From the Blood of the Wolf Ch. 04byLL_Timber©
As if someone had flipped a switch, what I could dream up was now reality. I remembered hearing people talk of what it was like to trip on mushrooms or acid. Walls with paint blistering and running off, talking animals, seeing someones face turn into an orange. It was probably the number one reason why I never had a desire to do more than smoke a joint. I never wanted to actually see what I dreamed about...with my own awake eyes. But, I did now. Or at least, was starting to. Part of being consumed by the virus, I guessed. Either that, or the effects of a high fever.
It was hard for me to say what was real and what was a creation of my slipping mind during the whole 'save me' process. A big black wolf in the room, snowflakes falling from the ceiling, balloons that filled with blood, glowing text on the walls...thankfully, none of it was too disturbing. The fever eventually caused me to pass out.
When I opened my eyes, the room was pitch black. Something that I still wasn't used to yet was how dark it was at night, without electricity. No street lights, no lights from gadgets as they charged, no alarm clocks. But, if you were outside, you had the experience of the brightly twinkling heavens. There wasn't even any light pollution from Portland to dim the stars. They were able to shine with all their magnificent glory.
"Mitch?" I hoped that he didn't leave me alone in the room...in the dark.
I heard him wake up. "Anna." He slipped his hand into mine and squeezed.
"Do you have a flash light or anything? It's so dark in here."
Mitch sucked in a sharp breath and was silent. I turned my head towards him, my eyes searched the black for answers.
"Your eyes," he said softly.
"What?!" I felt a little alarmed. How did he see my eyes in the dark?
"Josh..." Mitch said. Who was Josh? I assumed it was the stranger, but had no way of knowing.
Steps came towards me and I could feel someone getting closer. "I was afraid of this. Anna, can you see anything at all?" It was the stranger.
"No..." I said angrily. "What's going on?! Tell me what's happening!"
Mitch was the one to speak. "Your eyes are clouded over...I can barely see your irises."
"What...so I'm blind?!"
"It's about 10am and the sun is shining in the window right now." Mitch grabbed my hand and moved it into the sunlight. I could feel the temperature change. It was warm.
So, that was it. I was blind. My heart sank into the bed that I was on, no longer was a part of my body. Colors, shapes, sunsets, flowers, faces... all gone. I might as well be a zombie.
Mitch tried to comfort me, but I was numb again. I knew I couldn't live this way...not in this world anyway. Being blind would only cause me to be a burden on our group. I was too stubborn and too proud to be a burden...on anyone. "Mitch..."
He didn't answer.
There was no way for him to have known what I was going to ask, or did he? I continued anyway. "You remembered what I asked you?"
"I won't do it, Anna."
"Mitch, we don't even know if the virus is done. For all we know, this is one of the symptoms."
"Your fever is gone."
The fever. We assumed that the fever was what killed the thinking part of the infected, making them unable to speak, reason and act human. It looked as if our assumptions were correct. Could what Josh have done to me stopped the virus? What exactly did he do? "Josh, Mitch... You guys need to find people and let them know about this possible treatment. Perhaps if it's administered early enough, it won't cause blindness."
"You can tell them, Anna. You are the proof." Mitch said.
I knew that he desperately wanted me to stay with him, but I was getting annoyed. "Mitch, I won't be anything but a burden to the group. There will be nothing I can contribute and someone will have to watch out for me at all times... and nobody wants that."
"You're wrong. I want that. I'll take responsibility."
He'll take responsibility...for me. I wasn't ANYONE'S responsibility! "No, dammit! Enough of this childhood obsess..." I sat up quickly, forcefully hitting my head into Mitch's jaw. I fell back into the bed, seeing stars with my blind eyes. "Please just kill me." The black world spun around me.
"No," came the answer from Mitch.
"Please, Mitch....please do it." I begged. I felt like I was about to pass out.
"NO. Just drop it Anna. I'm not going to kill you." He sounded annoyed.
Why was HE annoyed? What right did he have to be annoyed AT ME?? This was MY choice, not his! Fine, I thought, two can play that game. I put my hand on my head, trying to stop the spinning. "Josh, since Mitch is too much of a coward do it..."
"NO ANNA!" Mitch jumped up quickly, I heard the chair he was sitting in fall backwards. "Stop asking for someone to kill you!"
"Dude, she wants to go..." Josh tried.
"DON'T YOU EVEN THINK ABOUT IT, GODDAMMIT! Do you hear me?!" Mitch's voice boomed. I would've sworn that I heard the glass windows rattle in the frames. "Don't you THINK about touching her!"
That was the last thing I heard before I passed out.
The sleep I had was not restful. I would reach for something I couldn't see, feel myself falling, hear voices and not see faces. At times, I thought that I might be awake but realize that I didn't feel anything. In one dream, I was surrounded by a thick fog. People were teasing me by staying just out of my visibility. I could see their forms, but the fog kept their identity obscured. When I moved closer, they would only take a step back.
I woke to someone gently shaking me. I held my eyes closed and listened.
"Anna," whispered Josh. "I am laying the gun on the bed for you. If you feel like you need to...do it, Mitch is asleep right now."
"Thank you, Josh." I smiled as I heard Josh slowly creep away, out of the room.
