Artemis Drifting

Just because she tippietoes, doesn't mean she's a creepin'.

Violent Violet.

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“I ain’t the one you usually talk too, pup.”
I turned my head to the side and ran a finger down the General Surgeon’s warning along the side of my empty pack. Another wishful exclusion from reality, and all it managed to do was leave me wheezing come sunrise.

“I know.” I replied, “I don’t talk to you at all. You’re too decisive.”
She smiled thinly and reveled broad, but evenly spaced teeth. A miracle that. “Mind explainin’?”
Taking a breath, I hesitated. She never let me get away with anything. While her wayward son had a habit of shoving my head underwater into a stream of emotion – she demanded that I remember that my knees were still on solid ground.
“You do what you want, be damned. You don’t think about anyone but yourself. I .. I don’t mean that like you’re some sort of horrible thing, you can’t be. You really can be wicked sometimes, but you know your demons so well that all the fucked up shit you do has some sort of higher purpose.”
A laugh that was a level below a cackle rumbled up her throat, and it was like her hair rose into thicker waves along with the mirth. The woman fluffed up with pleasure, really, and her presence was always too thick for me to articulate much of anything around her.
She glided her calloused palm down her broad jaw, and the rough pad caught and tugged the sun-worn skin beneath. “Of everyone, y’ see to much of me in you. Makes you uncomfortable, knowin’ you’re going to be wanderin’ in and out of lives.”
I stood from the dry grass I had been kneeling on, and swept away the dried fragments of vegetation from the backs of my pale calves. “I’m not going to leave everyone. I’m not going to be like you.”
Smugly she reached out, seemingly unperturbed with my impending departure. Her fingertips ran along the indents left by the ground on my limbs, the shallow impressions of twigs and pebbles. “These are what lives are to you. For awhile, you see them, they’re penetrating inside of you. Then soon enough, your flesh is fillin’ out again and you’re smooth as a river pebble an’ those folks are long gone.”
“I don’t want it to be that way.” I was looking down at her now, but her eyes were concentrated on the pink scars marring my knees. “I cut myself open so I can’t forget. I won’t be like you. Already there are promises, wounds I’ve torn open again and again so even you can’t fill them in with new skin. Knotty, rough, ridges of scars that I need.”
Finally her eyes rolled upward, and for a moment – I saw a quiet vulnerability building in those hazel eyes. “What ever made y’ believe I done forgot what really mattered?”
I almost stuttered, the answer caught me so off guard. Here I was, and present with my most formidable foe. She was the fate that called to me as deeply as the alleles that switched on just right to put the sapphire in my irises. “Because you never looked back.”
She splayed her fingers and dropped her arm, wrapping her hand around my naked ankle. There would be no quick flight now, because I felt the building tension crawling up her forearm. “I never forgot nothin’ .. I just didn’t need no reminders. Didn’t need no scars. I didn’t have t’ have a damn thing to remind me of what I left.”
Tears crested on my lower lids, flowing to each corner. As always, the liquid spilt first from the left. “Then why?”
“That’s y’ problem kid. You think you gotta touch somethin’ to love it. You want to hold it tight. But that ain’t it at all. Not with us, not with what’s happenin’ to you. Y’ domesticated yourself and you were miserable – but honorable, an’ now you gotta learn that you can find honor an’ peace in wandering.”
I flexed my leg, testing her grip. The woman did not release, and instead, continued. “You gotta know you ain’t lovin’ them any less by bein’ gone. Driftin’ off into the mountains is no sin. The only time you done them wrong is when y’ stop seein’ em in all the new things ya do. When y’ forget the scent on the nape of their neck. All them things, if y’ can’t hold onto that – none of it’s worth it. Not one damn bit.”
Relaxing my attempt to flee, I finally was able to meet her gaze with my own befuddled expression. “Since when do you care anything about that? About love? About sticking around?”
Violet smiled wanly and pulled her hand back, but her nails grazed the sharp curve of my ankle bone none the less. “That’s yer mistake in analyzin’ pup. I can love just as strongly as that sappy son o’ mine. Difference is, girl, is I don’t aim to let it consume me.”

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