by Henry Wyckoff
Joe poured some more coffee for everyone. Aside from himself, Duncan, and Amanda, one of the '912' people was still there, getting ready to check up on Joe's hand. Though it was a serious wound that really did need the attention that a hospital could provide, Joe was stubborn enough to insist on field medicine. His excuse was that he needed to dig up the location of Alf. As a coordinator, he was doing that quite nicely.
"Mmm... Kenyan..." Joe rubbed his eyes with his good hand. "No leads yet."
"What about the business card?" Duncan asked.
"They lead to his main office in New York. There aren't any official records that can trace him to any nearby locations."
"Doesn't he have a Watcher?"
Joe made a face. "He just came back from a wedding, and wasn't around at the right time to find out about any property acquisitions."
Amanda laughed, "Why am I not surprised?"
Joe snapped, "Look -- Watchers are human too, with lives to live! So much of our lives are spent watching you live yours, it's damn lucky we even have time to breed!"
Something about that seemed so unlike Joe that Duncan couldn't help but laugh. "Forget about it." He took a sip of coffee. "What about the police? Any cops griping on the radio about speeders they couldn't touch?"
Joe raised his eyebrows, "Because of special license plates? Nobody was listening to the radio -- not enough manpower, and we didn't think of it. But I think if anything out of the ordinary happened, we'd get word through the police."
* * * *
The man in the suit opened up the door. "You," he said, looking at me with a glare. "Come with me."
I shrugged. "Untie me, and I'll be glad to come with you."
He grunted and untied me. I didn't play any tricks. I was curious to meet our ultimate captor. "How's the leg?"
He glared at me, "Be thankful that my employer is a civilized man who gave me clear orders. If I had my wish, you would be suffering."
I smiled, "You offend me. You have no understanding of pain."
Without any incidents (miraculously), I was led into a humble office, where Alf sat. He was about my height, which is what you can call 'average' at best. He was very athletic. Perhaps a wrestler or a soldier. Though his hair was beginning to gray and his head beginning to bald, he was in the peak of his health. I knew that I would easily lose any fight with him, so long as it was fair. I might even lose with a slight advantage on my side. I also knew that I knew him. Deep down, I knew that whole being that called itself 'Alf.' It wasn't his real name.
"I like your place." He looked like I insulted him, until I ensured that I wasn't being sarcastic. "I really mean it!"
Alf relaxed. "I assume that all of this has taken you by surprise. First, you're kidnapped, and then you're exposed to a world that you never knew existed."
"Not quite. I was never surprised by it all. I just didn't know why. As for immortality, I knew that I was bound to meet immortals sooner or later."
That sparked his interest, "Truly? What convinced you that immortals walk the earth?"
"You," I said. "I knew that you had to be immortal, because I remember you. Having been born in the 20th Century, I have no memories of the language we once spoke, or the places we've seen, but I remember you, Alexander. I remember the concepts as well."
He stood up, "You are insane," but his face went pale.
I smiled. "What possible interest could you have in Marie?"
His face grew stern, "It's none of your concern."
"She died in Pydna. I'm sure she died many times after that. Isn't life in this world enough of a punishment? What could she possibly have done that would make you this obsessed?"
"What did she tell you?"
"She told me about Pydna, and what happened immediately after. She told me how Kassandros hounded her until she killed him."
Alexander laughed sardonically, "You truly believe what Marie told you?"
"I haven't had any reason to doubt her. Everything she has said so far has been true."
"Exactly! That's the best way to lie: say no untruth, but leave enough gaps to lead the listener to false conclusions! What she hasn't told you is the beginning of the story!"
"She told you how she died, but she didn't tell you her real name. Marie was a name she adopted when she moved to France, but you could see her Greek features, could you not?"
I nodded, "I would have characterized it as 'Mediterranean.' Greek would fit. Or would it be Macedonian?"
He paled, "You know her after all?"
"She was your mother. I always had my doubts, because you in no way resembled either her or Philip, but she was as much of a mother as one could be. She arranged the death of Philip, which was convenient for you. When she was no longer convenient, you had her killed." Something occurred to me. "Your bodyguard. He is like me. You picked him because he resembled someone you once knew. Someone that Marie once knew as well. Just as a ghost of the past was born with me... the ghost of Kassandros has been born again and again as well. I wonder if perhaps Kassandros influenced you as he was reborn each time. Did you seek him out, or did he seek you out?"
Alexander was silent for a moment. "You, I shall release, because I still cherish your memory. We never had bad blood. If you remember as much as I believe you do, you will not interfere when I say that I will keep Marie and exact my own justice."
"If you know me as well as you once did, then you would already know my answer. I cannot."
"What?" He was shocked.
"Marie is not some nameless shadow whose death would mean nothing. I can see Marie's eyes and hear her voice. I will not allow you to inflict pain on her or kill her, even in a temporary fashion. To harm her, you must kill me. If you merely restrain me, then I would hunt you forever."
Tears fell from his eyes. "You are putting me in a bad position. I don't want to kill you."
