She was going to run away.
It was what she did. She ran whenever she got that spark that traveled from ass to neck like ice on a winter morning, clitter-clack and five fingers of shudders creeping crawling. Only it was summer this time, and she couldn’t begin to explain it away, force herself to stay, like she’d promised him she would, like she promised everyone before — men, grandmotherly old ladies, families who’d made her part of their own. She always promised to stay and she always broke that promise, no matter how intent she had been to keep it when it was made.
And here she was. Running. Again.
Her dark hair got into her face as she leaned over the bed, stuffing her bags with the things she didn’t think she could part with as quickly as she could, caring not if those things were ajumble or laid straight. She brushed the sweat-clumped spider-leg wisps out of her face and looked around for other precious things, then back at the bag less than half full. It was so little, the sum of her life.
The ice crept higher and she let out a bit-back yelp as it touched the base of her scull, five distinct fingers massaging that place where the skull touched spine and it almost felt fused. She had to run, without knowing the why of it, but knowing she had to run now.
She’d meant to leave a note for Hosea, explaining how she loved him and wished it hadn’t been this way; how she had truly thought the need to run had faded, and how safe he’d made her feel — but that the fear had appeared out of neverplace like it always did, and she couldn’t go to him, because the feeling hurt with it’s intensity.
She blew another stray wisp, maybe even the same, from her face, grabbed the bag without securing the top and rushed to the door. There was no more time, she knew within her heart of hearts. She flung the door open a–
It slammed to the wall, rattling the shelves of all the little gifts John had given her as he tried to woo her. Rattled the shelf and the contents and punched a hole where the doorknob touched the wall.
She didn’t know who the man standing in the threshold, the man moving toward her was. She only knew that she had wasted too much time before running and she was going to pay the consequence.
“Siobhan,” he said in his graveled voice. “After all this time… I finally –“
“Julie!” she shouted. “You’ve got the wrong person,” she told him even though she knew it to be a lie. “My name is Julie! Now get out of my way, I need to leave.”
“That’s what you might call yourself now, woman, but your true name is Siobhan.”
“It is Siobhan,” he said crossing the liminal space between them. “And, if your memory serves you well, you knew we would meet again.”
“I’m going to scream if you don’t leave immediately. I’ll scream bloody murder at the top of my lungs. My name is Julie and you are wrong, wrong, wro–“
“Check your bag,” he interrupted, voice somber. “You know it is there. You put it there, said it would help this time. Said it would help you to remember.”
“What? What did I put there?” she screamed at him, but she already knew what he’d say, though she had no idea how he could know such things.
“You’ve carried it since you could remember anything, knowing you. Never knowing the why of it, but never leaving it behind.”
“Your wedding lace, tied in a sailors knot.”
She fell in a crumpled heap on the floor, waves of horror and relief washing over her, though she knew not why.
“I’m back, honey. Just like I we agreed. And now we can finish what we started.”
Tendrils of wraith-like memories trickled into her. Memories lost for whatever reason. Not all, but enough.
“You’re right, Llewellyn. You found me and… we should see this through.”
He smiled and helped her stand, cradling her in his arms, making sure she could not see beyond the door frame to the hallway where he’d had to butcher the man who had tried to stop him on his way to find her. He could clean up while she slept — she always slept when they broke the spell. She need never know.
This feels a bit closer to what I’ve tried to apprehend over previous attempts at making something of the Dylan song with the lyrics that haunt me so. I think now that I have left the reverse time experience concept that I originally wanted to include, it feels a bit more cohesive.
There’s a bigger tale here, if I want to go there, but I’ve decided on purpose to keep it short and to a meeting of the two star-crossed people. Lovers? I haven’t decided. It seems they may have been once, but that might change as Siobhan gets more of her memory back. Llewellyn is definitely not the kind John she’d been shacking up with until the encounter, but perhaps he is justified in his violence? They haven’t told me yet. Maybe John was horribad. Maybe it was just a murder of convenience. Was it even John?
Anyway, I’ll leave of with it as it stands and think on it to see if I have more of the story to tell in me.
Normal caveats: This is first draft with only a cursory review for significant error before hitting “Publish”. Any horrible errors you find in it will be corrected in subsequent drafts, if I choose to rewrite, including all of the (what I feel is) necessary exposition at the beginning. In other words, this is not a finished product and it may change significantly before it becomes one.