* * *
Mrs. Slayton took Ella-Marie and Michael home where she fed them, got them out of their dirty, and in Michaelâ€™s case bloody, clothing and had each of them take a bath.
â€œOh!â€ Mrs. Slayton said to Michael after she had them fed. â€œOh! That man came by yesterday. He came by to talk to you. You need to not go out that plantation anymore. He said you vandalized that place. Mr. â€¦ uh â€¦ uh â€¦â€
She snapped her fingers.
â€œWhatâ€™s his name?â€ she said. â€œSaint somebody. He came by the house. He was very pleasant. We had tea. He said that you canâ€™t goâ”€â€
Ella-Marie gasped and looked at her mother in horror.
â€œYou invited him in!?!â€ she said.
â€œWell yes,â€ her mother said. â€œHe was very pleasant. Theyâ€™re going to set up a mortuary here. Theyâ€™re going to try to help Sanguis.â€
That mortuaryâ€™s gonna have a lot of business, Ella-Marie thought.
She turned to Michael.
â€œDonâ€™t go out there anymore, Michael,â€ their mother said.
â€œAll right, mom,â€ he said.
â€œFor goodness sakes, your fatherâ€™s already mad enough. When he heard you were vandalizing out there. Oh my goodness. He took his belt off right there and headed back for you room. And then you werenâ€™t there. You were both gone. He was so angry. Iâ€™m hoping heâ€™ll be better tonight when he gets home.â€
When their father got home, he was angry but their mother intervened. They were still supposed to ask permission before leaving the house for the next week and werenâ€™t allowed to use their bikes.
* * *
Jebidiah found Teddy and approached him with a plan. He suggested he take the shotgun and bring Teddy home. Then he would leave the shotgun on the porch. He suggested not telling Teddyâ€™s parents. They would assume somebody had stolen it, and they would never know who it was so it wouldnâ€™t be his fault.
Teddy said he would go home and say he didnâ€™t know anything about the shotgun. Jebidiah said he would tell his mother, as Jebidiah would, that they were out looking for Ella-Marie and Michael last night.
* * *
Jebidiahâ€™s mother openly wept when he came home.
â€œYouâ€™re all Iâ€™ve got left!â€ she cried. â€œYouâ€™re all Iâ€™ve got left!â€
* * *
Richard hid the shotgun heâ€™d washed off in the tree house before heading back to town.
He got a talking to when he got home and he explained he was out trying to be heroic to find Ella-Marie and Michael to help Mrs. Slayton feel better. He lied blatantly to his parents.
* * *
Teddy found his mother worried about him. He told the same lie that he had been out looking for Ella-Marie. She seemed quite pleased at that. She told him he was a brave boy for looking for the girl and his father would be so proud.
â€œWill he?â€ he asked.
She also asked him about the shotgun, telling him his fatherâ€™s shotgun had gone missing.
â€œDadâ€™s shotgunâ€™s missing?â€ he said.
â€œYes,â€ she said. â€œIt was gone yesterday. He came home and â€¦ and he was very upset.â€
â€œWell, I canâ€™t use it.â€
â€œIf I shot it, itâ€™d flip my wheelchair over.â€
She believed him and got a bath for him.
* * *
Billy had cleaned the axe and left it in the Slayton shed before going home and taking a nap.
Later that afternoon, Billy told his grandfather he was going to spend the night at Jebidiahâ€™s again. He talked to some of the other children, telling them he wanted to watch Jillâ€™s house. He stopped by to talk to Ella-Marie and Michael and got a look at the letter. Then he changed his mind and went to watch Mrs. Pinesâ€™ house.
It was well after dark when he saw a tall man appear out of nowhere at her front door and let himself in.
Billy the Vampire Hunter, he thought.
He left his hiding place and went in through the front door. It was dark within and there was no one in the living room. He turned on the light and looked around, crucifix in hand. He crept back down the hallway to the bedrooms.
As he approached Mrs. Pinesâ€™ room, the door to it closed. He turned the handle and pushed on the door but it didnâ€™t move.
â€œIs that you, Billy?â€ he heard a familiar voice whisper.
â€œI rescind your invitation Mr. St. Jordan!â€ Billy squeaked.
St. Jordan chuckled on the other side of the door.
â€œYeah, I figured that wouldnâ€™t work,â€ Billy squeaked.
â€œThis isnâ€™t your house, Billy,â€ St. Jordan said.
