The warm bed faded and suddenly she was surrounded by iciness. She had been swept back into the cold, raging river. She struggled to fight against the current as it dragged her away. She realized too late that she was not ready to die. She only wanted the pain to go away.
She thought that she would just fade away as she became one with the icy depths, but as her lungs burned and her limbs thrashed in vain against the force of nature, her mind wandered to all of the things she longed to forget about.
“Sally,” whispered a soft, but masculine voice.
She moaned as she drifted away from the dream and was brought back to her soft, dry surroundings. Someone held her hand. She was so weak that it took all of her strength to open her eyes. She met the frantic expression of Jeremy as he looked down at her.
“Do you remember what I asked you earlier?” wheezed Sally.
Gabriel helped her sit up and held a glass of water to her mouth.
“I need you to feel better before we make any plans.”
She tried to speak, but her heavy eyelids shut him away and sleep captured her once again.
Over the next few days, she drifted in and out of sleep. When she awakened, Jeremy forced her to drink water and chicken broth. She fought to escape the dreams that never wanted her to leave them. Her mind wouldn’t stop reminded her what she experienced in the raging waters.
The river called out to her, longing to tear her soul away from her body once and for all. It sang to her when she stood on the water’s edge and ravaged her once she was trapped within its chilling depths.
“Sally, please wake up and eat something,” whispered Jeremy.
She awoke with enough energy to sit up. He brought a tray of soup and a slice of bread for her to eat.
“What have you been dreaming about?” he asked.
“I’ve been having a romance with the river.”
They both laughed in their odd ways.
She took a sip of the soup and her stomach growled.
“It’s strange to feel hungry. I like it.”
She grabbed the bread and devoured it. It was the first real sign that she was going to feel better. She could feel Jeremy staring at her.
“I love you, Sally.”
She stopped chewing and swallowed. His soft eyes stared at her like a lost puppy.
“You are telling me this now?” she asked.
“I’ve watched you fight against unconsciousness over the last week and there were times that I thought I was going to lose you again.”
She had been too exhausted to think about how she felt about him. Perhaps it no longer mattered. She had drowned and came back to life. Things were different.
“I longed to hear you say that a year ago,” sighed Sally.
He looked down.
“I know, but I love you now. So much.”
She stared at his exhausted face. He was still handsome even with the lines of worry etching his forehead. She hated him before she killed herself, but it was only because she loved him before all hell broke loose.
“I’m sorry I almost stabbed you.”
He shrugged as though it didn’t matter in the least that she could have killed him.
“I was the one who locked you up in your room. I’m so sorry for everything, Sally. I’ve been a terrible husband.”
“We just need to finish them off.”
She stared at him hard.
“I wasn’t joking.”
“Kill who?” asked a strangely familiar voice from the room entrance.
“Gabriel, what are you doing here?” asked Sally.
“He was the one who found you and your things on the riverbank,” said Jeremy.
She pulled the blanket up to her chin, cringing at the thought of Gabriel seeing her naked body through the sheer, drenched fabric of her chemise as she lay half dead on the river’s edge.
“You came back?” she asked in confusion.
He placed his hands in his pockets and looked sheepishly at Jeremy.
“I found Mary and I apologized for being a devil to her. She’s forgiven me, but she has her own life now with her sister. I had to come back here and help the two of you get out of here. Little did I know I was coming back to total chaos.”
Sally cleared her throat.
“It’s not finished yet.”
Jeremy and Gabriel stared at her. She covered her mouth to fight back a laugh so that she didn’t look completely mad. No one had ever looked at her like she was some kind of hero before.
“I still can’t believe you faced all of them yourself,” said Jeremy, taking her free hand as she drank the rest of her water.
“Not all of them. There’s two left. Remember?”
She looked at Gabriel leaning against the door frame.
“Will you help us finish the rest of them off?”
He looked away and shook his head.
“You two need to get out of here as soon as possible.”
“And let the remaining monsters keep destroying this town?”
“We can’t go around killing the rest of the town like savages,” said Gabriel.
Sally leaned forward making sure that he was looking into her eyes as she spoke. His ridiculous assumption of her wanting them to massacre the town had set her on edge.
“Only two more. That is all.”
“Sally, you’re not well yet,” said Jeremy quickly. “You should get some rest and we can talk more about what we need to do in the morning.”
Sally shrugged, taking her eyes off of Gabriel and bringing them to her husband.
“I already know what I’m doing. Neither one of you are going to stop me.”
Jeremy ran a hand through his tousled hair.
“I want them to pay for what they did, but I don’t want to lose you when I just got you back.”
Sally took his hand and held it. She gave him a weak smile.
“Look, I’ll go to sleep and have some more nightmares and then we’ll all have coffee in the morning and talk about this reasonably.”
Jeremy and Gabriel exchanged concerned glances.
“Your skepticism disturbs me. I killed all of those men on my own.”
“I killed Pastor Scottson before he shot you across the river. Let’s not forget that.”
“I’ll give you that.”
His jaw dropped.
“You’ll ‘give me that’? I saved your life, Sally!”
“Calm down, kids,” said Gabriel, stepping in between them. “Let’s allow Sally to rest up now and we’ll talk about this tomorrow.”
Everyone sighed in exasperation.
The men exited the room and Sally blew out her candle so she could sleep.