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Story A Day--- Cross and Martin, part 9--- "Waiting", 502 words.....

Waiting

               I could only guess about what had happened to Cross that night. While he lay unconscious, it was clear enough from his appearance that his search for the suitor did not go well. And, I was suddenly struck by a pang of guilt.

                When he first burst through my doors wanting me to join his eager search, I can honestly say, when he left without me, that I was very glad to see him go. As he had so often shown himself to be adept at finding his way through whatever problems were at hand, I had little, if any, concern that he might meet with an obstacle he couldn’t get around.

                Yet, as I watched his disheveled frame, suddenly much smaller than I remembered, I realized that even the self-assured Cross was not infallible—and for one, brief moment, I wondered if I could convince Cross of that fact.

                 As best as I could, I tried to make Cross comfortable. It was no easy task for one injured man to shift another injured man, but I did finally manage to pull him clear of the door and onto a small pallet of blankets and pillows, which I gathered as a make-shift bed. Not knowing the extent of his injuries, I didn’t want to hoist him around too much.  All I could do was wait, hoping that once he regained consciousness, I’d be able to learn the truth of what happened.


*****


                The night passed, as all such ill-spent evenings do—with no great speed. Every sound that crept through my rooms made my heart leap and every hair on the back of my neck stand on end. As there was no way of knowing where the person or persons were that had attacked Cross, every cell within me was alert. There wasn’t a fiber of my being that wasn’t attuned to every sound, to every creaking floorboard, to every passing train, and every whispered breeze. The darkness of the night only served to make each noise, no matter how trivial or how commonplace, an ominous warning.

                I didn’t have the energy, nor the strength in my injured knee to pace the floor all night, though I knew it would have been Cross’s preferred method for passing the time. And, even if I did have the energy and strength, I’m afraid that pacing the night away would do little except stretch my nerves past their point of breaking. The manic movement might do well to calm someone of Cross’s frantic energy, but for someone of my disposition, I’m afraid it would do everything but calm.

                I had never before thought about the silence between the normal night sounds as a hiding place for danger. But, every break in the songs of the crickets and the nightingales sent shivers up my spine. My breath caught in my throat as I waited for their calming songs to resume. For, whatever it was that disturbed these small creatures during their evening symphony might very well wish to disturb others.  

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