â€œI know!â€ Billy said.
A grinding noise came from the knob and then the doorknob suddenly spun in his hand as the latch connected again. He tried to turn the knob again and it just spun.
â€œBilly, you can live forever, you know,â€ St. Jordan said through the door.
â€œBillyâ€™s already gonna live forever!â€ Billy said.
â€œNot if he pursues this.â€
â€œBilly has the power.â€
â€œBut â€¦ can you save Mrs. Pines?â€
â€œBilly can try!â€
Billy kicked the door and heard the already damaged latch snap. The door flew open and he could just make out Mrs. Pines on her bed, St. Jordan over her, his mouth latched onto her neck. She was making some kind of mewing noises.
Billy pushed the button on the wall but the light didnâ€™t come on. He held out the cross.
â€œThe power of Billy compels you!â€ he squealed.
St. Jordan leapt away from Mrs. Pines, averting his eyes.
â€œItâ€™s only a matter of time!â€ he hissed.
He seemed to melt away and mist poured out the window.
When he checked on Mrs. Pines, he found her bloody but alive. She was still asleep.
* * *
â€œElla-Marie,â€ a voice whispered. â€œElla-Marie.â€
Ella-Marie opened her eyes.
â€œElla-Marie,â€ Tommy whispered again. â€œI know youâ€™re awake.â€
â€œI saw your letter,â€ she whispered back.
â€œI left it for you,â€ he whispered. â€œYouâ€™re supposed to see it.â€
She sat up in her bed. Tommy was standing right outside of her window again.
â€œYou have information for me,â€ she said.
â€œSt. Jordanâ€™s pretty safe,â€ Tommy said. â€œYouâ€™ll probably not ever figure it out. Iâ€™m even safer.â€
â€œCâ€™mon!â€ she said. â€œQuit playinâ€™ around. This is a lot more serious than you realize.â€
â€œIâ€™m a 10-year-old boy.â€
â€œThis is a lot more serious than you realize.â€
â€œItâ€™s very serious. Iâ€™m very hungry.â€
She felt around on the bed, finding one of the crosses sheâ€™d made, and picked it up. She also picked up a kitchen knife and cut her arm. There was a breath and she heard the boy lick his lips.
â€œElla-Marie, thatâ€™s not fair!â€ he said. â€œThat is not fair!â€
â€œIf you give me information, Iâ€™ll give you all you want,â€ she said.
â€œNo, you have to give first,â€ Tommy said. â€œBecause I donâ€™t believe you.â€
â€œThat is not how itâ€™s gonna work, Tommy,â€ she said.
â€œElla-Marie, I donâ€™t believe you,â€ he said.
â€œThat is not how itâ€™s going to work.â€
â€œIt is how itâ€™s gonna work â€˜cause I donâ€™t think youâ€™ll give me anything if â€¦ I donâ€™t want much but I donâ€™t think youâ€™ll give me any if you get what you need.â€
â€œI donâ€™t trust you.â€
â€œWhy donâ€™t you trust me? Iâ€™ll only take what I need. I wonâ€™t take no more, I promise. I havenâ€™t used my eyes on you, have I?â€
â€œNo you havenâ€™t. Youâ€™ve been a good boy.â€
â€œI have been a good boy. I could tell you two things.â€
â€œWhat would you tell me? I know you like me Tommy.â€
He looked down and rubbed one bare foot in the dirt shyly.
â€œYouâ€™re just tricking me,â€ he said. â€œI could tell you where St. Jordan is. I canâ€™t tell you exactly. But I can tell you something that youâ€™d figure it out â€˜cause youâ€™re smart, Ella-Marie. And I could tell you where I am. And if youâ€™re smart, youâ€™ll figure that out too.â€
â€œWhy donâ€™t you tell me,â€ she said coyly.
â€œBecause youâ€™re gonna kill me if I tell you where I am.â€
â€œWhy would I do that?â€
â€œBecause Michael hates me. Because Michaelâ€™s a bully. St. Jordan knows you killed his man. He knows who did it.â€
â€œWe were friends, Tommy.â€
â€œWe were friends. But you gotta give to get.â€
â€œMichael is your friend.â€
â€œMichael never liked me. He never liked me.â€
Ella-Marie put the cross on the dresser.
â€œElla-Marie,â€ Tommy said. â€œI could tell you a secret. Here. Iâ€™ll show you my trust in you. You have to be bit three times before you can change. But it feels really good.â€
â€œWell, I figured that,â€ she said.
