The fire danced along the ground as it smothered the life around it. Ash blanketed the sky and once the threat was extinguished all that remained was a pine tree. The fire arrived in the park once every two years and when it came everything was consumed except for a single tree as well as a tall lanky young man. Adam witnessed Evelyn’s death many times and when she met her demise for the tenth time he hoped the debt to the universe had been paid.
The powdered remnants of Evelyn’s body littered the blackened earth. Gravity took hold of the ash so as to mold the body into the image of a shapely nineteen year-old girl. Adam was overcome with confusion since the girl he loved had been reborn as a child nine times before so in that instant optimism bloomed for their fates had already changed course.
Evelyn’s dark brown cropped hair fell once the fire that surrounded her body retreated to the origins within her. Her beauty gave Adam pause when he wrapped his tan trench coat around her unusually warm body on the cool autumn night.
“Eve?” Adam caressed the rose-coloured cheeks of her milk chocolate skin.
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Silence filled the small space between them. He placed a kiss on her forehead then he took her hand. An ache immobilized his speech as well as his green eyes when he heard her muffled cries.
“Why won’t you let me die?” she sniffled.
“It doesn’t work that way. What do you remember?”
“Everything,” she wiped away her tears.
Adam had long been Evelyn’s protector but he wavered in his resolve and handed her to the Suits so as to ensure the safety of his people. If she was to survive, he had hoped his betrayal would remain hidden. Adam found her putrefied body in a shallow burrow and brought her to Sunnybrook Park for it was the birthplace of her kind. Fire birthed the Phoenix deep within the earth’s core and when they were hunted into extinction a secret society of mortals from uptown Toronto assigned themselves as their guardians.
“We should go,” Adam stretched out his large calloused hand.
“I’m not going anywhere with you.” When Evelyn rose from the ashes, she was reborn with the knowledge of her elders. She learned much during her last encounter with the humans so the decision to leave was made with a light heart.
“I understand you’re angry but it’s my job to protect you,” he pleaded.
“You failed once. I won’t give you another chance to do that again.” It was neither anger nor sadness that lingered in her eyes it was disappointment. She had placed so much trust in Adam and his kind only to have them drive a stake through her heart. She was the monster that lied in wait for an unsuspecting victim but while the humans sought her destruction Evelyn sought their companionship.
“I love you. Doesn’t that count for anything?” Misery was a disease that occupied every thought and affected every action for she was his lifelong mate. There was a time when Evelyn saw the world through the eyes of a child so evil, in theory, was driven back into the darkness by gallantry and the knights of goodness were immune to the plagues that crippled the weak. Betrayal twisted the light that emanated from her essence so Adam housed the guilt in his heart.
“You humans don’t understand the meaning of the word,” she bit her bottom lip as she fought the urge to silence the human.
“I was trying to protect you. I do love you,” he turned away as he tried to find the words to convince Evelyn he was worthy of her love. “Please,” he shook his head.
” I’ve heard enough,” she walked away from the dark-haired man who once had a firm grip on her soul.
“Evelyn,” he whispered. The walls were built and there would be no entry until forgiveness could be given and the past forgotten.
The cool grey concrete ground blackened Evelyn’s feet as she headed east towards Don Mills Road. Her soul was ripped asunder and she wanted nothing more than to start a new. Immortality was a gift for when she woke from death’s embrace her innocence was restored but it was also a curse since time remained her constant companion.
“Hi,” the chubby man who approached Evelyn smiled. A black hood shielded the man’s face while a dark blue hat kept his lanky companion’s features hidden. The two men circled Evelyn like vultures.
“I don’t have time for you,” she paid no mind to the men who sought to take her virtue then her life. “Move,” she shoved the round man in the chest.
“I am going to enjoy pinning you to the ground!” the stocky man yelled.
Anger was in abundance and the tasteless remark fueled its growth. Life taught her but one lesson: men were rotten to their core. The humans claimed superiority as they slaughtered their own like sheep in the name of greed and power. The men attacked so Evelyn quieted the storm and the tall man’s flesh was hollowed out and his bones turned to dust. The night breeze took hold of what remained as Evelyn set her sights on the other would-be attacker.
“Please don’t kill me,” the man removed his hood.
“You’re like the rest,” she circled her prey.
“Please,” the man laced his stubby fingers together.
“No,” she grunted.
Memories of innocence fluttered in her mind’s eye as she proceeded with her plans to free the world of misery and hate. Truth was embraced by reason and its illumination halted the murderous act. Evelyn had witnessed the cruelty of humans but also the kindness and neutrality of their children. The seeds of humanity had been planted and they spread like weeds in the Garden of Eden. Evelyn was a sinner blinded by hypocrisy so the purity she once possessed was fleeting. Redemption was far reaching yet she sought it so she spared the parasite and watched impatiently as he scurried off into the night. An ache stemming from her core paralyzed her body while leaving her mind unharmed. The hunger that swelled her stomach went beyond the aid food could provide so she returned to the park. When she arrived, she found Adam lying motionless on the paved damp road.
“Bradley! I know you’re here,” her eyes darted in several directions as she shouted.
“I thought you were dead,” Bradley straightened his red tie.
“How did you find me?” Fear crept into her soul when she glanced at Adam. Cupid cursed the love she was fated to have for Adam’s meeting with death would be his first and last.
“I have spies everywhere,” he glared at Evelyn with his cold pale blue eyes. Bradley was molded in the image of his father and when he objected he was tortured into submission. Cruelty stripped the child of his compassion and at the age of fifteen he was given the black suit. Nature’s narcotics numbed the body and heart while sharpening the mind.
“We are going to leave and you’re going to let us,” she walked towards Adam while keeping her eyes fixed on Bradley.
“No,” Bradley lunged towards Evelyn.
“Okay,” she stood still as Bradley wrapped his hands tightly around her neck. His life was extinguished with a single thought for although the Suits exceeded the physical and mental capabilities of average humans, the reaper could neither be bested nor controlled. Tears filled a stream of sadness until it overflowed crippling logic and spirit. The sight of his body soured the taste of happiness and the bitterness of a love lost remained. “Adam?” she caressed his stiff blooded cheek.
The silence was maddening so she rested her head on his chest. There were no melodic sounds of life and her options were few so she honoured him with a hero’s burial. She gazed at the flames until they consumed him then she readied herself for a daring escape for revenge would soon come at the hands of the father who lost his prize and his son.
“Eve,” Adam whispered as he emerged from the flames.
“Adam,” she ran to his side. His breath soothed the ache in her core while his lips calmed the feelings of worry that endured. “You’re different,” she closed her eyes as she basked in his scent. Nature was thrown off course and during the chaos a hybrid was created with no intended purpose.
“I’m so sorry,” he pressed his thin lips against her forehead.
The honeyed flavour of joy was brief for the earth bore another hybrid child. Misery and death would write the ending to their story yet they stood firm for although their destinies had been woven into two separate threads the strength of their love was infinite.