Tonight, the sun takes no pity, lingering in the empyrean, playfully teasing me to step out under the sky just a moment too soon. It nestles in the nook of two mountains in the distance, casting a yellow pink glow over the town that shoos away the darkness like the shepherd's dog chases the geese before dawn, a rare moment for the town to be at peace. There is so much more than our people see, but it is this that protects them. I was once spoiled by ignorance, not again, it was not to be. There are many things not to be questioned. There are many things that even the Cosmos do not know. It is only us, truth seekers that can begin to penetrate the beginning of a vast basin of knowledge in this world, yet at the same time, embrace the lie that others seem to enjoy engaging in so much. So is life.

Not until the sky settles to a drowsy azure do I dare step foot from the shadows. My time is a precious twenty minutes until the first stars appear in the sky, and the cover of darkness is yet again compromised, and my cover blown. My hand finds the damp wood that is my only path, I turn to the right and run, keeping low and against the fence with my eyes on the blur of grass at my feet, my mind on the cosmos. I am blind here, exposed to the elements even so. To what I owe this small pleasure, I can not be sure, for it is surely only momentary, as if everything else. For a fleeing second I let myself open up to the cool air and smell of rain. I tumble down the grass, shaken by a small ditch in the hill, i am yet again reminded that we are not alone. The rendezvous calls.

My mirror waits in the distance. We must look as siblings, hunched, cloaked, and whispering siblings, talking to the humid night, talking to the space between us. Underneath our hoods, we claim no resemblance. In his eyes, a turbulent ocean, I must brace myself as not to fall in, they bear the look of a thousand years, though they reflect the withered look sported by all his trade. My hair hangs just below my ear in thick waves, dark as His soul, yet shiny as the last bits of light that idle at the tops of the smallest mountain. I flinch as his hand glances of my cheek, and he pulls away quickly. So long I have waited, that the touch of fellow man is foreign? Our touch is one of silence, and has been for three long years. We stand stubborn, unwilling to be the first to speak, for his eyes tell me all that needs to be said, this we share. It is nearly dark.

"And the update?" it is he who speaks, he who breaks the easy silence. I know that my time for innocence has ceased.

"Subject apprehended," of this I am sure. I take the smooth object, the likes of which I had never before seen from my deep pocket, "With this my hesitation lies."

"And with good reason," he takes the article from my hand. I do not seek further information, nor do I inquire upon the significance of this particular item. In turn, he slips it into his pocket and I hear the thud of it meeting another solid. He meets my eyes, challenging me, to ask, but I must not let my curiosity get the best of me, a weakness in what I hope to be an impenetrable shield it must be. How else am I to survive. There is always a person out there that is stronger than you, always someone to make you lose face, always another mission impossible, how many exceptions to the truth does it take to disprove, but I am determined.

"You are foolish," he says, he can see the doubt behind my gaze.

"I am human," I say softly. I know of the perilous task to come, but while I am not yet a man, I am not longer a boy. I have always been loyal to the eerie in between, so often far too loosely defined by those who do not pity us.

"Do well, my apprentice, for your sake, I hope we meet again, though this is what I fear. You are so much more valuable alive than you are dead, I do hope for this to serve in your favor. For after all, there are many things worse than death" He begins to walk towards the mountains.

"Aren't you going to wish me luck?" I am calling, I am desperate for a response, any response,

"Luck? No that was a long time ago, what I wish for you now is nothing short of a miracle," with that, he turns on his heel as he is swallowed by the velvety black of summer night. I pull my dark hood over my face. I refuse to let go. I refuse to leave behind three years of life in a single second.

I put my palm to my forehead, letting it slip slowly down my cold face, let my middle finger rest on my nose, for just a moment. For just a moment, I say goodbye.