The Highwayman

This was a product of listening to too much Loreena McKennitt while writing.

Shattered moonbeams lay in a fractured mess on the old moor road, casting its worn surface in a silver-blue chiaroscuro. A steady rumbling built on the horizon, growing louder. After a moment, a sleek, black motor bike crested the brow of the hill. The rider moved with the machine in perfect concert, taking each jounce of the Roman road with a practiced ease. A black helmet with an nearly opaque face shield obscured the rider’s features. She was glad of the fact, glad of the moments of anonymity that it gave her. There were times when even she did not want to know herself.

‘Self. Identity,’ she laughed inwardly. Even the scars were gone. She knew where each one should have been, from the lash marks on her back to the shiny rope burns at her throat. ‘That’s not quite true,’ she corrected herself. There were three scars left, three small, brownish marks on her breast, above her heart. All the rest had been burned away by the same flames that took her mortality.

She could not remember what she had been before the moment that the bike popped over the hill. She no longer tried. There were only flames and then the cool blast of air caused by her break neck passage over the wide, moonlit ribbon that the soldiers of Rome had called a road.

The rest was over, as dead and gone as the language in which she was named. Anathandra. The name meant nothing and less than nothing now, but once it had borne an eerie significance. She recalled something about a pirate by that name. She was undoubtedly an ancestress. ‘Than did not believe in coincidence.

She would never know for certain because her memories were nothing more than haze on the horizon. She was reborn each night with only enough memories to tell her where she was and why she was there. Tonight she would go to an inn.

Her eyes strayed for a moment from the road to the sky. Dark clouds seethed and boiled like the frothy foam of a stormy sea. The moon, a mere sliver in the sky, bobbed in the relentless currents as a foundering ship. Its light dusted the paving stones in a pale silver and glinted off of the head of the steel zipper at her throat. The buttery black leather of her jacket rippled in the wind like the body of a sinuous snake and flapped against the tops of her thigh length boots. The motor bike roared over the cobbles and up into the darkened yard, coming to a stop just under the empty casement window.

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