A gust of wind sent her hat flying off her head. Cursing under her breath she ran after it. Then stopped.
Marianna and the stranger stared at each other.
“My name is Chrystopher,” he told her, holding her hat out to her.
Marianna took it. “Thanks. I’m Maria.” That was not the full truth, but also not a lie. She turned away. “Thanks for catching my hat, Chrystopher.”
“Goodbye,” she heard him whisper.
Chrystopher watched her walk away down the bike path, twirling one of her stray hairs between a thumb and a forefinger. She looked exactly the same as she had a thousand years ago. It pained him to see her go . . . The woman who couldn’t die.
I took away everything that made you human then, he thought. You’re a daemon, just like me!
The man turned into a cloud of multi-hued mist, which then evaporated.
Marianna shivered at that exact moment. She had found her encounter uncomfortable, but couldn’t say why. “Chrystopher,” she muttered. Marianna had no idea he had been behind her.
She had checked a few minutes before.
She drew her sweater closer to her. Perhaps it was the weather. It was mid-September. A gust of wind tore past her. Curious, Marianna looked behind her shoulder.
“Okay, I’m going home now!” she told herself. She felt an itch between her shoulders blades, but ignored it. Where do I know him? She wondered to herself, if she even knew him. Perhaps from another city. Then she smiled to herself, realizing how strange it all was. Where’d Chrystopher run off to in such a rush?
The bushes, thin as they were?
Maybe he was hiding behind a rock. Or in a ditch.
By the time Marianna had walked into her apartment she had concluded that Chrystopher was a strange man. So glad I didn’t give him my real name! Marianna lifted the curtains in the living room and took a peek at the parking lot below. The lot was empty at this time. She frowned, but then shrugged. Just as she was about to fix herself a mug of tea there was a single knock at the door. It sounded more like a gunshot.
Marianna froze, waiting. When nothing else happened she crept to the door, pressing her ear against the surface.
Other than the pounding of her heart there was nothing that she could hear; she opened the door a crack at first. Marianna stumbled back, gagging at the smell of decay.
A pair or dead eyes regarded her from their place on the blood soaked carpet, sitting just a few inches from the severed head of a coyote. Fighting the urge to vomit, she crawled back to the door. Just as she was about to slam it shut her ears caught the sound of wind rushing through the halls.
“You didn’t like my gift? That used to be your favourite!”
It suddenly dawned on her what Chrystopher was.