My heart tried to escape from the cell of my ribcage as I continued my trek through the darkness. The forest now grew even darker as time’s efforts became more pronounced. The light, which had once appeared dappled on the forest floor, was now all but gone, fading with the hours the day had left. I walked, allowing fear to enter my mind - with all the evidence that had been presented to me, I knew that this was no mere disease that I was dealing with. The lack of free will all the sufferers displayed troubled me. The voice that the blonde woman used that sounded ancient and terrible. And all the while, those deep blue eyes bore into my mind, burning into my memory and leaving a mark that would never fade. As I pondered all of these things, the thick forest gave way to a small clearing. Within that clearing, a dark tent was erected. Adjacent to the tent, a small fire was dying in silence, the embers fading as the light faded. Suddenly, something rustled in the trees, which was soon followed by more violent rustling, until eventually, the creatures that caused the disturbance burst out of the trees and into the clearing, followed by a salvo of gunfire. This was followed by some chilling, otherworldly screams, coated with blood and packed full of metal. This sudden explosion of sound, on top of the added fear induced by the greed-crazed woman, proved too much for me, and I fell into the cold yet welcoming arms of unconsciousness.
Halfway between life and death I lingered - this temporary purgatory in which I waited in obligatory silence was coloured in various shades of blue. Unable to move, I waited until the will to wake up reached me. Fear froze me where I lay - I did not want to have to face reality until I was sure what it was that I was facing. Those blue-black eyes still haunted me, chilled me to the core. Yet, the burning desire to discover the truth about my husband melted the ice the fear had caused so that it became mere worry. Having found the glimmer of hope in the fact that my husband could still be alive, I grasped it tightly, like a sailor wrecked out at sea grasps the unidentifiable hand of his rescuer. Having reached the surface, I broke through it and took a deep breath of consciousness, filling the vacuous lungs that had been drained by my restless slumber. I opened my eyes, pouring myself back into my body so that I was able to feel once more. I felt the cold sweat that had coated my skin. I felt the sudden heat, took in the darkness. In this moment of fear and claustrophobia, a face blurred, then cleared, then blurred again, as my senses fully returned and dulled again, craving sleep. My body overcame my desire to identify the nameless being in front of me. I tasted sleep, sweet and inviting. I opened myself to allow it to take hold of me, slipped back into its gentle hold, and began to feel the restful sensation it produced. As quickly as I had submerged myself in its sweetness, I was drawn out of it, a sudden chill intruding and shattering the restful glass box in which I lay. The desire to find the cause of this outweighed the desire to sleep. I opened my eyes for the second time. There were many colours - a creamy gold, a sapphire blue, ruby red and obsidian. These running colours made their way back to their set boundaries, the figure took shape, sculpted before me. My senses had fully returned, along with the joy that had been snatched from me as my tongue was ripped from its place returned.
For before me sat my Gregory Asthore, Agent 300.
I remember warmth - warm embraces, warm tears, the warmth caused by the increased rate of my heartbeat. Drawing myself from this embrace, I felt Gregory’s hand on my face, stroking my cheek and playing with my hair.
“Myra, I thought I had lost you. There was blood everywhere, and you... where have you been?” Gregory’s voice was a lullaby to my ears, one that had been dearly missed and deeply yearned for in its absence. More tears fell from my eyes as I realised that he had asked me a question. My tears meant that my half-voice died in my throat. I placed a finger over his lips, before taking his hand, stroking one of his fingers and holding it gently. I opened my mouth, took his finger, and ran it over the dead space where my tongue should have been, my tears meandering across his hand as I did so. I opened my mouth a little wider to allow him to retract his hand. “Myra, who did this to you?” he asked. I attempted to clear my throat, but my voice died in my throat again. My tears had bested me, I keyed in the words I had to say;
"The man with the machete."