The Final TripbyPandora33103©
Waking up and feeling an unfamiliar feeling of movement has me for the moment a bit disoriented. Looking around I see a small room that looks very unfamiliar and I panic for a moment until I see the note that I wrote to myself. "Maria, don't flip out, you are flying to the end." Wow, I am glad that I did that, otherwise I would have been completely freaked out and I probably would have done something that I later would have regretted.
Now I remember what is going on. Since I have always wanted to see the Grand Canyon, The Grand Tetons, Zion, Bryce and Yellowstone National parks I decided to pull out all of my money, charter a plane, and do just that. I boarded this luxurious plane earlier today and went right to sleep after giving the orders that I was only to be awakened if we were going to crash.
I guess I didn't realize how lonely I would be. I wish I had someone to be with me. Someone who cares. There is no such person though. I am on my own. When I don't come back to the plane at Yellowstone, they are to return to their headquarters. I figure that Yellowstone will be a good place to do it since it is such a huge park. No one will find me for a very long time, hopefully never. Then I will finally be at peace.
By now they will have figured out that I have left the laboratory. I hated being the guinea pig, but hey, at least I got to walk. It has been two days since I have had any injections of anything, and I think I am beginning to feel a little bit of a life I never knew I could have. I wonder what is going on at the lab? I hope they don't take it out on Frank. He was a good guy.
I wonder if any of my internet friends will miss me? I had them believing a lot of different things about me, but that is only because I am such a monster that no one would have talked to me had they known the truth. Well, I take that back. There was one guy that I told everything to, and he seemed okay with it. He even did some research for me and gave me a bunch of web pages to check out regarding what to do. In the end, though, the prognosis was all the same: Death.
Let me back up and tell you what is going on.
I was as normal as normal could be. I had an apartment of my own, a car, a decent job working for a lawyer's office, the body that most women would envy and of course, I lost it all. I was walking to my car one early evening in the fall and I was attacked and left for dead. Instead of just stabbing me, they tried to cut me up while I was still alive and I fought them as best as I could, but in the end they succeeded in leaving a live corpse that was more monster than human. Even with all the reconstructive surgeries, they haven't been able to make me in the least bit presentable to the general public. They have tried everything they could think of to make me at least be able to lead a life of my own, but considering there was as much internal damage as there was, that was really wishful thinking on their part.
I finally got sick of living in a glass room with no comforts of home like fluffy pillows or thick comforters, so I started to raise a stink. I got what I wanted. When they brought in the computer I knew they were going to monitor everything that I did online, and they did. The shrink made sure that I knew that they knew that I was online with all these different personas. He thought there was something wrong with me. I knew that I was just trying to figure out where I would be and what I would be like if I had been left alone.
I don't think I will ever know what made me tell the truth with Kaleb. He just got in at the right time I guess. He actually said that he wanted to come and meet me in person. That freaked me out to no end. I was scared for days that he would somehow figure out where I was and come on out. Fear has a way of slowly leaving again, just to rear it's ugly head when, unexpectedly, I was called to meet a visitor. I chickened out. There was no way that I could meet Kaleb, and I knew that was who it was. No one else knew that I was alive.
I watched him leave. Now I wish I had called out to him as I had wanted, but he was to gorgeous. His hair was long, wavy and just the right color of brown that had the natural highlights of blond. I knew that he had green eyes, because he had shown me a picture online one night. He was taller than I imagined, but that was okay. I always went for the tall guys. He had a very confident walk, but he did falter once. It was almost as if he could feel me staring at him and he paused, turned to look, but went on when he didn't see anyone.
He is the only one that I told that I was leaving. I didn't tell him when or where I was going, but I figured that he had the right to know that I was not going to be online anymore. I sent him an offline message so that when he logged on the next time he would find it.
Well, I have cut all my ties and here I am, flying out to my final destination. Alone.
Suddenly there is a knock on the door that I was not expecting.
"Maria?" I don't recognize the voice. Again the tapping on the door. "Are you awake, my Dear?" Oh, no! It couldn't be.
Hesitantly I call out, "Kaleb?"
I hear a smile in the voice that comes back through the door. "Yes, my Dear. Did you really think you could get away from me that easily?" I see the handle start to move on the door and I lunge to the side of the bed to turn out the light. "Can I come in?"
I look around and everything is in darkness. "Come in, Kaleb." The light from the open doorway has me scrambling to pull the covers up over my face. Finally darkness again washes it protectiveness over me. I hesitate for a moment, but then I invite him to sit on the bed.
"That invite cost you a lot, didn't it Maria." I don't answer and I feel him sit on the end of the bed as I scooch up to the pillows. "I know that it did. I know that you don't want me to get close to you and I know that you watched me leave the lab that day that I tried to meet you. I understand. I understand that you think that you are a freak, but if you would just listen, I will do my best to let you know that you are not."
I would love to listen to that voice for the rest of my life, but he has to know that truth. "Kaleb, you really do not want to see me. No one should have to bare the burden of my horrible face."
"No, just listen for a moment. You think that I am over reacting. If you saw me, then you would ask the pilot to land this plane at the next airport and you would walk away in disgust. Sadly, I would understand. It took a long time for me to even look at my hands. Kaleb, I am so deformed that to even look at me you would get sick to your stomach. Please, do not make me show myself to you." I huddle a bit more under the covers as I try to get as far away from him as possible.
