A dancer, once.
It might’ve been Paris. Certainly, they spoke French and drank wine. It was a great many years ago. The lights were low, always low, the music loud, the absinthe plentiful. From atop a table, wrapped in feathers, tassels dangling, she saw him.
Their eyes met as he slipped between shadows, gone as quickly as he’d appeared.
A cigarette girl, once.
Probably in New York. It was tall and gray stone and lots of champagne, lots of pink bubbles, lots of artists pretending to be pop artists, fat rich men buying cigars but not art. From behind a tray of tobacco, in a mini mini dress, she saw him.
Their eyes met as he slipped between shadows, gone as completely as he’d disappeared in another life.
A trapeze flyer once.
It might’ve been Kansas or Georgia or Nevada, certainly under a big top, high above one of three rings. Off her perch, in the air, reaching for her catcher, she saw him.
Their eyes met as he slipped between shadows, she missed her mark and fell, no net.
In a dark room, a window revealed by moonlight but nothing more, he said, “Why do you do this to yourself?”
But he wasn’t there.
A priestess, once.
It might’ve been Greece. The columns were tall, the dresses long, the air filled with heady fumes. From the altar, behind her chants and prayers, she saw him.
Their eyes met as he slipped between shadows, and she slipped after him. In pursuit.
She found herself in Cairo.
She found herself in Shanghai.
She found herself in Caracas.
A swimmer, once.
A nurse in the war.
He said, “I’m not what you think.”
She said, “You can’t get away from me.”
It might’ve been Prague, certainly within earshot of a clock, on a bridge over a river, in the full glory of noon.
Their eyes met as he slipped between shadows, her hand grabbed hold of his arm. Even through her gloves, through his jacket, it was contact.
“I have a job to do,” he said.
“In the shadows,” she told him. “In the moments between the shadows.” She said, “I have a job to do, too.”
“You’re not what I thought.”
“She smiled. “No.”
He between the shadows. She outside the shadows. Agents, both, one of justice, one vengeance.
It might’ve been Madrid. Or Lima. Certainly, they were speaking Spanish. It was a Tuesday.
Contact was broken. A form in the space between spaces, a figure, a hunter, an agent of balance.
He said, “You can’t stop us.”
“Why would I?”
She said, “You’re wicked. You’re cruel.”
The agent said, “I’m not what you think.”
“You’re here to kill us.”
‘You’re here to divide us.”
“You’re here to spy.”
The agent of balance stepped out of the shadows, asked, “Why do you do this to yourself?”
A dancer, once.
It might’ve been Paris, certainly a place where puddles in the rain reflected neon lights and painted the streets with romance. Back to the beginning. Outside, a flash of lightning, a crack of thunder, and she saw him.
Their eyes locked. The shadows remained shadows. There was no traveling, no skipping, no sliding, no targets, no job. They met in the back hall. They held each other’s hands. They ran out into the rain.
A great many things, once.
Now released. Contracts fulfilled. Jobs done. Fired. Abandoned by the Powers in a city of lights, a city of love.
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