Daphne laughed at my visual sign of concern.
I blushed and shyly smiled at the distressful look I had given her.
Stilling enjoying my discomfort, she began to put victuals on a plate for me. In the process, she began to ask me questions about what we had been through. As I began to enlighten her of all the traveling we had to endure, the close individual combats in which I had participated, the men I had killed, the numerous small and large engagements of our unit, the many missions that I had been assigned and carried out, and lastly, the fighting that had resulted in the wound I received, she ceased to fill my plate with food and set it down on a small table. Then she sat on the edge of my bed and took my hand in hers. As I finished relating what I had encountered, except for the bothersome alien presences, her eyes were as wide as saucers, her breath was coming in gasps, her face was flushed and her cheeks were wet with crocodile tears.
For several minutes she just looked at me. Then in a subdued voice she murmured, “I never knew it was so horrific and dangerous. From what you related, it seemed to never cease to require all yar strength each and every moment of the day.”
Then she gently took my head in her hands, and leaning down, kissed me softly for what seemed like an eternity of tender blissfulness. Her display of love, affection and understanding sent me into a reverie that was almost trance-like. She must have sensed my loss of consciousness because she pulled back from our kiss and smiled at my stupor.
I rasped, “That was amazing,” and fell asleep.
I woke to a room, dimly lit by lanterns, plus a ghostly presence that I immediately recognized. She seemed to fade in and out of view as she glided toward me. I looked up at those mesmerizing eyes and said, “How long have you been here?”
She smiled, but it didn’t reach her eyes. “You almost got yourself killed and for what?” she blurted.
“For honor and duty. Concepts your species has forgotten or never had,” I retorted.
“When did you ever have such heroic notions in your universe?” she sarcastically responded.
“Maybe it took coming to this universe to discover those traits. And just remember, you sent me here!” I snapped.
Her eyes suddenly flared to a bright turquoise and seemed to burn into my head. I had to put my hand up in front of my eyes to stop the sharp pain that racked my brain. All of a sudden I smiled and the pain stopped abruptly.
“Why are you smiling, human?” she queried with an aggravated tone.
“I just thought it seemed amusing that you were trying to kill your guinea pig without getting the cooperation you have always wanted,” I chuckled.
This seemed to shock her. Her cobra-like gaze ceased and she realized that the lack of my infatuation with her had deferred her from her mission. Suddenly, she was all business, “Do you want me to heal you?”
“No. I want nature to take its course,” I replied.
“You mean, you want time to woo the girl,” she correctly stated.
I grinned and said, “How right you are. I don’t know what to expect from our bargain. So, I want to enjoy life while I can,” I exclaimed.
“Okay, human, but the time is fast approaching that will require you to perform. So you better heal quickly and woo even quicker,” she declared and then disappeared.
Her reappearance and the reminder of my required participation in some alien plan were very disconcerting. I had gotten a headache from her abnormal probing of my cranial cavity and her hateful presence.
Just as I was starting to think of ways to get out of the alien verbal contract, Daphne came into the room and looked around.
“Was there someone here that you were talking to?” she asked.
“I must have been talking out loud to myself. I guess the lump on my head has caused some neurological damage,” I answered.
“Some what?” she demanded.
“Oh, never mind. Listen, I’ve been meaning to ask ya, ‘Where are we?’ I don’t recognize this room or what little I can see of the outside landscape from tha window,” I said, trying to change the subject.
Initially, all I got from Daphne was, “Hmmph.” Then she said, “If ya must know, we are at my uncle’s house in Martinsburg, Virginny.”
I gaped at her and mumbled, “How did we get here?”