She blew on the broth, cooling it before tasting. She stretched her shoulders back, then turned his way. “So—‘when’ are we then? And where? And . . . what happened?”
He was slow to respond, not sure what had caused her pain before she passed out. He didn’t want the incident repeated. “Well, you . . . passed out.”
“Start at the beginning,” she ordered.
Rubbing his boot in the sand, he laughed.
“What’s funny?” She scowled.
His eyes flashed her way. Mara always approached problem solving with that same statement.
“Oh, nothing, I’m just . . .” He hesitated. “Never mind. It’s not important. I guess I’m just so relieved that you’re all right.” He grabbed a stick and raked it through the coals. “You see, we were traveling to your mother’s house. When we were about to start down the pass here, you—”
“Killed a mountain lion,” she filled in.
He held his breath, wondering if she’d experience the same pain again.
She closed her eyes. “And then I had a terrible headache.”
She looked at him. “So, how did I know what to do? How did I know how to do that? To shoot like that? Great Ehyeh, I should be dead.”
“Well thank the Good One you are not.”
She pursed her lips and dropped her brow. “How did I do it?”
“There are important . . . really important things I’ve forgotten, aren’t there?”
“And . . . you’re among them.” Her eyes flickered, side to side, as she watched him. “Aren’t you?”
He tapped out a rhythm on his knee. “Well . . .”
“Tell me the truth.” Her voice was firm, her eyes hard.
He stopped tapping.
“Tell me,” she insisted.
“I’m not sure what to tell you. I don’t know what happened to you here. I don’t know what to do to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. I don’t know if I would do you more good, or more harm, if I tell you things. I don’t know—” He stopped short.
She glared. “As you say, I don’t know ‘when’ I am. I don’t know where I am. I don’t really even know what or who I am.” She set her jaw. “Why won’t you help me? Why don’t you have answers for me?”
“Why did you agree to go on this journey with me? Who are you to me, really? Who am I to you? Why would you even care to help me, or to stay here for me? Why didn’t you just leave me here to fend for myself? Why don’t you do that now?”
He glanced into the distance.
She stood, then threw her remaining broth on the fire. It sizzled. “Well, I guess since you agreed to accompany me, we’d best be on our way so that you can be done with your duty,” she snapped.
“Very well. If you’re sure you’re up to it. But we could just stay the night and get an early start tomorrow.”
“Is that what you want to do? Leave in the morning?”
“I want to do whatever you want to do.”
She scowled at him. “Well then, I guess I want to get this charade over with as quickly as possible, to set you free from the burden I am to you.” She headed toward the tethered horses. “Let’s go then,” she demanded.
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