Blundering in from the eighteenth hole and nurtured by real actions and reactions.
The girl in the argyle socks found the man with the rifle leaning against the balcony that overlooked the south garden. She approached him as quietly as she could, still hesitant to consider that her uncle could be right. She breathed deeply the scent notes that drifted towards her from where the man with the rifle was standing. Honeysuckle, the unmistakable sweetness of honeysuckle. It couldn’t be the smell of decay.
He started to turn around, she closed the distance between them.
“You’re not wearing your clothes,” the girl in the argyle socks commented.
“When I woke up, these were on the bed,” the man with the rifle gestured downwards at the dark bluish-grey shirt and the black slacks. He wasn’t wearing shoes.
The girl in the argyle socks, who was indeed back in argyle socks, gathered up her brown hair and pinned it back. The man with the rifle felt as if he was looking at her for the first time. Was this really the same creature I saw on that road? An untamed gleam still simmered in her eyes, and he was sure she could whirl into frenzied feasting if given the chance or the motivation, but here in this world, surrounded by her ecosystem-kin, she radiated a sort of power (for lack of a better word). In his own world, an entity that exuded such a quality had to be subdued — no questions asked. This principle was beaten into him during “messenger” training and missions until it was automatic: what mesmerizes you at sunrise can come back and kill you by sundown. As the man with the rifle continued to behold the girl in the argyle socks, he refused to believe that she would ever hurt him, purposefully or otherwise.
“Is anything the matter?” the girl asked. “Your face has gone a bit funny. Do, do you smell anything really sweet?”
The man with the rifle slowly shook his head and turned back to look at the ground below.
The girl in the argyle socks clapped her hands together and rather softly said, “I must tell you something.”
The man lifted his head to face her and calculated the odds of her confessing that she brought him to her world with no intention of letting him leave…dead or alive. “What is it?”
The girl searched the man’s face for signs of life, of death, of denial, of delusion. She took a step closer, put her hands around his upper arms, gently tugged him down and then kissed him. Imperceptibly at first and then with increasing momentum. Half aware of his movements, the man with the rifle wrapped his arms around her waist. Simultaneously surprised and not surprised at his own eagerness for what would inevitably transpire between them.