4.6 - THE PURSUIT
Cain continued to watch from his lofty viewpoint. The couple meandered around the grounds, their eyes often being cast in the direction of the woman. They did not approach her but kept a quiet vigil while also seeming to search the immediate vicinity for someone else. Perhaps him?
He crouched, eyes fixed on them, trying to work out exactly what they were. Although his hearing was highly developed, he still had difficulty making out what they said to each other; the wind was stronger in the heights and it whirled around the ruined stone, woeful, forlorn. All he could do was observe.
After a while, they appeared disinterested and wandered back inside the main reception area.
His attention turned fully to his focal point. She strolled around the Abbey, sometimes stopping to take pictures. He ducked out of sight as she pointed her phone to where he had secreted himself. A few moments later he peered around the edge of the wall. She had drifted to the surrounding boundary and was looking out over the sea.
Settling in a crouch, he just watched her. He noted how the breeze played with her hair, the tips of her ponytail floating on the air currents. Her cardigan also rippled, its tails flipping around her shape then billowing out again. But, oozing from her was a sadness so profound it was almost tangible.
He wondered what it was which caused her such pain. Outwardly, she looked like she had no need to be so sad. She was young, fresh and if going by today’s way of life, she was probably in a job, earning her own way in the world and had friends.
Yet, going by her reaction to her phone call, someone had hurt her. A lover judging by her words and launching of said phone. He then deduced she just wore a facade, a mask concealing her pain.
He’d seen countless heartbroken individuals over time, but this one inexplicably drew him. Another war it seemed was brewing within. His staunch resilience was losing its ground, sweet temptation advancing to the fore. No! He would not! Not again!
She moved back towards the Abbey. As she took more pictures, he sensed the overwhelming scent of melancholy flooding her, seeping through every pore. It seemed to swallow her. What was going through her mind, he wondered. She had so much to be thankful for, so much to embrace. She had life, in the true sense.
With one last look around the grounds, she turned to leave, heading for the main reception building. As she passed through the glass door, he nestled down, waiting for her to appear on the lower level exiting the visitor centre.
He caught sight of the odd couple again. They stood outside the walled entrance, where the tour bus had dropped them off. His suspicions peaked as he noted their attention was drawn to the gates.
The woman had walked out, engrossed in taking more photos. She turned away and walked towards the path which led to the 199 steps. The couple watched until she’d meandered down the path adjacent to St Mary’s Church, then with a nudge from the leather-clad female, they followed.
Cain checked the immediate grounds for people nearby. A couple were nearest, walking slowly around the foot of the ruins. He gritted his teeth, willing them to move faster so he could make a clean descent without being noticed. After what seemed an age, they had passed from view.
He stepped forward and plummeted to the ground, landing in a crouch. Within a blink he straightened, picking his way out from between the arches and ruined nave. Sleek and silent, no-one had noticed.
He jumped over the wall, caring not who bore witness to his means of an exit of the main grounds. Other than the occasional glance from one or two visitors, no-one paid special attention.
He stole behind the odd couple, making sure he was out with their anomalous sensory perception.
Down into the town, he went. Numbers had increased dramatically, people weaved their way in and out along the streets and establishments, but he could make out the couple and their quarry in the distance.
The woman looked in shop windows, occasionally slipping inside, perhaps for a better view or to buy something. She reappeared shortly after and stopped to study menus at various eateries.
The couple had halted and were speaking with a tall man dressed in a modern suit; he was slender, with auburn hair. There was something familiar and yet Cain could not recall having ever seen the man before. He moved inside a doorway close by and focused on the now strange trio.
“Are you sure?” the man asked the couple.
“Of course we are sure,” the female retorted. “I could feel his presence.”
“Zepar is especially sensitive to him,” the man in the colourful top hat said defensively. “To be expected really since we have traipsed all over the world after him.”
“Mind your tongue, Xaphan,” warned the auburn-haired man. “And the woman, where is she?”
The female jerked her head behind her. The tall man laughed quietly. “Go to the pier, I will meet you all there shortly.” Then he left the couple to follow the woman.
They stared after him. “Something’s changed,” the man commented.
“Think so? He just wants to ensure no harm comes to his prodigy. I guess we can’t blame him for that.”
“Zepar, we can’t continue with this vigil, we have to ...”
“We do as Samael says.” The woman’s words were clipped and she started to move away quickly. Her companion followed after her.
Cain emerged from the doorway, confused by what he’d just heard. He had suspected they were looking for him, now it appeared he was wrong. Regardless, he had to follow this Samael now.
Keeping his distance he focused on the man’s back. There was undoubtedly power emanating from him - similar yet more dominant than the other two. It was like an aura, invisible to the mortal eye, but something which Cain could plainly see.
Halting outside a hotel, the woman stopped and looked at the chalkboard menu. It must have pleased her for she stepped inside. The tall suited man followed a short distance behind.
Cain remained outside careful not to be seen by either party. He saw her on her phone again but by the time he had honed in on her voice she had ended the call. Her face, however, indicated it was not the person who had upset her earlier. She was smiling. She ordered a drink and moved across to a vacant table.
Cain smirked as he watched her swiping her finger across her phone’s screen; just as well he’d saved it for her, he thought. She turned it this way and that. Whatever it was she was looking at, it seemed to please her. Then her eyebrows pinched. Furiously, she swiped at her screen a few times.
Some people moved in front of him, blocking his view, so he moved a little. The punters shifted too, revealing the tall auburn-haired man, Samael. He stood at the seat next to the woman, his hands curling around the backrest. Cain tensed, his focus zooming in.
The woman was unnerved. He could sense it in her, even see it as he honed in on her skin. The hairs were prickling at the back of her neck, her hand reached up as if in confirmation.
The exchange was all about the man wanting to sit next to her. She protested, telling him there was ample seating near the bar. Then she looked to the doorway. As their eyes locked, Cain felt something clutch at his heart.
The world rushed him, a visual tsunami swallowing him whole, rendering him frozen. How had he not seen or sensed this before? This simply could not be!
The spell was broken as two individuals pushed in past him.
“There’s Becky!” The one dressed as a mummy said. They moved over to the woman, who was clearly relieved by their presence.
Cain’s eyes then locked with Samael’s. The man before him though was no longer suited and ordinary. He was aflame, feathered wings outstretched, eyes sunken and a mouth both beautiful and cruel stretched over yellowed teeth. Cain had heard of such a creature but had never met one before. The Fallen.
Quickly, as he realised no-one else saw this man’s true identity, he conveyed a message. Leave her be. He waited for a heartbeat before the man crossed towards him. Then in his customary blink of an eye, he fled the entrance and waited for the Fallen to follow.