mountains: part VI

I don’t know what time it was when I finally woke up. It seemed as if I had slept for years, decades maybe: but I knew this didn’t make any sense. As soon as I could see clearly I looked around, looking for Cam’s eyes: I felt so guilty. I felt immediately guilty. If we hadn’t come and if we hadn’t come by car none of this would happen. I was not sure what “this” was: I had absolutely no idea of what was happening to us: still, it felt like I was the one to blame. I heard voices; they were talking to one another, it seemed. I couldn’t figure out what they were saying, though: at first I thought it was a weird accent but then I noticed I didn’t even know what language they were speaking. It sounded a bit like mine and Cam’s native language but it was being spoken too differently for it to be the same. I couldn’t see Cam anywhere through the thick fog and the deep dark.
‘Oh, so you’re up’ I heard someone saying and it was definitely not Cam’s voice. I had never heard it before, I was sure [and still it rang a distant bell…].
‘What?’
‘You got me. I said “oh, so you’re up”. I thought you wouldn’t be for a few hours, at least’, the disembodied voice went on. It seemed to be coming from right in front of me but I couldn’t see anything but the fog: and now, in what seemed to be miles away, I could barely distinguish a blurry white light that looked too distant to be real.
‘Who are you? What are you? Why can’t I see you?’ I said, all at once: my curiosity and fear were pressuring me too hard and I couldn’t keep quiet.
‘Wow, so many questions. None of which will be answered’ the voice said, scoffing.
I noticed I wasn’t tied: I wasn’t locked, I wasn’t being watched by beings with bodies. What could they possibly want from me? I was leaning on a tree [I had no recollection of having gotten to that position on my on] and Cam was nowhere to be seen: I couldn’t really feel my legs and I was cold, but not too cold — certainly not as cold as I should be feeling considering we were in the middle of a bunch of trees deep in the forest and deep in the night, in the middle of autumn. They weren’t imprisoning me, it seemed; what were they doing? and who were they?
‘You should have known better. No one from your people has come here in a long time; and if you ask me, they had a point.’
‘My people? What do you even know about my people?’ I asked; and how could he, anyway? We were far from home, Cam and I. We were as far as we could’ve gotten without Cam freaking out; how could they know about us? I remembered Karl and I remembered the stories he had heard about us: maybe the people around that forest knew about us; maybe word had gotten around. But he wasn’t born near the cabin or in the cities surrounding it; and I’d never asked about his grandmother, but I could only guess that she hadn’t been born around there either.
‘We know a lot. We know more than you think we know, it seems. And you shouldn’t have come. What do you want here anyway? Do you really think you can complete that little plan you had so many years ago? It won’t work. We’re prepared. It won’t work’ it said, and the distant white light shone brighter and blurrier than before: it now seemed to be no more than ten metres away from my face.
‘I don’t know what you’re talking about’ I answered as calmly as I could.
‘Well, then maybe your little friend will…’ he said, and now I could see Cam: she had been leaning on a tree nearby the whole time, it seemed, but she was unconscious. I tried to scream her name, I tried to get up and to run towards her but I couldn’t: something was stopping me, some invisible force. Cam could do this kind of thing to someone else if she wanted to, but she had never wanted to. If she were awake she would know what to do. Her name was stuck in my throat and I couldn’t get it out: the white light weakened and the voice was now distorted and distant and as if it were spoken in a chorus: ‘We’ll give you some time to think about what you have done and about what you want to do from now on. Think carefully.’ It was all dark again, and the only noise I could hear was the silent fog sailing around me.

(Carol Smnt)

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