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Hucking Grenades

Disaster and Triumph on the Trinity River

October 30, 2019 Comments (0) Views: 112 Uncategorized

Behind These Blue Eyes Part 2: The Visitor

Author’s Note: If you haven’t read Behind these Blue Eyes, that is where you need to start.

I take the steps slower than you do, which is funny to me. I carved these steps. I hew them straight out of stone, and you take them as if they were pebbles – while I blunder over seeming boulders. But then again, that’s why you’re here: your ability to navigate all of those silly things I’ve built over these many years. A mountain goat showing a mountain how silly it really is…

I feel your fingertips lose around my bicep as you allow me to lead you down here into the dark. Your agility versus my rigid approach to a path I know so well are a stark, shining contrast. It’s like you understand this walk better than I do, at least at this stage in the journey. We haven’t gotten to the door yet…

and the door is only the beginning…

I reach for your hand and guide you down the last step. The one that’s little wonky because by the time I got to that point in cutting this staircase I was over the whole endeavor. Bringing us to the “door”. Even now, that word isn’t strong enough. Portal. Gateway. Ingress. Those are better ways to describe what stands before us. This divider between what stays in and what gets out. I’m starting to remember why no one makes it this far. I am fully expecting you to bolt as soon as the door creaks open and you get half a glance of what lies inside. I even find myself standing to the side as to not block your path of imminent, unavoidable retreat.

I reluctantly let go of your hand to tangle with the massive key ring that holds the answers to all of the locks I’ve installed on this precipice. Every reinforcement I can muster lays in those locks. And as I let go of your hand, you reach it forward, and simply… open them.

My jaw hangs a little slack, and an instant rush of panic hits me thinking that somehow the locks have been disabled and what lies behind this door is free to run amok. That bolt of fear registers in my eyes as they lock with yours, but you just smile. And walk in.

A warning call dies in my throat as you stride into the room full of cages. Those cages built by my hands, with my own blood and tears forged into the steel. I curse myself for using a lantern, instead of some fancy LED contraption as you quickly outpace the anemic circle of light we’ve been travelling in.

Now I’m really panicking. My heart pounds in my chest and my breath hitches as you stroll out of my light, directly to the cages in front of us. I listen for the sounds of rattling chain and rending flesh as the monsters behind those bars tear into you. I reach for a weapon that isn’t there. I stumble headlong after you…

Only to find you standing at the bars, the beast behind them cowering in the corner of its enclosure. These same beasts that gnash teeth and bare fangs anytime I get within smelling distance are simply terrified of you. The creature glances at me with contempt and a lip starts to curl into a sneer, when you very deliberately but very quietly say “No.” The beast’s eyes dart to you and it cowers impossibly lower. How does something so immense cram itself into such a small space?

And that’s when I see them for the first time in YOUR light. A withered husk. A desiccated shell of the monsters I remember in my head. This isn’t something to be feared. This is something forgettable and insignificant. This is a scared lap dog where I was expecting a charging wolf.

Stunned silence is all I can muster.

You turn away from the cage and take two strides in my direction. I reach for you in the trance looking into the depts of your eyes puts me in, fingertips fumbling to make sure you’re not a specter. Suddenly the need to know you’re real washes over me with a new wave of panicked urgency…

You just put your hands on my hips, craning your neck and standing on tip toes – to reach up and kiss me on my stupid, shocked, relieved, trembling lips.

And you whisper “They don’t scare me.”

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