There she was.
At the distant end of the empty street. The loveliest woman you could dream of. In silk. And crinoline. Holding a parasol. Approaching.
Cream and roses. The face of an ingénue. Some undiscovered one.
She approached. The odour, as she came so close, of roses. Smiling, as she passed, and turning, very gently, her parasol.
I thought of turning. But there was someone else. Approaching from the same direction. An ancient woman. In a green dress.
It passed, this ancient face, with no smile. With no odour. With a cool rushing, only.
I walked on. I turned the corner.
Rushing back, turning back. A rushing figure, head lowered, approaching. A figure in green.
At the far end of the street, lying in the street. The woman in silk and crinoline. The rose woman.
So close to passing, this green-clad woman. I raised my hands to grasp her, to arrest her.
She lifted her head, this woman. This ancient woman. She lifted her face, and…
It was not her face.
It was a face of cream. Of roses. The face of … an ingénue.
I staggered back. There were no words. I staggered—and she passed.
So I ran to the fallen woman. I ran. And I stopped.
There were no words.
Turning, I did as all good citizens would do. As a dutiful man is expected to do. But as I wished to do, too.
“Face taker!” I screamed. “Face taker!” racing down the street. “Face taker! Face taker! Face taker!”