Opening my eyes, I turn slightly and bump into something. Looking over my shoulder, I nearly jump out of my skin in shock. Apparently some time after I had fallen asleep, the girl must have rolled over and mistaken me for something else. Shifting around, I extricate myself from her grasp, and pull my ground cloth over to the far side of the tent. Reaching for my pack, I pull out my old, battered, yet still functional MSI SlateBookTM. Switching it on, I give it time for Windows 7TM to boot up and log myself on. Opening FirefoxTM, I go over to Amazon.com and purchase Duma Key by Stephen King in E – Book format. Reading through chapter one, I close the E – Book, and plugging a pair of speakers into the SlateBook’s headphone jack, play some of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 in E-flat Major. Leaving the tent, I keep the music running, and head over to the stream to wash my face and hands, looking up at the sky, I note that it is extremely cloudy, and looks like it will rain later on. Returning to the tent to get a fishing rod, I hear something that is definitely not Beethoven’s Symphonies coming from inside. Instead, some loud, raucous noise is coming from it instead. Poking my head into the tent, I stop, and stand there frozen in surprise. The girl is sitting up, her eyes open, and her head is bobbing to the tempo. As the chorus comes on, she breaks into song. “Herzeleid…herzeleid…herzeleid!” She is…wonderful. “Bravo!” Oh s*** did I really say that out loud? S***! I take a step back, intending to leave before she looks up, but her head snaps up almost immediately, and catches my stare as I retract myself from the tent. “Who…are you?” She asks staring at me, her hand wrapping itself around a penknife. Stepping into the tent, with my arms raised and hands open, to show that I don’t have a weapon, I approach her cautiously. “I am not here to cause you harm. My name is Caleb Hannan, I –” She goes rigid, her shoulders tensed, her eyes showing a flicker of fear, uncertainty. The penknife trembles in her hand. I take another worried step forward. “– found you unconscious and injured on the side of the road, and brought you here. I treated your wounds, and in general have left you alone. You haven’t woken for an entire day.” I take another step forward, and she scuttles back. “Don’t move! You’ll just –” Too late, as she drags herself back into the corner of the tent, a red stain appears on the bandages that bind her stomach. She drops the knife, and her hand automatically flies to her stomach. Catching her by the shoulder, I guide her down gently, and removing her hand, examine the severity of the injury. “You alright? You should remain still, don’t try moving too much, you’ll just make it worse.” “Er…alright, I…understand.” She replies. “Good. Is it all right if I re – treat it?” “Go ahead.” She replies. Kneeling beside her, I slowly unwind the gauze from around her stomach. Taking the vial of antiseptic, I pop the cap and measure out two drops of the liquid. “This will sting a bit.” I warn her. “I can handle pain. Just get it over vith.” Tilting the cap, I apply the drops to the wound. She winces, and her hand clamps around my left wrist with enough force to cut off circulation to my entire hand. Setting aside the antiseptic, I unroll some more of the gauze bandage that I have with me, and rebind the wound. “Danke.” She says after I finish. “Your welcome…I’m sorry, but what is your name?” “Wilhelmina Adelaide. You can call me Mina though.” She replies. “Mina eh? That’s an old name that I haven’t heard in a while. Isn’t it a German name that stands for: “strong – willed warrior”?” “Ja. I am originally from Germany. I vas born and spent my first two years of my life zere before moving here.” “Oh…So were do you live now? Where are your parents?” I ask. “I don’t vant to talk about it…at ze moment.” She says quietly, her face darkening. An awkward silence holds for almost an entire minute, before she sighs, and picks up the SlateBook and with a wan smile, plays another song. The song that begins to play is a quiet, melancholy song; that starts out with a sad, slow keyboard solo. I stand up and turn towards the door of the tent, but she asks me to sit back down.] “Just listen.” Stirb Nicht Vor Mir (Don’t Die Before I do) (Gender – swapped) By RammsteinTM German: Mina English: Caleb Die Nacht offnet ihren SchoB Das Kind heiBt Einsamkeit Es ist kalt und regungslos Ich weine leise in die Zeit Ich weiB nicht wie du HeiBt Doch ich weiB dass es dich gibt Ich weiB dass irgendwann Irgendwer mich liebt She comes to me every night No words are left to say With her hands around my neck I close my eyes and pass away I don’t know who she is In my dreams she does exist Her passion is a kiss And I can not resist Ich warte hier Don’t die before I do Ich warte hier Strib nicht vor mir I don’t know who you are I know that you exist Stirb nicht Sometimes love seems so far Ich warte hier Your love I can’t dismiss Ich warte hier Alle Hauser sind verschneit Und in den Fenstern Kerzenlicht Dort liegen sie zu zweit Und ich Ich warte nur auf dich Ich warte hier Don’t die before I do Ich warte hier Stirb nicht vor mir I don’t know who you are I know that you exist Stirb nicht Sometimes love seems so far Ich warte hier Your love I can’t dismiss Stirb nicht vor mir We stood there in silence for a few seconds, and then broke out in fits of laughter, both of us grasping the others arms for support. “Ah…You not too bad for someone who doesn't seem like ze musical type!” She crows, a wide, tooth – filled grin spreading across her face. “You’re pretty good yourself!” I respond. “Danke. You know vhere I can take a bath? I reek of blood and