My last terrestrial memory is that of zooming plains through the dirt-speckled windows of the cabin we shared. Crossing the mass of land, and multiple time zones, it was my unwitting farewell to life on firm, solid ground, although I didn’t know it at the time.
I had gone along with Liam’s suggestion to take the trip, guided by a strong sense that everything I would be doing was destined to unfold, that I only needed to go with the flow, so to speak. We shared our second-class quarters with a soldier on his way home from a posting in Moscow, and a grieving widow heading to Irkutsk to collect the body of her fisherman husband who’d met his end while navigating the cruel seas. In that confined space, I’d learnt a lot about my Russian cabin mates, with crude sentences pieced together from the weathered Lonely Planet, and the outpouring of human emotion born of rowdy card games and shots of vodka. Liam however, remained a mystery.
In the adjoining carriage were Forrest and Cynthia, honeymooning. That was another factor in taking up Liam’s suggestion- I had wanted to remain close to them for the return to the world we’d once inhabited. Now, so long since that time, I see how naïve I was, how wrong Liam had been when he’d said “I think you know more than you’re letting on, Miss Blackmore.”
Here, time is measured by the widening rift of Baikal, my home. Our bond sealed with my blood that had seeped out of the gashes, slowly trickling through what little pockets of liquid water there were on the frozen lake. I have become a part of its topography, yet another organic layer, decomposing and merging with the endemic life in its fresh waters.
The seasons change and my heart sinks deeper into the lake, regretting that I had no time to warn Forrest and Cynthia. When Liam turned with the ice pick and headed toward them, I was already silenced by my scars.
I think this story is coming to its natural end. Perhaps one more, at most. Prompt word used today was from WP Daily Prompt (Scars). As always, feedback, questions and comments welcome!
The penultimate installment of the Timeline series, originally published May 2, 2016. Illustration added October 1, 2017.
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