In the Dark by Loreth Anne White Read Online (FREE)
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Sometimes the only thing to fear . . . is yourself.
Sunday, November 8.
Before the waitress delivers my breakfast, I take the sugar packets out of the container on the diner table and quickly sneak them into my pocket. I wolf down the “Kluhane Bay loggers’ three-egg special” she brings, then call her back to ask for more toast. I break the toast into bits, use them to mop up bacon fat and yellow smears of egg residue on my plate. I gulp down the rest of my coffee, then shoot a glance around the diner.
The server has gone into the back.
I drink the contents of the cream pitcher. My belly is now bursting. Even so, I take a white napkin and wrap it carefully around a leftover piece of crust that I simply can’t fit in. I slip the crust into the pocket of my loaned down jacket where the sugar packets are hidden.
The diner is warm, yet I keep the jacket on because a deep-seated cold still lingers at the very marrow of my bones. The doctors said I’m fine. They said I was lucky. They all said the same thing—the cops and paramedics, the search and rescue people. I believe it. I am incredibly lucky, and I thank the stars that aligned in order for me to survive.
And here I am, with only a bandage around my skull plus a headache and a few cuts and bruises. I’m the one who made it.
For in the end, there can only be one.
And to make it to the end is to reach a beginning, is it not? Wasn’t it T. S. Eliot who wrote words in that vein? That the end is where one starts, and only those who have risked going out too far can possibly learn just how far one can actually go?
Perhaps I will feel warm again tomorrow. Perhaps then my feral need to eat will subside.
A movement outside the window attracts my eye. It’s the female police officer, Constable Birken Hubble, coming up the sidewalk from the lake. Hubb, the others call her. Hers was the first face I saw when I came round at the tiny facility that serves as a hospital in this remote northern town. She’s one of the three cops stationed in Kluhane Bay, this place I found myself in after being plucked by helicopter from the raw jaws of the wilderness.
I watch her walk. Hubb is short, blonde, and substantial, with a gun-belt swagger more akin to a waddle. She has a pink-cheeked, happy resting face that peeps out from under a muskrat hat with furry earflaps. Behind that deceptively congenial countenance, she’s still all cop, though. I know something about wearing a Janus mask. Perhaps that’s why they’ve sent her to fetch me—they think I might slip and tell her something. They believe I am hiding something.