A Demon's Regret
It had been four days since I had spoken to (Y/N), and I pined after her. Though, as I continued in my quest, my women had become slightly less vitriolic in their response to my apology, none had been truly happy at my appearance and revelation.
Feeling morose, I made myself drag my feet towards my map once more. I knew, instinctively, that four hundred and thirty-five women remained in my thrall. Flipping the switch, I nervously eyed the spike that rose from Marseille, France.
I hadn’t been through France at all in over thirty years, so I wasn’t certain who it could be as I brought up the information. Regardless, this would be unpleasant. My French had never been fabulous, and it had doubtless deteriorated from lack of use. My last use had been in the Ivory Coast just over twenty years ago, and the dialect there was different.
Ah, Josiane Martin. She had been a very busty brunette. Not very smart, she was remarkably genuine, and her sorrow had fed me well. It saddened me to see that she had an early squamous cell carcinoma in her lungs, and I resolved to do my best to warn her. As I brought up her image, I saw the ravages a lifetime of smoking had wrought.
Her once apple-cheeked face was now sallow and littered with age spots and wrinkles. She still had warm, brown eyes, though her eyelashes had thinned. I couldn’t even remember precisely when I had been to see her, though it could not have been recently.
I took a deep breath and then stepped through the dimensions to the suburbs of Marseille, finding myself just within the doorway of a modest home. Anxiety gripped me as I tentatively knocked on the inside of the door.
Josiane, now old and with a distinct hunch in her back, came bustling towards the door, then stopped dead in her tracks to fall to her knees. “Mon Dieu!” [My God!]
She began to cry and I searched for the right words. “Josiane, Je suis désolé…” [Josiane, I am sorry…] She didn’t seem to hear me, and remained holding her face in her hands. I tried again. “Je viens m’excuser pour-“ [I come to apologize for-]
She scoffed at me. “-Non mais allo quoi! C’est pas vrai! C’est fou!” [Hello, are you kidding? No way! That’s crazy!]
I reached for her on the ground. “Si! Je sais que j’ai fait une injustice. Je la regrette. Je demande le pardon.” [Yes! I know that what I did was wrong. I regret it. I beg forgiveness.]
Josiane let me take her in my arms, in a loose embrace. I could barely make out her snuffling in my shoulder. “Est-ce que tu es revenu? [Have you come back?]
I struggled for the right words, and they came out in broken French. “Tu es libre; le contrat est brisé… Mais, je ne peaux pas rester. Maintenant, ton cœur est le tien. [You are free; the contract is broken. But, I cannot stay. Now your heart is yours.]
She looked up at me, sniffling, and I could see a spark of her youth in her warm, brown eyes. “Vraiment?” [Really?]
I nodded. “Oui. Mais J’ai un autre chose dire.” [Yes. But I have something else to say.] I took her hand. “Josiane, tu as un cancer, dans les poumons. Je suis désolé. Je veux que tu savoir.” [Josiane, you have a cancer, in your lungs. I’m sorry. I want you to know.]
She broke away from me to take a seat on a nearby chair. By her look of comprehension, I could tell that my French was not so poor that she couldn’t understand what I was trying to say. She looked devastated.
I took her hand. “Tu peux adorer encore.” [You are able to love again.]
She looked up at me through tired eyes, before resting her other, weathered hand over mine. “Je ne comprends pas. Mais merci, André.” [I don’t understand. But thank you, Andy.]
I squeezed her hand, one last time. “De rien.” [You’re welcome.] Then I leapt through the dimensions to return to my maproom. For the first time I felt as though I’d done some actual good in this insane quest, and my being felt just a bit lighter.
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Also feel free to tell me how much my French sucks, c'est chouette! ;3