I stood my ground upon the fresh asphalt. Here I would make my stand, bold as the white paint that striped this parking lot.
My journey had taken me across the known universe. I had trod barren planets beneath the million suns of a globular cluster, felt vertigo in the darkest intergalactic voids, and seen supernovae of unsurpassed brilliance.
In that time, I had learned everything except how to escape her.
She emerged from the metal sphere and immediately assumed human form to mock me. “You cannot beat me,” she taunted.
I shrugged. “Then I will not fight you.”
Now I had come full circle, falling backward through aeons of time, to Earth, to a hospital parking lot, on the very night of my birth.
“Pathetic.” She drew an ethereal weapon that transformed into a bow, then took aim with a strangelet arrow. With the merest flick of her fingers, the assassin in the Coalsack dress loosed the lethal projectile.
It struck me square in the chest. I collapsed, embracing the smooth pavement as strangelet matter consumed every atom of my human body from within. As she stood victorious over me, I laughed defiantly. Somehow, deep in my soul, I knew I was only going home.