“I will go away” was the sense I got from Carol as I saw the stark madness in her reddened eyes and there was blood in her cheeks, a scarlet anger, a crimson rage, a crossing of roses in the stint of the sting of her slicing gaze. For the first time since we’d met, I was genuinely afraid. Fight or flight was my first thought but I quickly ruled out fight as I felt as much as witnessed the murder in her haunting expression.

Please do, I said to myself, please do go away and don’t spend another minute in my presence. Was her clean and gory madness communicable? For how long would the nightmares continue? I averted my gaze, knowing I revealed weakness to her, knowing I was exposing my soft underbelly. I looked to the path and saw three plovers, one feeding and the other two rushing headlong for a spot at the discovered trough. I looked back and saw her turn, breathed an audible sigh. Relief.