Update: Check out Rebekah Postupak’s entry – Snow White, Rose Red – at her blog.
“You should have stayed on the path,” Martha grumbled. Her knuckles had turned white from gripping her skirts so tightly. “I told you, ‘Stay on the path, Bogart,’ but did you listen? Of course not.”
Bogart struggled to hide his amusement at her discomfort as they made their way up the narrow path that wound around the mountain. He’d traveled this path every day for the last three weeks, but she didn’t know that.
“When I find out where you’ve been this time, you’ll never hear the end of it. You hear me, Bogart?” She spun around to face him.
He drew up short to keep from knocking her off the side of the mountain and into the creek far below. He wouldn’t mind the quiet, but the villagers used the shallow stream to wash their clothes. It wouldn’t do for one of them to find her. They all knew how she treated him. Some of the men folk had joked that he ought to get rid of her. He’d laughed right along with them.
“You’re enjoying this!” She stamped her feet, and gathered her skirts once again. Wisps of dull gray hair strayed from the tight braid curled and fastened against her skull. Martha continued to grumble all the way to the summit. Only when she reached the top did she finally shut up.
The clouds above stilled as though in reverence of the peaceful circle atop the mountain. A verdant carpet covered the area, vibrant and perfectly manicured. In the center, a placid pool released steam into the cool air. Bogart had thought he’d found Eden when he found this place. Nothing could disturb his rest amidst the clouds, sky, grass and soothing pond. At least, not until today.
Maybe he should have stayed on the path. The path led into the mountain, into a cavernous labyrinth where he used to spend his days avoiding his wife. She’d demanded he bring her with him today, show her what’s so special about this place. She could have followed the path and found the cave opening on her own, but it wasn’t about that. She didn’t care about the cave, or even this patch of peaceful earth. All she cared about was owning every ounce of him, even his solitude.
Her accusing tone marred the perfect beauty of his special place. “This is where you’ve been coming? I thought you said it was caves? You told me that just so I wouldn’t want to come, didn’t you.” The last wasn’t a question.
She continued complaining while removing her boots and stockings. She dangled her feet in the small pond. He’d opened his mouth to protest, but didn’t. Instead, he walked back to the narrow path that wound around the mountain, and sat. He sat and listened as the once calm waters erupted with the violent thrashing of his wife struggling with the nymph. He sat and listened until the waters were calm and Eden was at peace once again.
Entry for Alissa Leonard’s Finish That Thought #45.