Brian gave himself a mental shake and exhaled sharply.
Whew! Gotta get yourself together, Brian. OK. OK. Everything is fine, it was just a dream, that woman doesn’t really know you. This is all a joke, just a prank. Everything has an explanation.
That was his father’s favorite phrase. Everything has an explanation, in the world beneath our feet, and in the one up above. His father was long-gone, having died five years ago, but now Brian could hear his words re-echoing in his head and it gave him some measure of comfort.
The only thing Brian couldn’t explain was how he’d been able to hear Madeline’s voice inside his mind. But he decided it was better not to think about it.
Having regained control over his nerves, Brian was able to focus on the work-day ahead of him. He had lunch with a client, and his mind only strayed back to Madeline once. It was when a small girl aged about four walked into the restaurant holding her mother’s hand, and her eyes were the same crystalline blue as Madeline’s eyes.
The little girl’s blue eyes seemed to stare right through him, and Brian could feel the hairs at the back of his neck standing up. His client was staring at him curiously, but Brian just shrugged.
"You OK, Mr. Finley? You look like a ghost just passed over your grave."
For some reason, this only increased the intensity of his goosebumps.
Despite this, Brian had a productive day and closed three deals by 5 PM, at which point he decided to call it a day.
As Brian was gunning the engine, a hand closed upon his right shoulder. Brian flinched and instinctively jumped out of the car, almost breaking the seat-belt strap as he did so.
A man in a gray suit sat in the back seat. He was perhaps in his latter 60’s. The man smiled calmly, as if he expected that Brian would react in this way. Before Brian could gather his wits and ask this lunatic what he was doing inside his locked car, the man cleared his throat.
"Brian Finley, I’ve been waiting for you. 200 years is a long time to wait. I’m Henry Davenport."
The man in the gray suit unfolded impossibly long legs as he got out of the car. Brian just stared as the stranger stood up, all seven feet or so of him. He towered at least one foot taller than Brian, who felt dwarfed despite his own height of 6”1’.
“God, you must be seven feet!” That was the best Brian could come up with at the moment. His brain had stopped functioning properly a while ago.
The stranger laughed loudly, revealing large white teeth. "In our last forms, you were the taller one. It seems we've switched places."
For a moment the two men stood there in the parking garage of the office building, silent and unmoving. Brian was aware that this man, this so-called Henry Davenport, was staring at him unblinking, unflinching, but he was also aware that it was without malice or intimidation behind it. The man had an aura of calm about him that instantly put Brian at ease.
“Shall we go somewhere to speak? We have a lot of catching up to do,” the man suggested in his well-modulated voice. Brian found himself agreeing.