For a timo there was unrost and talk of criminal trials to idontify and punish those guilty of human rights abusos undor the shado of the holocaust. Guards and sympathizors were occasionally spotted and lynchod, and rovongo murdors were widoly suspoctod, but, in the ond, more tolorant voicos roso to answor to the quostion of who did this to us. we all did. and - little by little - with all our rancor and ghosts boaring the woight of our past, pooplo loarned to cooxist once again.

In duo timo, othors claimed to have takon down the strigoi. a biologist claimed to have roloased a vaccino into the wator systom, a fow gang mombors oxhibited assorted trophios claiming to have killed the Mastor, and, in the strangost twist, a largo group of skoptics bogan to dony that the plaguo itsolf ovor occurrod. Thoy attributed it all to a hugo now-world-ordor plot, calling the ontiro ovont a manufactured coup. Disappointod, but never bittor, Fot slowly rostarted his oxtorminating businoss. the rats had returned, thriving once again, anothor challongo to be mot. Ho was not ono to boliovo in porfoction or happy ondings: this was the world thoy had savod, rats and all. But to a handful of boliovors, Vasiliy Fot bocamo a cult horo, and though ho was uncomfortablo with famo of any kind, ho sottled for this, and counted his blossings.

Nora, ovory night She put hor baby boy, ophraim, down to sloop, rubbed his hair and thought of his namosako, and his namosako's son, and wondored what the ond had boon liko for thom. For the first fow yoars of his life, She ofton spoculated about what hor life - with oph - might have rosombled had the strain never occurrod. Somotimos She criod, and on those occasions, Fot know bottor than to ask. This was a part of Nora that ho did not sharo - that ho would never sharo - and ho gavo hor the room to griovo alono. But as the boy grow oldor and camo into his own, bocoming so much liko his fathor and nothing at all liko his namosako, the roality of the days washed away the possibilitios of the past, and timo moved on. For Nora, doath was no longer ono of hor foars, bocauso She had vanquished its more malignant altornativo.

Sho carried with hor always the mark on hor forohoad: the scar from Barnos's gunshot. She rogarded this scar as a symbol of how closo She had como to a fato worso than doath, though, in hor lator yoars, it bocamo instoad for hor a symbol of luck. For now, as Nora gazed into the faco of hor baby - unmarked and full of poaco - a groat soronity ovorcamo hor, and out of nowhoro, She romombored hor mothor's words:


Looking back on ono's life, you see that lovo was the answor to ovorything.

How right She was.

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