THE THRESHOLD
by Ginger

Catherine sat on that park bench for what seemed like hours to her, reliving the incredible night before several times in her mind's eye. Halloween over, her costume and wig drew the occasional glance from passersby, but she heeded them not, so enthralled was she in the surreal dreamlike evening she had spent with her beloved. And to think that up until just minutes before, Vincent had occupied this very park bench with her.

As his name yet again sang through her mind, Catherine sighed with the emotions it stirred, earnestly wishing that the night would not end, that this feeling of magic and wonder could remain with her for just a few more minutes.

The glare of the morning sun had become insistent in its intensity, causing Catherine to squint; all at once, the mood lifted and vanished, and she was once again truly alone in the park. Left, as always, with a conflicting feeling of contentment and of frustration, her eyebrows drew closer together, then relaxed as she accepted the inevitable. Smoothing out the skirt of her costume once more, she drew herself up, and made her slow, reluctant way back home.

As she walked, she wondered what Vincent was doing at this exact same moment. No doubt he was feeling as she, devotely wishing that by the strength of their wills they could keep the sun from rising, the city's inhabitants asleep and unaware, and the day from vanquishing him to his world, her to hers. She imagined him leaning against a tunnel wall somewhere in that great labyrinthian place he dwelled, his mind on her as hers was on him, the space between them bearing the insufferable weight of what they could never be.

Reflecting somewhat upon the bleakness of that space, Catherine did not notice she had reached her floor until the elevator doors parted with a gentle noise, startling her out of her revere. Feeling all at once very tired, Catherine reached her door, opened it, and passed though. Slowly, she removed her costume and her wig from herself, laying both items across one of the two loveseats in the sitting area, removing further articles of clothing and preparing for sleep as she drifted toward the bedroom.

Donning a robe, she couldn't resist stepping out onto her private balcony, and to regard the city once more, to think of the landmarks she had shown to Vincent--ahh, that name again. Deciding to focus on him and foregoing the mood that threatened to oppress her again, she focused on his features, his voice, and she closed her eyes to center herself more fully. A tentative smile appeared on her lips, and feeling much relaxed, she prepared to leave the balcony, when she heard a shy knock at her door.

Trotting easily, she reached her front door, and opened it only to find that there was no one there--but an envelope, bearing her name in Vincent's easily recognizable eloquent handwriting. Apparently he had sent one of the tunnel children to deliver it on his behalf.

Her breath caught in her throat slightly; what could it be? Opening the flap of the envelope, she reached inside, found a small slip of folded paper, and opened that too. A moment later, and she walked purposely toward her closet, donned a warm, comfortable outfit, and made her way out the door.

The open letter, set atop its envelope, lay respectfully upon an end table. It read, simply: "Meet me at the threshold. --V."

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This piece of fan fiction was written by me for the discussion list [bbtv] in 1998, and archived at Tunnel Tales.