The hunt had been magnificent. His quarry had been physically the fittest of his encounters at least these last two hundred years. Said quarry also was the smartest, resourceful, cunning, and most importantly, cowardly he had engage in such a while. There is no greater chase, nor greater hunting prey, than one in which a man is a true coward, as he will never give up. The involvement in his ending is too terrifying for him to contemplate, and will do absolutely anything to avoid. He will lie, cheat, burn, kill people to save his own damned hide. And he will do it well.
Running and hiding is only so good as the ineptitude and endurance of the hunter.
The beast liked its current form. There was no pretence. No game or facade required.
He was exceptionally good at his job, quite simply because it appealed to his most primal and basic instinct. To hunt. To kill.
His happy trot back to his mistress was uneventful. The captured soul would bring the reward he sought most, and that was attention. Of a positive nature.
On arrival back to Casa del Death, and a snappy hop, step and jump through the dog door, followed be a romp up the stairs, and then a delicious flop at deaths feet, Mr Darcy rolled onto his back, received the tummy rub he longed for then dropped the soul from the side of his mouth, onto the little mat she had just for him. He received another tummy rub then a scratch behind the ear, and jumped up to dash down stairs again. He drank all of his water, and then settled down to eat. Dinner this evening was the warm liver of a philanderer, and the cracked head of a greying Neolithic male that was just beginning to turn. He was yet to discover the heart of an immortal hidden beneath the head. Life was good.
On completion of his meal, he trotted outside for his relief, then headed back in, curled up in his basket, promptly drifting off. A smile creased the corners of mouth as he slept.
“Now, I tell you, this bugger must have had cunning Mr. Darcy hasn’t seen for a hundred years!!! Go on love, have a look at that soul will ya!!! Yellow of cowardice you don’t see no more I can tell you!!! Computer games and television I says is the cause. They’re all as ignorant as can be these days. No understanding of why you ought be afraid o’the dark. Bloody great shame really. Anyway, enough of my rambling. Here you are love.” As Death passes Conquest the soul for examination. Horn rim glasses readjusted on her nose, sherry put down on a coffee table covered in paintings of fluffy white kittens done by death a year earlier at the local Art & Craft Club. “Oooo my, that is a beauty. Look at that vein of malice and petty hatred running through it.” Two other blue rinse and nocturnal curler wearers examine the soul after Conquest. Both declare it something of a kind, with Death then retrieving it, putting it aside for Mr Darcy to have in the morning.
“Alright my dears, I’ll say goodnight now, and i’ll catch you at the bowls Club at 9 for a 9.30 start. I will be happy when these Pennants are behind us.” Conquest bids the other three good night
“Alright, I’ll be on my way too then. Good night girls” says War as she and Famine begin filing out close behind.
“Now ya see Coque. What’s happening here, like, is happenin’ right now, but centuries ago, like, is whats happenin’ right now here, but here not right now. Plain as the nose what’s on your face.”
Mini, mouth half open, jaw slack, letting whatever vieux John said, wash over him. Confusion would be a wonderful currency in Planet Mini due to the abundance of it he repeatedly covered himself in he tells himself.
It was either the stupidest thing he had ever heard, or, quite literally the most incredible.
“Come again? Slowly, and in French. Please.”
“Garçon droit. Vous savez comment fallait vraiment chercher votre appartement pour le trouver. Je veux dire vraiment regarder au-delà de la branche grand sang de ce chêne géant? Ouais! Eh bien c’est la même chose. “
“No one likes a clever dick John!!! I said French, not Anglais. Tool.”
“Right boy. You know how had to really look for your flat to find it. I mean really look past the blood big branch from that giant oak? Yeah?! Well this is the same thing.”
