Finally, I had caught up with them. The one I had chased across the vast seas, the deep jungles, the arid deserts, the frigid ice fields; the entirety of the globe.
The one that had always been a step ahead of me; just gone as I thought I had at last tracked them down.
It had been so long since I had set out on my quest to catch my quarry, I had long ago forgotten the reason. The reason was no longer important; only the chase and the goal of meeting my adversary mattered.
Now, that chase was coming to an end.
Finally cornered in this study in the tower in this remote old castle, my quarry sits, facing away from me in a high-backed desk chair.
I take no notice of the debris that litters the stone floor as I move toward them slowly; I only focus on the one that sits, waiting for me.
"It has been so long, my old friend." I say aloud in a voice that cracks with disuse, "Yes, old friend. For what else are we; we who have played this game for so long. You are all I have left in my life."
I move closer to my silent companion as they sit unmoving. I reach out to take hold of the corner of the seatback.
"Now, let us meet at last!"
I turn the chair around with a horrified gasp.
Seated in the chair, staring lifelessly up at me with a sickening lipless grin, is a withered and dead corpse; wearing my clothes.
I stumble in shock and lose my footing on the loose debris scattered upon the ground and fall back still staring into the dead eyes of my doppelganger.
As I try to find a clear area of the floor, I finally look at what litters the cobblestones.
Skeletons; all at different stages of decay; all wearing my own clothes.
I scramble back up to my feet and back away from the piles of bones, bumping back into the chair where my once-adversary sits, knocking the rotting caucus onto the ground with the rest of them.
Heavily, I drop down into the chair and stare in disbelief.
For what may be hours I sit in shock, surrounded by the skeletons of other me's.
Then, a thought comes to me.
Had I been so focused on chasing this 'other', always looking ahead; had I not noticed what may have been behind?
Slowly, I rotate in the chair to peer out of the room's only window; the sun setting in the west casting an ominous light upon the rolling hills of the green landscape.
As the shadows grow, so too does my mood grow darker.
Oh, I will wait. I will sit and wait right here for the one who has chased after me.
I will wait for as long as it takes, to face my unmet pursuer.