He moved delicately, as if buoyed by the wind, which he was taking little notice of. He didn’t bother to shield his face from the pelting snow. Aside from his hands being in his pockets, he didn’t seem to be minding the cold at all.
We watched each other as he approached. In the light of the station, he stopped.
“You’re Samael’s companion, correct?” he asked. His voice was high, a tenor’s voice.
He chuckled as if I had made a joke, and looked up into the snow. He had small piercing eyes that you would see in an old magazine ad for cologne or a business suit. His hair was dirty blond, and his face was handsome and angular. “I think you’re already aware that some of us would like this enterprise to succeed?”
“You’re talking about the angels who sent the watchmaker?” The last word caught in my throat. Some of us. Was this man an angel?
“Exactly that. We’d like to impart a second gift. Something to help in this venture.” He pulled a hand from his pocket and held it out. Clasped in it was a feather. It looked jaundice yellow under the station lights.
I made to step towards him to take it, but the wind picked it from his fingers. Still his eyes never left mine, as I watched it twirl in the snowflakes and come to me. It ended right in front of my face, where I snatched it before it could do any more acrobatics.
“No need to show off,” I told him.
He smiled, but not sincerely. I didn’t like any part of that smile. “Make sure he uses that. He can’t win against Seth without it.”
I looked closely at the feather. It was actually pure white; it was only the lighting that had made it appear yellow. There wasn’t a single mar to it. “How is he supposed to use it?”
“He eats it, of course.” He pointed to his mouth, that odd smile still on his lips.
“Eat it? A feather?” I looked at it again. It was a fairly large feather, nearly the length of my arm.
“My dear, I regret to inform you that you know nothing of magic.”
A gust of wind rose, and when I looked up the man – the angel – was gone. If I’d known I could only ask five questions I would have chosen them more carefully.
I grumbled with annoyance and tucked the feather away inside my coat. Who was this guy to assume I’d be meeting Sam again anyway?
But if I didn’t meet Sam, then surely I would stand no chance against this final monster.
I ducked into the snow and started out. I wasn’t going to let my thoughts turn that way. I had decided to see this through to the end.