He lifted up his head and look directly at me. If I had expected a blankness or calm malevolence, it wasn't there.
" I know who you are', I told him sternly.
'You know my name?' he enquired.
'Many of them', I retorted, shocked at the confidence in my own voice. 'Your name is mortality'.
This wasn't at all what I had expected. His demeanor was no more than indifferent; calm but nevertheless foreboding. There was no brooding vengeance or malice, just a dull inevitability, almost a boredom. It dawned on me that this was reflexive: what I was seeing was the mirror of my own calm resignation. The ineradicable suggestion of acceptance. And there in that, I saw the answer. The path chosen was to be my own. How I chose to walk it would be up to me: in fear or denial, acquiescence or dissension. The shock of this inner revelation washed over me like a wave of panic and I had to look away.
'You can leave now. I have seen what I need to see.' I mumbled to him.
He vanished like smoke in the wind, leaving only the most delicate hint of a breeze that swept past my shoulder. I stood up and crossed the room to the window. Spring was at last invading the garden and awakening the promise of new hope, new life.
The beast would return, along with his companions, despair and denial, but now I could see that the battle was within my capability; the recovery as inevitable as the attack, and I felt an inner calm.