When Jane came to again, she immediately felt the shards of pain shooting through her leg. It was more than she could take, though there was hardly any choice in the matter. She felt the pain travel the length of her body and quite suddenly, out of her mouth.
He had forgotten to put the gag back on. Jane would not suffocate on her vomit. But then, not knowing how much fight she had left in her, dying didn’t sound like such a bad deal right now. Jane cried until her tear ducts dried out. Then slowly, her dream came back to her.
In this one, Jane was in the desert. Richard was there, sitting on his Mexican throw and when she walked towards him, he smiled. Would you like to take a load off? He asked. It’s such an amazing night! Jane sat next to him on the blanket.
Together they watched the stars sparkle in the clearest of skies. They listened to the cries of the coyotes. They too enjoyed the silence and coolness of the night. Once, they felt the wind from the wings of two vultures diving in a little too close to the space they were sharing. But no one broke the calm they felt, with words.
Richard Onge and Jane Anderson, perfect strangers (though one had taken the other’s life), shared perfect harmony on one Montana night, in a desert sanctuary enveloped by the buttes of the surrounding mud lands.
Sitting Bull climbed that high one over there . . . you see? Richard pointed it out. He kept an eye out for his enemies. Many effigies took place up there, and many pipes of sweet grass were lit. It is said he foresaw all that followed. He fled to safety in Canada. . . his return would be his eventual death . . .
Richard’s voice trailed off and Jane knew that it wasn’t just Chief Sitting Bull that her companion was speaking of. After what felt like a very long time, and with the night chill seeping into her bones, Richard put his arm around Jane. Jane turned toward him then, but he was gone.
The words Jane heard him say before waking from her night in the desert were, It’s okay Jane . . . I like it here . . . the sky is always lit with stars and more stars. . . Sitting Bull and I shared a pipeful of sweet grass beneath these skies. . .
I’m sorry, Richard, Jane whispered now. Please forgive me. . .I’m so sorry . . .
One final tear made its way down her cheek.