So their destiny, thread by thread, unravels: the studious alien, the old flame reborn young, the passionate sister, the beautiful wife, and the writer, bounded by the century of his birth, submerged in his memories. Of all of them only Jane, Julian’s “lil sis”, has suspicions, not of her friends, not of her brother, but of herself. Has she contributed to her brother’s buying Melissa’s story stock and barrel? Yet she, Jane, and Sarah, are living the perfect adventure, and, yes, Melissa, old-style, statuesque, her big eyes fixed on the future, her full lips half-open, adds something indispensable to their love. So the five of them live in three magic triangles, an alchemy of illusions, and perhaps, still, appearances: Julian – Sarah – Jane, husband and wife, and two lovers, Sarah – Jane – Melissa, three lovers, Gabrielle – Melissa – Jane, a fragile alliance. Jane knows that Elga – the ultimate mistress of their destinies – observes, her collective awareness surrounding every second of their lives, and more in-between. For Jane knows that the Coven exists, despite doubting that it exists anywhere but on Earth: she has her own interpretation, which she has so far not shared with anyone other than Sarah. Sarah does not want to disrupt Julian’s dream, events, she thinks, will do that in due time, there is no need to precipitate a crisis.
So, Julian writes his book, meets his editor, writes to his publisher. He plans to finish in the autumn and then go on a long holiday, with his wife. He wakes before dawn and starts working. Despite the atrocious weather that Spring, he is getting fitter. Sarah looks at her man with pride and some gentle irony. Being Jane’s lover has made her closer to him: she now sees his true nature, through Jane’s absolute femaleness she sees her husband machismo as through a prism: two beautiful souls she is lucky to love and be loved by in return. Besides, Jane is totally devoted to her brother, for her, loving his wife is a way to give herself to him… Sarah’s business is thriving, her gift for subtle mathematics, in this age of markets dislocation, has placed her top of the pack – and she knows how to take advantage of the incompetence of the “specialists”. She agrees with Julian about the holiday. Once the book is out there they will go away. The only question in her mind is about Jane. The logistics of the three of them going away together is of course problematic… As for the destination, she has already decided: they will visit Japan, and specifically Shikoku, the island of the 88 temples. There, in Tokushima, they will pay their respect to Kafka, and walk, hand in hand, on the shore. Sarah would like to have Jane with them then: South of the Border, West of the Sun.
Sarah has no secret for Melissa, who reads her friend as an open book. Melissa knows of Sarah’s and Jane’s love, and shares their most intimate moments. Her only goal is to protect Julian, to ensure he is not hurt, and, in that, she and Sarah are allies. At present she is waiting from Gabrielle a sign that she can meet Elga. Elga, the collective mind who appeared as the beautiful red-skin, dark-haired woman to Sarah and Julian, appreciates Melissa’s attention to detail, seriousness and timeliness. Melissa has worked hard, under Gabrielle’s supervision, to learn and understand the Coven’s rules of engagement. Later she is expected to teach the same to her friends, a task she is uniquely qualified to undertake. Melissa knows the meteorite that fell in the lake in the Urals was no accident: the myriads of small probes released by the explosion, have by now collected a mass of information on Gaia’s atmosphere, her evolving weather patterns, her changing temperature, as well as an astonishing archive of telecommunication across the small world. As a consequence Elga is well armed, and the Coven’s decision, when it comes, will be founded on scientific evidence. In the little old house where her body rests in its human form, Melissa sleeps, dreams, and converses with her own kind, under the benevolent protection of her teacher, Gabrielle.