VII: There's a Garden Through the Gate

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(Warning: explicit sexual content and reference to drug use (Bliss) in this chapter.)


Diana shot up in her bed, clutching her chest, trying to suck in as much oxygen into her lungs. She was in a cool sweat, her skin ablaze but the perspiration like ice. She pulled her knees up and sat there, once more alone in the bed, the room still empty of any company.

She saw him. Jacob.

He was running to her, bounding through the meadow into the forest to meet her at that cabin. He didn't say a word. He didn't even want to touch her. Why was he looking at her like that, before she woke up?

And that look in his eyes...

Why did that feel so vivid?

There was something she rarely saw in her husband, if ever... fear. A fear she couldn't shake, so much that it made her feel sick to her stomach. Diana wanted to reach out and touch him, she wanted to hold onto him and hope that it was all real, that Pratt didn't really have him holed up in a bunker somewhere...

But she couldn't.

Diana forced herself back down to earth, finding herself standing at the open window since she felt like she'd been suffocating in her confinement. It was night now, by her estimation around midnight by the position of the moon under the clouds. It had been raining, the showers that had been pouring through the afternoon settled down to a light drizzle. Her room overlooked the vast greenery of Joseph's yard, facing the same bay she and John had come from in the west. She could still hear Rye's thundering gunfire and the explosions before blacking out-and the rush of recollection brought back the sniveling threats of Deputy Pratt over the radio.

Fuck! Her hands pounded against the window sill.

Running her hands over her face, Diana combed her thick, dampened hair with her fingers and sobbed quietly to herself. Jacob was out there... Jacob needed her. Once more she found herself at the mercy of Joseph's hospitality, heeding his warnings and the fact that he'd prohibited any departures from this his hideaway. She was angry, so pissed that she would stand alone in her defiant claim to rescue Jacob. Why was he so set in his ways all the time? Why didn't Joseph see there was value in having their family together, in having his older brother home safe, where he belonged?

The Joseph from before would have put his own life down to save his brother, right? The Father loved all-especially his family, so why did he bow down to Whitehorse's demands? Why did he turn to cowardice when he used to be a leader, a conqueror? The last two conversations with Joseph had ended poorly, both of which he'd put his hands on her. She idly rubbed the places where her the soreness of her bruises tingled on her arms.

I need a shower, she thought, hoping that would help her body temperature readjust.

Snatching up the bundle of new clothes and a towel from the chair beside the bed, Diana left the room. She stealthily padded across the hall to the washroom, thankful that no one had heard her outburst from earlier. She wasn't in any mood to engage in small-talk, nor was she ready to answer any questions about her recent night terror.

Diana entered the vacant wash room and turned on the water. As she stood under the shower head, the warm water streamed over her skin. Scents of lavender and water lily filled her nose, the homemade soap was a refreshing replacement for the salty sweat and river water that was stuck to her for some time. She folded her arms over herself, letting her hands guide the suds over her neck and chest, and stood there to let the spray rinse her down.

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