Fate is a tricky thing and often unkind.
|They were as different as night and day. Literally. Erasmus Night and Annabelle Day had absolutely nothing in common. If it hadn't been for one freak interference of fate, they might have lived their whole lives completely unaware of each other.
As it happened, they didn’t have that long.
Annabelle Day began what felt to her like a very average morning The outdoor cafe where she sat sipping coffee offered free wifi and allowed patrons to linger long beyond the time required to consume a coffee and croissant. Annabelle took full advantage of this. She chose the small table for two that was partially hidden from the street by a thick and aged tree trunk. It provided her with an excellent blind from which to observe people strolling by but protected her from prying eyes as she typed those very personal and secret dreams into pages and pages of anguished poetry. Annabelle poured out her desires, secure in the knowledge that no one would suspect her of possessing such passion and yet, she longed to share her heart. She sighed and even as that soft rush of air passed her parted lips, her scarf was lifted by another rush of air and flew across the table and beyond.
Annabelle Day had no idea that the sudden gust blowing her scarf into the street was a wind of change, for at that same moment, Erasmus Night was rushing back to that very same table at that very same cafe, having been seized with a sudden dread that rumbled in his soul, even as the wheels of the number 7 uptown bus rumbled underneath him.
Annabelle hurried to chase her airborne scarf before it blew into the heavy morning traffic. She didn’t make it.
Panic seized Erasmus Night’s heart like a giant fist squeezing his chest. How could he have been so careless? If anyone found his writings, his blueprints, his plans - no, he couldn’t allow that. The bus jolted suddenly and he was thrown forward. Several passengers shouted at the driver. Erasmus growled a threat and complaint. Words were beyond him.
“Some crazy woman chasing a scarf into the street”, the bus driver exclaimed. “Hey lady, you’re gonna get yourself killed!”
Erasmus realized the bus was stopped right in front of the cafe. He rushed forward.
“Let me off! Let me off!” he demanded.
“Okay buddy, calm down,” the bus driver murmured. Something about Erasmus Night’s voice and the look in his eyes seemed to convince the driver that it would be better if this passenger got off his bus as soon as possible. He opened the door.
Erasmus spied it immediately. The laptop sat undisturbed on the chair. He grabbed it and clutched it to his chest, fighting off the fear of its contents having been searched. Why hadn’t he used protective passwords? He rushed home to verify its security.
Annabelle returned to the table, successful in arresting the scarf’s flight after chasing it half a block and nearly being struck by a bus. She quaffed the last dregs of coffee in her cup and dropped a few bills on the table to cover the charge and tip. Annabelle frowned at finding her laptop under the table. Hadn’t she left it on the chair?
“What’s wrong with me?” Annabelle chided herself for her forgetfulness. “I am lucky that no one took it.” She slid the laptop into its shoulder bag and hurried home to feed the cat.
Alone in the dark squalor of his room, Erasmus stared in horror at the computer screen. It was worse than his laptop security having been compromised. This was not his computer at all! He opened file after file, searching for a clue to the laptop’s owner. What he found instead were writings that catalogued every deep yearning of his desolate existence. His heart, which had long been given over to misanthropy and hatred, began to beat out hope once again. He must find her, find this woman who wrote of the longings of his soul. He must stop the awful destruction his despair had set in motion.
Annabelle turned on the laptop intending to write another poem. Instead of her poetry folders, a map of the city opened up with several spots marked by a large red “X”. The file was titled with today’s date and a notation - Last Day. “Oh, where are my poems?” she cried.
From opposite ends of the city, they each rushed to the cafe. Breathless, their eyes met in an instant of understanding and love. Unfortunately, it was a moment too late for Erasmus to stop the detonation of the bombs. Night and Day came together in one desperate embrace, and then were no more.
Word Count - 787