Upon their second encounter, the Presence was inaccurate in his supposition that their reunion would be swift. In fact, after that brush with death, Keinah’s grandmother reached out to anyone she could find in the province. An older sister took heed and sent money for medicine to heal her. Keinah became a well-child and entered the domestic duties of helping her grandmother clean houses.
One evening, Keinah attempted to wash windows in a rich man’s house with a high vaulted ceiling. She did not make sure the balance beam was stable before walking across. Her weight caused the structure to collapse, and she hit her forehead on a large stone once she crashed to the floor.
In the meantime, the Presence waited patiently for Keinah’s return to the ocean shore. It was of no consequence that nearly a year and a half had passed. Suddenly, the evening breeze brought in a familiar, vividly sweet honey-dew fragrance. The Presence immediately recognized that Keinah had finally returned. It was a startling revelation to see that she was no longer the frail tot in a dingy blue dress. She was lanky and wore proper undergarments for a girl her age. She no longer had matted braids, but a few loose plaits on top of a crown of frazzled, flowing long curls.
Impulsively, the Presence almost revealed himself to her without taking human form. She turned to see where the noise came from. He hid behind a tree, then consciously transformed his appearance to imitate her physical development. Once he felt satisfied with the improvements, he eased from behind the tree and quick-stepped after her.
“Perhaps she has passed away by now.” He thought to himself.
Keinah skipped over to the water.
“I’ve never seen the water at night. The stars shimmer like a thousand diamonds.” She marveled.
He stood beside her and grabbed her hand again. “Do you like gems? Emeralds are by far superior if the dazzle effect arouses you,” he boasted.
She tilted her head with squinted eyes in confusion. “You are not from around here, are you?” She asked.
“No. I am from far away, on the other side of the se, “he chuckled with delight. She tightened her grip on his hand and pressed for more answers. “What is it like way over there?”
He pulled her into the warm water until they were waist-deep and replied, “It is majestically beautiful and mostly peaceful. You would love it, I am certain.”
He had become intoxicated by her scent. To his kind, it would be blasphemous to concede that he was now infatuated with this human girl child. He resolved to hide the truth from her for as long as he could. “I am a fisherman. I rake this side of the sea for fish,” The Presence answered and hoped his false tale would quench her curiosity.
Fear was not an emotion that he had ever confronted. From this encounter alone, he considered the risk of revealing his dispiriting secret. He did not have the courage to break her heart. “If she knew the whole truth, she might distrust me, and thus refuse to journey over the other side of the sea.,” he thought.
Abruptly, a loud cry drifted from all over the beach. It was Keinah’s grandmother. The gut-wrenching wails rested heavily on their hearts. Keinah leaped to her feet, sorrowfully looked at Vadiim and said, “I must go now, Grandmother is calling for me.” As she turned to walk away, Vadiim stopped her for a last embrace. She tearfully said goodbye and pulled away from him. Not long after, she vanished into the air.
Unbeknownst to them, Keinah slept in the local infirmary, knocked unconscious for nearly five days. Soon she would learn that the blow from her fall brought an onset of epilepsy because of the brain trauma.
The Far Side of Hereafter, Ch. 2