I felt for the gun and wrapped my hand around it. It was a larger pistol with a clip, but I couldn't be sure of the make. It might even have been the 9mm that Mitch had earlier. That would be smart of Josh. After I killed myself, Mitch couldn't blame Josh for doing it...if it was Mitch's gun.
I listened to the sound of Mitch breathing...the heavy, deep breathing of sleep. I felt bad for the argument earlier. The last words Mitch will have heard me say would've been me calling him a coward. So much I wanted to tell him, but I couldn't. Waking him would only mean ending my chance to free myself...and free my group of me.
I brought the pistol to my head, finding the trigger with my right index finger. I smiled. It would soon be over. I whispered, "forgive me, father."
I was startled as I felt someone leap across the bed, and I accidentally pulled the trigger. The sound was deafening. My eyes shot open as weight was crushing my chest. Mitch rolled off of me, clutching his right shoulder. He was bleeding. I had shot him.
"Oh my God, Mitch!" I screamed. "I'm so sorry! Why did you do that!" I leaped up and grabbed his arm, inspecting the damage.
His face showed all that he was feeling as he turned to face me. Pain, anger, relief... then...joy. "Your eyes!" I didn't have time to think about what he had just said before I was being crushed in his arms.
My eyes? My eyes! I could see!
Josh burst in the room and took us in. "What happened?"
Mitch and I answered him at the same time, "she can see!" and "I shot Mitch!"
Josh looked at Mitch's arm, then grabbed my chin and looked at my eyes. "Your eyes weren't like this before...this ice blue, were they?"
"They are blue now?"
Mitch inspected my eyes too. "Not just blue...more like...the color when a dog's eyes are blue."
That would be interesting to see on a person, I thought. I shrugged. I didn't care. I could see again. I stared at Mitch.
Josh got off of the bed, "I've got something to get the bullet out." He turned at the door to look at us. "I'm tired of playing nurse to you guys. Knock it off." He smiled and left the room.
Mitch and I stared at each other for what seemed like several minutes. He was breathing just as hard as I was. Was his heart beating as fast as mine too? I couldn't take it one second longer. I leaped at him and found his mouth with mine. I was so hungry for him...and so upset with him at the same time. I grabbed his hair with my hand and pulled his head away from my face for a moment. "Why did you do that! That was so stupid!"
Mitch stared at me with wide eyes. Even though I was pulling his hair, he didn't stop me. "If I didn't, you'd be gone right now."
He was right. I would be dead. "You STUPID, wonderful man!" I found his mouth again and climbed into his lap. His arms wrapped tightly around me and pulled me even closer. Obviously, he was ignoring the pain from the gun shot.
My body had assumed control of my actions again. My brain no longer functioned. My body was starving and it knew that my hunger could be quenched by Mitch.
"Ahem..." It was Josh.
Somewhat embarrassed, I quickly climbed from Mitch. Staring at the wooden floor, I tried grasping the area rug with my toes...when Mitch's hand found mine. Josh ripped the sleeve of Mitch's shirt for better access to the wound. I looked at Mitch. He simply smiled.
Josh brought a pair of forceps up to Mitch's wound, "this is going to hurt... a lot."
I got up, "maybe I should go..."
"No." Mitch's eyes begged me to stay. I really didn't want to. The whole scene made me uneasy, but I sat back down next to Mitch. He did just save my life. When he squeezed my hand so hard that I thought he was going to break it, I said nothing. I knew Josh was fishing in Mitch's arm for the slug that I had meant for me. Thankfully, it didn't last long.
"Got it!" Josh held up the rounded piece of metal in the forceps.
I held out my hand. I wanted to keep that slug. While it might have seemed silly to someone else, that bit of metal was significant to me.
Josh rinsed it in the pan of alcohol he had, then plopped it into my hand. I marveled at it's shape as Josh finished with Mitch's arm.
"There we go." Josh said as he packed up the medical things he had used on Mitch. "I have some venison to cook up when you guys...are ready. Until then, I'll give you some privacy." He smiled as he closed the door to the room.
Josh could only have meant one thing. The bravery I had felt earlier was gone. I was alone in a room...with a bed...with Mitch. I looked at him. Instead of looking at me like a tiger about to devour it's prey, he just smiled sweetly.
"You're eyes...they are so different now." He had to have been ignoring the look of fear on my face. Mitch scooted a little closer to me, inspecting my eyes. "I need to find a mirror to show you, but they look like glacial water. Bright blue around the edges. They are very beautiful now, but I loved your old eye color."
"Thank you," I said. My thanks wasn't for the compliments on my eyes though, and he knew it.
"I told you I wouldn't let you leave me again."
I smiled. "Stalker."
He laughed. Mitch eased closer, finding my mouth with his. He was gentle, as if he sought out my receptiveness to his touch. I was slightly amused at how tender this big man could be.
I reflected upon him saving my life and the fact that I somehow avoided turning into a zombie. I pulled away from Mitch for a moment and looked at him. I had survived all of that...I had no reason to be afraid of intimacy...especially with Mitch. While those thoughts helped, I was still nervous. I kissed him once more, gathering the courage to say what I wanted to. "I have something I want to give to you."
"What...the slug? I don't want that," Mitch said. He kissed my neck. "It would just remind me of how close I came to..." and he didn't finish the sentence.
"No, not that. The slug is mine."
Mitch looked at me. "Then what?"
I took a deep breath. "My virginity."