I just sighed and just stared ahead as I drove along the stretch of highway somewhere between Portland and Akron; watching the headlights illuminate nothing and everything all at once. I took a deep breath looked to the passenger seat at Malkin. He lay back sleeping peacefully. The arguments that we’ve been having have been horrendous. I’m ready and willing to move back to his hometown in Ohio. Malkin, he was scared shitless; probably still is. He didn’t want it. I had argued had my point hard. Our argument’s still haunting me like a dark melody even as I drove along the inky highway to our next hotel destination.
“I don’t feel safe out here; I know Chastin’s watching. I know… I know He’s watching too!” Malkin had pleaded his case heavily. “We’re not going to be safe, they know how to find us, there’s no stopping them!” I had been frustrated.
“The house will be our safe haven,” he had tried to persuade him. “It’s always been our safe have, it was a promise. We were promised we’d be safe there!”
“It’s not the same anymore, Ai, He doesn’t have control over you like He used to have.” Malkin eyes bounced with tears as he pleaded. “Please, let’s just stay here! KK left her place to us. We have it here. We can get jobs, we can hide—“
“No,” I interrupted Malkin more harshly than I had intended. “Listen, Malkin, trust me, please? Trust me, babe. We’ll be fine. I’m not going to hide anymore! I refuse to keep hiding!” It was my turn to plead my own case. I was nearly on hands and knees begging, I could feel my own eyes watering.
“Ai…” Malkin hesitated and reached his hand out to his me sighing in a mix of frustration and compliance. “ok… okay. I’m just scared.” My only response was to pull Malkin into a tight hug and just hold him, despite the fact that I’m at least a foot shorter.
“I’ll keep you safe,” My desperation was heavy in my voice. “I swear to the Gods above, I’ll keep you safe. I love you Malkin, I won’t let anything happen to you! I’ll keep you safe.” Malkin frowned with worry rubbing my back.
“It’s not you I don’t trust,” he looked around as though he didn’t even trust the empty apartment building that they were standing in. “It’s everyone else, everything else. It’s the circumstances. No one’s safe from Him. No one.”
“I’ll give him my service if that’s what it takes to get him to leave you alone and keep you safe.” My tone was matter of fact.
“NO!” Malkin pushed me away with his one arm as he screamed at him. “You will NOT do that. Dammit Ai! Promise me you won’t take that way. I don’t care about anything else just do NOT give yourself to Him like that!”
That had been the last of the words that had been spoken. I had regretted saying anything of the sort and had pulled Malkin into a deep passionate kiss and had whispered wordless promises of safety and contentment. We’d left the apartment early the next morning and now here we are on their way to our temporary home. Just until the house was rebuilt. Malkin doesn’t want it, but he’s come to see how things would be better. We’ll be fine. There will be a semblance of the old days. Too many people have been lost in the last few months, but whatever helps, helps
So here we are, two more days and we’ll be to our new home. A temporary reprieve from our nightmare of a life. Now if we can just continue on without infecting anyone else. I’ll never be able to forgive if I cause more, good people to be lost. I will never be able to live with myself if that happens.