Winking in from the twenty-third eyelash.
The man with the rifle didn’t hear the girl in the argyle socks walk up to him. His eyes were focused on the farmhouse across the river. They had traveled for nearly a week before he told her that more of his memories were returning. The girl in the argyle socks had suggested they go on horseback at least through the forests, but the man with the rifle balked at the idea. He had never liked horses, even though he had grown up in their midst.
Vehicles were not an option as there would not be enough gas to make it very far beyond the woods and onto the main road. The girl convinced her uncle to let them take one of the tunnel vents, similar to the one that had spirited them into her people’s caverns, but this one would transport them out of the forests. Her uncle relented after the girl promised she would blindfold the man with the rifle during the journey.
The girl in the argyle socks cleared her throat. The man with the rifle turned around.
“That’s the house,” he said, pointing across the river. “I left Alexandra by herself because I thought it was the merciful thing to do.”
The man with the rifle oozed honeysuckle with every breath he exhaled. The girl in the argyle socks knew they had to be close to his organs and heart-in-a-jar because the sweet scent that permeated around him was growing denser to the point of reluctant suffocation.
“But is it your home?”
“I don’t know. I don’t think so — home didn’t have a river near it.”
The girl in the argyle socks rummaged through her bag and pulled out a pouch damp with a reddish film. After pulling back the layers covering the palm-sized snack, she offered some to the man with the rifle. He declined politely.
“What is that?”
“A chunk of rabbit. A bit bloodier than I usually like, but it was all the rabbit I could find.”
The man with the rifle narrowed his eyes and took a step back.
“What? Are you forgetting that I am a carnivore and would gladly take a bite out of your undead body if I had to? Keep walking, we still have to cross the river.”
The farther they walked, the sweeter he smelled. The sun began to sink into the horizon when the girl with the argyle socks stopped walking and gestured to the tree line.
“We have to stop here for the night, I need to rest and you have to do something about that stench of yours.”
“What stench?” the man with the rifle smelled his arms and hands.
“The sweet smell of death. It’s gotten stronger. Take off your clothes, get in that river and submerge yourself completely. Don’t come back up for thirty seconds.”
The girl in the argyle socks explained that fresh water helps temporarily lessen the honeysuckle scent. The man with the rifle wasn’t convinced.
“I’m still hungry, you know.”
The man with the rifle removed his clothes and waded into the water.