I had heard her sing once in person before. A rough night, years ago, in Brooklyn, New York, of course. And how could you forget a voice like hers?
Once in a generation, you might hear someone so powerful.
I knew she was dead. Knew she had been for two years. What she was doing in the train station in Cross, at eight at night, I don’t know.
I heard her singing as I was walking past, and the hair stood on my arms. I went into the station and found her there, with her dog, Mister. He sat at her feet, patient as she filled the room with her voice, her personality.
She and Mister were there, and no one else. When she finished her song, she smiled slyly at me, a look which reminded me that I had been a young man once.
“I wasn’t singing for you, Duncan Blood,” she told me. “It isn’t your time.”
“You’ve come to gather?” I asked her, my voice hoarse.
She gave me a wink that was well-practiced, yet it lacked none of its power. “I have. You need to leave, Duncan. I can’t promise I’ll let you stay if you come back in.”
I swallowed dryly and took my leave.
When I reached Main Street again, I heard her beginning to sing once more. I shuddered and forced myself to cross the street.
There were worse ways to die than listening to Billie Holiday sing her heart out.
I wouldn’t have minded at all.
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