will. And after you understand..." And he smiled in a way that didn't touch his eyes. "After you understand, you will die. And I will live forever, in the heart of the city. And I will be there laughing at you." His voice took on a singsong tone as he walked away. "Laughing, forever and ever and ever..."
There was a long moment of silence at the table as Alex and Sheila watched his receding form, walking with jaunty confidence.
"It's the sickness," Alex said softly. "It... must be further along than he admitted. Delusions, hallucinations ... perhaps some medication can ..."
"For this I came?" Sheila asked.
"For this I came, Alex?" her voice rising in irritation. "To be the subject of... of more accusations, of..."
"No," he said firmly. "He knows in his heart now, Sheila. He knows that it wasn't true, that it was never true. This man here at the table, this was not the man I was speaking to just the other day. It's a phase, that's all. Some moment brought on by the disease, I just know it. You'll see. It's just a passing thing. In a few hours, he may forget everything he just said. He'd probably be mortally embarrassed by it."
"Let's hope so," said Sheila, in the tone of a woman who was not going to be tolerating much more of what she perceived as confusing, and even boorish, behavior on the part of a man about whom she had barely thought for the past several decades.
Her perceptions, as it turned out, were extremely limited. She could not begin to perceive the full danger of the situation, or how much jeopardy she was genuinely in. She did not have the slightest clue that she would be running, screaming, bleeding, and pleading for her life with her former husband. And all he would be listening to would be the bloodlust pounding in his