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The Hours #19

When I opened my eyes, I was genuinely surprised. I tried to reconcile the bright sunlight dappling my face through a canopy of dark green leaves with me memories of breaking bone. I could still feel the burning and tearing of my flesh where the worm had attacked, but the sight of clouds moving through the sky to my left made me question my sanity.

Perhaps I had lived a life of sufficient virtue to be granted paradise. Perhaps I was hallucinating. Perhaps I was even dreaming.

This thought stuck in my mind. The idea that I was dreaming beat upon me like a hammer striking steel yet I was sure I had just died. I should not be thinking at all. I should be nothing more than a ghost in a strange land.

Something made me look down. Some weight that made it hard to breath. I lowered my eyes, expecting to see an absence of legs or the worm chewing on my guts. I did not expect to see a pile of golden curls.

“Mary?” I whispered the word, speaking just above a breath.

I looked up and found that Mark was in the middle of the boat. He was curled in a ball with his head on his arm. Then I could see the toes of Samantha’s boots.

Samantha.

She was dressed, and whole, and alive. She was reclined in the other end of the boat, her dark curls resting on Carl’s chest, his arms around her.

I snarled at the idea of him touching her.

I looked around as the others slept and confirmed that we were all still dressed. They were all uninjured and as far as I could tell our canoe had drifted to the side a short ways before we were supposed to have landed.

We were alive and well. It had all been some horrible nightmare.

As I rested there, feeling Mary’s body move with her breath I watched Samantha. I looked from Carl to Mark and realized I was clenching my fist. It was more than a dream. I felt it in my bones. It was more than a dream and I would not leave the woman who had saved my life and shown me a new world. Samantha had shown me love.

There were many things I would have to change.

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