I

“You are a Believer,” she said. It wasn’t a question, but I answered anyway.
“No, I am not. I am an atheist.” I said.
“What?” She seemed a little confused. “An atheist is one who does not believe in the existence of God…you know, the Supreme being who created us…”- I continued, noting her confusion.
“How can you not believe in someone who created you?” By now, she was positively bewildered.
“Ah…it’s rather a convoluted line of reasoning and I’d prefer not to bother the head of such a pretty creature as you with it, especially this fine spring morning, ye know, with the songbirds trilling romantic sonnets into the fresh spring air, and the like…” I trailed off, noting with satisfaction the flash of irritation that clouded the ‘pretty creature’s features. She certainly didn’t appreciate being called that, I thought smugly. “But do tell me why you mistook me for a believer.”
“I didn’t make any mistake. You are a believer, and the strongest one in the last three aeons.” She said confidently, gracing the words with an elegant, beautiful and highly patronizing smile.
“Oh yeah? And what, pray, is a believer?” I said, hoping she’d notice the sarcasm in my voice. I don’t take nicely to being patronized by little girls. (Technically, she wasn’t that little, about my age, I’d guess.)
She didn’t notice it. “A Believer is an individual wielding formidable powers, whereby the said individual can determine the existence or inexistence of an animate or inanimate object by focusing his cognate on its being, or non-being.” She finished, smiling pleasantly.
“Whoa! Like if I think you’re not here, you aren’t? And could you answer me in a language I can understand?”

II

I am never this rude to anyone. Especially if she was as pretty as the girl walking beside me. But this specimen had been bothering me for the last three days. I mean, it’s alright, in fact, simply cool to be eyed by a pretty lass. But this girl had been almost literally shadowing me. And finally she came up to me this morning, when I was returning from the barber’s.
“Excuse me, could I please take a few minutes of your time?” As nice as you could wish.
I knew I was in trouble then, since I’m not the kind of hunk ladies swoon over.
I don’t even look the part of an idiotic knight in shining armour, eagerly looking for more troubles (id est, damsels I distress). I made a brave defence, though-“Er, actually, I mean, like, I’m like in a kinda hurry, have-to-get-home-quick type hurry, so you see, like….” How much lamer can you get?
“I know, can I at least accompany you to Evelyn Lodge, Master A.?”
Well, I thought, she’s damned pretty, and she knows me anyway, so what price?
She, however, shattered my dreams of any r. talk. Spoke much, though, about parallel worlds, demons, mages, and such. I seriously thought about handing her over to the traffic police, more than once. And then she started all this believer stuff, and I knew not what to do, as the poet would have cried.

III

“But I thought you can communicate in English.” This, a bit confused again, but still smiling.
“Yes, but I communicate in spoken English, not the legal one you are using. Also, please wipe that inane grin off your face. It’s irritating me. Don’t act like you’re a princess or somethingy, when you’re not.”
“But I am a princess,” she said, clearly hurt.
“Yes, and I am dear old Prince Charming cleverly disguised as a particularly handsome specimen of Bufo bufo.” I was exasperated.
“No, you’re not. But you are really funny,” she broke into a tinkling laughter. “And you are a Believer.”
“Now listen here…” I tried to organize my thoughts. It wasn’t helping me that she really looked as beautiful as a fairytale princess.
“I am actually somewhat of a fairy princess I your world, you know.” She said, trying to suppress another bout of laughter. Damn it, could she read my mind as well?
“Of course I can. Now let’s have none of that.” She said in mock sternness, as I struggled to hide my fantasies about her that came out in the shock of this revelation.
“Could you explain why you were able to banish the demons that appeared in front of you last Thursday, if you’re not a Believer?” She arched her eyebrows.
A bolt of pure panic shot through me then. “How…how on earth do you know? It was j…just a hallucination, no more!”
“Or so you think,” she said, smugly.
“No, it cannot be! They don’t exist. You don’t exist!” I screamed in sudden fear, shutting my eyes tightly.
“Wait a moment! What do you think you’re…no…stop, please…listen to me…pleaseeeeee…”
The pleading voice faded away. I opened my eyes, just in time to see her disappearing. It was like watching the transparency of a 3-D image increase, till she became something of a faint multicoloured wisp of smoke before vanishing completely.
“Now, that was interesting,” I muttered, resuming my walk towards home, after making sure that nobody had heard me yelling. For some reason, I felt very tired. Utterly drained sort of feeling, if you know what I mean.
By now, it was pretty dark and quiet. ‘Cept the dusky light of the sky, and the birdies all cackling, of course.

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