I take in the surroundings and curse aloud "Well Damn. I hate f*****g deserts!" But the voice I heard is soft, with a distinct southern accent. I look down and see a couple of things that seem familiar. But my....Gabe's clothes are definitely not fitting. The legs and sleeves are too long, the jeans are far too tight in the butt, and the shirt is hanging off me - several sizes too large. Then I see it.....................THE SNAKE. And I scream in that southern voice "SSSSSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHIIIIIIIIIIITTTTTTTTT! SNAKE! I HATE THE F****G DESERT!" At that moment, I'm ready to head back into the mist and face all those Panzers and Germans single handed. But a snake. No Way!
I hear the deep husky voice next me say "Jeeze, its harmless. Get a grip, woman!" and I look over at my companion. I'm definitely going to need a shrink. He's actually quite sexy and attractive in a rugged way. Seems his clothes don't fit right either and I start laughing at the sight.
Who's in charge? I don't have a clue! But at least we have our water jugs, right?
April 2nd, 2003, 05:08 PM
"Get a grip, ma'am, this is a bush snake."
Pick some sage and tease the snake. Draws up like a cobra 'cept it doesn't have a cowl and really doesn't have fangs. But does like to hiss. If I think it's a rattler, maybe I'll let it be.
"Notice what you don't hear, ma'am? No rattles shaking in the wind. Nothing to worry about here. The desert is hard on the complexion and wears you down after a bit but it is a beautiful place, god's secret garden."
Now why am I calling her ma'am? What changed? She's still Gabe and we've stil gone through hell together. So, pretty soon we're going to have to wander down to the river and look for a cooler, safer place for her to be or we're going to have to go find that mist. I have a strong feeling that we're needed back in Cameroon if we just figure a way to get there.
But, you know, I have a curiosity that needs scratching. I take her hand.
"Gabe, you don't look very shimmery right now. fact is, you look pretty damn good right now. So, I was wondering, would you consider it robbing the cradle to try that kiss again?
April 2nd, 2003, 05:36 PM
The giggle erupts from me. A giggle? I don't remember ever giggling before? Sure, one kiss and then I want shade, cool water, preferably a nice canopy and something frozen with a little umbrella in it. Now kiss me, fool, and lead me on......
April 2nd, 2003, 05:51 PM
A giggle? Talk about deflating a man's ego. So, a quick peck on the lips, even shorter because over her shoulder I detect movement along the river, maybe 500 yards away. If there is no civilization, then the mist's sense of humor strikes again because the only folks walking the river prior to civilization as we know it are Apaches.
Do not want to be the first civilized strangers they meet.
Break off the kiss that wasn't and pull Gabe down, ungraciously, and hope like hell that little movement was not enough to alert the owners to the fact some tresspassers are sitting in the middle of nowhere for no good reason.
Anybody seen the mist lately?
April 2nd, 2003, 06:33 PM
Something sharp poked me in the butt when Danielle.....uh.....Danny pulled me down. "What is your problem?" I snap. "One minute you're wanting a kiss and then you throw me down like...."
"HUSH" came the deep reply. "Apaches!"
I smile. As I start to stand up, pulling the knife from my belt I exclaim "ALL RIGHT. Apache helicopters! I'll use the sun and the reflective blade of my knife and signal them. We're home, old boy!"
April 2nd, 2003, 07:23 PM
Ohmigod, Bruce Willis again! Swinging leg catches Gabe just above the heels, hand grabs cloth and pulls and Gabe hits the desert floor harder than you really want to hit the desert floor.
She's going to have to say something LOUD, I know, so I pinch her nose which forces her to look at me as I mime "SHHHH!".
She nods understanding and I let go.
"Try late 1700s, early 1800s. Try the people for whom your toys are named after. Try to be quiet!"
It's too late. I know it. This is their country and they know when something isn't right. Here we go again.
Where is that mist?
April 2nd, 2003, 07:29 PM
I'm quiet so long, and Danny keeps looking at me...strangely. I guess its strangely. But something keeps nagging at my mind about the mist.
The first I was alone in it, I couldn't have been inside more than a couple of minutes. Danielle was not in it with me. When I came out, I was still Gabe and I was still where I started out from, though across the compound at Cameroon Refugee Camp.
