Saturday, September 6, 2008
The Assassin Unmasked
I actually managed to walk in the sunlight this morning. It had rained all night, so everywhere was dripping wet but just for the half-hour of our morning constitutional the sun glistened through yellowing leaves and made diamonds on the tip of every stem of grass.
Felicia was soaked. She could have entered a wet fur contest and won without batting an eyelid. Funny thing, though – and I’ve only just noticed this after almost two years of daily walks – when her fur is soaking and she wants to dry off in a hurry all she has to do is revert to her human form (usually behind a bush) and back to a wolf. The wet fur is absorbed and comes out dry again. It’s like magic!
Of course, absorbing all that water does make her want to pee a lot.
Spontaneous tears ran down Frank’s cheeks when I gave him the photograph of his long dead brother. He tapped the sword with a fingernail worn to a curve by banging on keyboards. “You knew, didn’t you?” he said. “You let me ramble on about posting flyers for the church group when you knew all along he was trying to kill that little kid.”
“I suspected it,” I said, “but you’ve confirmed it. Why? Why try to kill the kid?”
“We were told to,” said Frank. He clasped the photograph in both hands and looked at the corner of the ceiling – anything to avoid my eyes, I think. “We were told the boy was the son of the devil. They showed us photographs of him as a baby with wings and horns. We laughed at first, thinking they were doctored but they showed us the negatives. It was true enough.”
“So they told you to kill him. Why?”
“He was the antichrist,” said Frank. “Isn’t that enough?” He rocked in his chair. “Of course, I realised later that you needed special daggers and whatnots – there was a film about it – but at the time all we wanted to do was stop the wars.”
“The wars?” I was confused.
“Yeah. Vietnam. Korea. Beirut. Falklands. Afghanistan. Iraq.” Frank shook his head. “They’re all his fault.”
“Are they?” This was news to me. I tried to picture the five year old Harold inciting a war and the notion just made me laugh.
“Yes. There’d be peace on earth if Matt had succeeded. He failed and look at the world now. Chaos, anarchy, floods and hurricanes and rising fuel prices. I just hope I die before the apocalypse.”
I patted his knee. “Don’t worry, Frank,” I said. “You will.”