â€œWell, you ainâ€™t been bit. Which means youâ€™re safe.â€
â€œI wouldnâ€™t be offering this if I thought Iâ€™d turn.â€
â€œOkay, well câ€™mon outside â€¦â€
â€œYou give me â€¦ one.â€
â€œI just did. I just told you, you gotta be bit three times.â€
â€œI need more than that.â€
â€œAnd I ainâ€™t used my eyes.â€
â€œYou know I need more information than that. You gotta give to get some.â€
â€œYou promise? You swear? You swear on Michaelâ€™s life?â€
She pointed to the cross on the dresser. Tommy thought on this.
â€œIâ€™m not doing this for you, Tommy,â€ she said.
â€œYeah, but youâ€™re gonna come kill me,â€ he said. â€œYouâ€™re gonna try. â€˜Cause you think this is wrong. Itâ€™s not.â€
â€œI wouldnâ€™t kill you because you have information I need. And Iâ€™ve got something you need.â€
She held out her bloody arm and he licked his lips again. He thought on it again.
â€œAll right,â€ he finally said. â€œIâ€™ll give you a clue to where St. Jordan is, but then you have to come outside. And you have to let me have something. And then â€¦ I will tell you â€¦ Iâ€™ll give you a hint where I am after that. Deal? I wonâ€™t even try to come in your house. I can come in you know, if I want.â€
â€œNo you couldnâ€™t!â€ she said.
â€œI can,â€ he said. â€œIt just ainâ€™t good. It hurts. It breaks. It breaks you. It breaks a man.â€
â€œOkay, fine. Fine.â€
â€œIf you renege, Iâ€™ll tell St. Jordan you know where he is and heâ€™ll just hide somewhere else. And youâ€™ll never find him. He could just dig a hole and put some dirt in it and lie in it in the middle of the woods somewhere. Would you ever find him?â€
â€œTell me where he is, tell me where you are, and we have a deal.â€
â€œYou have to accept what I tell you. I canâ€™t tell you exactly. Heâ€™ll know. And heâ€™ll destroy me.â€
â€œHow would he know?â€
â€œHe knows everything! Heâ€™s everywhere. You donâ€™t understand! Heâ€™s over 300 years old. Do you know how he lives so long? Because he makes traps like the plantation and stupid people, no offense, go out there, and then they spend all their time worrying about a bunch of coffins!â€
â€œYou knew the plantation was a trap.â€
â€œI mightâ€™ve told you last night but you werenâ€™t home. Yer momma was worried sick.â€
â€œYou had no right to come around here.â€
â€œYer momma and daddy, they argued so loud.â€
â€œI felt bad.â€
â€œFine. I agree.â€
He looked at her.
â€œYou know heâ€™s in town so I canâ€™t tell you that,â€ he said. â€œDonâ€™t ya? See, he knows. He found the coffin yâ€™all busted open already at the train station.â€
â€œDuh,â€ she said.
â€œHe checks everything. He is really smart. But he is in town. But heâ€™s hiding in a place nobody goes.â€
â€œThatâ€™s very vague, Tommy.â€
â€œI know! You know town. You know places people go and people donâ€™t. And itâ€™s in a building. How about that? Thatâ€™s a lot of information. Thatâ€™s more than I shoulda told you. Now you come outside and you let me â€¦ and you give me a little â€¦ you give me a little â€¦ a little food. Iâ€™m so hungry. Itâ€™s so good! Itâ€™s like chocolate, but 10 times better than chocolate. Itâ€™s so good!â€
â€œFine. Fine. Fine.â€
She got out of bed and climbed out the window. He put his hands on her shoulders.
â€œFrom my arm,â€ she said.
â€œThereâ€™s gonna be a prick,â€ he said.
â€œYouâ€™re gonna take it from my arm.â€
â€œNo no. Thatâ€™ll take a half an hour. Itâ€™s gotta be fromâ”€â€
â€œThis is what I agreed to.â€
â€œItâ€™s got to be from a majorâ”€â€
â€œBecause if not itâ€™ll take too long and then Michael, I know heâ€™s over there, listening. He canâ€™t hear but heâ€™s listening. Iâ€™m only taking a little bit, okay? All right?â€
She finally nodded.