I feel him sigh. "Maria. I won't tell you that you are not scarred, because you know that you are. I will tell you this though. Your scars are not unknown to me. At the lab, when I came to meet you, they tried to get me to leave without seeing you. I made them tell you that I was there. Before they would even go to you, though, they had to inform me of how bad your scars were. They showed me a picture. I must admit to being a bit shocked, but not to the point of being sick. You see, I am a paramedic, and I have seen just about everything. Having just come back from Iraq a couple of weeks before coming to the lab, I was a witness to some of the most horrifying things that a person should never have to deal with. I am just extremely surprised that you survived. Most people would have just given up, but from what you have told me and what I have been told about you, you will never give up."
I have to tell him. I have to make him understand that I am, in fact, giving up. "Kaleb, you seem confident that I am not a quitter. If that is so, then what am I doing here? I brought none of the drugs or whatever it was that they had me on to keep me alive. I know that I am going to die. I guess I just decided that I would decide when and where. I wasn't going to die in a lab like a rat. There are also some things that I would like to experience before I die, but I am not sure if I am going to be able to."
I hear him sigh before he answers. "I kind of figured something like that when I got your message. I was online, but I was just listed as invisible to everyone. There are times that I just don't feel like I can talk to anyone, so I go invisible. Maria, let me be with you. Let me help you. I will not stand in your way, but I do not want you to be alone. No one should be alone when they die." Does he really mean this? I am not sure that I could ask him to be there though. As if reading my mind, he continues. "Maria, I know that there are things that you want to experience before you die, and I would love to help you to experience those things. I know that you want to die in an area that you won't be found in for a very long time. I think I might just know the perfect place. I would love to be your first lover, and be there for you when you die, if you will allow me to be. I will make sure that no one will ever find your body."
Shock goes through me as I listen to his words. I whisper to him because I cannot believe that he is really saying this to me. "Are you for real? You would really go with me and not try to get me back to the lab when I get so weak that I cannot go on? Would you really have sex with me, even though I am as hideous as I am?"
"Maria, it would not just be having sex with you. It would be making love. You do not realize it, but I love you. When we first started to talk together I was still in Iraq. When I would see you come online, I would know that I could leave the horrors of the war behind for a little while at least. Talking to you got me through the last six weeks of my deployment. Those were actually the worst because the violence escalated and my skills were called upon more times than I care to count." He gets a little more comfortable on the bed. "After one particular gruesome pick up I knew that I needed to have a taste of home. I got online and you were there. That was one of the many times that I didn't get much sleep."
Leaning over, and with unerring accuracy, he places his hand on my cheek. Without even thinking about it, I flinch away. Surprisingly, he does not even react. He keeps his hand where it is, and I know that he can feel some of the worst of my scars. I know that he has to know how uncomfortable this makes me, but still, his hand stays where it is. Does he really love me, or does he just love the girl that he talked to online? Should I really trust him to be everything that he says that he is? I won't be around for very long, so why not? At least I can pretend that he loves me.
"Maria, I know how uncomfortable this is for you." He places his other hand on my other cheek. So long as his hands stay there, I'll be okay. My chest and shoulders are where they really carved me up. "I can feel the fight going on inside of you. Please, Maria, please, let me in. I know that you want to. Every line that you wrote to me screamed for someone to accept you for who you are and not to judge you on appearance alone. I have to tell you that I will accept you. I have seen your picture, and I know how bad your physical appearance is." He doesn't pull any punches, that's for sure. "Maria, I will not beg, but I will ask. Will you at least allow me to lie down next to you? I will stay on top of the covers, if you want me to." I fight with myself before I answer. Finally I nod. Quickly I move to the other side of the bed, so that he doesn't have to feel his way around. "Thank you, Maria." Before he has a chance to lie down though, I pull the covers back so that he will be right by me. "Maria, would you mind if I take off my shirt?"
"Um, if you are more comfortable that way, then feel free. I must tell you, I only am wearing a short nightie." I hear him taking off his shirt, and then I hear a snap come undone and a zipper being pulled down. When he climbs into bed I feel his bare legs rub against mine, and the shock wave that goes through my body is unbelievable. I can sense that he is really as nervous as I am, because He lies there as stiff as a board. Turning away from him I sigh and wish this encounter never happened. Now he is just feeling obligated to go through with it. I know this, so I figure that since he is uncomfortable, I'll give him in an out. "Kaleb, you really don't have to do this. I know that you are regretting this, so don't worry." I can feel tears start slipping down my cheeks. "Really, you don't have to do anything. I know how you really feel, so you don't have to go through with this." Rolling further over so that I am almost on my stomach I smother my tears in my pillow. I feel Kaleb move, but surprisingly it is not to get out of the bed. When he moves up and places his body right along mine I stiffen in surprise.
"Maria, I regret nothing except that I won't be able to spend the rest of my life with you." He rubs his hand from my shoulders down to my waist. I feel his hand come around the front, and gently pull me back to him. I can feel his long, lean, muscular body all along mine. "Just relax, my Dear, and go back to sleep. I will be here when you wake up. We will explore the Grand Canyon together when you awaken, and you will have the best day of your life. I will make all your dreams comes true, my Love. Just relax. Know that you are safe." I don't know if it is his voice or the fact that someone was actually holding me, but slowly I relax and drift off to sleep.