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BOTH LIVING AND DEAD

An excerpt from the first chapter of The Revenant reprinted here with permission.

I'm sitting on the shady branch of a tamarisk tree, looking down between my feet directly onto the top of Danny's blonde head. "Danny," I call out.

He looks up and smiles. He's wearing round, dark glasses, but the left lens is gone and the white of his left eye is blood streaked.

"Why are you wearing glasses with just one lens, Danny?"

"Because it's the only way to see in the dark." He brushes away freshly-turned black earth, crouches over the airplane door in the ground and looks through its window.

I struggle to get down without using my hands, and look through the window with him. I know I'm not allowed to use my hands.

I've got to protect him, but I can't do it if I fall on him. I start to fall forward -

"What're you doing?"

Someone shook me hard. I opened my eyes. My fingers still gripped the shiny red handle of the plane's EXIT door. Nauseated from the adrenalin rush of the nightmare, I stared at the open-fingered black gloves which couldn't quite conceal the darkening skin on my knuckles. Peering through the dim light of the cabin, I could see the shiny, purple tightness stretch my skin. My fingers ached as the too-familiar cement-like pain filled and hardened them into fists. I tried to loosen my grip and gasped, tears rolling down my face. I forced myself to unclench my jaw and take several deep breaths before I tried again.

"Are you trying to kill us?" the elderly gentleman stage whispered, his fingers digging into my arm as he glanced wildly around the darkened plane at the sleeping passengers.

I cringed and blinked. "If you don't let go of me, I can't let go of the door," I said quietly.


 
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