Home > Horror, serial, Uncategorized > The Hours #8

The Hours #8

When I came too, it was very dark. I was lying on Mark’s jacket amongst tall grass. Beside me, Samantha sat with her knees pulled up to her chest. She was pressed against me, though I don’t know if she was seeking warmth or providing it.

In front of us, I could just make out Mark’s outline. His arms were moving furiously and I soon discerned that he was attempting to make a fire by rubbing sticks together. I sat still, watching for a moment, letting the oddity of our current reality set in before I asked, “Is there any way I can help you with that?”

Samantha jumped and Marked turned to face me. In the darkness of the fading sun set, I could see his face shining and pale from stress and exertion. “If you think you can get this bloody fire going, then by all means.”

I moved forward and leaned close to examine the little pile of grass and sticks that Mark had gathered. “I am sure of it,” I said. “I have matches in my pocket.”

Mark huffed and fell backwards. “I didn’t think to check.”

Samantha snorted softly and I hoped that Mark had not noticed. The two seemed constantly at odds, though I had no idea why, and I did not want to deal with their fighting on top of being lost in some god forsaken nightmare countryside.

The matches brought warmth and, most importantly, light back into our world. We sat there, each on our own side of the little campfire, and stared at the crackling flames in silence for a long time. The night was not quiet, but none of the forest sounds led me to believe that we were in immediate danger. I believe that the same could said for what remained of my companions. Despite the hardships of our day; the insanity of our situation and the weight of our losses, they both seemed to relax a little as the evening wore on. Time passed and we all settled in.

“Can we build the fire up a little higher?” Samantha asked. She was sitting up straighter and rubbing her upper arms where the short summer sleeves of her dress did not cover her.

“No,” Mark said. “We are out of wood.”

I turned my face to the sky and then looked at Mark. “Do you mean we don’t have a lot of wood to make it through the night or that we are truly out of our store?”

“I put the last of it on the fire a while ago,” he said.

“I think we might need to get some more,” I said. “I don’t believe we should let the fire go out tonight.”

“I thought we would have enough,” Mark said.  “We can’t let it burn all night. What if it gets away from us? Carl told me you never keep a fire burning while you sleep.”

“Carl was talking about a hunting trip,” Samantha said. Her voice was low and the words almost dripped with condescension.  “We are lost and in danger. It isn’t the same thing.”

“Carl knew more about being outdoors than I did,” Mark said. “I simply listened to him.”

“Carl knew a lot more about a lot of things that what you do and if he were here he would be rolling his eyes at the stupidity of not gathering enough wood to make it through the night.”

Mark stared at Samantha for a moment and I watched his jaw clench in rage. I tried to think of anything I could say that would diffuse the situation but as I opened my mouth Mark jumped to his feet.

“How dare you,” he said. “You poisonous toad. Carl would no more roll his eyes at me for making a mistake than he would have said a harsh word to anyone. He was a great man and you have no idea…”

“Anyone can see how much more of a man he was than what you are,” she said. “But what you don’t know is what he thought of you.”

“I know exactly what he thought of me.”

Samantha snorted, raising her hand to cover her mouth in a lady like gesture that did nothing to hide her disdain. “Oh no you don’t. You never heard him complain about how you would whine and fuss. You never saw him roll his eyes when a mutual friend would refer to you and your effeminate ways.”

“You vapid little beast. You might have been his fiance but you did not know Carl.” Mark stepped towards her and I wondered if he meant to strike her. “He didn’t confide in you as you seem to believe. All he ever showed you was his mask.”

The girl stepped right up to Mark with her fists balled at her hips. Although Mark was a bit taller and heavier, Samantha seemed to be filled with a passion and power that added to her stature. For a moment, she seemed to tower over him despite the reality of their physiques. “I am his betrothed,” she said in a snarl. “I did more for him than you will ever know and I would do anything for him still. You were the same as the ugly puppy he took pity on. He allowed you to follow him around, nothing more.”

“You are so wrong.” Mark placed his hands on his hips and bent at the waist so that their eyes were level. “I was the one he truly confided in. I was the one who attempted to sooth his mind and I was the only one who accepted him for what he was. ”

“You might have acepted him but he only tolerated you.”

Mark let out a soft chuckle and I saw his shoulders relax. “Oh really? And after he would supp with you and your parasitic family, after he had his fill of the pandering because they want his family’s title, he would come to me.”

Samantha’s tilted her head up and shoved her jaw forward. Seh raised on hand, a finger extended to point it at Mark, but he just raised his voice and rolled over any protest she had been about to make.

“Did you know that we would sit, drinking and playing cards, until he had finished venting his spleen about, and these were his words, those foul leeches. He would rant about them, and then about his parents for squandering their fortune so that they needed a wedding to commoners with money. Finally, he would talk about you and your chaste kisses. About your cold hands and stern expression.”

“He had no cause to complain about my behavior,” she said.

“He was a real man, through and through. He had hungers and needs that you refused to discuss until your wedding night.” Marc lowered his voice. “I listened. I fell to my knees and worshiped the man that he was. I gave him comfort and cherished the opportunity to let him vent his frustrations.”

Samantha lifted her hand to her mouth, seeming to gasp, but she didn’t say anything else.

“He wanted to care about you. He tried at first but you were such a prude that you couldn’t even manage to keep your feet in his presence.”

This time, I heard the strangled sound that she made.

“You saw him in a state of undress one night after dinner, and you were so flustered that you managed to spill ink and wax on your night dress. He replaced it for you so that you wouldn’t have to explain it to your parents, but you had such a fit that you sent him home. Did you ever wonder what happened to the old one?” Mark threw his head back and maniac peels of laughter flew into the night. “I wore it, along with that bonnet you gave him as a keepsake. I wore those things on evenings when he felt the need to replace you.”

The sound of Samantha’s palm hitting Mark’s face was as crisp as a gunshot. Her motion was so smooth, that neither of us reacted before she had turned and run off into the darkness. I sat still, watching Mark rub his cheek.

After a few minutes, he picked up a burning brand and held it up as a torch. “I guess I should go get more wood. You can wait here, someone should stay to be sure the fire doesn’t get away.”

He took a few steps in the opposite direction from where Samantha had ran, then turned around. “I know what you thought of me. I don’t care, but I won’t tolerate it if you speak ill of Carl. Especially after you sat in the boat without trying to rescue him.”

And I watched the torch move away into the night.

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