Friday, December 23, 2011

The Salvation Shark, Epilogue

We’re in a diner at the edge of the city. I told Eva everything to keep her from calling the police. I can’t tell if she believes me. I’m nearly to the end of the story when Anton sits on the stool at the lunch counter next to our booth. I didn’t see him come in, and fight back a scream. No more death. No more bloodshed.

His suit is perfect. His hair is perfect.

Eva is motionless but for her eyes going from me to Lazarus. Her chest heaves a little. “Where is he?” she asks.

“Gone,” Lazarus says in a low voice. He isn’t smiling.

“You said you couldn’t kill him,” I protest.

"I lied," Lazarus says.

We look at each other a few seconds. Eva finds her voice. “Was he really God?”

Lazarus considers her a moment, rolling his tongue inside his mouth. “Your average psychotic. Delusions of grandeur. He thought he was the Messiah. Is that what he told you?” Lazarus takes a deep breath and leans against the counter. “I showed him what he was looking for.”

Eva breaks down crying. I don’t have anything left. His answer is not good enough. “You said you couldn’t kill him,” I whisper, holding eye contact. “You said you couldn’t do it, so you needed me.”

Anton's face shows no emotion, watching me a few seconds before the tiniest smile is hinted at the corners of his mouth. “You were the one I couldn’t kill.”

"You can't be the Devil," I say. I won't be able to get attention from anyone if Anton doesn't want me to. If he wants me to, it won't matter. "It's not possible."

"Is that what you thought?" He scratches his chin and fidgets a little, looking me over. "You might never wonder why Abraxas wanted to cut you apart, but I had to make sure he didn't. He won't bother you any more." The waitress walks between us but doesn't stop to see if our coffee cups are empty. "You can go home now. They will forget you." Lazarus stands up.

"How am I supposed to do that?" I ask. There is no way I will get in the car with him.

He answers with five hundred dollar bills on the table. I hadn't even seen them in his hand.

"Don't talk to strangers." Anton tries to leave, but Eva grabs his hand.

"Why did you kill Jesse?" she begs. Still, we haven't interrupted any dinners.

"He'll never be missed," Lazarus says and she lets him go. He smiles fully at last. "Neither will Becki Murphy." Lazarus takes my hand. "You can go home now, you will not be bothered any longer. SpectraCom owes you one last paycheck, and you can go back to how it was." He lets me go, nods to Eva, who is sobbing, and he exits.


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