* Great Work!!
* I love your poems. Keep on writing brother!
* It's Alejandro!
* Way to go Steve.
PRELUDE and VIDEO
The woman was dying. He held her in his arms, knowing that it was so. She was becoming weaker — he could feel it. “Fight!” he told her. “Fight it! Please. I - I love you. I don’t want to let you go . . .”
Her eyes fluttered open, and upon catching sight of him, recognition flashed in them. She tried to smile. “HE did this to you, didn’t he?” This being more of a statement of fact than a question from the man. She raised her arm to touch his cheek with her hand, and the effort it took was a tremendous one for her. He covered her hand with his own, holding it there, trying his best to keep her alive, hoping to do so by sheer power of love or force of will. As his tears fell gently on her breast, he whispered a few lines from a poem he once knew well: “I loved you before I saw you . . . I was yours before we met . . . never a question of want . . . just a fact of what life is . . .” A sob was wrenched from the depths of his heart at the memory of what those words meant for the two of them. “Please stay with me. Please.”
But she was in pain and fading. Still, she found the strength of will to focus her eyes on his, manage a small smile, and tell him a secret that she’d cherished for so long: “I loved you, too. All along it was you that I . . . I . . . wan—-” Then she was gone.
He felt his heart laboring, and the dam of his soul seemed to break as the tears and great, heaving sobs poured out of him like liquid life flowing from a broken vase. A part of him wanted to surrender, to let his world go dark, for if he couldn’t keep her here, he was tempted to go with her there, wherever there might be. He was still holding her when the other woman got there, her cheeks flushed from having run up the stairs to the pool deck of this beautiful beachside home. She stood still, regarding the tableau in front of her eyes for a moment, a mosaic of different emotions crossing her face. Taking a deep breath, she composed herself with deliberation. Speaking flatly, she said,; “He did it, didn’t he? We couldn’t stop him. You couldn’t stop him.”
Not raising his head, the man quietly responded, “Yes. He did it and I couldn’t stop him.” The recently arrived woman looked at her feet for a second, then once again spoke. “We need to leave. I called the police before I came onto the pool deck. This place is sort of remote, but I’m sure they’ll be here soon.”
“I’m not leaving her here like this.”
“You have to. If they find you or any clues that you were here, you know what they’ll do. You can’t let things end for you that way. You have too much more to do. This was never your home, anyway. You already know that.” They locked eyes for just a moment.
“You’re right,.” the man said, and, gently laying the victim down, he whispered two words that seemed to always be the end of every encounter with the person lying dead. Wincing as if the sound of those words burned her, the other woman looked away. She was right, he thought. It was time to go. He could already hear the sirens a long way off.
The police, ambulance, and rescue vehicles passed them as they were driving in the opposite direction. Breaking the silence, she asked, “How?”
“How what?” he replied.,
“How did I get here this quickly, or how did he do it?”
“Both.” Resentment at the memory of his inability to stop the tragedy of the pool deck touched his face as he answered, “The railing on the master bedroom’s balcony. She must have been pushed from behind, but there didn’t seem to be anyone else in the house.”
“So how can you know?” the driver asked.
Angry tears seemed to well up in his voice as he answered, “I arrived in the bedroom, went to the balcony, and when I saw the railing screws, it was obvious that they were previously cut almost all the way through with a grinder or linemen’s pliers. That railing was lying on the deck below, beside her.”
“She must’ve been in the shower when it all began, because her towel was lying near where she fell...” He continued.
“Yeah, I saw that, and I’m sure you never peeked,.” she replied with a touch of her old sarcasm. A quick glance passed between the couple.
“Well, anyway, there was a little bit of an alcoholic smell on her, but she never drinks in the morning.”
“Sounds like a real angel,” the woman said.
He looked at her again. “Yeah, okay. To answer your other question, I got here through a temporal shortcut. A portal. That’s also how I sent you the message.”
Now she looked genuinely surprised. “You can do that?”
“Yeah. Can make them, too. Just learned. You know, I think this is a good time to try out that back pulse tech that you got from him.” A sudden smile flirted with the corners of her mouth then. “What?” he asked, defensively.
“The way your voice sounds when you say ‘him’ like that. Are you jealous?”
The man turned his face to look out of the window at the passing scenery. “No. I don’t have time for the luxury of feeling that way. I’m just surprised that he would help me out.”
With an air of frustration, the woman answered, “I don’t think you’re the one he’s trying to help out. He’s already lost her once.” He turned to look at the driver again. “Don’t sell yourself short. It might be all about helping you.”
After another silence, the woman seemed to think of something else.; “You might have left prints or evidence. The CSI teams will find it, you know.”
“No, they won’t,” came the reply.
“How can you be sure?” she asked.
“They trained me for this sort of thing, remember? Reconnaissance, evasion, observation, acquisition, aggression, escape. How to be their secret weapon and do it all without detection. I didn’t even disturb the pooling blood.” For just a moment, she saw his inner pain show on his face. For just a moment.
“By the way,” he continued, “will they be able to trace the cell phone you called them with?”
“Not this one,” she assured him. “What if he gets away with it again?” she continued.
He answered, in a very quiet, menacing way, “If that happens, then may God have mercy on his soul, ’cause I definitely won’t.”
After a short silence, the woman said, “You can be a scary person, sometimes.”
Turning to look at her, the man replied, “I’m a very scary person. All of the time.”