It is given to few people in this world to disappear twice, but, as he had succeeded once, the man known as James Forrester was about to make his second attempt.
It was time for a rest. Fighting had taken so much out of him. He now searched for a place where he could sleep undisturbed, to become invisible, to not care or be cared about. He was now on his way to a place where he knew he could disappear, and there he would melt into the darkness. He would live as he had lived—alone.
An image flashed before his mind. No he had not always lived alone. There was a time, a place… he ran his hand through his hair, so curly that people had taken to calling him Frodo. But that was at home.
Now, stepping out along the Craig his eyes swept over the city below.
The buildings were home to thousands of people, filled with families, warmly lit cafes humming with conversation, floating in the scent of cappuccino and lemon cake. Light spilled out from the restaurants filling dark street corners, beckoning weary travelers in from the cold night. He knew that even in the falling darkness there was life below. Yet, that was not what he sought.
The warmth and corner lights were lost in the distance. What could be seen sprawled before him was a looming society filled with angles, walls, and shifting shadows. Each building and each house represented a family, a home; home to which he did not belong. Seeing so many houses reminded Jim that he was alone.
Alone. The word had marked his life forever. Like scar that would never disappear. It was a situation he now embraced. He came to this city with one purpose; to forget and be forgotten. He wanted nothing more to do with memories. Yet that image appeared again…
The boys lined up for the picture, happy to be in their element, outdoors facing the forces of nature. Each wearing their cameo overalls matched the bare trees and snow patched ground. James stood in his tall, yet relaxed manner while Ben attempted to lean on his shoulder, a difficult task when one’s brother is two heads taller. Reed smiling, as always. He was almost as tall as Jim and stood as his right hand man, a brother and dependable friend. Jim’s expression resembled that of an old photo of soldiers in their down time… a half smile, a relaxed but broad shouldered stance. The ice beneath their feet spoke of cold times, but the lack of red noises means the weather had warmed up a bit… it is not cold enough to bite, only chill.
It was a warm memory of a cold trip. Yet, warmth was not what Jim was seeking. He wanted the biting cold, the numbing wind.
It was ironic that he who hated the city should seek it out, but like a wild animal which knows when to slip into shadows, he was seeking a dark and lonely place where he could slip into obscurity.
At this moment no man on the path looked stronger, more alive, more resolute, yet the injuries he suffered were there, invisible to the eye, but present nonetheless.
This invisible scar matched the landscape so well. Under the shadow of the castle and steeple people rushed from task to task, hardly aware of the green country that surrounded their city. Its stone-cold blackness scaring the land. Moving in the shadows of the buildings the people became like shadows themselves.
This is what Jim wanted.
He made his way down the trail. Eventually, stepping out of the sun, he moved into the shadow of the mountain.