No longer fully supported, the bag slipped off my leg onto its side then belly flopped onto its face – all the while spewing forth its contents. The rock salt skittered over the linoleum like gravel on glass and was the icing on the cake in revealing my heretofore unknown presence to the Woman In White.
Which rather effectively disrupted the rest of Joseph’s offer, because she lost all interest in him.
“Look, how she dazzles the eye….”
It didn’t matter that I didn’t know what she meant, her words did absolutely nothing to foster a reassuring glow in my heart. Neither did the look on her face when I stopped glaring at the betrayer salt. It wore the same look Wood’s did when a sixteen-ounce porterhouse steak is placed in front of him, fierce hunger.
Maybe she’d like a marshmallow instead?
Being neither ill or hurt I wasn’t weak enough for her to successfully strip. However, it didn’t look like this fact was going to stop her from trying. Leaping forward she covered the space between us with lightning speed, hitting her side of the door in time with me throwing all my weight against the mine. Unfortunately the unhinged tend to have more muscle at their disposal, and the idiot salt on the floor gave my shoes absolutely no purchase.
She won the battle easily.
Smacking my head hard against the wall behind me, the knock disoriented me for a second. Before I could shake it off, she pinned me against the hard surface and shoved her hand into my chest. “So much power here….”
Bitter cold radiated from my heart instantly enveloping me. For a split second (which I swear lasted an eternity) my world consisted of nothing more than her greedy eyes and twisted smile while she stole the breath from my lungs.
Then it was gone and so was she.
The Woman In White’s anguished wail rent the air.
With a herculean effort, I managed to focus my eyes on the origin of the sound. Joseph held her upper arms in a savage grip from behind trying to force her to confront the box containing her bones, “Will you look beyond what happened?”
The only acknowledgment of his question was the cessation of her earsplitting wail. She continued to writhe in his grasp her eyes never wavering from me.
Feeling like an arctic wind blasted thru my insides, I gathered my knees up to my chest and turned into the wall.
Joseph’s colorless tone betrayed nothing but his hand slapped down hard on the wooden lid of her box, “Will you look for a new path.”
Unintentionally grinding salt into my palms in an attempt to regain an upright position I missed her reply (if she made one). When I finally triumphed over gravity, I looked back at the Woman In White and discovered her visage so distorted by yearning she hardly appeared human.
A question from Joseph recalled me from her maleficence, “Can I tell her your secret?”
Trusting him, I whispered, “Yes.”
Stepping backwards giving himself room he swung her around so she faced him, “Would you consume the one who heard you, Tiffany? Found you? Unearthed you?” On the last word, he released her arms.
Stumbling away from him she caught herself with ease and whirled to face me.
In the most extreme trust exercise I’d ever participated in, I remained motionless while she worked her way towards me. Suspecting what Joseph’s offer entailed I gave her the chance to decided precisely which side of the fence she was going to land on.
While she dithered Joseph followed her with his eyes, his hand resting on her wooden box.
She hesitated for a moment when she stepped thru the door, picking her way thru the scattered salt and closed the last few feet between us. Completely invading my bubble of personal space, she finally came to a stop.
“You? You found me?” she whispered. Her eyes scouring my face – so intense was her scrutiny I almost missed it when she tensed her shoulders.
Wishing I could sound heartier, I managed a breathy, “Yes.”
Hesitating just long enough that I thought she’d changed her mind, she managed to catch me by surprise when her hands shot out trying to seize my heart again. Reacting faster than I thought possible, my own salt encrusted hands met her’s, attempting to turn them aside.
But the Woman In White’s refused to alter their trajectory.