I kneel over Emma, cradling her head in my arms. Amazingly, she was still alive when I reached her. But I can tell that she's in her last moments. The fire in her eyes is quickly fading.

"Brenda, I'll miss you." she says, her voice barely above a whisper.

"Me too, Emma."

"But I figured something out, Brenda, something important."

"What's that?"

"I figured out that you can control your destiny. Just not in the way we would like."

"What do you mean?"

"There's no way to avoid death. The time you die is fixed, and there's nothing we can ever do about it. But we get to choose how it happens, you see? It's like...cheating death...I...suppose..." it's getting hard for her to speak now and the tears that I had been holding back now flow freely, mixing with the dirt on my filthy face.

"It's all over now, Emma. The beasts turned back to humans after the mayor died. We're free now."

Emma smiled softly as the light in her eyes burned out. I close her eyes and cry. And cry. And cry. And cry. It seems like the sobs will never cease until I feel a hand rest on my shoulder. I turn to see a pair of familiar green eyes staring into mine.

"Oh, Jack..."