He stood up on his tiptoes and leaned in, putting his mouth against her throat. She felt a prick that was very painful and then there was a warm pleasure that seemed to wash over her. It was almost orgasmic and seemed to fill her whole being. It was accompanied by a slurping or sucking noise. Then he pulled away from her. He held out a handkerchief. She snatched it out of his hand and held it to the left side of her neck.
â€œOkay,â€ he said. â€œNow. Iâ€™ll tell you where I am. If your gonna kill me, thatâ€™s fine. Iâ€™m going there tonight anyway. Thank you. That was really nice.â€
â€œWhere are you?â€ she said.
â€œIâ€™m still in the cemetery,â€ he said. â€œI donâ€™t think youâ€™ll find me. But I wonâ€™t tell St. Jordan I told you anything.â€
â€œOkay,â€ she growled at him.
â€œIâ€™m sorry,â€ he said. â€œYouâ€™ll understand.â€
She climbed back into her window and when she looked back again, he was gone.
* * *
The next morning, Wednesday, June 26, 1929, Ella-Marie had a handkerchief wrapped around her neck. Michael tried to question her about it but she put him off and they made arrangements for everyone to meet in the tree house.
â€œWhatâ€™d you do to your neck?â€ her mother asked when they were heading out. â€œIs that blood on it?â€
â€œNo, it just hurts,â€ Ella-Marie said. â€œIt just hurts real bad.â€
â€œAll right. If you have a sore throat, we have to take you to the doctor.â€
They went to the tree house.
* * *
Billy noticed Mrs. Pinesâ€™ door was still open the next morning. Fearing the worst, he went in and found the old lady in her bed. She told him she was sick and he got her some breakfast before he headed for the tree house.
â€œSo I see that the bargain has been made,â€ Jebidiah said when he saw Ella-Marie.
â€œYou let Tommy drink, didnâ€™t you?â€ Billy squeaked.
â€œThis is whatâ”€â€ Ella-Marie said.
â€œWhat did you do?â€ Michael said.
â€œThis is what I know,â€ Ella-Marie said. â€œSt. Jordan is in a building that no one goes into. Heâ€™s in a building in town that no one goes to. Tommy is still in the graveyard.â€
â€œI knew it,â€ Billy said.
â€œWell, we didnâ€™t look there,â€ Jebidiah said.
â€œThat would probably be the best place for him to hide, actually,â€ Michael said.
They realized there was an abandoned house with an old bait shop in the front of it on the south side of town near the railroad tracks. It stood next to the train station but had been abandoned for about 10 years. All of their parents always told them to stay away from it as it was still owned by someone. But no one had lived there for years. It was such a common sight for all of them they never really paid any attention to it.
Billy told them of his encounter with St. Jordan and how he had fought the vampire off. He noted the thing was trying to convert Mrs. Pines but ran away.
Jebidiah noted he was thinking of asking Jill if Tommy had any hiding places but, if the boy was back at the graveyard and was honest about it, that might be where they went. Michael wanted to go to the bait shop first and Jebidiah agreed they needed to get St. Jordan and end it, figuring out Tommy later.
They all headed out of the tree house, going the bait shop. Michael and Billy slipped by the Slayton house where Michael got the axe and Billy got a hammer. Then they all met near the bait shop. Jebidiah volunteered to keep watch once again and Billy reminded everyone to look for traps, reminding them of the traps at the plantation. While Jebidiah went to the front corner of the building, closest to town, the rest of them crept to the back door.
Billy tried the back door but found it locked. He quickly checked the windows in the back but found they were all latched. They discussed getting the door open and finally decided to just break in. Ella-Marie put her shoulder to the back door. They heard the latch snap and they were in.
They found dark, dusty, dirty rooms inside. There were two rooms in the back and the bait shop in the front. No furniture was left in the house but Ella-Marie soon noticed a trapdoor or pull down stairway in the ceiling. It might have once had a rope on it but it gone. There was a storage space up above.
Michael had to leap up to grab the edge of the drop-down stairs and pulled it down. As he did so, something tipped over up above and fell. Michael leapt to one side as a large washtub filled with metal junk fell where he had been standing, crashing to the ground.
â€œWatch out for traps,â€ Billy said again.
* * *
Outside, Jebidiah heard the loud crash. He looked around nervously and saw that Tim Bowman, the mailman was walking nearby and also heard the noise. He headed towards the house and Jebidiah went to intercept him.
â€œHi Mr. Bowman,â€ Jebidiah said.
