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Chapter Four – The Ultimatum
The man walked for hours and breathing hard I wiped at the sweat on my face and inwardly sighed with relief as I saw the flicker of his torch finally come to a halt.
Catching my breath, so I was no longer breathing hard, I then steadily drew closer to the man as silently as I could.
My night vision was quite good and I made a good job of getting within forty feet of the man’s newly created fire before I thought it best to stop pressing my luck.
As the man moved about collecting wood and what looked like some sort of fruit I debated about what to do.
My thoughts were embroiled in the conflict when his voice sounded out clearly in the chilly night air, “You might as well come over to the fire.”
There was a pause then, even as every nerve in my body seized up and then exploded all at once when he added, “Both of you.”
The thought of someone else in the dark that I was completely unaware of was just simply too much!
I stumbled forward into the cast-off firelight at almost the same time that there was another disturbance from close by.
Go figure, it was the Pakistani girl, again!
My top lip curled in disgust as all my emotions boiled with the knowledge that I had been right to take a dislike of her from the very beginning.
Recognizing me also she belligerently said, “So, it’s you little Hindu girl. Go back to the others or I will teach you a lesson you shall not ever forget!”
White-hot wrath filled me full of the molten need to suddenly destroy someone.
Who did she think she was – trying to butt in on my life and tell me what to do!
And I was very much not little!
She may have been taller, but my hips were wider and as a whole we were almost an equal in terms of body weight, but not in spirit.
I fully intended to prove that even as I spit out an expletive filled statement of what I thought of her Islamic ancestors and what they could do to themselves in their spare time.
The same rage I was manifesting suddenly came to full life in her face as she screamed and then I was screaming.
Suddenly without really thinking about it we were charging and then crashing into each other.
I had never been in a girl fight in my life, but I was now and I was fully intending not to lose it!
Pain registered across all receptors as she kneed me in the stomach, but I countered with a fist to her face and then another to her stomach. She countered my actions by grabbing a hold of my long black hair painfully and in retribution I followed suit by grabbing her long brown hair.
We both fell over to the ground latched on to each other in what very much felt like a cat fight. She tried to bite me and dodging her lunge – I in turn sank my teeth into her arm that had a grip on my hair.
I felt her sharp nails rake across my face and blindly I scratched away at hers in retaliation. Then all of a sudden I was transfixed by the pain of being lifted off the ground by my hair alone.
I let go of the other girl as both of my hands closed about a thick masculine wrist, whose grip in my hair I had no hope of dislodging.
I registered that fact over the pain I was feeling as I was bodily drug across the ground.
In my pained fury to be free I witnessed the reality of the other girl doing the same as I was, but it was hopeless.
Screaming we fought to remove his painful touch but his fingers didn’t budge and then up ahead I saw the water.
Oh God, no!
He waded right into the stream and then before I barely had a chance to catch a breath he ducked my head under the water.
The water was like ice!
I couldn’t breathe and then the grip on my hair pulled up and I was gasping for air like a fish out of water. In awful clarity then I felt the hand imprisoning me push my head back down to be thrust once more Anadolu Yakası Escort beneath the water.
Gasping and choking on water I struggled but it was no use.
He was going to drown us both!
He lifted up and I gasped for air, even as I heard her do the same, and then it was back under the water for both of us.
Weakly spent of all energy I stopped struggling and when I did he almost immediately pulled my head out of the water.
Disoriented and all my senses fuzzy with pain I felt the grip on my hair pull me up to my feet and then I was being made to walk or else no doubt I would be drug by my hair again.
I didn’t want to experience that again so I stumbled along as best as I could.
The fire was suddenly near and I heard him say deeply, “All right, you sit here.”
I was directed a few more steps around the fire by the grip in my hair before being roughly pushed to the ground by the same grip. His hand let go of me, even as he intoned, “And you sit here. Don’t move either of you or I will do it all over again!”
Shivering then, both from the cold I felt and the fear of knowing he was absolutely serious, I stayed put exactly where he’d put me.
Glancing over to the Pakistani girl I saw her heeding his warning as seriously as I was.
We were both drenched to the skin and little better off than half drowned rats.
