Hadriel Alighieri stared at the fountain through the window. The steady stream reminded him of waterfalls. The tranquility reminded him of his unrequited love.
The ripples on the surface of the pond fanned out towards the shore, ushered by the cool, autumn morning breeze. Bells tolled in the distance. The clouds hung low in the overcast sky, but whether it was midmorning or mid-afternoon, he could not say.
Perhaps heaven hopes to shorten my journey, he thought.
“Better a long trip up than a short trip down,” Azrael said.
“True enough.” Hadriel shrugged. He turned to the mirror. Streaks of white peppered his unruly grey hair. His attendants had preserved his mustache just as they’d promised. He adjusted his coat. Felt for his flask in the inner pocket and nodded.
Hadriel lifted his fedora from the rack. The charcoal colored wool felt familiar in his hands. He placed it slanted on his head and remembered when he first purchased it forty years before.
“Will she remember me?” he muttered under his breath. “Did she wait for me?”
Hadriel turned and faced Azrael; he had bartered with the Angel of Death. Not for fear of facing his mortality, for he had already died long ago. He haggled with the angel of death only to fulfill a promise. A vow he once made to the girl who stole his heart. Yet, despite her quandary over love she never gave it back.
In any case, she remained his Juliet. She remained the horizon he would never reach and the whisper lost in the wind, but he loved her with all his heart and now he set out to find her.
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