Match Twenty-Six: Fallen Man:
Ludwig heard a knock on his door. He set down the plate that he was washing.
“Who is it?” he asked, looking out the peephole. Feliciano stood outside with his pockets in his hands. Confused, the German man opened the door.
“Feliciano, what are you doing here?” he asked. The Italian man looked him in the eye.
“Ludwig, my dear friend,” he said. The way he said this sounded so rehearsed. His tone was so flat. The German man blinked at first.
“Do you want to come in?” he asked.
“No,” Feliciano said.
“Then… why did you come here?” Ludwig asked. The Italian man looked him in the eye.
“The angels are waking up,” he said.
“What are you talking about?” his dear friend asked.
“It’s all going to end,” the Italian man said. “All of us.”
“You’re not making any sense,” Ludwig said. “What are you saying?”
“The world is going to end,” Feliciano said. The German man didn’t need to ask what he meant by that.
“Why are you telling me this?” he asked. Feliciano shrugged.
“Don’t know,” he said.
“And what am I supposed to do with this?” Ludwig asked.
“I don’t know,” Feliciano said again. He turned to leave. His dear friend grabbed him by the wrist. The Italian man turned his head. Ludwig had a desperate look in his eyes.
“What has gotten into you?” he asked.
“What do you mean?” Feliciano asked. Ludwig couldn’t explain why he felt himself trembling.
“Are you okay?” he asked.
“Of course I am,” Feliciano said. “Why wouldn’t I be?” Ludwig shook his head. His grip loosened on Feliciano’s wrist. The Italian man slipped out of his grasp.
“Good night, Ludwig,” he said. The German man tried to reach out to him again with no success. Feliciano was gone. But somehow, Ludwig knew that wasn’t his dear Italian friend.
Love wasn’t going to work for her. Tessa could get a date if she wanted. But it wasn’t going to cut it for this ceremony. She needed something a little more purer. Children had to be the answer. They couldn’t come from a big city. That would draw too much attention. It would have to be a village in the middle of nowhere.
“Miguel,” Tessa said over the phone in her hotel room. “Do you know of any hidden villages in this country?”
“What do you plan to do?” he asked.
“I think I found how I am going to make my exchange,” she said. There was a pause on the phone.
“I’ll see what I can do,” he said.
“Thank you,” Tessa said. She hung up with a smirk on her face.
It’s a cold day in the village. There were only fifty people here. Thirty-six of them were children. The village was way out of the way. The only way to get here through the narrow roads. Then you have to cut through the jungle. All through on foot. Miguel wasn’t allowed to come with her.
“You’re not coming with me?” Tessa asked.
“I can’t,” he said. “This is as far as I can go. I wish you luck.” Tessa gave him a small nod. She watched him pull away. She didn’t begin the walk until the car pulled away into the distance. Tessa didn’t mind the cold. She kept her hands in her pockets. The birds in the background became the soundtrack to her mission. Sabine did her part. Now for her turn.
She would have to use her charms to make this work.
By sundown, Tessa made it to the hidden village of Ceu. (That wasn’t the official name. That’s just what Miguel called it.) She could hear the waves in the distance. The huts looked well built and put together. She could see the villagers moving about on a normal day. Tessa straightened up her cloak and walked towards the edge. A little boy looked up and spotted her. Tessa didn’t even try to run. She just smiled and waved.
“Hello,” she greeted the child. The boy tilted his head. When Tessa stepped forward he would step back. The woman gave him a curious look.
“Are you afraid of me?” Tessa asked in Portuguese. The child stared at her wide-eyed.
“Are you an angel?” he asked.
“No,” the nightcomer said. He took another step back.
“Are you a… demon?” the boy asked. Tessa smiled as she shook her head.
“No,” she said. The child blinked at her.
“Then… who are you?” he asked. Tessa gave him a full-mouthed grin.
“I am me,” she said. In one flash step, the nightcomer appeared in front of the child. Tessa leaned down in front of her potential first victim.
“Tell me, are you a good child?” she asked. The little boy broke down trembling. His eyes looked so big. Tessa chuckled as she patted him on the head.
“Of course you are,” she said. She stood up and walked into the village. The little boy turned and stared at her with big eyes. Who was that strange woman?
Kiku sat up straight in his room. He turned his head. A shadowy figure stood in the doorway.
“Oh, it’s you,” he said. A little smile crept across his face.