Canada

Kate’s stomach grumbled in protest as they left St. Louis behind. She had not eaten a decent meal in over twenty-four hours. She had lost her chance for food at the hotel when the demon had knocked on her door.

            “We’ll stop for food before sundown, I promise,” Aidan assured Kate. “Your patience does you credit. Most humans are exceedingly cranky when they’ve gone without food as long as you have.”

            Kate laughed in an attempt to drown out the embarrassing groans coming from her stomach. While her physical body hungered after food, her mind shunned it. She was still struggling to digest the scene she had witnessed at the hotel.

“Aidan, I saw that demon back at the hotel. If I can see one demon, does that mean I can see them all now?”

“No, Kate. Why that demon chose to manifest, I don’t know. I’m also puzzled as to why he knocked at the door. There had to have been some reason he wouldn’t enter your room.”

“Yeah, I was trying to work that one out for myself. I thought demons could come and go as they please.”

“Yes and no. There are some places demons won’t enter, although I can’t imagine that any demon would have qualms with entering a hotel room.”

Kate watched the sun set, yawning as she laid her head against the back of the seat. Feeling eyes on her, she cracked her eyes enough to notice Aidan gazing at her. Closing her eyes again with a smile, Kate muttered sleepily, “What? I’m not snoring am I?”

“No,” Aidan answered, his eyes returning to the road. “I was just admiring the view, that’s all.”

“Is that a joke? I probably look like I’ve been hit by a truck. I haven’t had a shower in twenty-hours and I feel like junk.” Kate ran her hand through her hair self-consciously. Some people bit their nails when they were nervous. Kate couldn’t keep her hands out of her hair.

“Well, I see more than the outside, Kate.”

“Thank you, Aidan. I’ve always tried to be good, up until now anyway.”

“Do you think what you’re doing now is a bad thing?”

“Yes and no. I know I’ve hurt my mom and that makes me feel like the worst person in the world.”

“Sometimes you have to consider the greater good, Kate. I think your mom will understand when the time comes,” Aiden offered as he placed his heated hand lightly over Kate’s.

“Why are you so warm? I mean, if you don’t mind me asking.”

“I’m only warm to you. My human form creates a physical response from your body. It’s just a chemical thing. When you see something or someone you like, your body responds. Your body responds more strongly to me because I’m a spirit.”

“I thought spirits were supposed to feel cold to humans?”

“Some spirits do feel cold to humans, while others feel warm. It depends on the human and the spirit.”

            “So, it’s complicated then,” Kate laughed, “just like everything else.”

            “Yeah, I guess you could say that.”

           

            After a late night meal from a fast food joint in Rochester, Minnesota, Kate sat back and enjoyed the feeling of a full stomach. Aidan pulled back onto the interstate and the car sped northward towards Canada. They would reach Winnipeg in a little under nine hours, so Kate attempted to sleep until morning.

            Kate felt the heat from the morning sun stinging the side of her face. Leaning forward, she strained her eyes to read a road sign in the distance.

            “How long have I been out?” Kate yawned, stretching her arms above her head.

            “About eight hours,” Aidan returned. “I trust you rested well?”

            “Yeah, I did,” Kate seemed amazed to hear herself say that, considering she had spent the last eight hours sleeping upright in a car. “I didn’t dream or anything, I just slept like the dead.”

            “It was a much deserved rest after what you’ve been through in the last forty-eight hours. There’s a spot where we can stop up ahead. We’ll stop there so you can stretch your legs.”

“Yeah, that would be great. I’m sure I look beastly about now,” Kate laughed, pulling down the visor to glance at her self in the mirror. “If I’ve been out for eight hours, we must be near Canada by now.”

“We crossed the border an hour ago, actually,” Aidan grinned. “I drove a little faster after you fell asleep. I didn’t want to frighten you by driving that fast while you were awake.”

“Oh, well I’m sure I wouldn’t have minded. I know we need to get there as quickly as we can,” Kate uttered as she viewed the landscape around her. The land was relatively flat, something that surprised her. She had expected mountains for some reason. There were evergreen trees in the distance on both sides of the highway.

“We’ll bypass Winnipeg and stick to the smaller highways on our way to the falls.”

“Falls?” Kate questioned.

“The Seven Sisters Falls,” Aidan answered, “that’s where were going.”

“Is that where we’re meeting the others?”

“Yes, although I wasn’t sure where they would be until last night. They move around a good bit, you understand.”

“Yeah, I can see why that would be necessary.”

“We’ll be staying in a cabin a few miles from the falls at Barrier Bay. We should arrive before nightfall. Hopefully, you’ll be able to get some rest tonight.”

Kate smiled at the thought of sleeping in a bed. She would never take a mattress for granted again, even a hard one. “Does this cabin have running water and electricity or are we going old school?” Kate tried to joke.

“It has all the modern conveniences,” Aidan laughed.

“Okay, good, cause I really need a shower. I don’t think I’ve ever gone this long without one.”

“Well, don’t worry. You smell fine.”

“You will be sticking close to me this time around, right?”

“Yes. I’m not risking another incident like St. Louis. I’m guessing you have no objection to sharing quarters with me?”

“I have no objection at all. In fact, I feel much safer with you in the same room with me,” Kate admitted.

“Good. I’m glad that’s how you feel, because I think it would be dangerous at this point for you to be out of my sight for long.”

Aidan’s words warmed Kate, but not from embarrassment. She had never met anyone so loyal to her. If being with Aidan was wrong, it felt the opposite. She still couldn’t understand why God’s forgiveness failed to extend to Aidan. It didn’t seem right. There was an exception toeveryrule…surely.

As the sun was setting, the cabin came into view. The last rays of light were playing on the surface of the lake beside the two-story cabin. Kate marveled at the surreal beauty surrounding her as Aidan grabbed their bags from the back seat.

The events from this point on would change Kate’s life forever. She was about to enter into a realm that few humans participated in, yet the thought brought a sense of exhilaration and wonder. While the future seemed unclear, Kate’s path seemed certain.

“Well, this is it,” she whispered, lifting her head as she made her way to the cabin.

 

The End

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