I saw him from a long way off. Someone that big is difficult to hide, but he seemed smaller this time. I tried to convince myself it was a trick of perspective, but as I approached, my suspicions were confirmed.
Anchor was alive. Moving among the trees I hoped he wouldn't see me. Recollections of his benevolence clashed in my mind with the images of him chained like a recently captured feral dog. I'd already seen him kill, and the circumstances of his escape raised questions about his mental stability.
Suddenly I realised he was no longer in my line of vision.
"How the hell did you find me?"
I'd forgotten how fast he was. As I noticed his axe, I'm sure my heart stopped for several seconds.
"Cypher. How else?"
He leaned the axe against the nearest tree.
I'm not sure why I didn't leave immediately. Perhaps I felt reassured when he put down the axe, though I may have just been too scared to move.
"It took us over six months to get anything close to an approximate location for you…"
"And you think they've not been watching you? They'll be able to get me now. I just want a normal life, a normal job. See? I'm using an axe to cut down these trees. You know I could just punch them down if I wanted to. Why did she send you?"
"She wanted you to come back. She thought you were dead."
"She's psychic, damn it, she must have known…"
"Clouded by grief. Strong emotions throw out psychic abilities, apparently. Guess she's not as insane as we thought…"
"She just wants me to fight again. I can't do it. I can't just watch people die over and over, I'm so sick of it."
I caught his eye wandering to the axe.
"People die all the time Anchor, you can't avoid that."
"Normal people don't see it as often as we do. They can pretend it's not so bad. Please just let me be happy. That's all I want. It's all I ever wanted. Don't make me go back."
I turned away and started to walk on to my next interview.
"Wait… tell her she can come see me. I miss her too."