George felt the call of another place. It came from a door no one but he had ever stepped through. Once he found it, he was almost certain he’d never come this way again. It was immeasurably sad, and yet when he thought of her journey and the part he’d played, he couldn’t help but feel the warmest sense of pride.
“You were always meant to come here, Prudence,” he said. Ever since you were born, you’ve been drawing ever closer to the door that now awaits. It’s a beautiful thought, isn’t it? And yet just to think—you’ve already stepped through it. Not just once either, but more times you could count even if you had a thousand fingers to count them upon.”
“I don’t remember stepping through this door,” she said, “Are you sure it wasn’t a dream?”
George’s smile grew wide, and as his body began to fade, his teeth were as white as the stars.
“This is all just a dream, Prudence. Every second of it.”
“You mean none of this is real?” she gasped. Flapping her wings, she shook and hopped from one foot to the other as if she needed the toilet.
“Of course it’s real. It’s as real as the love in your heart, which is why you should never let it go to waste. There would be no such shame greater than to see the love you have wither like these leaves beneath our feet.”
Lifting her and her tiny companion from his back, he gazed at her with such feeling that he couldn’t help but shed a tear. She replied by shedding her own.
“As long as you don’t lose the magic you were born with, and the love it lets you feel, you’ll end up exactly where you need to be.”
Tilting her head to one side, she didn’t fully understand, yet she could see it coming together in her mind the way shapes formed in the clouds.
“You can be your own worst enemy at times. Most such as you are. It’s that fire in you. Never let it go out, but be careful not to burn yourself, child. For your sake and for others.”
Gazing first at the door that awaited her, and then in the direction of his own, George rubbed his head against hers and licked her feathers.
“Follow your heart, my dear girl, and don’t be afraid of how it makes you feel. Do you promise me?”
Blinking away the clouds behind her eyes, she smiled and replied: “I promise.”
“Oh, and tell him I said hello.”
“Tell who?” she spluttered.
“The one whose heart beats as if it were your own.”