Also she intrigued me. The small spark of excitement she’d lit in my chest earlier grew a bit as I watched her. Something about her manner, the way she cautiously moved, like she needed to conserve energy, or perhaps had too much of it.
She looked up then and when our eyes met, I saw, or thought I saw an interest that went beyond helping me escape, if that was what she really planned to do. She stood and walked around the table, and stopped close enough I felt her body heat. My heart told me I was in trouble that I was beginning to feel love for her. After Blythe, I never wanted to feel anything for anyone. Love became an unbearable burden with chains of disease and death dragging along behind it. The suffering I saw and personally experienced forced me to beg myself to burn and bury the ashes of all emotion. No more pain became the focus of my destiny.
It was then I knew what I truly sought was solitude. Yet now I felt a growing attraction for the unusual woman standing next to me. If I didn’t stop it and walk away, no run, I would be lost to desire.
She leaned and gently kissed my cheek. Nothing more for she quickly straightened, and walked barefoot to the hall entry.
“We should explore more. It seems as if you are anxious to complete a goal you didn’t know existed.”
Instead of telling her I disagreed, I pulled my boots on and followed her out the rear door. The white marble tile path was gone. In its place was bluestone gravel. She walked on it as if the sharp edges and corners didn’t hurt her feet.
I stood staring suddenly thinking that perhaps I’d fallen into a deep clinical depression and what I’d seen and experienced until that moment was nothing more then a string of hallucinations. A chill of fear faltered my step and I tripped, landed hard on the stones, lacerating my palms in several places, ripping holes in the knees of my jeans. If that was a hallucination, I thought, then it hurts like hell.
But fear becomes a companion when we step far outside our so-called comfort zone. An unwanted one, and one that stops us from doing anything further that might cause more fear. I’d never been one to chose flight over fight before I decided staying alive was more important than giving up another vial of blood. Now, standing slowly, examining my hands, and picking out tiny pieces of stone slivers, I felt confused.
“If this is not an illusion, a hallucination, then what is this?” I’d spoken what I meant to keep inside.
“I do not present you with illusion and you are not hallucinating. All of this is as real as the blood dripping from you knees and hands, the pain you feel.” She turned and walked back to the cabin. “Join me and I will tend to your wounds.”
Feeling otherwise frozen by indecision, I did as she suggested. Maybe it was that moment I decided I needed to return to my town and see if I could do anything to help. Guilt was another thing I wrestled with. I strode away from people I knew, friends and family, but they’d turned on me pushing the final decision with their repulsive behavior.