Rheumy and congested, smelling faintly of lilac and socks, Xavier Zefa contrasted his olfactory presence with a scrupulously groomed exterior of jet black stuff and shoes so polished they shined darkness.
Massive black invisible tattoo across his back from shoulder to shoulder and from nape to base made itching noises as the signals from the mad black magnetic diamond at the end of the world pulled him forward-down through time.
sometimes a respite, he would wake up and it would be the week before, nobody would believe him because since he remembered the future it turned out differently the second time around. He feared the day he would wake up and find himself a teenager, or worse, an infant.
In the deepest pits, he worried it had already happened several times, it would explain much while revealing nothing.
He was one of the other servants.
And he was my friend.
Sometimes he spoke to me telepathically in various abandoned outposts of midnight's civilization: cafe's before opening hours, chairs chained up; nightclubs in the early morning hours, long after the last rejected soul had left; in the offices after dark, making love to nymphs of smoke and glass and nightmares; in howling storms in the centre of playgrounds beside murdered bodies left undiscovered for too many hours; we shared the warm crackle of fingers and bones as the suicides fed the black diamond on the edge of many a third rail.
He taught me discipline in the face of chaos, love of beauty in the face of naked horror, determination in the face of shiftlessness.
When he took the Apex, as was his right in time, when he earned the right to motionlessness, not to statis but to axis, he gave me one final jet of advice before the invisible black anchor fell across my shoulders and I began to feel the itch of the distant future, he told me this:
Do not seek what cannot be found by searching, forget about what I have done, concentrate on doing what I have been doing, happen to the world, rememember the fulcum is as important as the lever, move not to witness the mystery move.
Then he remained but was no longer with me, the time had passed. I shrugged my shoulders and felt time slipping forward into phenomenality. I moved on, as was my duty.