Around her, buildings rise in a collage of superimposing purple and pinks. Through the streets, she walks without fear; confident, but resolved. Today, she will meet her fate and she’s accepted it, knows she has no way out. For centuries, the man in the suit and top hat has followed her, stalking her through dim alleyways, under the shadows of cathedrals throughout Europe, into dimly-lit, dirty convenience stores and run-down motels. This morning, sitting in yet-another café, she decided – after having seen the man lurking in a corner of the coffee shop on his own – that she would finally confront him.
Now, heading swiftly to a park two blocks down, she can feel the cold shadow of his presence behind her. Claudia knows that increasing her pace will change nothing in the scheme of things, nothing will ever stop the man in black in his chase. For she knows now that escape is impossible, for both her and Leini. Her younger sister was doomed when they’d crossed paths 150 years ago, in sight of the dark man hiding behind a stage-coach in the dirty streets of Paris.
She sweeps her caramel-blonde hair into a long ponytail in a failed attempt to stop the clammy sweat from building onto her neck. Her uneasiness swells as the inevitable end grows closer, and she starts to taste the sharp outcome like blood on her tongue, tastes its coppery flavour and the piercing certainty that she will soon meet a clean, metallic conclusion.