SEE THROUGH A GLASS DARKLY
He was having nightmares again, the cold water, the darkness, the trouble reaching the surface, his lungs feeling like they were about to explode. Then he sat up with a start and felt the warm, comfortable bed he was in. Then, she was there, kneeling next to the bed. "Are you all right? You're safe now, it was just a dream. Here, drink this."
She handed him a steaming mug and he sipped the rich, clear broth gratefully and carefully. It warmed him and his shivers calmed down. He looked around at the small but neat cabin. The fire was roaring in the fireplace and there was a pile of furs on the floor, where she had been sleeping, leaving the bed to him.
He watched her as she moved to the fire to stir the pot simmering over it. She was wearing a bulky winter parka, jeans, a flannel shirt and winter boots. Then, he remembered it was mid December but, that was about all he remembered. He looked up, "Excuse me but, who are you and, where am I?"
She smiled, "My name is Michelle. What's yours?" He thought and thought, closing his eyes in concentration as his left hand ran through his sandy hair. Then, his hazel eyes looked at her, worried, "I don't know." He said simply. He felt a bandage on his head and looked at Michelle.
She walked back to him and sat on the edge of the bed, taking his hand in hers. "I don't know who you are either. I heard a crash about six days ago and went outside to find you and your car in the lake. You must have missed the turn on that icy road. I pulled you out and brought you here before your car or, what was left of it, sank to the bottom. That lake is almost a mile deep and no one would have ever found you unless they had known specifically where you had crashed."
She stopped as the young man's eyes widened in amazement. Michelle continued, squeezing his hand reassuringly. "You did not have any identification on you. Your jacket was still in the car and it must have been in the pocket. I was able to recover a small duffle you had but, I had to dry everything in it. They're folded up in the small press over there." She pointed to a small chest against the wall. "There's nothing there to identify you, I checked. Do you have any idea as to what even your first name is?"
The young man looked at her and slowly shook his head, tears starting in his expressive eyes. Michelle squeezed his hand again, "It's ok, it will come back to you over time. Once this weather clears, I can get you to the general store but right now, the snows about four feet deep. There's no going anywhere till it melts. Do you mind if I call you 'Ryan'? You remind me of an old friend by that name"
He thought for a moment and then shook his head, smiling, "No, I don't mind in fact, I like the name. Ryan it is." Michelle laughed, a sound like silver bells and went into the smaller room as Ryan got out of bed, carefully, and changed into his regular clothes. She came back in and helped him to a chair next to the fireplace then, ladeled out the stew she had been cooking and, cutting a hunk off of the loaf, handed him his dinner. She set a steaming mug of hot coffee on the table beside him then, she served herself.
After dinner, she checked the head wound and changed the dressing, smiling. "You're lucky, Ryan," she said as she worked, "You have a bad knot but, there's no fracture in the skull. There has been a small bit of swelling but that's going down. The swelling may be why you can't remember anything right now. Once it's down completely, your memory should come back."
Ryan sighed, "I hope you're right, I hate not being able to remember who I am or where I came from. It's scary." Michelle nodded, "I can imagine that it would be. Now, relax, you need quiet now more than anything else." Soon, she had him back in the feather bed underneath the down comforter and he was soon deep asleep.
She stood and watched him for the longest then nodded, it was almost time to make a visit, to remind a certain someone how much this young man meant to him, and to remind him to never take his son for granted, ever again. This had been a close call for both of them and hopefully, it would open the old man's eyes to what he had been missing. Michelle smiled, "Sleep, young one, sleep till I return. You're safe here." Just before she disappeared, she whispered, "Sleep safely, Peter Caine, you'll be home when it's time for you to be." Then, she slowly disappeared.
Begin Part One