The streets of the city were never deserted. Eva may only have been at the university for a month but her newly found friends on the campus had already picked out their favourite eating and drinking spots and, in the interests of Anglo-Franco co-operation of course, had insisted she join them. She could hardly refuse and so each Friday night, she found herself sitting at their table in Coco Banane. Eating, drinking and looking intensely at each person, grim determination hidden in her smile, a façade and nothing more as she tried not to watch as the little creature, skin like tendons knitted into a misshapen form, wrapped its delicately boned arms around the performers neck. Copper-scented slick oozing from the gaps in its weave and sluicing onto the floor. Twisting its hands in a deliberate, flexing movement as it pulled the singers jaws apart and reached the spindle-like fingers towards their tongue.
Of course, that didn’t happen. Nor did the ancient dirt-clad woman who dragged herself upright from behind a log. Covered in a torn robe of hardened mud that was strewn with leaves and twigs, her face so wan that it glowed beneath her scowl, the woman’s eyes were of glittering coal and were fixed intently on a shadow in the trees. She lumbered forward toward it and her tattered robe hem dragged in the dirt. Her breathing was ragged, her steps slow and unsteady. As she passed in front of Eva she stopped suddenly, her robe faded and her skin collapsed to ground, a swirl of leaves. Her pale, etched face hung for a moment, her eyes viewing Eva with unconcealed contempt before falling to mix with the pebbles on the footpath.