I whirled around to see Justin, with an expression of anger on his face.
“I-I’m sorry,” I said through chattering teeth. “I-I didn’t kn-know it was y-yours.” It was so cold and I was scared. I had seen pain in his eyes, great sadness, but never the fury I saw then.
“Does it matter?” he asked, a cold hardness in his voice. “You knew it wasn’t yours, didn’t you? And what the hell are you doing down here anyway? Is that what you came here to do? Spy on me? I don’t appreciate that, Andi.”
I tried to answer, to explain to him what I was doing, but I could not due to the frigid air and how terribly I was shaking. Softness touched Justin’s features. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I didn’t realize. You must be freezing. C’mon, let’s go back to the cabin so you can get warm. Then we will discuss this. And for godsakes, next time you want to do some winter exploring, dress for the weather!”
We walked to the door. Upon reaching it, Justin wordlessly tossed me my sweater, which I put on quickly. We did not speak at all. When we entered the cabin he walked into his room without a word. I walked to mine for lack of anything better to do.
Jill gave me a speech about how worried they all were about me. I barely listened. I didn’t know what to make of what I had just discovered. What had that paper been? Justin had taken it with him. I threw myself on one of the couches in the living room trying to think about it all. Again I was startled by a hand on my shoulder. This time I did not scream, for the sound was caught in my throat.
“Hi,” Justin said.
“You have a way with letting your presence be known,” I said dryly, referring to the night before and earlier that day. Why did he have to scare me like that? I was relieved though, to see it was him.
“I’m sorry,” Justin replied. “It’s just that every time I want to talk to you, you’re staring off into space. He sat down on a couch and invited me to sit next to him. I obliged. If the circumstances had been different, I would have loved this. Justin was so close.
I nodded. It was true. “You must think I’m a space cadet,” I said aloud.
“Were you dreaming about me?” he asked lightly, trying to sound playful. His voice, though, was edged with sorrow. I guess he, too, was thinking about our conversation the previous night. His words brought back vivid scenes from my dream. They came crashing down, threatening to crush my head. I shuddered as tremors shook my body.
Justin touched my shoulder lightly. “Is everything OK, Andi?” he asked with sincere concern in his eyes. Then he caught himself. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I shouldn’t have said that.”
“It’s OK,” I said, both of us knowing full well that nothing was OK at all.
“I’m really sorry about before,” he began, taking a deep breath. “I didn’t mean to be so rude to you. I was just surprised to find you down there. I’m really sorry about how I yelled at you. I didn’t mean to do that.”
“It’s OK,” I replied. I could understand. When a friend dies, it can put people in bad moods and make them irritable, and afraid of anything out of the ordinary. I knew that firsthand. I had been jumping out of my skin upon every noise I heard.
After a pause I said, “Do you think it was one of us?” I did not really want to hear his answer but I had to ask, get someone else’s perspective.
“Who else could it be? There’s no one else for miles around,” he said flatly.
“I know,” I said, sighing with resignation. “I was just hoping you would tell me differently.
Justin nodded, understanding, but said nothing. I did not know quite how to interpret that.
Sitting there I realized that staying in the cabin no longer seemed like a dream vacation, more like a nightmare. The shadows no longer seemed so inviting, but I could not help but still be drawn to them. It was beginning to drive me crazy, every time I turned I truly expected to see Eve’s face. Her presence seemed to be in every corner of the house.
After a few minutes of silence between the two of us, I got up and walked inside the cabin, leaving Justin alone with his thoughts.
Another installment of Affinity for Darkness, a novel I wrote in the winter of my junior year of high school. To read from the beginning:
- Affinity for Darkness – Prologue
- Affinity for Darkness – Chapter One
- Affinity for Darkness – Chapter Two
- Affinity for Darkness – Chapter Three
- Affinity for Darkness – Chapter Four
- Affinity for Darkness – Chapter Five
- Affinity for Darkness – Chapter Six
- Affinity for Darkness – Chapter Seven