Aftermath

As I mentally processed my surroundings, I felt my knees buckle, and I sank to the ground.  Something inside me was broken.  The adrenaline that had triggered my fight or flight response earlier was fading; I couldn’t move.  I was both mentally and physically exhausted; I didn’t know what to do or where to go from here.  The world as I knew it was over.

I managed to army crawl towards a patch of grass before my energy was spent and I collapsed in a sprawled heap of limbs.  At least the ground was soft here; I probably wouldn’t be going anywhere anytime soon.  My body aching with fatigue, I closed my eyes.

When I woke up a few hours later – I really don’t have any idea how long it actually was; I wasn’t wearing my watch, but it seemed later in the day – I didn’t feel any better.  I wasn’t feeling much of anything, but I knew something was off.  Maybe I was still trying to process what happened.

Pretty soon, it was almost dusk, and I was cold.  I didn’t have anything with me but the clothes on my back, which weren’t much for warmth.  My whole body was covered in gooseflesh.

While I was staring out into space, a noise in the bushes behind me startled me.  A head with chocolate-brown hair poked through.  “Hey, you okay?” it asked. “I saw you running.”  I was too stunned to speak.  Was I hallucinating?

I wasn’t.  The woman – I could tell that much about the stranger by now – climbed through the bush.  “Hi,” she said, settling down next to me.  “Name’s Mange.  What’s yours?”

“Call me Raven,” I stammered.

“You look pretty roughed up,” my new friend said.  “Why don’t you come back to camp with me?”

Before she even finished speaking, I burst into tears.  Maybe I was going into shock, or maybe it was the relief at seeing another human being.  “Hey,” Mange’s voice said soothingly as she put her arm around me.  I buried my face in her shoulder and cried harder.  “You’re going to be fine, we’re going to be fine,” she said.

When I had relaxed somewhat because all my tears were spent, I realized I had nowhere else to go, so I followed Mange.

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