Alcandor felt something stir in the darker recesses of his mind, drawing his thoughts back beyond Australia. He didn’t want his memories to go back there. He fought his mind at first, but was powerless to resist and finally gave in. He thought about Constantine and Helena and found that his grief at the loss of Helena and the estrangement from his friend was still raw, all these years later.
But there was an element of his grief that had given birth to fear. He had kept a secret all these years and was unable to share it, even with his beloved Caterina, because it would frighten her as it frightened him. Surely, though, there was no need to fear anymore. They had been in Australia for eighteen years now and nothing had happened. Why couldn’t he shake his fear? Was it paranoia?
His mind went back to the last day at the village—the day they had left it forever. As the family packed their belongings, preparing for an early departure the following morning, Alcandor was outside tightening the wheels on the cart when he suddenly knew that he wasn’t alone. He straightened up to see an unknown man watching him from the lane.
‘Alcandor Galanos?’ the man asked.
‘I am,’ Alcandor replied, wiping his greasy hands upon his trousers, as he walked towards the man. ‘Can I help you?’
The man reached into his shirt pocket and pulled out a piece of paper folded in quarters and held it out. ‘I’ve been asked to deliver this note, sir.’
Alcandor took the paper from the stranger, who nodded politely, then turned and began to walk away along the lane.
Alcandor called out after him. ‘Who sent this?’
‘I don’t know, sir. A lad brought it to me to deliver on behalf of someone else. I was coming this way and was asked to bring it.’
Alcandor stood by the gate and unfolded the paper, holding it with the tips of his greasy black fingers.
As he read it, he again felt the piercing burn he felt on the day of Helena’s funeral, when a javelin of unbridled malice was aimed at him and thrust through the air. He read the words in a haze of disbelief. He rubbed his eyes with his greasy hands and read the note again. It was from Constantine. Alcandor heard Constantine coldly pronouncing every word as if he was standing right next to him.