sweat.” “There is a stream just twenty feet west of here.” I said. Leaning over, she sniffs at my shoulder, and pulls her head back sharply. “You could use one too.” “Eh?” She then grabs me by the collar, and drags me over to the stream. Showing an abnormal level of physical strength, she lobs me head – first into the stream. Spluttering, I force my head above the surface and blink the water from my eyes. “No peeking. I’m coming in.” She calls out from the sandbank. *SPLASH* Turning toward the opposite bank, I stick my head back underwater. Rising above the water, I pull off my shirt, and wring the water out of it. Wading over to the bank, I pull myself up onto the grass, water trickling off my pants and legs. Walking over to the fire pit, I pile some kindling onto the ashes of yesterday’s fire, and going into the tent for a match, I get a small fire started. Letting it build up, I place a few sticks for tinder on it to keep it going. “Oy…Caleb! Do you have a towel I can use?” Mina calls from the stream. “Yeah I have one. I’ll get it for you.” I shout out in reply. “Danke.” Grabbing a towel from my pack, I walk back to the stream. Reaching the stream, I stand there with my eyes closed, so that Mina can get the towel. She takes the towel from my hand, and after about twenty five seconds, I open my eyes. Mina is (thankfully) fully covered by the towel. Hurrying over, I help her gather her belongings, and we return to camp. Reaching camp, I leave her clothes out to dry by the fire, while she stays inside the tent, away from prying eyes. Sitting next to the fire, I pull a short stick out of my pocket, and flicking open a pocket knife, begin whittling it down. As I sit by the fire I gaze into its depths, and let my mind wander. Come on, give in…you know you want to. What would I want to give in to? You know deep down what it is. Come on, act on the temptation. Go to the tent… Why would I? Mina is in there. Exactly…go to the tent, and go in… But that would be…immoral. Immoral? Curse the meaning of the word! Go on take her! You even said she was attractive…beautiful even! And she does trust you…so what reason is there not to? Enter the tent…force her down…and make her yours…when else will this opportunity arise? One should not act on bodily temptations, for if one does, then one is lower than the meanest beast. Fine, be that way…just remember, when you are old and weak, you will be alone, unloved and decrepit. Devoid of friends, family and contentment. Shaking my head from side, I get up and walk over to the tent. Standing at the closed tent door, I ask Mina for my backpack. No response is given. Feeling uneasy, I tell her that I need to get my backpack from inside, and still no response or acknowledgement is heard. Forgive me, Mina. Unzipping the door of the tent, I poke my head in, intending on grabbing my pack and leaving quickly. However, my eyes fall upon Mina, who has fallen asleep. My eyes lock onto her back, and I recoil in revulsion. Her back is a crisscross of scars. Grabbing my pack, I step out of the tent and zip the door shut. Stumbling toward the stream, I kneel down, and vomit in disgust. My disgust is not aimed at her, but at my own thoughts. How could I even think to use her in such a way? I’m so f*ing screwed up in the head. I’m sick, just plain sick. Shaking, I walk back to camp and sit by the fire, head in hands. To my left, I hear the tent door being unzipped. Not even bothering to look up, I listen as Mina approaches the fire. “Your clothes should be dry by now.” I croak. “Danke…vait…vhat’s vrong?” She asks, taking a few steps toward me. “N-Nothing is…wrong.” I reply. Taking a step towards me, she places a hand on my shoulder. Please don’t. I’m not deserving of your respect, or concern. “Come on…tell me, vhat’s vrong? You seem to be bothered by something.” She insists. “I really don’t want to talk about it” I reply. “I’ll probably figure it out eventually, come on let it out. It might help you deal vith it.” She says, giving my shoulder a quick shake, before sitting down beside me. “Shouldn’t you be getting dressed?” I said. “Oh scheiss…Ja, I’ll do that, you can tell me about vhat’s going on vhen I get back.” Standing up, she walks back toward the tent. Jeez…she’s persistent…then again, I can tell her about what’s going to happen tomorrow, that I can do. Anyways who is she going to tell? Raising my head from my hands, I watch as She gets out of the tent and walks toward me. “Alright. Vhat is it zat you are going to tell me?” She asks. “Tomorrow, probably later in the afternoon, I’ll have to leave, most likely immediately. The reason I’m worried, is that well…you don’t have anywhere to go do you?” “Um…not really.” She said, her face becoming guarded. Hm…looks like she has some secrets of her own. “Well…er…if this doesn’t sound too…rude? Would it be possible if you could follow me? Eh…I mean I would feel better about leaving, if you were able to find a safe place to stay for the night, and…um.” I stammer, turning away. “Vell, if you vant me to go vith you vhen you leave, I don’t see ze problem vith it. Heck, I’m preferential to doing zat over going to ze tavern in ze town.” She replies her eyes set in a determined glare. “Oh…okay, that should be fine.” I reply, a knot of uneasiness cording up in my stomach. Looking up at the sky, which is an overcast navy blue, I pull myself onto my feet. Beside me, Mina does the same. “I’m going to sleep, coming?” I ask, walking towards the tent. “I’ll be at the tent in a minute.” She replies, staring out into the trees. Puzzled, I shrug my shoulders and head back towards the tent. Once inside, I push her sleeping bag towards one end of the tent, and my bedroll towards the other.