The road took a sharp turn, the cars spraying water out in mundane arches below the moving tires. The hushed patter of the rain took its toll on the bottom of Montmartre’s slopes, pooling and overlapping against the short kerbs. Tourist numbers were muted, the outdoor seating at the cafes was glimmering in its redundancy, patrons choosing to nurse their coffee indoors. The artistic calm that the hill depended on sighed, its inventive and addictive breath using the rain to rest. Every artist had hidden their easel under engulfing umbrellas, some using the weather for creative value, others choosing to brave it briefly to make it indoors. The Sacre Coeur sat luminous and silent. Its religious history unmoved by the changing weather, the changing years.
Tiny omniscient streams followed descending residents down the Rue Foyatier, gravity being the only driving force.
Watercolour in every sense, the artists quarter rested, its calm, eloquent tone unaffected, the world here sat seconds behind the rest. Its creativity keeping it ahead and behind in both time and attitude.
The graveyards filled with philosophic dead and poetic corpses found no problem with the unpredictable weather of European climes.
Here the world is a very different place.
His footsteps clicked hollowly on the dark pavement.
The street was empty, his only company the rain that never ceased.
Ahead of him a form shot from an adjacent road, it splashed through the road, dashing between cars, its balance almost non existent, slipping and soaking its way.
He burst after the shadow form. His suit trousers became sodden within seconds, his eyes barely open as the water assailed his face.
His moustache and small trim beard matted to his features. The rain did nothing for his appearance. His shirt hugged his chest in an icy grip, his jacket wouldn’t flow as he ran, it kept close to him, bogged down by the new weight it was encumbered with.
He slipped again, barely keeping himself upright.
The vague form flitted between cars, between headlights and streetlights. Its ghost like form ethereal in its haste.
Cars sounded their horns impatiently. He had no time to care. He had to catch this ghost.
His quarry had the advantage of knowing these streets like a local, he had no idea if the streets would even be the same since the last time he had been here.
Veering left, his target slid briefly heading into a new street, built up high and close the street was shadowed by closed shutters and distant indoor lighting.
Nearing a crossroads the chased man thundered straight out and into an oncoming car.
For a brief second he stopped, his whole form silhouetted perfectly against the unbearably bright lights of the fast approaching vehicle.
Its brakes were useless.
He was spun over the windshield, his whole body following his flailing arms over the roof, over the vehicle. He landed heavily on the unforgiving cobbled street.
The car didn’t stop to see who it had hit. The sound of screaming wheels echoed off the rain soaked walls beside, its circular headlamps lighting its impatient getaway. The chased ghost lay still, his solidity dubious. His pursuer caught up to him, his knees grating the cobbles painfully as he swerved down next to the car’s victim.
Rolling over the man looked up, completely dazed. His dizziness would have equalled the height of a drunken night. He looked unharmed save his quick sharp intakes of breath.
The pursuer stooped and slapped him.
“Where am I?” he asked the dazed man.
“I don’t-” he begun, his need for air interrupting him. “I don’t understand, you’re here. In Montmartre.”
In the darkness his pursuer could feel the look of confusion, he didn’t need to see it.
“Not me. But this face. Where is the person who owns this face?”
“Boss? Is that you-“
“No. I’m not your ‘Boss’. Would I be asking you like this if I were? No, I’m not. But I am. It’s all very confusing.” He continued. “Now then, figuratively speaking of course, if I was looking for the man with my- with this face, where would I look? Where can I find myself?”
A moment of silent mystification ensued. The pursuer smiled.
“Thank you. That wasn’t too hard.”
“But who are you, if your not the Boss.”
“I’m the man who was also named Tim.”
Tim turned and strode off down the hill, while across the rooftops the Eiffel tower shimmered elegantly. Its massive domed base still confused him, but not nearly as much as the man he had just chased would be if he knew his ‘Boss’ by his first name.