Nigh paused, attention drawn to the open pages, the light filtering on the still white paper. Held breath broke and he drew in a deep breath of the room's lost world. Life crumpled to dust, mold and slowly degrading biomaterial coated his tongue, senses, breaking down in his processing centers, cotton, ancient tobacco molecules, artificially created lavender molecules, and he stepped into the room, in the ancient old house he'd chosen to hide in. Without a sound that an unenhanced life form could have heard, he crossed to the chair. His processing system picked up the faintest hints of human DNA, but it was the billion year old curiosity of life that began fleshing out the being that had the pattern belonged to, painting it with the molecules of its existence as they lingered in the abandoned room.
Spindly black encased fingers traveled slowly down the the arm of the chair, the fragile woven cotton, wool batting under it, long dead pine under that, traces of human need and ritual scattered throughout the molecules.
Temperature in the room shifted, chilling, and his attention followed the epicenter of the chill by the windows. She stood there, chin lifted proudly, lips parted, but faintly blue. Her hair would have been chestnut in life, her skin a warm cream color. Her head tilted, her being made more of memory than of living curiosity.
Nigh touched the tips of his fingers, pointer fingers touching his cheeks, just below his eyes, as he bowed politely, long twilight hair swirling around him, dancing on the streams of temperature and molecular dance in the room. Clothed in battle armor of a black so matte that he could be a ghost no less than she, he held there in his bow, slipped between the moments of time. "Forgive my intrusion, Mother, I seek shelter only."
Color returned to her cheeks. A quick breath and warmth flowed into her. Beautiful, fragile as a rose, warm and breathing, grey eyes confused and curious. "What are you? I did not believe in demons."
"I am called Nigh. In what year did you live, Mother?"
"The year is 1918. I am not dead. Why do you call me 'mother'? I have no children. I am barely twenty and newly married."
Nigh blinked, swapping out the lenses filtering data in the ancient house. "Congratulations, Mother," Nigh said, bowing politely again. "Please forgive my intrusion. I suffered damage in my attempt to apprehend the oathbreakers. I seek only a moment's refuge to repair."
Warm, living fingers tugged at the lace on her sleeve, her eyes now gold touched brown as she studied him. "Is there some way that I might be of assistance to you, odd child? Are you truely the child of men?"
"Yes, Mother, I am of the line of men. I will come back for you, when I have completed my current assignment."
"I see no need, odd child," she said, smiling kindly, marveling at the wonders of science. Had not, indeed, men conquered the air now? Still, such strange wanderings of the mind must be from the flu. Germs. With August had come such terrible illness and she was beyond joyful that neither she nor Charles had contracted the vile illness that swept through the county. She'd always had too much imagination, a fact of which she was too keenly aware, but this was hardly the time to indulge it. Certainly the last thing she needed to imagine was a strange child with twilight hair and cat-like eyes.
"Madam," a gentle voice soothed. "Perhaps now would be a good time for a bit more calmative tea."
"Parson," she created him calmly, though once again tugging at the lace on her sleeve. "I think my thoughts wander enough as it is. Have you come to see Charles?"
"Madam, your husband was taken home to God last night. In time, your thoughts will settle."
"I saw a child and he called me mother."
The parson took her hand, holding it gently between his. "My dear, God will give us the gifts that are best for us."
"... But he called me mother."