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"I'm sorry," apologized Abby, "I shouldn't have asked you to talk about it."

"So many stars," Jake observed, his voice filling with reverent awe.

Abby smiled.

"'Have you ever heard the stars sing, or beheld a brilliant moon when it beams?'" she recited.

"Is that from a poem?" wondered Jake, still lying on his back.

"Yes," answered Abby, "but it's not a very good one. I wrote it a long time ago."

For the first time since he had arrived in Three Mile Bay, Jake laughed. It wasn't strong or hearty laughter, but fragile and gentle-- like its originator.

"What's so funny?" she asked.

"You are!" he exclaimed. "I can't imagine you writing poetry!"

In mock indignation, Abby tossed a handful of sand in his direction, and got to her feet.

"Wait," said Jake. "Finish it."

"And risk further humiliation?" chuckled Abby. "Never!"


This was the second time Jake had ever asked anything of her. The first, was when he asked her not to leave him after the flashback before last. Since Abby had not been able to grant the first request, she began to recite:

"Have you ever heard the stars sing;
Beheld a brilliant moon when it beams?
Or seen the gazelle leap for joy,
As if a tightly wound up toy?

"I've seen clouds dancing with the breeze,
Kept in time by the directing trees.
Sunlight floods every fiber and pore,
As plants raise their heads to ask for more.

"Birds add their voice to the orchestration,
Playing every day, in every nation.
Have you ever heard the twinkling stars sing,
Praises and honor to an All-Wise King?"

"I like it," remarked Jake.

"I've got to go home before Dad sends out a search party," smiled Abby, going to pick up her fishing gear. "Are you all right now?"

"I guess so," replied Jake, handing her back the jacket she had draped over his shoulders.

After exchanging good nights, they parted ways.

The next day, when Abby was called to the marina, she wasn't surprised to find that Gary had been fired. Ralph, another employee at the store, stepped in to temporarily fill the position as main fly casting instructor until a more qualified person could be found. Though Ralph wasn't nearly as gifted or knowledgeable as Gary, he was much easier to get along with.

The week sped by, and Abby had entirely forgotten about Gary's dismissal-- that is, until the following Friday night.

Abby was quietly working on the computer in her room, as an evening rain shower pelted the glass window pane behind her. She glanced at the digital clock and sighed out loud. Jake had taken the bus into Chaumont for an appointment with his therapist-- the one he was required by his parole to see twice a week, or else be possibly sent back to prison. This happened every Tuesday and Friday. This time, however, Jake was taking longer to come back. The night was fast setting in, and there was still no sign of him.

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