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EXCERPT...

 

The treetops whipped back and forth wildly. The storm’s energy was focused ten miles to the north. Not a direct hit, but in these mountains even a near miss could turn deadly. The pelting raindrops subsided for a while, but Logan knew that was temporary. He had been kneeling on the hard mix of gravel, small stones, and dirt, motionless for hours. The heavy rain would return.

His long frame quivered and shook slightly, causing him to flex his sinewy muscles to fight off the hypothermia that was close at hand. His long, dark hair lay flat, matted to his face, but he did not care. This was only his third trip to this site in the last three months. Long, lonely months aching for her touch, her smile. Today for some reason was harder.

Since Maya’s death, Logan had lost twenty pounds. His frenzied combat training, sometimes three times a day, occupied his body; but her face was ever present in his mind.

He was not the savior people thought him to be. When the end came, he was helpless, simply watching as her condition deteriorated steadily, daily. Maya’s passing was quiet and painless; Logan made sure of that.

He had buried her half a mile upslope from the old but newly renovated Cold War bunker they had called home. He had sought isolation, and for three years it was bliss. Just the two of them in their own private garden of Eden. They tried to have children, but it did not happen. The sound of happy young voices would have rounded off their idyllic life. Eventually they became resigned to their fate, focusing only on each other.

Logan stopped. He had been slowly rocking back and forth without realizing it. He looked up at the sky and acknowledged the storm for the first time since arriving in this sacred place. The small flat ledge in the mountaintop provided a spectacular view of the Shenandoah Valley below.

He and Maya had spent countless hours on this peak, watching the dramatic change in colors as the seasons slid by.

Time had stood still for them--no demands, no threats, and no contact with the people of this time. Their isolation was a comfort, and, in the end, that may have killed her.

Logan eased one numb leg out and placed his right foot firmly on the ground. He waited a minute to let the blood flow do its work, then stood up. The wind was making odd sounds as it rolled through the tree line just above his position. Cycling through the smaller ravines nearby, the tones became almost musical.

His hand shoved the hair out of his face, and he turned in the direction of the bunker. It was getting dark; he would have to be careful making his way down the path on his way home. Logan looked back one more time at the cairn of stones that marked Maya’s resting place. He had placed her deep and made sure there were enough large stones that a bear would not be able to disturb her.

“Good night, my love.”

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