The Lonely Living

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Authors: Sean McMurray
hands
caused me to miss the mark and spill the water all over her face.  I dried her
up and after steadying myself, tried again.  This time I was successful and
managed to get some water in her system.   After finishing, I slipped the
canteen back in my bag on the sled.   I then reloaded my handgun and topped off
the gas tank before climbing back on the snowmobile. 
    A light snow was falling around me,
but a bitter, cold wind was whipping it up into a frenzy, limiting my
visibility.  It was going to be very hard to find my way home in the dark going
the way I came and my earlier tracks had most certainly been erased by the
wind, which left me two options.  Find a place to stay for the night and wait
for the morning or follow the river.  Believe it or not, I agonized over the
decision.  That young woman’s life was hanging by a thread and was going to
take something just short of a miracle to save her.  So, despite my internal
anguish, I decided to follow the river.
    I stayed as near to the bank as
possible, keeping my focus on the terrain before me, moving as fast and as
recklessly as the safety of my passenger would allow.  About a half hour into
the drive, I neared the source of my internal anguish, Christ’s Church by the
River.  The old church wasn’t much to look at and in the dark I could barely
see it, but I knew that place as well as I knew Little Eagle’s Island.  I
slowed down a bit and searched for a way to avoid even driving by it, but there
was no place to safely cross the river. I slowed to a stop at the edge of the
property line.  A mixture of sadness and anger swept over me as my body began
to tremble once again.    The solitary Church, with its once proud steeple,
loomed over me like a giant tombstone.  My head filled with memories and
thoughts of a time that felt like a distant dream, but in reality was not that
long ago.  I closed my eyes to drive away the tears that were welling up inside
them.  “Curse this place.”  I said in disgust before hitting the throttle and
speeding away into the night.  I didn’t look back nor did I want to.  The
further away from that place the better.

 
10
     
    A couple hours later, I reached the
mouth of Red Lake.  My body was numb from the cold and more than anything I
wanted to fall into a snow drift and sleep.  I crossed the lake and pulled the
snowmobile and sled right up to the front porch.  I unstrapped the young woman
and carried her inside the house.  I laid her down on my couch, relit some of
my candles and then stirred the coals in the fire place.  I tossed some
kindling on the coals and soon enough the room was lit with the orange glow of
a young fire.  I pulled off my gloves and warmed my hands by the fire, for a
moment, before turning my attention to the young woman.  She was still
unconscious and the only sign of life was the tender rising and falling of her
chest when she breathed.   I slipped my left hand under her head and tilted it
forward.  I carefully eased the water into her mouth and she still gagged
before finally swallowing it.  I resigned myself to staying awake and repeating
the process, until she began to recover.  In between drinks, I took a wash
cloth and gently scrubbed the dirt and grime off her cheeks and forehead, revealing
a pale, emaciated face.  Nonetheless, I was struck by her.  She was undeniably
pretty and I was smitten.   But, at the moment I was more concerned with her
survival. 
    I spent the rest of the night
giving her drinks and by morning I could barely keep my eyes open.  Sips became
small drinks and small drinks became gulps.  Gradually, her health improved and
color returned to her face.  I boiled a pot of coffee and sipped on it in an
effort to keep myself awake.  It didn’t do much good; my body was threatening
to go on strike.   I gave the young woman another drink and she briefly opened
her eyes, revealing a flash of green iris and mumbled something that sounded
like

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