Vanni frowned and looked all around him.  It was dark.  There was no moon and the streetlights were too far off to light the cemetery.  He didn’t like it.  He felt like anyone could sneak up on him.

 As if the dark thoughts had summoned up trouble, Vanni was surprised by strong arms around his chest.  Another hand covered his mouth.  He was half-dragged, half-carried over to a ditch that the autumn rains had filled with water.

 Suddenly, he was pushed beneath the water.  He struggled to get away; to hold his breath in.  In the end, he could do neither.  Air escaped in fat bubbles, quickly replaced by murky water.  Vanni’s struggles eased as cold filled his chest.

 Then he relaxed.  Suddenly he was warm.  He sat up in shock and looked around frightfully.  “Giovanni,” a familiar voice greeted.  “It’s too early.  You have to go back.”

 “What?” Vanni looked around and found that he was still sitting in the ditch.  Not far off a man was running away as two other ran toward him.  He recognized them immediately as his father and godfather.  He looked for whoever had spoken and found a girl standing not far off.

 “Giovanni, you have to go back,” she said, pointing to where his father was kneeling on the ground over a lifeless form.

 Suddenly, Vanni recognized the girl.  “Lissa?” he said.  He stood and took her hands.  “Lissa, it’s you,” he said.  He leaned against her and smiled.  “I’ve missed you.”

 “I’ve always been there but you need to go back.  I’ve waited for you for a long time.  I can wait a little longer.  Your father needs you.  Go.  I’ll wait,” she promised.

 Vanni nodded and suddenly a force caught him up and he was cold again.  He was coughing, gagging and vomiting up the water that he’d swallowed and inhaled.  Strong hands rubbed his back and soon he relaxed.  “Dad?” he whispered hoarsely.

 “Thank Gaia,” the older man said.  “Are you hurt, son?”

 “I think I’m alright,” Vanni replied.  He rolled over so he could look at his father.  “I saw Lissa.  She said… she said she’d wait, that it wasn’t my time yet.  She said you needed me.”

 Suddenly he was caugh in a bone-crushing embrace.  “I do need you, son,” his father murmured.  “I don’t say it often.  I don’t say it near enough.  I take you for granted but I can’t imagine what I would do if something happened to you.”

 “I love you too, Dad,” Vanni whispered.