The Most Dangerous Game…

The helicopter whirls outside in the near distance.  He lay tense beside her.  “Are you okay,” she probes. ”

He jumps in surprise as if he has forgotten she is there.  “Why do you ask,” he inquires hesitantly.

“You’re shaking…” she starts.

Am I?  He wonders.  He looks down at his hands and realizes that he is.  He hadn’t even noticed.

She continues, “and you’re barely even breathing.  Are you okay?”

He takes a deep breath.  She is right.  He is not breathing.  The helicopter whirls on and the dispatcher can be heard inaudibly perusing their target.  The exact words are not clear but the purpose is.  A man is being hunted.

“It could be me…” he answers her inquiry.  “Every time you hear…every time they are near…it could be me.  You get used to the possibility and after a while you’re just numb.  You can’t be afraid anymore.  You just can’t be– the threat is too often– too severe– so you live with the fear…and you start to question: I wonder how they’ll get me…”  He takes another deep breath but he still doesn’t relax.

She reaches to touch his face beneath his beard.  It is too dark to see, but she can feel him.  He is still taking deep breaths trying to calm himself but he isn’t responding to her touch.  He is still somewhere else.  She holds her touch to his face, gives a gentle stroke, and then reaches both hands to feel for the top of his head.

“You’re with me,” she whispers then kisses his lips.  “You’re with me,” she repeats.

His breathing slows and though she can’t see him she can feel his gaze.  She positions her right leg across his left leg and pulls him under her.  She rubs her hands down the sides of his face along his neck down to his hands and places them on her hips.  “You’re with me right now,” she repeats.  “You’re warm, and you’re safe.  You’re hidden and free.  You’re with me.”  She kisses him again and this time he kisses her back though he doesn’t say anything.  She spreads the kisses across his face and his neck.  “You’re with me she whispers in his ears.

The helicopter whirls and the voice keeps coming.  It is inaudible but a man is being hunted.

She keeps spreading the kisses on a mission to drown out the sounds.  He isn’t breathing again and his hands are no longer participating with her.  Right as she is moving to remind him where he is he stops her; gently.  He holds her face in the darkness and kisses her deeply–intently–then pulls her close and holds her there.  “I love you,” he whispers, then he gently moves her off of him and sits up at the side of the bed.

The helicopter whirls and the voice gets close then far then close then far.  The lights flicker across the bedroom window.  They are still in pursuit.  A man is being hunted.

“It could be me…” he whispered… “I’m sorry.  I just can’t shake the fact that it could be me…”


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