She often sees him staring out into the desert. A pained expression shows on his face and this bothered her. Is he not happy?
“What’s wrong?” She would ask often.
He would only smile, shake his head, and tell her the same easy lie, “Nothing.”
She, as always, frowned and left the man to his own devices before reminding him, “Don’t stay up too long, we have work tomorrow.”
He, of course, does not reply. He only continues staring out into the desert. She could only sigh and get ready for bed.
She could feel the bed shift beneath her and hears a slight grunt. She would lie there silently until she could hear the even breathing of her lover. Raising herself slightly, she would turnover and stare at his bare back trying to figure out what went wrong.
Rinse and repeat. Each day was a repeat of yesterday until she catches a glimpse of that mysterious book. She had just returned and she sees him hurriedly stuff an object into a nearby drawer. Instead of questioning him about it, which he is likely to answer with that same easy lie, she feigns ignorance and sneaks off, determined that the answers she seeks would be hidden inside that mysterious book.
Raynie reads the content of the book within her hands. The book is old and the pages have yellowed, though the ink has not faded. There were many marks here and there, in a language she could not quite understand. And she feels something inside her stirring, telling her that this was the right thing to do. But what was the right thing to do? Raynie, unsure of what to do, places the book back where she had originally found it.
Everyday for eleven months, she would go back to that book, flipping through the pages and trying to understand the symbols before her. And every time she is frustrated because she could not understand.
A year has passed and she could feel a distance growing between her and Stocke. This hurts her because even after a whole year, he still refuses to tell her anything. The same lies are repeated over and over, which turns into a meaningless argument because she is hurt and he is a liar, so she would say. Afterwards, she escapes to their bedroom and would lie on her side of their bed, upset and frustrated.
He later comes in and apologize and would try and make it up to her. She pouts angrily and turns her back to him, refusing his apology. He sighs and rubs the back of his neck tiredly.
“I promise. One day,” He pauses hesitantly. “One day, I’ll tell you.” With that he exits the room.
She tries hard not to cry after hearing him leave. But she could not stop the sobs, which went through her body. She still did not understand but she knew what she has to do.
Morning arrives and Raynie sits up in bed, rubbing the sleep away from her eyes. She reaches beside her and realizes he is not there. Worried, she searches for him and finds him staring out into the desert again.
With a heavy heart, she walks over to that drawer containing that book. Hugging it closely to her chest, she approaches Stocke but finds herself hesitating. She did not want to let him go just yet. She quite enjoyed this normal, peaceful life. But there was no other solution.
No matter how hard they tried, the world cannot be saved.
Hey Stocke.” She calls out, the book still in her grasp.
“Raynie.” He is alarmed to see the book out of its drawer and in her hands. “Where-“
She quickly cuts him off and forcefully shoves it into his hands. “Take it. You have somewhere to be, don’t you?”
He examines the book placed in his hands and smiles gratefully. “Thank you.”
“No prob.” She tries hard not to cry and tries to put up a brave front, but he sees through this and leans down to kiss her. A few tears escape and a hiccup escape from her throat.
“Don’t cry. I promise, I’ll come back for you.”
“Hey hero, you done saving the world yet? I’m still waiting you know…”