â€œDid you hear that noise?â€ Bowman said.
â€œWell, I donâ€™t know, Mr. Bowman,â€ Jebidiah said. â€œIt sounded like it came from the station.â€
He pointed at the train station.
â€œI saw that when I was just hanging out,â€ he said, pointing at the broken window. â€œI thought the noise came from there.â€
Bowman seemed surprised at that and swaggered over towards the train station to investigate the new damage. Jebidiah watched him nervously.
* * *
The children had heard the conversation but, when they realized Bowman was leaving, they headed up the steps. Teddy watched from his wheelchair, trapped on the ground floor.
The terribly hot attic was empty except for a coffin. It was locked shut like all of the others theyâ€™d found. While Billy looked around, Michael smashed off the three staples and hasps with the axe. He flung open the casket and saw a man Billy recognized as St. Jordan. The vampireâ€™s eyes were open and he looked directly into Michaelâ€™s eyes.
Michael wanted to protect St. Jordan. He would do anything he could to protect him.
Ella-Marie leapt forward and stabbed a stake into St. Jordanâ€™s chest. Richard followed suit, stabbing a second stake into the vampireâ€™s chest. Billy took out his hammer and headed for the head of the coffin. Then Michael brought the axe down on Ella-Marie, the blade making a glancing blow against her shoulder.
â€œDonâ€™t touch him!â€ he roared.
â€œMike!â€ Ella-Marie turned around and said. â€œWhatever heâ€™s doing to you, itâ€™s not real! Get it out of your head! Please!â€
Billy ignored Michael and brought the hammer down on Ella-Marieâ€™s stake in St. Jordanâ€™s chest. Blood welled up around the wound and St. Jordan looked around wildly. Billy had pulled out the crucifix and held it between himself and the man. St. Jordan looked at Richard and, for a moment, the boy felt like he was losing himself in the manâ€™s eyes. Then he shook his head.
Teddy had flopped from his wheelchair below and was pulling himself up the steps to the attic space.
â€œWait for me, guys!â€ he called.
Ella-Marie pushed against Michael but he brought the axe down, and cut down the side of her leg and into her left foot. She screamed in pain and fell to the floor, blood pouring from the terrible wound. Richard, enraged at that, rushed Michael as well, pushing him back and away from Ella-Marie.
Billy put the crucifix directly on St. Jordanâ€™s face as he pounded the stake deeper into the vampireâ€™s chest. There was a hissing, crackling noise, like freshly cooked bacon. The stink of rotten, burnt flesh started to fill the room. More blood welled from the wound.
Michael hadnâ€™t noticed and swung away, missing Richard, who defended himself and punched the other boy in the face. Teddy finally reached the top of the steps and saw Richard and Michael fighting while Ella-Marie bled from a terrible wound on her foot. Confused, Teddy crawled to Ella-Marie, pulling off his shirt to try to bandage her wound. She ripped her shirt and tried to bind the wound herself. There was so much blood.
Richard attacked Michael again but the other boy swung the axe and struck him in the head. He stumbled to one side and Michael followed it up with another swing from the other direction, cutting into the boyâ€™s left arm, striking it in the upper arm and cutting through flesh and bone. There was a crack as the bone broke and Richard fell to the floor, bleeding horribly.
â€œI told you Iâ€™d live forever!â€ Billy shouted.
He struck the stake again with the hammer and St. Jordanâ€™s mouth opened in a silent scream. Black blood welled up from the wound as his arms and legs shook spasmodically. Then the flesh came off the bones, turning to dust and falling to the bottom of the coffin. The bones themselves only lasted a moment longer before they, too, sloughed away, leaving only the pile of dust with the stake sticking out of it and the crucifix lying atop it.
Michael shook his head.
Teddy struggled to stop Ella-Marieâ€™s bleeding as the girl groaned in pain.
â€œJebidiah!â€ Billy shouted. â€œGet in here!â€
Then he said the same prayer heâ€™d said over Vanzant. Michael dropped the axe and tried to help Richard. There was so much blood.
â€œI donâ€™t know what to do!â€ he cried out.
* * *
Outside, Jebidiah heard them call for him. He ran around to the back of the house. As he flung the back door open, he heard Tim Bowman.
â€œWhatâ€™s going on in there!?!â€ the mailman called.
Jebidiah ran in and saw the lowered stairway.
