mountains: part VII

I might’ve fallen asleep, because my eyes opened and met daybreak. I looked around and I saw nothing: no one: not even Cam. Cam had been not too far from me the night before, I remember: I remember seeing her leaning on a tall tree. There was a tree nearby, there was, and it was all dark but I could see it. I could see her, and indeed I saw: but she wasn’t there anymore. I wanted to cry but something inside myself stopped me. I wanted to cry: there was nothing else I could do. Not one of my limbs could move, not a single one of them, and not my hands, not my toes… How could I find Cam and how could I help her if it were impossible for me to move? I couldn’t. I couldn’t, and I would die soon, and I’d die knowing that it was all my fault. All my fault, for wanting to do things a different way; for wanting to do things my way. She wanted to come by car too, she did: I know she did. But if I hadn’t insisted, she wouldn’t. We would’ve come by air, like regular beings, and it’d be impossible for anyone to see us. I don’t know if these [people? beings?] things had seen us or sensed us, as it seemed they were able to do that, but we could’ve avoided it all. Oh, and her family would blame me, they’d put all the blame on me and I couldn’t even say it wasn’t my fault: I’d have to agree with them. But I’d be dead anyway so it wasn’t important. My funeral would be full of people bad-mouthing me, a first for funerals, I guess. I know that was selfish of me: I know. I said it to myself, I said I should focus on trying to move and trying to see Cam and trying to actually do something, even though it seemed quite impossible. And then… then I would be able to freely worry about what my in-laws would say about me once I was dead. Unable to hear them, that’s what I’d be, and there was no good reason for me to worry about that right then and there.

I looked around some more. The sun was rising and with it the slightest hope of being found by anyone other than those [beings? people?] things that had put me there in the first place. I missed Cam. I missed her so much. Not only because her absence could mean she was dead or being tortured or something terrible of the sort, but because I simply missed her every time she wasn’t around. I missed her smile, her eyes, the way her eyes moved when she smiled; I missed the tone of her voice, I missed her hair and her accent and the movements her hands made. How could I miss her so much after so many years? That is something I’d never been able to understand. That’s something I wouldn’t want to get used to: not now, not ever. My toes started tingling. I thought I wasn’t able to feel anything either, but they started tingling and I thought I might be able to move them: that would be a start. I couldn’t though. I looked around once again: nothing. No people, no things, nothing other than fallen leaves and tall trees and other trees and tiny animals running back and forth, as if they knew I didn’t belong there. Well, I didn’t indeed. I didn’t, and I didn’t want to be there either. No strings tying me down: no people: no presences besides the forest’s. How could I have been so efficiently locked when there were no locks? Cam would know what to do. She’d know how to help. She was the stronger of the both of us, and the one who hadn’t lost touch with our people’s abilities. Her mother used to say that I’d lost them, but I didn’t: I’d just forgotten how to use them. They were quite useless in the city and so I… I forgot about them. Now I could use them if I remembered anything… I was so ashamed of myself. So ashamed of my own arrogance. Severing ties with our homeland didn’t have to mean severing ties with all tradition, both useful and useless; and that is what I had done. I missed Cam terribly, I really did. All I wanted was a hug; a warm and bone-breaking hug from Cam. My toes moved and my whole body got warmer and warmer: my fingers, my hands, my arms, right from my chest. It was as if they were coming back to life. I closed my eyes and I concentrated: I thought about anything that might be left of what I knew, any tiny piece of knowledge, and I tried to pass it along onto my feet and legs and arms and hands. Emulating the flow that the blood made on its own, but sending them a different kind of flow: I asked them to move. Something awakened inside me: I looked down and I could see my body was glimmering, as it did when I was a child. I heard sounds: some of it sounded like footsteps; the other sounded like a gentle rustle. My legs needed to start working before they got to me: so I tried harder but softer and I tried to let it flow.

(Carol Smnt)


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