I sighed, "Nor do I want to hurt you, but you are restraining me. You are the one with the freedom to chose." I looked into his eyes, "You are the same incarnation of the man who was once my student. Show me that you have truly learned my philosophy as much as you have learned the athletics."
He bowed his head.
* * * *
"Marie, wake up!" I shook her shoulder gently.
"Hmm?" she was very exhausted.
"It's time to go."
Now she was awake. "What happened? Did you kill them?"
I smiled, "No. Your son and I are old friends, in a sense, and I reminded him of that."
She blanched. "He told you who he really is?"
"No. I deduced it. But Kassandros might not be so open to mercy, so we need to leave quickly."
"As you said, a spirit of him lives on. That spirit took on the form of Alexander's second man. Now, stand up and let's go!"
After a moment of help, she was able to move on her own. We walked calmly through the hall, but by the time we reached the front door, I knew it was too late. "Kassandros," I bowed my head. "I thought you would have received word of our release."
"You might be able to influence Alexander, but not me. I was never your friend. I never even respected you." He was always no-nonsense. The gun was already out, and I could see that he was in the motion of firing. He hit me first, and all I remember is my own screaming. Then came the blackness.
This seemed to be happening a lot recently.
* * * *
The phone rang, and Joe snapped it up. "Yeah!" Duncan and Amanda could see the tension and relief on Joe's face. He hung up the phone. "That was Alf. It seems that he let Jay and Marie go, and his bodyguard had other ideas. Jay got shot, and Marie killed him."
Amanda's concern was open, "Is Jay dead?"
"No, but he's in critical condition at the hospital."
* * * *
Jay had emerged from surgery a week ago. His body was healing quite rapidly -- almost the 'ideal' case -- but far too slow to be an immortal. Duncan was quite convinced that Jay would never be an immortal. If he died, it would be for good. Or would it? From what Marie was saying between the lines, Jay might be more than he seemed.
That wouldn't be too hard to believe.
Amanda and Marie were with him. Marie sat in a chair next to the bed, utterly exhausted. She was so exhausted that she couldn't sleep, but she desperately wished to.
Amanda ran a hand down the side of Jay's face, "Such a young man... I wonder what it is that can make him so grave."
"Maybe it's in his genes, or his culture?" Duncan tried to smile, but the ambient mood in the room wouldn't let it last.
Marie shook her head, "He's a very old man trying to become young again. I think he was old from the moment he was born."
Amanda looked at Marie, "Why did Alf kidnap you two? What was going on?"
She shrugged, "Alf was influenced for a long time by his father and his friends. Kassandros, the bodyguard, was another one of those influences. Alf believed that I was responsible for his father's death, and that I was a witch. Maybe those charges sounded illogical in his own mind as well, but he didn't care about logic." She sighed, "He was always one for gut reactions."
"An innocent bystander who talked some sense into Alf. He reminded Alf of an old friend."
* * * *
I opened my eyes to find myself in an immaculate room. That could mean only one thing: hospital. There were tubes and wires attached to me, and a lot of bandages over my chest. A lot of pain too. My chest felt like a truck rolled over it a few times.
I found Marie in a chair, sound asleep. She could have been within my reach, if I hadn't been restrained. Sleep didn't erase the concern that I saw in her eyes. I couldn't take my eyes off her this time. If there was one thing I could wish, it would be to take away the worry. I didn't want her to worry.
A woman who must have been the doctor entered the room, "I see you're awake, Mr. Harston. You're very lucky to be alive."
"How cliche," I smiled. "Am I out of the ditch yet?"
"Considering that Mr. Magnus has paid all of your medical expenses, I'd say so. He was very apologetic for not have good security. The intruder was killed in the attempt of his surviving guard to subdue him. But you'll hear more than enough about that when you get out... All we need is for you to stay around for a few more days, for observation purposes. We need to make sure you don't get any more infections."
I nodded, "Of course." I looked at Marie, "How did she convince you to let her stay here outside of visiting hours?"
She looked concerned, "It wasn't too hard. She made herself very useful when you were having some unmanageable nightmares, and the sedatives we gave you didn't appear to work. It appears that you don't mix well with sedatives or pain-killers." She looked puzzled, "I wouldn't have taken you for a Greek."
When the doctor left, my face fell. It was exhausting, keeping a public face.
Marie opened her eyes. "Jay? How much do you remember?"
"Greece. Alexander. ...me?"
I sighed, "Everything that was in my head. It's not as if I were remembering earlier parts of my life. More like I had a few dreams that wouldn't go away. I remember you. You were always beautiful to me. But everyone thought of you that way. You were the most beautiful woman in all of Greece."
That hadn't answered her question, and I knew it. "But what do you see?"
"I see Marie. Olympias is a persona long discarded, a persona adopted out of necessity."
|Previous Chapter||Door Main Page||Next Chapter|
|Main Page||My Fanfiction||Henry's Fanfiction||My Favorite Links||Webrings I'm On|