After Case left for work, I ended up heading downtown. It was well past time I told Detective Young what had happened. I knew he wasn’t going to be happy with me for keeping information from him, but I’d done what I thought needed to be done.
I needn’t have worried. Case had already filled him on the basics. He was just waiting for my statement to close everything up.
“Sorry things worked the way they did,” he told me as he led me into his office.
I had to smile. It was just the right combination of compassion and understanding-- nothing uncomfortable, just professional.
As I told him about the sacrifice and the aftermath he simply nodded and made a few notes. There was so much I couldn’t tell him. Not because I didn’t want to, or didn’t trust him– it was just that there was so much there. Things I remembered... things I didn’t remember until I started to tell him about what had happened.
As I talked, it all came back to me– the final minutes of our boat trip to the middle of the lake. I was numb then and it had seemed so unreal. So unreal and yet– true?
It was as if the world had come to life. The skies glowed brightly and the light glistened off of the water as a leopard form rose from the lake. It was almost as if it swallowed us– washed over us, through us and then was gone. I turned, watching it through the maelstrom of water and power that followed it-- flowed through it: energized it
I could hear the screams of our pursuers as the leopard rose, grew... morphed into something somehow more dangerous. It was the leopard, then a coatl. It was our hopes and fears washing over them. And as it passed over them, I could feel my fears wash away... my fears and my strength.
It was as if it was fueled by our need. We were the guardians of the statue and the leopard was the guardian of its home. It was our strength, taken from us to strike at those we couldn’t touch. It drank from us: fought until there was nothing left to fight. Then, with an almost playful swipe of its paw, it pushed us ashore.
I shivered as the images played through my mind. It wasn’t until I felt Detective Young’s hand on my arm that I realized that I’d been lost in the memories.
I tried to shrug it off until I saw the concern in his eyes. He’d turned off the tape recorder and was just standing there patting my shoulder.
“Come on,” he urged. “You look like you could use a drink.”
I tried to laugh it off– tease him about the offer, but he was right. The drink didn’t really help, but then it rarely does.
Talking to Detective Young on the other hand helped immensely.
I don’t know how long we stayed there, but when we’d drunk our fill some of the clarity had started to fade. Sometimes– it’s for the best.
The cab ride home gave me time to think and to get my thoughts together. The boys had known they weren’t coming back– I was the only one with the illusion they would. It was my dream, my wish, nothing more.
The wold is not perfect, but it’s the one we live in. I’m learning to accept that– I think.