Another Day, Another Life
Clehedault made his way through the rubble. This part of the building had just collapsed, so he felt that it would be safe enough to go through it to find the exit.
"It's fallen down quite a bit hasn't it…" he tripped over a rock. "Ow!"
"It's no use...if any more of the tower collapses…" Clehedault's words stuttered to a halt as he saw something out of the corner of his eye. He hurried into the room branching off from the one he was in, stopping dead in the doorway and bracing himself between the doorframe with outstretched arms to keep from collapsing to his knees. "Th...this is!"
A few more small pieces of rubble fell from the collapsed-in ceiling of the room.
Clehedault entered the room carefully after he recieved no response, surveying the two figures before him. "Earl…"
Clehedault stared down at the pair with wide eyes, blood dripping down his face unnoticed.
'They are no longer bound by such things as master and servant… needless to say, it's not a thing that matters with love,' he thought. 'It seems so much like a dream.'
Cain laid back peacefully in Riff's arms as if he was the sleeping princess of some fairytale. Riff was kneeling behind him, his skeletal arms wrapping around his master's body, his face could not be seen since it was buried in his master's shoulder. His pale, flaxen hair was all that Clehedault could see. Riff's back was red with blood, shards of glass and pieces of concrete had embedded itself into the flesh and stuck out almost like grotesque angel wings. Cain's hand extended out and rested on his thigh, the gold Hargreaves ring resting in his palm.
'I will probably never be able to forget this eternal scene for as long as I live.'
Clehedault reached out and took the ring from Cain's upturned palm.
'Just like the time I met him when he was overconfident, haughty even... It was such that he could completely charm those around him in the blink of an eye. A perilous balance of the impish and the divine.
'Yes, even this time he seems just as if he were about to set out on the town of London for an evening party.
'As if nothing has changed. Smiling elegantly as always.'
Clehedault looked at Cain, smiling serenely in Riff's arms. Even death could not take away his beauty. Clehedault turned and left the room, clutching the ring to his chest tightly.
Cle woke up to the feeling of someone sucking lightly on his earlobe. He smiled slightly to himself and turned over, pretending to still be asleep.
"Oh, wake up. I know you're awake," came the voice that was running fingers through his hair. "It's the first day of class today."
"I know Sheila," Cle mumbled, trying to get fully awake. He turned over and pulled her down against him. "What time is it?"
Cle shot up straight out of bed, gathering his clothes from the floor of the apartment he and Sheila shared. "Shit! My first class is at one!"
"That's why I woke you," she pointed out calmly as she left the room.
Cle hurriedly showered and dressed. He ran his hands through his wet hair and brushed his teeth as he entered the kitchen.
Sheila handed him his messenger bag and the breakfast/lunch she had packed for him. He spit the toothpaste out of his mouth in the kitchen sink and gave her a quick kiss. Upon heading out the doorway he realized he was still holding his toothbrush, so he turned and handed it to her, kissed her again, and was out the door.
He hurried down the stairs and through the magic shop that he and Sheila owned. It was a small Wiccan shop that was their hobby. It kept Sheila occupied during the day and brought her in a little money. She loved manning the shop and the ever-growing website she kept. She kept regular business hours and took an hour for lunch from noon to one, which was when she had come upstairs to get him up and send him off to school.
He caught the bus to campus and arrived just at one. He hurried to the classroom, half walking, half running to the old, archaic stone campus building.
When he got to the classroom, everyone was already there, sitting in their seats and talking idly among themselves. He put his bag down on the table in the front of the classroom and straightened his tie. He smiled at the class. "Sorry I'm late. Get used to it, it will probably be a habit."
He turned and wrote his name on the board, and the class name and number. "That doesn't mean that you can be late though. If you come in after I do, then you will not get marked as being present that day. This could affect your financial aid, so be on time."
"My name is Professor Clehedault. Everyone calls me Cle, so you can call me 'Professor Cle.' Don't ask me about my first name, no one gets to know it. It's between me, my parents, my birth certificate, and the cop who pulled me over for speeding three years ago. Oh, and probably my girlfriend when we get married, but that's not for a while yet."
The class laughed.
"This is 'History of the Occult,' so if you're in the wrong class, now is the time to leave."
He waited patiently for a few sheepish-looking students to leave the room. "Now then, I will pass out your syllabus-"
Cle caught the eye of a kid sitting in the isle seat, three rows back. Cle stopped for a moment then continued to rattle on, "I will pass out your syllabus here in a few minutes…"
As he gave the speech he gave every quarter about himself, he surreptitiously studied the boy. He was so familiar. He stuck out clearly from the rest of the class, he was wearing bright blue vinyl pants and a black and white, shiny zebra-print tank top. His hair was probably about shoulder length, dark and pulled back into a high, messy ponytail with many loose strands falling out and framing his face.
"I'm twenty-seven and I've been teaching for three years. I received my Ph D. from the University of…"
When he first entered the class room he had just assumed that it was a girl, but now that he was inspecting the faces left he realized that it was definitely a guy. It was so hot out, he must have pulled his hair up to escape the heat, and those vinyl pants couldn't have helped much.
What stunned Cle was the face. It was so familiar, yet he knew he had never met this kid before. This was the kind of person you never forgot once you've met them.
"I'm going to take attendence now so I can learn your names." Cle went through the list, looking to see if any of them were familiar. He didn't recognize any at first glance.
Cle looked at the kid, inspecting his face again. The name didn't click for him. The kid smiled at him and waved.
Cle moved on. He passed out the syllabus and went through it, told them they didn't really need to book for this class, so don't waste their money, and that they would start the lectures the next class. He dismissed them early.
The class gathered up their things and filed out of the room. Cle stayed behind, to see if any students had any questions or concerns. He watched as the familiar-looking kid went out the door without saying anything.
Another girl came up to Cle and started asking him questions about the class times and how her work schedule interfered one day a week and that she would always be twenty-minutes late. He told her that was fine, she was responsible for missed work and since she came to him first he would count her as being present on those days.
A couple other students had some questions and stayed behind, so after he answered those he gathered up his stuff and left the classroom.
It was hot as he walked down the wide sidewalks through the center of campus. There were students talking on their phones, reading, and doing assignments in the grass and on the stone benches around the central plaza.
He saw the boy from his class, Christopher Graves, sitting under a tree up ahead. Cle pulled out his cigarettes and stopped to light one, looking over at the kid as he did so.
Christopher was sitting in the grass with another man, this one the polar-opposite of him. The man was taller and wore average-looking clothes. He had very, very light blonde hair that seemed even whiter under the shadow of the tree. The two were sitting quite close together, almost snuggling, and the taller man was trying to get the boy to eat what appeared to be a tuna-fish sandwich.
The man waved the sandwich in front of the kid's face until he finally took a bite from it, a long-suffering look on his face.
Cle got his cigarette lit and continued walking down the path, directly past them. He glanced over at them as he went by, nodding his head in recognition. The kid smiled slightly at him while the other one stared blatantly.
Cle stopped and looked at the man's face. A few seconds passed between them with nothing said.
Cle turned and walked away, tossing his cigarette into a nearby trashcan, with clear and perfect understanding.