“Life is a labyrinth of distractions. Each turn and passageway calls you away from the true course.”
After my visit to Oak Hill Cemetery, my brain was swimming. I parked the car in the hotel garage and took the elevator up to the lobby. Once there, I wandered through a crowd and found my way to the bar. I wasn’t seated for three minutes before a woman sat beside me and ordered a glass. After taking a drink, she turned and introduced herself. She was the one that had left the note on Asa’s grave.
I had a hundred questions for her, but she hadn’t followed me to Boston to answer questions. She was there to remember Asa, and I was the only one that would listen. As she talked, I would sometimes catch her looking through me, seeing some other face, place, or time. I listened patiently, attempting to commit her every word to memory. Her stories were strange, wonderful, and terrifying. She had known Asa for sometime, but even she admitted to knowing only part of his life-story. For over two hours she spoke about people and events I had never heard of. She punctuated each story by ordering another drink, and refused to continue until it arrived. I struggled to keep afloat in a sea of names, places, and groups, all tied to a history that I’d never learned, but at every turn there was another torrent of names and stories. It occurred to me that the woman might be schizophrenic, trapped inside an elaborate world of her own creation, but there was something about her that told me “This is the truth. Everything you’ve known up to this point has been a lie”. And in the center of this epic was Asa, the man in the photograph. He was the linchpin around which all the stories revolved.
The woman eyed her empty glass somberly. Grabbing my shoulder she looked at me and said, “I thought his family should know.” With that she stood, crossed the room, and was gone. I’ve never seen her since. That evening I became one of a small group of Believers. There is an invisible war happening all around us. Believers call it the Shadow War. The casualties have been many. One of the latest of these was the Marksman, known to family and friends as Asa. He will be missed.