Joe stared out the window of the train into the rushing darkness. The night passed by faster than the life of mortals. In an aisle seat, five rows behind him, an agent from the Septum sat. Another read a newspaper five rows ahead. No doubt they thought their cover intact. There was no denying they were skilled.

But their guilt drifted in soap bubbles above their heads. Images of his features, their assorted concealed weapons all shot through with the brown stains of anxiety shimmered constantly like so many faulty neon-signs.

Perhaps I should end them, Joe thought.

Arriving at a new city with an entourage might not be welcome. But the agents had been well briefed and they feared as much for their families as they did for their own lifes. Joe could not tell if the Septum were now threatening the families of their agents or if these two genuinely worried about their dependents in the event of Joe swatting them. It did not matter. In this at least his dossier was right: he did not lightly end mortals who loved their children.

In the entire length of his long existence, in those periods when he was not mad, arguably the thing that kept him sane, Joe always loved his children. There were so few of them left now and so scattered.

Medea, I would have given you children. If only the cancer had spared you.

Tears welled in his eyes and trickled down his cheeks. They sparkled and misted into gold before they hit the ground. Fine tendrils of golden mist began to waft up from around him.

Five rows behind, the Septum agent whispered into his microphone: “He weeps. Our God weeps. May He have mercy on our souls.”

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