The second time in the mist, she was with me. I can't remember which way we turned. But we were in about five minutes, if time is the same inside the mist as out. But the third time she and I were inside, we must have been inside for nearly 20 minutes and we definitely ran straight and turned right. Did we turn right the other time?
The longer we stay in the mist, the greater length of time our displacement. If we turned right and went back in time, would turning left in the mist next time take us back to our own time? As soon as he gives me the sign its okay to talk....I'll run this insane idea by him. He is really quite sexy.
April 2nd, 2003, 07:44 PM
"Gabe, they're moving this way, fanning out. We haven't got a lot of choices here. We sit and they find us. We move and they find us. Or, we can find them first while we look for the mist.
There's a good chance these guys haven't seen people like us before. Our clothes are going to be strange and the only weapons they'll recognize are the knives. Maybe we can appeal to their curiosity."
She looks at me as if I've lost my mind. Then, she nods. Gutty old broad....er...Gabe's got what it takes, don't he.
Alrighty, then, here we go.
We stand and wave at the group of men headed our way. They yell at each other, at us, and come charing up the rise.
John Wayne, where are you when we need you?
There's the mist building behind them.
Why is it always on the wrong side of the people we wish to avoid?
April 3rd, 2003, 09:10 AM
Suddenly I don't feel so brave anymore and notice that as we walk towards the charging Apaches, that I am tending to get behind Danny more and more. But just in case my theory about the mist has merit, I quickly run it down for him. "You're right." he says calmly. "We turned right both times in the mist. Next time, we turn left." I wonder if there is going to be a next time. The mist is there, thick, but staying just out of range. Just before the beautiful proud warriors get to us, he says "And don't wait for me. If you can get to the mist, just go." I don't even have time to tell him that going into the mist without him....or her....wouldn't help. Dan/Danielle is the key to the mist! That much I am certain.
They circle us. I don't sense any hostility from them. They don't seem to sense any hostility from us. They are looking us over intensely for sure, but just their body language tells me they are curious. I say softly "Danny Boy, hope you know something to say to them, cause I haven't a clue." But before the words are out of my mouth, several of the men slide off their horses and walk right up to us, sniffing touching talking. Their fingers slide over me, immediately finding the large man's watch on my left wrist. Gladly they can have it, its way too large for me now anyway! They find my knife right away. They can have it. Wish they wouldn't but they can. Who is going to stop them anyway?
Finally one of them appears to be talking directly to us, or rather to Dan. I have to keep remembering I'm the woman now. Of course they would talk to Dan, not me. I can see their women and children, following behind the warriors. Some are horseback, some on foot, crude but effective looking carts pulled by some of the horses seem to carry supplies and elderly. Interesting people. I wouldn't mind knowing them better.
They take our food and water pouches off and open them, sniffing and drinking. Then hand them back. Finally they climb on their horses and one offers a hand up to Dan. What about me?
April 3rd, 2003, 10:36 AM
One worry taken care of, language. I got my mongrel Spanish; theirs is closer to Castillian than mine. Enough to get a few ideas across. This is fun. Sam - hell, I can't pronouce his real name - Sam pulls me up behind and everybody wheels just as if they've practiced this for years. The look on Gabe's face says she's thinking about having to hoof it to their camp. Coming fast, don't thiknk Gabe's seen them yet, are two more riders leading the prettiest little palomino pony you've ever seen.
They're not taking any chances Gabe is not a new incarnation of White Faced Woman, mother of their main hero god, Child of the Water. Chircahuas only have two main gods and she could be one of the them.
Bet she's glad she's wearing Gabe's pants and not a skirt. They lift her onto that pony so gently, with such respect, she all smiles and giggles. Hard to remember she's not really in her 40s.
The main party kept moving along the river, heading north with the flow. The San Pedro is the only river in the US that flows north. These days its mostly marsh and oak trees right at the river's edge. The valley is sage, grassland spreading all the way to the mountains. The mesquite trees aren't here yet. The Spanish cattle will bring the seeds with them, over-graze the land, and the mesquite will take over.
It's beautiful now.
Quick look back at Gabe being led by her escorts. They have the reins to assure nothing bad happens to her.
The mist danced away from us across the river.