Light spilling on Gale’s face woke her. She opened her eyes, sitting up. Brian stood smiling down at her. At least the being which had once been Brian. She gasped.
“It’s over,” he said.
“Brian?” It now looked to Gale that Brian was made of glass, or ice, a perfect sculpture rendered of the flesh and blood he had once been. Pulsing blue light shone from within him, back-lit the sapphires which were his eyes. His silver hair cascaded over his shoulders, carrying the same light, reminding Gale of fiber-optic filaments.
“We’ve won,” Brian said. He held out a hand and Gale took it. She felt a tingling akin to a mild electrical charge leap up her arm.
“Are you okay?” she asked.
“Yes,” he said. “And you’re not hurt?”
“No.” She shook her head. “What’s happened?”
“It’s over,” Brian said. “For now, the Darkness is gone.”
A new thought struck Gale. “The machines!”
“Destroyed. All of them,” Brian said. “But the Music has been damaged. It must be restored.”
“Those energies which protect this world and this reality from the Darkness, that restrain its influence. That shield has been broken. Another must take its place.”
Gale couldn’t take her eyes off Brian. He took her face in his hands and kissed her. The resulting shock caused her knees to buckle, but he held her up. It felt good.
“I have to go, Gale,” he said. “I’m the shield now. I’m the barrier.”
“I have to.”
“But won’t I ever see you again?!”
“Of course,” Brian said. He smiled. “Until then, you can see me every time you look up at the stars.”
The light within Brian flared brighter. He began to rise into the air. “Thank you, Gale,” he said. “For everything.” And then Brian was gone, as if he had never been there at all.