Pearce joins the other ghosts and assures them that everything is fine... now.
Morning comes, and Sapphire sits in the office alone.
Steel wakes up and finds himself back to normal, suspended in the doorway by nothing. He clears off a cobweb in the doorway and walks down the platform. He enters the station and goes into the office, and finds Sapphire sitting there unconscious. She opens her eyes and calls to Steel, who tells her to stay there and walks up to her. Steel asks why it's dawn, and Sapphire says that she has no idea. He says that she attacked him with flowers and asks for her hand. When Sapphire holds her hands out, Steel takes them and telepathically explains what happened. She ignores him and feels the desk, and finally says that she has work to do. Sapphire says that the girl with the flowers was an illusion projected through Pearce by the Darkness, and remembers the classroom and the girl, Eleanor. She remembers a flower and looks out the window, and says that it's beautiful and rare and she doesn't know why she remembers it.
Eleanor speaks through Sapphire, saying that she visited Pearce's grace. Steel asks Sapphire what the Darkness promised them, and she says that the Darkness promised that they could go somewhere but doesn't know where. He explains that there was a cobweb across the door when he woke and tells Sapphire to analyze it. Sapphire points out that the room is covered in a natural formation dust that only she can see, and figures that it would take 12 days to remain. Steel figures that they're twelve days adrift and checks Tully's sandwiches that were perfectly wrapped. They've spoiled, and Steel describes the barbed wire he was entangled in. The wire is gone but the cobweb isn't, and Steel says that the wire wasn't real. Sapphire points out that the dust is and figures that they were shunted forward in time and the ghosts and the Darkness is gone. She suggests that the Darkness could have kept its promise in the "missing" 12 days, and Steel wonders what it did to Tully.
Steel searches the station for Tully but doesn't find him. He figures that Tully was left behind when they were shunted forward, and Tully's voice speaks up, saying that he's there. The agents search for him without success, and he says that they're safe before he goes. Tully apologizes and says that the Darkness must have swallowed them up. He confirms that they're not injured and appears on the stairs. Tully takes Sapphire's hand and says that he abandoned them to get help. Steel wonders where he went, and Tully says that he looked for Steel and then fell asleep.
They appear in the office, and Tully is wearing a coat and packing his bag. He says that he was frightened and has to leave, and they tell him that his sandwiches have spoiled. Tully insists that he must leave and deny himself the chance to talk to "the others". Steel asks who he means, and Tully says that there are other ghosts who arrived just before he fell asleep the night before. Sapphire tells him that he fell asleep twelve days ago, and Tully says that there nine or ten new arrivals. When he tries to leave, Steel freezes him in place and asks why he has to leave. Tully tells him that he made a promise to the Darkness, and admits that he pleaded for his freedom and they gave it to him. Sapphire wonders why he's still there, asking why the Darkness made him sleep if it wanted him to leave. Tully doesn't know, and Sapphire unfreezes him. He admits that he's frightened and blames himself for deserting them. Sapphire sits him down and says that the Darkness and the ghosts are gone. Tully insists that the ghosts deserved peace after their bad luck and it isn't fair, and he's hoping for peace in his old age.
Steel telepathically calls to Sapphire to come with him. They walk out of the office and Steel figures that the Darkness is using time against them. Sapphire agrees and Steel points out that the Darkness must be around somewhere. She warns that she can't take time back twelve days, and Steel says that he wants the Darkness to take them back and asks if she can make contact with it. Sapphire says that she might but warns that it will cooperate, but Steel wants to make a deal with the Darkness. As Sapphire sits down, Steel says that the Darkness has to take the two of them back... and Tully.
Sapphire reaches out with her mind and finds the Darkness. She mutters Tully's name, and Steel goes back to the office and tells Tully to sit down and rest. Tully realizes that Steel doesn't want him to leave, and explains that he wanted to leave because his faith has been weakened. Much to his surprise, Steel says that he needs Tully and tells him to relax while he and Sapphire discuss private things. He then asks Tully if he has a family at home, and Tully says that he lives alone except for his cat Nelson. As he goes, Steel secretly takes Tully's cross.
Steel goes back to Sapphire and she warns that Steel could be face-to-face with the Darkness. He admits the possibility, and Sapphire tells him to be careful. She then tells the Darkness that they have something important to talk to it about. Outside, the ghosts line up on the platform.
Written by Gadfly on Jan 21, 2019