The Deal

It’s been a long time. The last time I saw you, there was no grey in your hair. Yes, it’s there, no matter how much you hate to admit it. There were fewer wrinkles around your eyes, too; they’re more obvious with the city lights coming through your window. Time has not been kind in its sketches.

You remember me, I think, from that one, haunted glimpse years ago. It is in your eyes.

Of course I haven’t aged. It comes with the territory.

We made a deal, if you remember – but then, you probably don’t, and I don’t expect you to. It was made when you first flickered into existence, before you even had eyes to open, ears to listen, a mouth to confirm it.

All that begins must end.

I understand that there were no goodbyes; there isn’t time. Why should you be the exception to the rule? Please, calm yourself. I have had an eye on you, as I have had an eye on everyone, for all of your life, and I expected you to keep your composure. You always seemed quite strong in the face of crisis.

Yes, that was a compliment. Even I can give them. Why are you so surprised?

This will be much easier if it is willing, if you are. Take my hand.

Take it. I have work to do, others to visit. Do not waste my time.

Good. There. No, I have no idea what awaits you, and you are right – I couldn’t tell you even if I knew. It is not my job to do so.

I have a firm grip; you won’t fall. Walk with me. Yes, I know, it doesn’t look like you at all – but it isn’t you. That body is empty. It wouldn’t have been able to match my strides, as this “you” now can – they span worlds.

Some find a hot beverage of some kind reassuring at the crossing. There seems to be an irrational preference for tea.

No? Excellent. It will make this faster. Let us continue.

You see it, don’t you? Hmm. I will have to leave you soon…

Soon…

Here. Let go of my hand. Let go. You were so reluctant to take it at first, and now you cling like a limpet.

Cruel? No. I am not cruel. I simply cannot afford sympathy.

Go. Good. I cannot follow, and I have no desire to.

Fare well.

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