He reached the bottom of the stairs and saw the two doors. One marked with a red cross and the other with a black moon. There was a choice to be made here and he did not want to rush it. The symbols were meaningless but from his conversation in the nightclub, he knew that one door led to the same as before. The familiar feeling of normality, of safety….of a mundane life and death.
The Other led to a life of uncertainty. One full of roller coaster highs and lows.
“It would be more exciting but could also break your heart”. That’s what she said to him, before she smiled and left the club.
He had already made his choice. Through one door he could return to being John Smith again. The other, he would stay as the Laird. Having hidden from that for so long, he knew that was never happening again.
He just had to pick a door.
Behind him, the Laird heard the sound of footsteps coming down another set of stairs. He had not seen those earlier but had come to accept that things were in flux here. Turning he saw a man he almost recognised appear. Clad in a military officers uniform, with a crest on the shoulder that looked familiar, the man approached him and stuck out his hand.
“Damn good to see you again.”
The Laird shook this strangers hand. Both men had a strong, firm grip, equally matched to each other.
“I’m sorry. I feel I know you but I cannot remember where from?” The Laird replied.
The Military man smiled and his pencil thin moustache wrinkled ever so slightly.
“We met in our local pub a while ago. Neither of us looked the way we do now. Its all smoke and mirrors Old Chap.”
He then stood to attention and saluted the Laird.
“Colonel Montgomery McSwine at your service Sir.”
The Laird smiled. He knew this man from before. He had served with this man back before the fall. Returning the salute, the Laird spoke proudly.
“The Laird of Darkness. Also at your service Sir.”
Both men dropped the salute and hugged.
“I did not think I would ever get back here,” McSwine whispered during the embrace, “I felt as though my whole life had been just a dream that I was never going to feel again.”
Breaking the hug, the Colonel looked at the doors and tapped them both with his military baton.
“So then Laird, which one are we going through? I assume you met our female counterpart too?”
So that was who it was.
“Well Colonel, I know that one door leads us back to the past and one leads us to the future. However I cannot decide which one is which?”
The colonel stroked his moustache and considered the options. He took out a pipe and filled it from a pouch in his jacket pocket. Lighting the sweet smelling tobacco, he drew a coupkle of times and then blew a key shaped smoke cloud into the air.
The Laird clapped, “Oh that is clever.”
“Thank you. Just a little trick I picked up from an Indian chap during the war. Very clever bugger he was. Saved my life a couple of times.”
The key flowed softly towards the space between the doors and crashed soundlessly upon the wall.
“Of course i saved his life more but you know, I don’t really like to talk about it.” The Colonel Smiled and unzipped a backpack that had appeared. From within, he drew out a white fluffy balero style jacket. Slipping it on, he stepped forward and pressed the wall in front of them. It swung open slowly, revealing a scene of chaos behind it.
“Right old chap. Time to go home.”
The Laird followed into the unknown. The decision had been made.