As I watched her I saw a drop of blood bubble out of a scratch going down the side of her beautiful face.
In consternation I looked at the drop of blood, as it pooled together and then ran down towards her chin.
Had I really caused that?
Her left eye socket was already swelling and turning purple and beyond a doubt I knew that I’d done that.
Reaching up to my own face I felt at it tenderly and looking down at my hand as it came away I saw blood on it.
She’d given out as much as she’d gotten.
Suddenly, as I gazed down at my own blood, I felt incredibly foolish. What on earth had come over me?
The man had taken his seat on the other side of the fire from us.
Gazing across it at each of us in turn he slowly shook his head before reflectively saying, “I used to know men who would have paid big money to see two beautiful girls like you go at it tooth and nail like that, but speaking for myself I never want to see anything like that ever again!”
My head dipped down in shame as if my own father had reprimanded me.
I stared at the fire for a moment before I found my gaze lifting to the other girl.
She seemed as reflective looking as I felt inside and slowly my bruised lips moved even as it hurt to speak, because one of them was split apart, “I am sorry.”
She looked up at me quickly, her one eye half swollen shut.
I completed what I needed to say, “I should not have said what I did about your ancestors. I was taught better. My parents would be ashamed of me.”
I glanced down quickly then as tears threatened at my eyes.
In surprise I heard her say in the softest voice that I’d heard come from her so far, “I am sorry too. I started it. I….my parents would be ashamed of me too.”
She looked away quickly from me, but not before I saw the trail of a tear make its way down her dusky tan skin that was only slightly paler than my own brown skin.
The reality that she was someone with a family no doubt lost to her like mine was lost to me and that she had emotions and feelings just like I had made a very sharp impact upon me.
The man cleared his throat then and both of our attentions were directed to him as he leaned forward to drop a pile of fruit that oddly looked like a combination between a banana and a mango into each of our laps.
“I saw several of these bitten into and I tried a piece about an hour ago. So far no adverse reactions that I can tell.”
Feeling very humbled Kurtköy Escort I picked up the strange looking fruit that’s skin peeled back away from it like a banana.
The starving condition of my body bade me to eat and I did so with relish.
In the process of devouring the second fruit that I’d been given I noticed that he wasn’t eating.
He had to be as starved for good food as much as we were, so why was he not eating?
Then, I realized that he’d given us all the food that he had.
Feeling contrite I picked up the third and final fruit and offered it back out to him, but watching me enigmatically, as he leaned back against a boulder, he shook his head ‘no’.
Feeling further humbled I put it back down in my lap.
My body had objected to the offering away of the fruit, but it had seemed like the right thing to do.
The other girl spoke after having quietly watched the exchange between us and his attention shifted to her, “Why did you kill him? You didn’t have to.”
A look of deep introspection fell across his face that I somehow felt was a reassuring statement in regards to his spiritual condition.
He took a long moment to respond as if picking his words carefully, “You are right. I didn’t have to kill him. Some part of me wishes that I hadn’t.”
“But why did you?” She pressed.
Staring into the flames he said, “Someone like him is weak in a way that I openly detest, and by weak I don’t mean physically. People like him feed off the energy of others and derive their sense of power from what they manage to steal from the life force of others. People like him are always causing conflict and leading people into peril for no other purpose other than to suit their own selfish needs. They end up getting a lot of people killed in the end.”
He fell silent and softly I interjected, “So you killed him in order to save lives?”
Glancing at me he nodded and said, “I guess you could say that, whether that fully justifies what I did I’m not sure. It will be a matter for God to sort me out over one day no doubt.”
Curious I asked, “You are a Christian, yes?”
His expression turned wry and he said, “Christian has become a bad word in recent decades and I truly don’t like to identify myself with it in the popular sense of it, but if you’re asking if I believe in the risen Savior, Jesus Christ, and everything in the Bible, then yes, you could call me that kind of a believer.”
The other girl spoke, “Does it not say in your Bible, thou shalt not kill?”
