Macy stepped into the shadow and followed the man. Inside, the air of the hut felt cool. She could hear his ragged breathing just ahead. It was dark and at first she felt blinded, but then her eyes adjusted and her surroundings began to emerge. She had expected to enter the man’s home, but the room was more of a storage space, filled with musty wooden crates and various unnamed paraphernalia.
She could see tiny specks of dust in the sunlight that filtered in through the cracks in the wooden walls. And she could see him standing just ahead, one side of his face in shadow, the other lit by a piercing ray of light that landed just above his eyebrows and filtered down across his nose. His mouth was slightly open, and as he stood there, his eyes were fixed on her, and his panting slowed.
A wide grin spread across his face.
At that moment, she didn’t feel fear. Just the sense that something terrible and wonderful was going to happen; a small thing that might just be the end of her and the beginning of the world.
The dust motes joined and began to circle around them like he was the sun and she was the moon. . . She felt a deep stillness. . . And a huge chasm opened up in her soul.
She had come so far to find this place. She had come from nothing and everything. From love and lust and fear and hunger and giving and taking and the sharp edges of betrayal stained with selfishness and greed. Her world was shattered and sullied with bloody love and loyalty that still pulled her back and yet pushed her in at the same time.
Who was this man to her? She was not afraid of him and yet she knew that he was not her friend. Being there was her own choice and yet she was frightened of the pull she could feel from him. A pull that she had felt from the time she was a young girl . . . and she realized that lecherous leer had already been etched in her deepest unconscious. She moved forward slowly and as she did he begain to step back, his smile stretched across his face and his faded blue eyes opened wider below the heavy brows. He picked up a wooden cross from a pendant around his neck and placed the base of it between his lips.
Then he extended his muddy hands and she began to feel a stirring deep within her that drew her forward and closer to him. She reached out and placed her hands in his and he pulled her closer. She inhaled the musty odor of his clothing as their bodies touched. She felt the stubble of his beard on her face and neck and the hardness of him as it pressed between her legs. She had no power to resist and no desire to. All she felt was pure instinct and a force ignited deep within her and she sunk closer and closer into his essence. She knew that he could take her in that moment if he chose. . . and she knew from the urgency of his breath that he had every intention of doing so.
As they embraced, he began to step backwards pulling her deeper into the hut. He slid his hands down her arms and twisted her hands behind her back with a grip that had subtly changed from desire to force. At that moment, she knew that she had stepped in too far; and that her own need for adventure had brought her to a place where she would be undone.
She stiffened and began to step back. She wanted to change her mind; to turn around and run back into the light, down the hill and into the broken world that she knew.
But he sensed her mood shift and his grip tightened. Holding her wrists behind her with one hand, he spun her around in front of him and pushed her forward roughly. She realized that as they moved deeper, the walls of the hut had become cave walls and he began to push her down into a stone tunnel and deeper into the hill.
She moved forward, down along the dark tunnel. Feeling his presence behind her, hearing his shuffling rubber-soled shoes dragging, his breathing labored and yet deep with occasional muffled grunts and sighs. And his scent preceded him , drifting into her nostrils—musty, sweet and fermented from immeasurable hours of undergrounding.
She moved along without knowing, without awareness of the wheres or the whens or the whys. Stumbling forward without purpose or an end and as she did, the damp stone walls also seemed to breath in and out as she moved forward, pressing in towards her, opening up and then pressing in on her again.
Her eyes struggled to find focus, something that might be a beacon to blunder towards and yet there was nothing but darkness and the sounds and the smells of the cool damp underground surroundings. And so they went on. . . down and down . . . into the ground, stone and bone. . . alone.