* * *
Teddy crawled towards Richard and tore off some of the other boyâ€™s shirt, trying to bind the horrible wound on his arm. He could see the boyâ€™s bone sticking out of the arm. Then Richard breathed his last and died. Michael tried to help Ella-Marie, using his shirt to tie off the wound.
â€œMike!â€ she cried out. â€œMike!â€
â€œIâ€™m so sorry!â€ he said. â€œI didnâ€™t know what I was doing!â€
â€œIs he dead?â€ she said. â€œIs he dead?â€
â€œI think so,â€ Michael said.
Jebidiah came up the stairs
â€œWhatâ€™s going on?â€ he cried out. â€œOh! Jesus!â€
He was followed by Tim Bowman. The postman looked around in horror.
* * *
It took the police a long time to sort out what happened and the investigation by Cleburne County Sheriffâ€™s Department was long and intense. The children were all separated and questioned. Billy told them the truth, claiming to be a vampire hunter and vampire slayer. He told them Michael had been controlled by the vampire and forced to do what he did. Michael claimed Billy had drawn a gun on him and forced him to do it. That story fell apart under questioning pretty quickly as none of the other children even mentioned a gun. Ella-Marie tried to claim Michael was trying to protect her, saying Richard tried to attack her. Teddy told police they were all innocent and when asked who swung the axe who killed Richard, Teddy claimed it was a man who got away before Tim Bowman got there. He was not believed either as he was the only child who mentioned a man. Police allowed Teddyâ€™s father to help with the interrogation and the man beat the boy nearly to death trying to get the truth out of him.
Michaelâ€™s fingerprints were found in the blood covering the wood axe.
* * *
Michael was held in the County Jail pending his trial, but Ella-Marie was allowed to go home after a short stay in the hospital. She found a note by the window in her room the first night she was back. It read:
Good-bye Ella-Marie. I canâ€™t stay here any longer because eventully yâ€™all will find me in my
hiding place. Iâ€™ll go on the road. But Iâ€™ll be back again someday because I know youâ€™ll be
waiting for me.
She never told the others. She didnâ€™t want to think about it ever again.
* * *
The murder trial was long and received nationwide attention, the papers calling it the â€œAttic Massacre.â€ Michael Slayton was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. He was in prison for 19 years before he was released in 1949 on good behavior. He was a broken man but reconnected with his sister.
* * *
Teddy Sanderson went back to his own life but eventually he became an author, moving to New York City and writing a book about what happened. Claiming it was the truth, the book was very well received, though it got a great deal of criticism for being obvious fiction claiming to be the truth. It sold very well though, and launched his career as an author.
* * *
Billy Hicks was committed to Bryce Hospital, a sanitarium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, as he refused to stop claiming he was a vampire hunter and would not change his statements about what happened in the Attic Massacre. He was there for six years. His grandfather died while he was in the sanitarium but Blitzer was still alive and lived a couple more years after his release.
Billy joined the church but then moved to New York City and started a semi-criminal organization to raise power and money to hunt vampires. He read Teddyâ€™s book and knew he lived in the city as well.
* * *
Jebidiah Pleasant, the only one of them not directly connected with the Attic Massacre, grew up with a strong interest in the occult thanks to the terrible events that happened in Sanguis. He moved to a bigger city and eventually opened an antique shop wherein he specialized in strange, esoteric, or occult items. When he found particularly powerful or terrible items he hid them away.
* * *
Ella-Marie Slayton went through extensive physical therapy due to the terrible injury to her left ankle and foot. She gave up her hopes of being a professional athlete, but instead went into coaching. She ended up moving to Birmingham, got married, and had fraternal twins, living to a ripe old age and receiving her brother with open arms when he got out of prison.
In 1986, when she was 72 years old, she got very sick. The doctors didnâ€™t know exactly what the blood disease was, just that there was something strange in her blood. It was very odd and they didnâ€™t understand why she was dying.
One night, she awoke to find Tommy Hill in her hospital room, looking down at her. He was still 10 years old and, aside from his clothing, looked almost exactly like he did when last saw him over 50 years before.
â€œYou can live forever, Ella-Marie,â€ he said to her. â€œDo you want to live forever?â€
She took his face in her hands.
â€œNo,â€ she said.
â€œAll right, Ella-Marie,â€ he said softly. â€œAll right.â€
He kissed her on the cheek and she closed her eyes. When she opened them again, he was gone.
She passed away peacefully in her sleep shortly after.