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Fay Thorsen sat on the log bench at the top of the cliff and tried not to think about ghosts.
The sky was September blue, the hardened blue that came with cold mornings and warm afternoons. Wisps of clouds traveled high and fast, heading south. Soon the swans would follow, beating their powerful wings, gliding just below the top of the cliff. Their haunting cries would fade like dreams in the night as they followed the river to warmth.
Closing her eyes, Fay tilted her face upward. The sun was still warm, though every day it grew colder and more distant.
The Yukon River thundered below, but she was too far from the edge of the cliff to see the water. She opened her eyes and turned her head slightly, and there was the river in the distance, a shimmering ribbon of glory twisting between palisades of earth and rock.
Without moving her head, she shifted her gaze to the trees at the top of the cliff. Yes, there he was. Sawyer Leduc, standing in her woods, looking as young as the last time she had seen him thirty-four years ago, before he disappeared.
And at the other end of Fay's bench, as insubstantial as the ghost in the trees, sat Jameshusband, friend and punishmentdead now for three long months, but looking as he had all those years ago, when they were all young, and life was so complicated.
Fay breathed deeply of the scent of sweet clover carried on the wind.
She might as well appreciate the last of the fall before she lost her mind entirely.