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how one word of her message had been encoded into the scarf, it was fairly simple to find the rest. As with the single word, the entire message was repeated again and again, in countless different patterns. The words revealed themselves to him one at a time, until the entire message at last emerged, a communication from the past to the present, from the dead to the living, brought finally to light in a different universe from that in which it had been created. Her breath whispered in his ear.

Love need not be spoken to be felt.

Galen looked down at the scarf clutched in his hand. He seemed to see it from a great distance, this dirty tan weaving, this insignificant piece of cloth. She excused him for his failing, excused him for being the repressed, inadequate, unfit Human being he was.

How had he shown her his love?

He had failed to prevent her fatal wound, and as she lay dying, instead of reassuring her with loving words, he had argued with her.

Her chest had labored to draw in air, to find in those last moments the breath to speak, to reassure him, to declare her love.

And then she had gone.

Her message made no difference. She might have forgiven him, but he would never forgive himself.

He saw her again in death, her face slack, tilted to one side. Her lips were slightly parted, her grey eyes blank and cold. The partially healed cut ran down the right side of her forehead into her thin brow. Her skin carried an odd shininess, a sense of artifice.

I could not hove lived, her voice whispered to him, knowing that I did not protect you.

He forced himself to withhold the cry that wanted to escape, to contain the furious energy that burned through him. He was shaking. But he could not bring down the fire. It might be detected. He retreated into
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