“So, if I get this right, then, the smell when we walked to the house the Liv took us too was actually the smell of the Catacombs that are still being used where the house is, even if the house was built over them more than a thousand years after they had stopped being used. Am I right so far?” John nods energetically, encouraging further breakthrough and hopeful moments to ridicule should Mini come adrift. “But, the house that is derelict, broken down and covered with dust everywhere inside, and I can see and smell and feel that it is no longer in use is correct, but, completely incorrect as right now when my, our, when Liv walks in, she is walking into a sumptuous house full of life and people, because that was the time she died in the other world. And so it was the era when she died that’s what it is to her, and she returns to first.”
“Spot on Coque!”
“I still don’t get it.”
“Ok. Right now, is only the right now that was the same era when I was born. And time for me will stay like this forever for me because this is what it was when I died in the other world. Right up to the point when my necrobilical cord got cut by death.”
“So, that means that everyone, everywhere here, is living in their own, never changing, time zone. And that is the world they see where ever they go. The world exactly as it was when they were born, as long as they look when they are first born.”
“So why can’t I see Liv’s world and she can see my flat.”
“Because you were both looking for them. You wanted your flat, and our very own Olivia St John Melamare wanted sanctuary. Simple. If you look hard enough you can find anything.”
“What about all the people from different times I keep seeing?”
“Now Coque, we all, in a basic sort of way, come to the same place until we find what we are looking for. I don’t understand it anymore than it is, and really, if you start thinking any further than that, you are just wasting your time. 581 years young Coque, and I still don’t fully understand it.” crispy, charcoally old John still stunning Mini, and a rather grubby, recently arrived, Citoyen Capet. “Where’ve you been?” Mini growls at him.
“By the way, it’s called ‘Gero’ you nonce. That place what was like ya trainer wheel for ya bike what ya died in before ya was born here. Told ya before I did. You kids never listen does ya. Bloody kids, when I was your age…………..”
“John, shove it in your ear. You didn’t tell me. Gods truth. Your choice of Gods, of course.”
“Alright then squirt. ‘Gero’ is a proper bloody word from a proper and right good bloody language, an’ has been that for well before I was there, let alone been here like. It’s ‘Basque’!”
Semi-knowing, Mini blunders on through the quagmire of cognitive thought and living archaeology.
“So, at the end of the day it’s all about time. But time as in there are two clocks. One clock that stopped the moment you were born here/died in Gero. The second clock that is time passing for me here.”
It was old Johns turn to look slack jawed. His disaster area of a face showed the greatest amount of expression he had seen since arrival. “You are right Coque, with one slight difference to that. Your clock. Your right now clock for the here and now runs for 24 hours, and then resets.”
“Have you been smoking crack John? It’s ok, you can tell me”
“No Coque, I have not. And you can pull your bloody head while you are at it too. Your here and now clock resets every 24 hours. That is every 24 hours from the second you was born. Unless you’re dead of course.”
“I don’t age?”
“My body, all squished and bent out of shape, will remain like this forever?”
“Looking at me, what would your guess amount to, nonce.”
“And I can only die if I think I am better than someone else?”
“Yep. And if you upset death, she sets her beast on to ya, and he tears out your soul. Saw it earlier remember?”
“So this is it? I’m in Hell!!”
“’fraid so Coque. That is unless you start looking hard around the place, then who know’s what delights there are for the sampling!!”
“Can I visit Liv…………only because I leant her a pencil, and I really need it back. Plus she left that thing back at the flat and I should really be getting it back to her?” Mini now grasping for straws and other wonderful metaphors and clichés.
“But how? If she is in a different era, but still the same…………………”
“Do shut your trap and turn around.”
Walking with the body of Venus, talking with words of a poet, the face of an angel (not a reference to bearded or motorcycle toting variety), with the mind of a genius, she strode directly toward Mini, with a heart stopping grin lavishly applied to Mini’s first real person love.
She then held is face firmly in her hands, and kissed Mini full on the mouth.
Mini swore black and blue that he too had coincidentally enough had left a piece of ice in his overall pocket yesterday as well. Oh dear.
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