Mary Clark could not get used to the presence of The Cactus in town. It was a still, mind boggling presence that towered over most houses in the Western developments of Town, outside the walls that surrounded the core of the city – they still surround Old Town Fiery Creek today, though the Revenant District was conveniently left outside the barriers, because Fiery Creek neighbours have always been judgmental bastards who cannot respect undead people and their lifestyle choices -, a set of beautiful flowers decorating its top.
Every time she looked at The Cactus, Mary Clark could not stop herself from looking towards the southwest, where the witches had settled down. The Forbidden district, they called it. An Akelarre had bought the land and barred all of it. They had then built their own houses and temples, and did not want to be disturbed by anyone. For the Mayor, the secretiveness of the witches was a lot more unsettling than the presence of The Cactus. It was as if all of their actions had some kind of terrible meaning to them, a sort of power that could bind destiny in place.
Alba Luca interrupted her train of thought. “I have met the witches, fought alongside them, and still find them unsettling”.
“Good evening” Mary greeted. “I guess you are Ms Luca”.
“You guessed right. But call me Alba, I don’t like the formalities, Mayor Clark” she said.
Mary examined the Italian woman. She was a bit shorter than herself, and had an honest smile to her. The Mayor could feel the immense power that woman had, and could not help wondering why she had chosen to stay in that small city. Alba Luca seemed to read her mind once again.
“It’s normal to wonder why I would stay, of all places, in a small community in the middle of the desert. You know what my power is, and I guess I owe you an explanation” Alba said.
“I rarely get one, so that would be nice” Mary said.
Alba Luca smiled, and started to speak. “Don’t you think that it’s a bit weird that the Second Coming happened in Fiery Creek? Do you ever wonder whether all of those incidents, with Satan, the Kitties, the time travellers and the worms just happened here by coincidence, or whether there is something else going on? I know you do, Mary, because, unlike the children who have only known this city with all of its weirdness, you were an outsider once, and you had known what a normal life was, just like me” she paused for a few seconds in which Mary stayed completely silent. “It is no coincidence that you decided to stop here, or any of the stuff that has taken place here, Mary. It all is bound by destiny”.
The Mayor waited for a minute, and indicated to Alba that she could keep going. “Oh, sorry about that, I cannot tell you any more” Alba explained.
“Oh” Mary seemed disappointed. “I mean, it looked promising at first, I thought you were going to give me an explanation, but then, poff, that was it”.
“I know, it’s very disappointing, but… you know…”
“Yes, I do get that you cannot tell me any more because me knowing too much about the Great Plan of Destiny would probably ruin the whole thing, it’s just…” Mary looked for the words that explained how she felt. “It’s just that it’s extremely frustrating to have to follow some sort of plan that has been written down for all humanity while being blind about its contents”.
Alba Luca nodded. “I know how you feel, I don’t know the whole thing either, and it just itches me to know…”
“It feels like asking the Author why in the world he would choose to not let us know vital information” Mary said.
“I have asked him a couple of times, he just got uncomfortable and has not replied to my messages since” Alba said.
Mary Clark laughed out loud, and Alba Luca followed. “I just wanted you to know that I’m an alley” Alba said. “Also, I’m here to invite you to the best Italian coffee you will ever have”.
“Sounds good to me” Mary said.
It actually was the best coffee Mary Clark ever had, as she later wrote about it in her diary.