A Quiet Child

Standing on an Edinburgh street corner eating lunch, he could still feel the pull, the call drawing him northwest.

On his way back to the train station he passes a window painted with cartoonish twenty-somethings all smiling on a bus. “Haggis Backpackers,” it says. Tours of the highlands, going as long as seven days. He could hop on, let someone else drive, and triangulate the pull. Perfect.

He wouldn’t fail again. He had tracked it across continents, through centuries. He didn’t know why he felt this pull, or why he could remember all the previous attempts, all the previous lives of failure. But he would find it this time. He would find it, and he would finally rest. He departed early the next day.

“Tragic news this morning,” the talking head late that morning, “Fifteen tourists and their driver, all dead in a tragic accident.”

Elsewhere, a child cries, not at his recent birth, but at his recent frustration. A quiet childhood, spent plotting and planning. He will have that spear. And then his rest.

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