She stopped when she reached the end. From where she now stood, Isobel could just make out the silhouette of Poe’s old grave, recognizing its shape from the grainy photo of the Poe Toaster. Thick and heavy-looking, like a milestone marker, the solemn stone stood between two squat, snowcapped shrubs.

Even though she could not make out the writing on the face of the stone, the tiny figure of a raven engraved into the top curved portion left her with no doubt that it was the one she sought.

Unable to see the base of the grave due to the shrubs, Isobel could not tell if the roses had been left. But she could still hear the nearby jumble of voices as the talking and laughing continued to grow in volume.

Crouching low, she poked her head out slightly and peered around the side of the tomb, leaning forward just enough to catch sight of the crowd that watched from beyond the Greene Street gates.

They stood huddled together in a tight cluster, gloved hands wrapped around the iron bars.

Most of the onlookers wore heavy coats, hoods, and ski caps, but there were several decked out in long Victorian-style cloaks as well. At least one of the men sported an old-fashioned top hat. Thick scarves wrapped their throats, while plumes of white breath accompanied their loud talking.

Isobel saw that some of the watchers held cameras; the lenses glinted silver in the glow of the streetlamps, and the red dots of power lights pierced the darkness like demon eyes.

She sank slowly back into her hiding place, aware that one wrong move on her part would no doubt unleash a flurry of flashes. She knew the observers had to be combing the spaces between tombs and scanning the landscape for even the slightest hint of movement among the gravestones. And that fact alone was enough to allow her a small measure of relief.

Reynold’s fan club wouldn’t still be here if he’d already come and gone, right? If he’d already paid tribute, the crowd would have dispersed by now for sure.

Then again, Isobel thought, maybe not.

Taking a brief glance back to the place where Poe’s marker stood, Isobel saw that the view from the Greene Street gates to Poe’s old grave was completely blocked by another aboveground tomb. No one watching from the street could ever get a clear shot, just like Mr. Swanson had said. And that had to be why so few pictures of the Poe Toaster existed.


Still, something told her the group wouldn’t be waiting, watching with an almost palpable, nervous excitement, if they weren’t expecting something to happen at any moment.

Isobel’s ears perked up when one of the voices emanating from Greene Street, a man’s sturdy baritone, lifted above all the others and began to recite lines from “The Raven.”

“Nothing farther then he uttered—not a

feather then he fluttered—

Till I scarcely more than muttered, ‘Other

friends have flown before—

On the morrow he will leave me, as my

Hopes have flown before.’

Then the bird said, ‘Nevermore.’”

She wrapped her arms around herself, tucking them in close in an effort to fight off the cold. Willing Reynolds to appear, she kept her eyes on Poe’s grave, and as she listened to the poem, it occurred to her that some of the watchers might have come to the graveyard in previous years. It was possible they knew something she didn’t since they congregated at the side gates of the cemetery rather than the front where she and Gwen had first entered. Maybe they were hoping to catch a glimpse of Reynolds as he wove his way through the cemetery grounds.

It made her wonder if she should try to get closer now. Or was it better to wait here, at a distance?

In the end, she knew making a move sooner rather than later wasn’t worth the risk of being spotted. Besides that, there was no telling from which direction Reynolds would enter the cemetery, if he hadn’t already. How could she know when she had witnessed Reynolds creating an entry between his realm and hers only once before.

He had done so from the midst of the woodlands on that first occasion Isobel had found herself within the dreamworld. He’d fixed one gloved hand around an imaginary knob, and the door had appeared at his silent behest. And then he’d opened it to reveal the interior of Isobel’s very own bedroom.

Though she knew that he could pass from one reality into the other, how he did it still baffled her. If what he had said about the worlds becoming separate when she’d broken the link was true—if the dimensions once again became parted, untraversable from either side, then what allowed him the ability to pass back and forth at will? Furthermore, what prevented her? Or Varen?

Isobel frowned at that question.

Apparently, there was not much that could prevent Varen. Hadn’t he and Pinfeathers already proven on more than one occasion that there were other ways of reemerging into this world?

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