Lost and Waiting

Contributor: Christopher Grey
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The heat seemed worst after dusk, as if the layers of summer piled on top of each other under a thick, humid, blanket. That is why he sat on the roof of his building, enjoying a cigarette and flipping through a magazine. The last of his beer was consumed half an hour ago and so he was thirsty, drowsy and fighting a headache.

Still, it was cooler up there.

He heard sirens below and rose to look out over the street, but stopped. There was lavender in the air and so he knew she was there.

"The girl I can't forget," he said without turning.

She didn't respond.

"Do you remember our song?"

His mind fluttered away for a moment, recalling their time in Madrid. Candlelight hovering above the plaza. Red wine. The scent of lavender.

"The melody only," he lied.

He felt her breath behind him and gentle fingers squeezing his arm, running down to his hand and to the tips of his fingers.

She began humming softly, the music entering from deep inside conjuring it all. The war. The lost battle on the mountain. The scimitar driving past the breastplate and icy pain splinters piercing into his core. He remembered seeing the red cross on white flags above the horizon, collapsing underneath smoke and fire.

"Why New York?" She asked quietly.

"So I'll forget."

"But you can't."

He turned to her. She had the same radiance she did three centuries years ago. Dark skin and green eyes. Improbable perfection in her eastern face.

"How did you find me?" He asked, but didn't need to. She always found him. Even before Spain, before Gaul. When Iberia was a colony and the ships arrived in their majesty from the Atlantic continent. She found him then. She found him in Athens. And in Thebes. In Alexandria and in the wastes of the Bavarian winter.

"I can see your heart," she said.

"Then you know I am lost."

"It's the saddest it has ever been," her voice was just above a whisper.

He held her hands and brought her close.

"You have to take me to him?" He asked, but didn't need to. She didn't answer, only took his lips with hers. Lavender spilled into him and for a moment he could feel nothing else.

When they released her eyes softened and she said, "It is time."

Behind her, he saw the masked man, dark overcoat whipping and cracking in a wind that didn't exist.

"Where will I be the next time?"

She lead him to the masked man, gently holding his hand.

"We don't know if there will be a next time."

He stayed silent, understanding. It was all coming to an end. His role was finished. He was unnecessary. As lost as he thought he was. When he closed his eyes, he pictured rising through the light, swimming through the sea of fire that created the light, and dissolving into the dark abyss that separates mankind from God.

The masked man was cold and quiet, as he always was. He held a revolver in a gloved hand. A far cry from the old days when he carried a scythe or trident.

She was quiet too, unable to look him in the eyes. Even in the dark heat of the New York summer, she was beautiful. He would have said "I love you" before the masked man shot him, but he didn't need to.

His lifelong trial was at last over and he rose through the light, swam through the sea of fire and dissolved into the abyss before God.

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