1.07 Saving Grace (pt 2)

Gaia’s eyes darted around in panic for other options, realizing there were none. The silence was oppressive in the empty cathedral of a room. His face was glowing white in the moonlight. This man wasn’t going to take no for an answer.

“Who…” she started.

He placed a finger on her lips. His touch was cold. He moved towards a door behind them by the elevator and Gaia saw no other choice but to follow. The heavy door slammed shut behind them, and suddenly the light went from a cool blue to a dull yellow. They were in a stairwell.

“Who are you?” Gaia demanded.

“Who am I?” he looked amused. “I’m not the one in places where one shouldn’t be… naughty, naughty.”

Gaia took an angry breath. He did have a point. For a moment she saw herself as this strange creature must: scowling, defiant, a mop of white dreadlocks wearing an oversized army jacket on a skinny frame. She didn’t belong. But then again, neither did he. He was tall, with dark curls and an olive complexion. Deep-set eyes that regarded her with cool indifference, in contrast to his almost comical velvet blazer and, glowing slightly against his black shirt, a pendant that looked to contain something… radioactive?

“What do you know about this building?” she said, mostly to fill the awkward silence.

“This building? Oh, don’t you know, this is a building of great importance. The keys to the kingdom, if you will.”

“The voice of God?”

“The voice, the body, the soul.”

“So it’s here? You know it?”

He smiled. It unsettled her.

“It’s not my job to know God. Not anymore.” He turned. “Follow me. I’ll show you the way out.” He started down the stairs. Gaia looked down as they descended. She noticed his black boots looked similar to hers. Walking behind him she realized he wasn’t wearing any fragrance she could recognize or describe, but he smelled nice.

“Why are you helping me?” her voiced echoed in the narrow shaft.

“You ask a lot of questions for a thief.”

Gaia said nothing. This conversation was getting too weird.

“It’s ok,” he chuckled. “I’ve always had a soft spot for sinners.”

“Who are you?”

They had reached the bottom of the stairwell. Another emergency door and they were back where Gaia had started, by the basement elevators. She briefly looked around for the others but she and the mystery man were alone. “One of the fallen. Some might say, the fallen. I’ve had many names. But these days, I go by Lucian.”


“Bringer of light?” he looked at her knowingly. She stared back blankly.

“So I’ll just… see myself out then?” she gestured towards the corridor leading outside.

“After you,” he theatrically mimicked her gesture.

She felt even more unsettled walking with him behind her. Her mind was showing her all sorts of unwanted images; he could produce a rope and wrap it around her neck to strangle her standing up; he could knock her to the floor, and worse. But nothing happened. Their footsteps echoed in the empty hallway. Still, her body was rigid with tension until she reached the door.

He moved to open the door, and as he slid around her his chest brushed against her back. For a second she froze. Then he pushed the door open and the cool night air hit her face.

“You take care now, Gaia,” he said, still standing too close behind her. She bounced outside, but then it struck her – how did he know her name? Gaia turned to ask, but the door behind her was already shut.

She felt like she had spent weeks inside that building, not the actual 20 minutes or so which had passed. There was no sign of the others so Gaia backtracked out the alley and onto the main street. To her great relief, the truck was still there and already speeding towards her. Masumi was all smiles and a blur of  pink and orange hair as she zoomed past and hit the brakes. Gaia ran a few steps after the vehicle and Alessandro reached out his hand. She grabbed it, jumping onto the back and climbing to safety as the truck sped off into the night.


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Image by Dior Homme.