Chapter Two - (Much, much Later)
What does it mean to be in love with the world? I cannot tell a soul. For it has been long for me, too long. Not that the passion is dead in me. It’s alive and well and it screams at me each day from the first sign of sunlight, until I close my eyes to sleep. This place is more than I would have thought, but the isolation makes it impossible to share things with anyone else. Today is my birthday and once again I spend it alone.
Three years is too long to be alone on this earth, even with Carmella at my side.
I first saw her after the blast, the one that took the others. Even then, even while the ground still shook, Carmella sat looking at me as she does now. It was as if she instinctively knew what it did to them, as if she knew there would be no others aside from me from then on out. Without a blink or so much as a shiver, she sat frozen on that rock looking at me with those heavy lidded eyes. That day I cried for hours, longer than I care to recall. Carmella does not know of self pity. Pity does not help a creature who’s struggling alone to survive in the wild.
She may be a different breed, but we are friends, two females living together as silent partners, Carmella and I, lizard and gardener. We rely on each other. I like to think it that she has the nature of truly caring for me, aside from the insects that I feed her. Garden crickets are her favorite and are in ample supply on this hillside. Not those little green ones, mind you, but the big black ones that squirm in her mouth and crackle as she swallows them whole. They are too big for her, but none the less she gobbles them up even while they cause her to choke. The lizard will never learn not to bite off more than she can chew, but who can blame her? Perhaps crickets are her chocolate. It’s been so long since my taste of chocolate, that I don’t believe something as diminutive as a little choking would prevent me from inhaling a chunk of the sweet brown heaven. If one were available in this place I’d devour it.
So here I am waiting with Carmella. Each Tuesday it’s the same routine. Even in oblivion, consistency rules the planet. Tarron told us it would be like this. He said that the waiting would be grueling. Though he himself had never and could never swim in the light; he was too old, but he was right. The waiting was hard and you cannot train for that.
I prepared myself for three months before my swim, isolating myself whenever possible from the rest of the group. I stayed in my room, ate alone, camped for three weeks straight in the wood’s side of the lab’s property. I did it right, just as Tarron trained me to do. I thought I was ready enough when the time came to take the step. I thought I was. I was wrong. No one could ever be prepared enough for the waiting because I am never sure that what I wait for will come. Another day, another glorious day, but without human companionship I look to creatures for comfort. Though they can be wondrous, there is so much to be missed by the human glance, the words, the smile, the touch. Yet this is why I did it, wasn’t it? All of us in Tee-Pod are spirits who love the world and humanity.
Carmella blinked, scampered toward me and then ran onto my hand and up my arm, finally resting on my shoulder. I rubbed the top of her head. When the coddling stopped, she leaned in for more.
It was Tuesday afternoon and the sun beamed hot. ‘Would one come today?’ I wondered.
No one came. They never did. It had been one hundred and eighty seven Tuesdays and no one had come. I plucked her from my shoulder, carried her back down the hill and into the hillhouse and set her onto the floor. She scratched at the kitchen wall to sharpen her claws as I finished preparing dinner. I was good at dinners.
Genre – Fantasy / Romance
Rating – NC17
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