small figure standing uncertainly in the rain and the gray mist.
"Gin! I knew you'd come back! Oh I knew you wouldn't leave me forever!"
"Don't come any closer, mommy!" Gin said. "Please!"
'Oh, Gin—let me hold you, just once!" Gin shook her head.
"You can't, mommy. But I've got to go now. Tommy's waiting."
The child turned, and with elfin grace glided off into the rain. Julia ran—stumbling often as the wet grass tangled about her feet.
Gin ran too, fled barefooted, with the speed of the wind. In the eerie grayness she seemed part of the silver rain, part of the mist flowing along the tops of the wet grass. Her two short braids, drenched and dark, swung out behind her as she ran. In the milky opacity, another child, barefoot and overalled, raced to her side and joined hands with her.
"Children—wait! Please!" Julia shrieked.
She ran stumbling through the rain—and always the children, hands clasped, were just a little ahead. She lost them presently—and found, bewildered, that once again he had ventured down the trail to the edge of the pond.
She turned away from the loath sight of the water, gray and pelted with raindrops. Weeping, blinded, she stumbled against a solid body—a pair of arms encircled her.
"Good God, Julia!" Cliff said hoarsely. "What are you trying to do? Come on back—quick now!"
"Virginia," Julia wept. "Earthbound. Unhallowed, for ever and ever."
"I heard you scream," said Cliff. "Saw you running across the field in the rain. I yelled and yelled, but you didn't stop."
Faintly and very far away, a dog began to bark. Julia twisted loose from Cliff's embrace—pointed to the wet earth. Cliff stiffened, his face slowly whitening.
Two sets of tracks—the fresh prints of small, bare feet, led into the pond. Even as they looked, they were already beginning to fade under the pelting drops of the cold, heavy rain.