His gaze went to her and speaking in an entirely un-affronted manner that said he was entirely comfortable about being questioned in matters of faith he said, “That is a common mistranslation of the Bible from ancient languages to modern languages. In the old texts it doesn’t say ‘thou shalt not kill’, rather it says, ‘thou shalt not murder’. I believe there to be a big difference between the two, but that is my opinion.”
He fell silent and speaking into the stillness that somehow felt golden with meaning I said, “I do not think you murdered him.”
It was a sincerely made statement and then surprisingly I heard the other girl say, “Neither do I.”
He smiled bittersweetly and said, “Well thank you for the vote of confidence ladies, but really it’s up to God to decide.”
A moment went by in which he threw several pieces of wood on the fire and then he spoke, “So ladies… want to tell me why you left the safety of the group and came traipsing along after me?”
“I did not feel safe there.” The other girl said and I nodded my head in agreement with her.
“Are you saying that you feel safe with me?”
My eyes were drawn to the other girl’s eyes and I saw her in the same struggle that I found myself to be in.
Sometimes there is no better answer than the simple truth.
All right – all the time Pendik Escort it was best to speak the truth, but just the same my lips wobbled on speaking the words that I did in answer for the other girl to the man’s question, “Yes and no.”
He nodded and poked at the flames with a stick before saying, “An honest answer. I respect that.”
A moment went by before he asked, “So it’s in your expectation for me to keep you safe and basically be a provider and security net for you. Tell me, what do I get out of doing that?”
My face flushed hotly and I glanced at the other girl and then gaining courage I said, “I think I speak for both of us when I say we want more than just your protection.”
She nodded swiftly in agreement with me.
Looking directly into my eyes he asked, “You want to be my wife?”
There it was.
Feeling extremely embarrassed and put on the spot I managed to squeak out, “Yes. I am saying that.”
His gaze swung to the other girl as she softly said, “Yes, I am wanting that too.”
He looked from her then to the fire and said, “Well girls, we have a problem.”
“You are already married.” I whispered out forlornly.
He smiled and shook his head ‘no’ and then said, “I was once, but not now. No, the problem we have is different and I will try to explain it to you, but you may not understand even then. I as a man have a relationship with the God that I have belief in, the God of the Bible. For me He is the only God there ever was, has been, or ever will be. Everything that all of us are having to live through right now was foretold to come to be by prophecies that He gave to servants of His to write down throughout the years of history. My faith in my God is such that it’s the one relationship that I can’t live without and even as I intensely love my God I also obey His commandments. One of them is not to be unequally yoked to someone worshiping a different god. The very act of becoming one flesh with you would be like me becoming one with your god, allah or in your case a couple thousand gods of Hinduism and Buddhism put together. This is something I cannot do and something I won’t do. Now that leads me to the reality that regardless of your faith in other gods than the God I serve I do not want either of you to perish. I would gladly do my best to protect you both, but in reality at the end of the day I am still a man and each of you whether you know it or not is a gorgeous woman scratches and all. The temptation to be one flesh with either of you as you are quite bravely offering me is simply overwhelming. I cannot put myself to the risk of experiencing total loss of spirit and losing what I have with God just to satisfy the desires of my flesh. He is and will be the number one priority of my life for however long I am either blessed or cursed to remain on this earth. So unless you too can verbally, as well as, from the heart reject all belief in the gods of your nativity, then there is no way forward for either of you to become a wife of mine.”
Silence fell hard down around the campfire then as each of us upon hearing his words slumped down to curl in a fetal position about the fire even as he continued to stare into it silently.
What he asked of us was impossible!
Just the same how could one ask for any nobler of a man than him to be a wife to?
He was utterly principled to a fault. In some ways he was almost perfect.
But to do as he asked how could one?
To reject all the beliefs of my parents and their parents before them just for the security of a relationship that he could offer me in the present – how was that noble on my part?
It would be like living without honor just so I could save my own skin.
Tears fell unchecked from my eyes as I accepted the grim reality that I was going to die alone in this land.
I couldn’t do what he asked of me. I just couldn’t.
Staring through the flames I saw the same tears I was shedding reflected on the other girl’s face as well.
Miserably, I shut my eyes and willed myself to blackout into unconsciousness and escape from the complete abandonment I felt by everyone in the moment.
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