‘Our heirs, whatever or whoever they maybe, will
explore space and time to degrees we cannot
currently fathom. They will create new melodies in
the music of time. There are infinite harmonies to
The heat of the summer night did not get to me at all. I felt chills and I was trembling like a leaf, shattered by the news that had struck me like a bolt out of the blue.
Susan, the delirious female Crusader and emissary of the future world, was trying to rationalize Christopher’s decision, searching desperately for comforting words. But I was not listening to her anymore. I opened the drawer of the desk next to me and took my car keys with a fast move before Susan had time to react. It had to be one of the League’s tricks, I thought, although deep down I knew Susan would never lie to me.
I was frantic. I thought of his house. I had to go there, see with my own eyes, his clothes, his books, sense his smell… Maybe it was not too late. Maybe I could still make him change his mind.
I rushed outside and Susan followed me, shouting my name. But I was faster. Despair had been my motive power. I started the car, wasting no time to fasten my seatbelt.
‘It can’t be true… It can’t be happening! Please God, no! Don’t let it be too late. Oh, Christopher, what have you done?’ I repeated to myself, speeding off, my face soaked from the tears.
He could not have gone back, hundreds of years away from me, leaving me here. Even worse, he could not have returned to the life that had consumed all his humanity in the past, to the crimes he was desperately trying to redeem his soul from. It would sooner or later destroy him. I should not let him sacrifice himself to save me. I could not allow that. There had to be another way out of that deadlock.
I remembered the words he had whispered to me that night, when I had told him I was determined to fight for us.
‘When you get to a deadlock, will you please remember that I love you… That you are my life… My heart and my soul…belong to you… Wherever I am… Whatever I do… Promise me…you won’t hate me.’ he had pleaded. Their meaning was so clear to me now.
Tears were blocking my view as I clenched the wheel, but that did not keep me from stepping on the gas.
I only caught a glimpse of the car that appeared out of nowhere, ignoring the stop sign. My Beetle swerved dangerously in a last effort to avoid the collision and I found myself heading towards a cluster of trees, having lost control of the wheel.
The awful sound of the crash sounded as a blast to my ears. Then, the darkness of the night surrounded me, swallowing me into the blessed oblivion of nothingness.
I knew I had met him before.
He’d come to me from somewhere outside of this world, some other dimension, some other life, some other time. He was mine as much as I was his, at least in this life. He had told me that although the first time I’d met him he had come to kill me, now he was here to protect me. My life had been spared once but not without cost. Still, there were so many secrets that he wouldn’t share with me which kept us apart and I knew we were racing against the odds, till they beat us down. Could a man have changed so much and yet remain the same? I wanted to believe him. I was desperately in love with him and although the voice inside me kept warning me to keep away, for the first time in my life I felt complete, as if all the pieces of the puzzle were now in place.
Until that dreadful night.
The first memories after the crash were like brief, incoherent snapshots of a wrongly preset camera. Tangled images, meaningless words and dazzling lights. I remember becoming aware of the fact that I was sinking into an enticing sense of relinquishment, tired of fighting, exhausted by the unequal encounter with time.
I couldn’t know for how long I had remained in this state, bordering the bailiwick of death. Where I was, time did not matter anymore. For once in my life, time was completely meaningless to me. I was the one to mock its evil, ruthless face now.
Gradually, I began to make sense of what the people around me were saying, totally overriding their entreaties to open my eyes, to go back to them, to fight. Because I had nothing to fight for. My life had vanished that night when the last letter of his name had disappeared in the dark background of the computer screen, fluttered away, my heart and soul together, irretrievably lost.
In a vague way, my mind refused to recall the reason for my devastation; the deprivation of his voice, the feeling of his touch, of his kiss. All I could feel was an intolerable pain, the cause of which was buried deeply into my subconscious. It was probably a physical defense mechanism, as my mind was trying to protect what was left. I only saw the same dream, the nightmare I had that morning in Christopher’s house that had made me wake up in the empty bed. I kept searching his house, shouting his name desperately, but he had vanished. The same torturing nightmare, over and over again.
I often reminisce those nightmares, especially one that had a different ending. I found myself in an empty street, a familiar neighbourhood around me. At the bus stop on my right, I saw my dad. I had not dreamt of him for many years after his death. He was smiling to me with his arms stretched in a wide embrace, waiting for me. I was ten years old again. He seemed so real; I could feel his warm body, I could smell him, the smell of my childhood. Next minute, I was holding him tight, crying.
‘Where have you been dad? Why did you leave me?’ I asked him.
He looked into my eyes, smiling. ‘I never left you Emma. My beautiful Emma.’
‘I’ve missed you so much. I need you, dad. Please take me with you.’
‘Where I’m going, you can’t come Emma. You must finish what you’ve started.’ he said with the same sweet smile that used to brighten my childhood years.
‘Don’t go yet. Come home with me dad.’
I took his hand and walked him to our house. I opened the door shouting ‘Mum, daddy is here, look!’
But when I turned to him, he had vanished. I was all alone again in front of the big house.
Kate’s voice had been the hardest to ignore. And then of course, there was my mum. I was not sure if she had been there only once or if she had never left my side, but I kept hearing her voice saying,
‘Wake up, Emma. Please, come back to us.’
I wanted to talk to her, comfort her that I was where I wanted, and all I needed her to do, was to let me move on. I needed her and Kate, my only friend, to release me, because I could feel their love holding me back. I was afraid that the slightest effort to respond to their plea would take me back to an empty world, back to the pain and the suffering.
To a world without Christopher.
I could not live in such a world. It was much worse than death.
Death. Eventually, it turned out to be the only way out of the deadlock.
I had made my choice. Every day, every moment was taking me closer to the end.