Chapter 30 - Big Brown Log
I awoke to the far away sound of a mosquito. It was morning twilight. The world had a silent blue cast to it. The waterlogged canoe drifted slowly. The water looked almost green in this light.
I peeked up over the side of the canoe. A small circular black machine that sounded like a couple weed whackers tied together, was flying low along the riverbank in a search pattern. Apoc was still sleeping in the water at the bottom of the canoe.
I looked back at the mechanical insect and just wanted for all the world to bite something. Some way to get this overflowing frustration out. I entertained a fantasy of waiting until the canoe was right below it and then jumping into the air and catching it my teeth and crunching it to little bits. The canoe was moving so slowly downriver I still had a minute or two.
I looked down at the half-sunk canoe and realized that we’d been jumping from sinking ship to sinking ship this whole time. I may have the body of a dog, but I still have the mind of a woman. And what do they say about a woman scorned, or was it taken for granted? It’s funny how so many of the thoughts that I used to have just seemed to drift away. Maybe our capabilities define our thoughts.
I couldn’t remember what was so important that had always filled my thoughts. Things I thought of as important, my cellphone, my clothes, and my email, I couldn’t remember why I thought any of it mattered. I remembered them as this other life. Someone else’s life, maybe a story I heard or read. I could only remember the real things, my family, my friends, my dog Blossom, and now Apoc.
I no longer thought of myself as telling people about what happened. I would have to find some other way to communicate. Maybe find an old speak and spell... or touch screen with buttons that I would be able to press.
I thought of my family. I hadn’t thought of them in months. Shen had threatened them when I first arrived, I’d resigned myself to the reality that I could do little for them. If he wanted to kill them, he could at any time. The wealthy tended to find ways to do what they wanted and usually avoid the consequences. Maybe he already had, he said all sorts of things trying to get me understand why what he was doing was right. He was convinced that if it was possible then it must be right. Science was a like a religion for him, and he always dreamed of even greater wealth. Greed was his real passion, money always listened and loved you back. We spoke many times in the first few months.
I felt terrible that I kept fighting him, that I kept refusing to accept my new reality, but I could not bring myself to accept it. All my control had been taken away, it was the only way I could find any satisfaction of making him disappointed. He said I was putting them at risk if I ran away, and they were just unsuspecting loving people going through their lives. Probably still wondering what had become of their daughter who went off to college. Maybe they found my car? It had been parked at the hotel. Surely someone had noticed it and called it in. But that had to have been months ago and they had probably given up the search by now.
Yet another thing I no longer thought about doing. Driving. I remembered driving with my dog Blossom, she would stick her head out the window of the VW bug and just drink in the world. The smells and tastes as we zipped through the country side, I imagined that I could smell the same things she could. We were just two best friends on an adventure. She’d been with me for so long I couldn’t imagine going to college without her. I knew we were getting into the twilight days for her, and I didn’t want to miss a moment more. Funny how a decision born of such love, could have set me on this path.
I loved her. She’d been with me for 13 years, my whole life that I could remember really. I didn’t write in a diary so much as talk to her. She knew all of my secrets, my dreams of my future, and even which boys I liked the most, and why. Her listening ear got me through the agony of high school, relatively unscathed. I learned about babies, and what being a mother was really like when she had puppies. I saw how she cared for her pups. I saw how they went out into the world as they were adopted away. I knew I wasn’t ready for children, but I knew I wanted them. I knew that I wanted them more than words could express. I wanted to care for them, and watch them grow.
I blinked. Another dream dying, for me. Now those babies, that would have been mine, were somebody else’s dream. Those souls that would have been mine to raise, would call another ‘momma’. Again the heat of anger in my blood was rising, I could feel it.
I wanted to fight. But I had to dominate my new nature. I had to think. I had to plan. I had to get out in front of this to fight my enemy. I had to find a way to fight them on my terms. No more running.