So much for gentle lions gathering the sheepThe more time I spend with Caleb, the harder it is to keep him out of my dreams at night.
All I wanted was something safe
Show me your ungrateful tyrants
I'll point out the mirror, point to you
This is where forever gets us, immoral wishes and oblivion
I can't stay
I don't need the conflagration
I don't need the hate and I don't need you
Sadly he is always twenty years old to my sleeping brain, and I am always terrified. Last night I woke up and I was pounding Lochlan with my fists, telling him to let go. Keening at him with a noise I can't hear and one that he never wants to hear again.
I don't look forward to the dark any more than Loch does. He is having a rough night too. He drags me in close until I am pressed hard against his skin, my face resting against his shoulder. He pulls us up and sits with his arms around me, his back against the headboard. His lips bump against mine. He whispers things but I don't know what they are. I can't even hear them well enough to tell which language he's using. I wrap my arms around his neck and hold on tight but he never lets me get more than a hair's breadth away from him. It's excruciatingly slow and hard and amazing. Physical comfort drags psychological peace behind it heavily, stubbornly. Thankfully.
Eventually we lie back down and he whips the covers back up over us. He nestles in behind me, his lips on the back on my neck, his sweet foreign words forgotten in a haze of weariness. I am drifting back to the memories, in spite of being safe, wedged in the middle of the big bed between hearts, arms in a tug of sleep, trying to see who can appear to care the most without even being conscious and all of it completely worthless against what my mind will find in the night.
I don't know what it was but I think my actions triggered something that made the Devil almost unobtrusively snap. I had opened the door, we were having a conversation. I was enjoying being taller, for once, since he was standing in the grass outside the door and I was only one step down into the camper doorwell, holding the handle with my left hand and the doorframe with my right. He was smiling. He was a little bit drunk. Not too much, just enough to be a little more charming and handsome than usual. It wasn't until he asked how long Lochlan was going to be gone that a bead of panic shot right through my skull and I shut the door, locking it in the same motion. He was surprised. Stunned, I think. An eternity passed and I held my breath, staring at the lock. Staring at the clock. Calculating the strength of a cheap aluminum latch against the minutes left before Lochlan would be back at the camper. I didn't have time.
Through the door Caleb tells me I'm making a mistake, that he's not dangerous. That I don't have to be afraid of him. That everything is okay, I can come out and we'll light a fire and have some chips or something and wait for Lochlan.
Twelve-year-olds are one trusting, naive bunch. Besides, he tells me to grab a sweater, it's getting cooler now that it's dark. Monsters never look out for your well-being. right?
My renewed confidence makes me profoundly foolish. If only I had known when I opened that door that I would spend the rest of my life being chased by memories that are capable of catching me before I can even begin to run, I wouldn't have opened it at all.