The skittish mugger looked at his gun, then back at the lean, wispy man. It looked like his skin was pulled tight over his bones; his apparent malnutrition is what gave Linus the courage to victimize the man. He did not plan on firing a single shot, much less six. Now that he was approaching 50, Linus had learned that plans are made to be broken.
“Fate, huh? So can you change mine?” Linus asked. Fate cocked his head to the side and gave him a questioning look.
“You don’t need me for that,” he replied with a calming, even tone. Linus gave a half nod and hid his gun under his coat.
“Yeah, I suppose you wouldn’t seein’ I just tried mugging you,” he shook his head. “Sorry, and thanks for not killing me.”
“Why would I?” Fate asked. He seemed perpetually confused as far as Linus could tell from the short five-minute interaction they’ve had so far. Linus only meant to fire a warning shot to scare the man; he did not seem to understand he was being robbed.
“‘Cause I tried to take your money and kill you. It’s only fair you’d want revenge. Anyone that can take six shots in the chest without blinking can probably make short work of me.”
“Do you wish ill upon the breeze that caresses your face?” Fate asked. Linus shook his head in equal parts astonishment and offense.
“That’s all those bullets were to you? A stiff breeze?” Linus asked. Fate smiled at him.
“A gentle breeze. Do you want money?” Fate asked suddenly. Linus laughed. He had grown used to Fate’s quirks already. He was not surprised Fate did not know what a mugging was. Fate reached into his jeans pocket and pulled out a small, glassy rectangle about the size of a playing card. “I’ve been told this works as a credit card if you swipe it.” He tossed it at Linus. “She said it has no limit,” Fate shrugged. “I don’t know what that means, but I’m sure you do.”
“And you’re just giving this to me??”
“I don’t need it. You don’t either, but it seems like you need to learn that lesson for yourself.” Linus stared wide-eyed at the device. When he touched it, it lit up like a display and showed the current time with an infinity symbol next to it.
“Wait a minute. Who’s ‘she’ that you mentioned? Is this hers? Is she gonna come back for it?” Linus began to push the glass card back to Fate; but, the frail man shook his head.
“My queen, Bijou, gifted it to me to keep me entertained while I wait for her. She’ll be here soon. My wait is almost over.”
“Your Queen? Fate has a queen? How does that work?”
“How does what work?” Fate asked.
“I mean, you’re fate. You control and guide people’s lives. You decide people’s circumstances. I never thought you’d report to anyone.”
“Oh,” Fate chuckled. “You’re confused. I’m not…,” he used air quotes. “FATE. My name is Fate but I decide my own. Just like you.”
“But then what are you? I know I shot you point blank.”
“I’m a Unique Soul. #42, La Calavera.”
“I don’t know what that means,” Linus shook his head.
“It means I can make short work of you if I wanted to.”
“Fair enough,” Linus nodded. “But what ab-” he stopped talking. His mouth dropped open and he stared at something behind Fate. A pitch black portal, somehow darker than the dark alley, opened in the air. A short dark-haired woman walked out. Though she stood in shadows, Linus clearly saw bright pink crystalline eyes staring at him. Once she walked up to Fate Linus got the impression that she stared at him just to ignore him. She looked at Fate.
“Yes my Queen,” Fate said with a deliberate nod of his head. Then he turned around and walked through the portal. Bijou followed and the portal closed behind them.