“The thought of your body, just the whisper of my imagination, and I am incapacitated. There are no thoughts, no focus, only desire and the pain of waiting.”
21 DECEMBER 2021- MIAMI, FLORIDA
They walked, walked, and just walked, following the horizontal arrows, but suddenly Ace halted, and Adeline, absentmindedly following him ran into his back, which for the first got unnoticed by Ace as he said, “Wait, where the hell are arrows?”
Moving around his body, Adeline stood a step ahead of him examining the situation as she commented, “That’s strange…”
No words had been exchanged as both started to find the clue.
The first sign the two of them got that something was out of the ordinary, was the subtle noise of footsteps towards their left side. Ace did not bother to look around, whereas Adeline looked towards her left sharply, though there was no one in sight, but she was quite familiar with the situation.
Both of them were searching for the clues to find the portal, but all they could achieve was the sight of the sun setting beyond the horizon, the only hint at a sunset being the glorious, solitary rays of golden light streaming in through the trees ahead.
“Do you find anything?” Asked Adeline, when she saw Ace- Damn him! How dare he just…. Sit there, rest while she was itching like the devil? For that offence, he deserved to be eternal tortured!
Well, apart from the monkeys cackling in the distance, there was nothing that sounded like an answer that she expected from her portal-hunt partner.
She threw a pebble at Ace for a reaction, but all she got was a groan as he sat leaning against the tree with his eyes closed.
“What pray tell me you are doing Arris Johnathan?”
“Sleeping, have you turned blind?”
“Don’t stretch my patience, Ace!”
“Oh well, I’ll stretch something else, then.” And, against a tree, he stretched his limbs.
It went on like this for exquisite hour upon exquisite hour. With something to keep her mind and certain parts of her body- occupied, hiking through the forest did not feel nearly as difficult as she had feared it would. Not even the stings of mosquitoes could bother her much. After all, to an extent, she could perfectly well understand how much fun it was to battle somebody. And her approach to making out the meaning of her grandpa’s letter to find the passage of trees was a lot more than the pitiful attempts of the mosquitoes.
She walked a mile all alone while Ace lounged, in an attempt to find something, but failed as she started to return. It was just after she had set out again after stopping for a short break that she decided to make her next move. The sun was shining through a small open patch in the roof of leaves above her, highlighting her figure. At that moment, she had a feeling that someone was walking behind her.
Adeline whirled around at that moment to see nothing but a vast area of forest, and at that moment she realised that she lost her.
Restlessly, she looked here and there to see every direction alike. She had no map, no sense of direction, and no clear idea of where she left Ace.
Wish William was here to help her?
The thought popped into her head unbidden, but not at all unwelcome. She waited for her anger to screech in protest, to start waving at her, ‘You don’t need his help’- but nothing happened.
Why his help? Was she not enough? But she knew he was here, somewhere above keeping an eye at her. But, with the exception of a few exceptionally hairy specimens dangling from trees somewhere above her could become her messenger.
But, could she use them?
Good god! What was happening to her? Had her active brain cells been reaching their saturation point, making her think such vile ideas? Well, she certainly felt hot enough to be fried in the sun. Even the cold stare drilling into her back did not cool her down anymore. On the contrary- somehow, incredibly, it seemed to heat her up and-
Cool stare? Where did that come from? Thought Adeline.
She suddenly realised, with a clarity that had evaded her before, that all the weird feelings she was getting were there for quite a while now, but the thing was, why didn’t she notice it before?
Her heart was beating wildly against her chest as if the cold stare had started to cover her entire rear and now was standing a bit closer. Dragging in a deep breath of humid air, she tried to calm it down and stop her mouth from being so bloody dry! She had to get a grip and got on to find her way back soon, before night.
Without turning, “Who is here?” She enquired.
There was nothing but a subtle sound of strolling between dry leaves. The goosebumps on her neck were erect as she felt a chill down her spine. It was not the kind of fear you feel in the surrounding of a danger, instead, it was something else. It was kind of a fear you feel when you don’t want your eyes to see what you expected to see when you don’t want your intuitions to turn into truths.
Taking a deep breath, siding all the thoughts aside, Adeline started to think of a way to find Ace, who by the way was a good-for-nothing-partner.
What if there was a way to trace Ace?
A question popped in her mind- and the. Then looking above, another set of questions found their way in Adeline’s mind, like:
How do these monkeys find their companion?
They climb, i***t! Her inner voice made a comment.
Oh, yeah right.
Then her eyes sparkled in a way as if she stood in a mine of gold.
What if someone climbed a tree? Thought Adeline.
‘Oh yes? And who would be crazy enough to climb one of those monstrosities?’ Questioned her inner self to her.
This time, it was not just a hint of a smile, but a full-fledged grin appeared on Adeline’s face, as she straightened her back, and said:
“Ha-ha, Me of course!”
Well, Adeline was feeling quite adventurous this evening as she started to turn her ideas into execution, but why was she trying to run away from the vibes she was getting?
Was she afraid to encounter the truth?