accused of wearing make-up.

She didn't care much about the changes. They didn't matter. Three weeks ago she had finally said goodbye to her deceased family; she had expected an emptiness and desolation like no other. When she had awoken on the cold floor she was all prepared for the shooting pain in her chest, the agony ripping through her veins.

It did not come.

Instead of emptiness; freedom. And instead of desolation, relief. All around her the world felt different, as though she was seeing it for the first time. Before, her world was hazy, clouded, covered by the veil of grief. Now her surroundings seemed clearer than ever, and it wasn't because her eyes had become more powerful. Before, she had simply looked at her surroundings. Now, she could truly see.

Her limbs felt light, as though she was still floating, and despite what had happened past the Boundary, that place now barred to her as if it had never been, she felt free.

Lesley and Alistair had died long ago, but she had continued to cling onto them. Starting that day, she could finally begin to move on.

The sun was shining now, the trees stirring in the breeze. I hope you're happy now, Dad, Alistair, wherever you are.

"Alright, let's go!" cried Selina enthusiastically. From out of the corner of her eye, she saw Blaze hop off the brick wall, Mary-Rose jumping down a few seconds after. They started towards her, and she set out to meet them.

"You going now?" asked Blaze, attempting to sound casual.

"Yeah, we're just about set," Lysandra said, ducking her head.

"Well…" he scratched at his arm, his eyes moving around nervously. "I guess I'll see you around then?" Though he spoke it like a statement, his words had a quiet lingering question.

Lysandra's face split into a smile. "Of course," she said. "It's about time you got some visitors, you know. People will really start to think you're a loser otherwise."

"Well they're right about that bit," said Blaze seriously, and they locked eyes with each other. But betraying his face, his lip twitched, and they both began to laugh.

"Come visit me too Lysandra," said Mary-Rose, bounding up from behind Blaze and looking cheerful.

"Sure," she said, showing her teeth. "But if they do anymore plays, you'll have to get this guy to help you practise your lines."

Blaze's face fell, and he glanced at Mary-Rose with distaste. When he saw she wasn't looking, to Lysandra he mouthed 'Do I have to?'

She nodded stealthily, a large smug smile plastered over her face. Mary-Rose looked around in confusion, but then gave up. She took Lysandra's hands in hers, and then startled her by throwing her arms around her neck, and smothering her in a hug. Lysandra let her do this for a few moments, and then struggled her way out of her arms, feeling like she was fighting a bear.

When she finally threw Mary-Rose off, the girl stood solidly and smiled triumphantly at her.

"Bye Lysandra," she said. "Visit soon! Friends, right?"

"Yes, friends," said Lysandra, who now realised how true that really was.

I have friends, she thought, as if in disbelief. She felt something warm and unfamiliar squirm in her stomach. It wasn't an unpleasant sensation, however.

"Lysandra!" yelled Andrea from the car. "Are you done? We've got to get going."

"One more minute!" Lysandra shouted, turning her head over her shoulder. She faced back to her friends, and her eyes met with the ground shyly. "Bye then Mary, Blaze."

"James," said Blaze quietly, and Lysandra looked up in shock.

"What did you say?" she asked, astounded.

Blaze flushed bright red, and rubbed the side of his neck. He looked very flustered, as though he wondered or not whether he was right to have spoken. "James Harwood. James. S'my name," he mumbled, quickly turning from red to the colour of beetroot.

He glanced up hesitantly, to gauge her reaction. When he saw her face however, he was so shocked he completely forgot to be embarrassed, and let his hands drop to his sides. She was as he had never seen her before; her lips turned up into a massive smile, eyes shining, a deep rich blue, her cheeks pink. She was smiling him the most human smile she had ever given.

He was bowled over.

"You finally forgave yourself!" she exclaimed, stepping forward and gripping his arm. "James!" she tasted the sound on her tongue.

He shook his head. "I haven't forgiven myself- I don't know if I'll ever be able to do that. Nobody can forgive themselves; it's not their decision to make. But…" he let the words drag on, his face lightening. "I think maybe I can move forward a little. You showed me that Lysandra."

She smiled gently at him. "I'm so glad."

"Lysandra! Let's go- come on!" said Andrea, and Lysandra locked gaze with her friends one last time.

"We'll see you soon, I hope," said James. "You promise?"

Lysandra held up her wrist, proudly displaying the friendship band that held the three of them together.

"I promise," she said. Then she turned and ran towards the car, her hair darting behind her. She slammed the door closed. She shot back one last look, the engine broke into life, and they glided away.

Above, at the top of the children's block, Molly watched Lysandra leave from the window, her hand pressed against the cool glass.

"Bye Sandy," she said, before she turned to look at a space on her shoulder. She giggled softly. "Yes, of course. Let's play!" With that, she disappeared into the air without a trace.

The leaves on the trees rippled in the wind, and Lysandra leant back into the leather seat, winding down the silent window. She closed her eyes. The cool breeze played with her hair, refreshing her. Andrea was humming.

"Hey, Lysandra, take a look at this," said Selina, leaning over the side of her seat from the front. Lysandra shifted forward, and followed her aunt's finger to the window. Her lips split into an expression of joy and pleasure.

When Lysandra had arrived, the grassy hills of Lily Valley had been barren, empty of life. During her visits home, buds had begun to form. Now, as she looked, it seemed as though an explosion of colour had taken place. Blue bells dotted the scenery; daffodils invaded in a sea of yellow; dead looking trees were dripping with magnolia flowers. The valley was alive, and Lysandra was astounded, speechless.

Dad, Alistair… the world lost its colour when you left, she thought, her eyes drinking in the sea of flowers around her. I've been blind. It was only my world that faded to grey. But I can see again now. I'll never forget you, but…

I have to live.

The sky was blue and clear. After the harsh winter, which had lingered for so long, the frost had finally cleared, and spring had truly arrived.

\--The End --/

A/N- Thank you for reading! If you've enjoyed the story, please drop me a review. If you didn't enjoy it, drop me a line anyway! I'm not entirely happy with this novel and am considering rewriting it under a more gothic genre... a kind of dystopian drug-addicted twist on our society, perhaps. And an vine-covered asylum that borders on the world of the supernatural. Perhaps narrated by Blaze (or James. :P) All in all, a much darker retelling. Let me know what you think. Critism is VERY welcome. I need help, guys.