Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Dark Heart ~ Part 8

“Great,” Jackson mumbled to himself, “way to go knucklehead, get all worked out about a girl, who isn’t even your girlfriend, and walk right into a maze without paying attention.”
He jumped up, hoping to see the house and was surprised that he couldn’t. He sighed and began walking, hoping that his usually great sense of direction wouldn’t fail him.
Jackson kept looking for landmarks that would let him know if he were walking in the right direction and was disappointed to find only hedges and open sky. Not even the full moon was giving him any clues to where he was at. He stopped and steadied his breath. He closed his eyes and listened for the music and laughter of the party.
He sighed as he heard nothing and decided he must be going in the wrong direction.
“Enough of this nonsense,” he said to himself as he pulled out his cell phone. “There is a perk to living in an age with GPS capabilities and that perk is never getting lost in a maze.” His heart fell as he saw he had no signal. “Guess we’ll do this the old fashioned way.”
He turned and started in a new direction, hoping it would lead him back to the party or at least let him hear the party. Not that he minded the quiet of the night, he actually found it comforting, but he was ready to go home and forget the night had ever happened. Genna wasn’t meant to be … fine. There were other girls.
Jackson stopped to look at the moon. It seemed bigger than normal, giving the labyrinth a haunting, yet romantic feel. The mumble of voices caught his ear and Jackson let out a sigh of relief, “Finally.”
He walked toward the voices, but as he got closer he could tell the voices were not just having a conversation, but an argument. Jackson stopped just short of the people, trying to decide on the best way to intrude on their privacy long enough to find the exit.
“You need to leave me alone,” warned a female voice. “I’m not going to tell you again.”
“You can’t do this,” said a male voice. “I won’t let you.”
“It’s already done,” said the woman.
“No! You will listen,” said the man with such force it sent chills down Jackson’s spine.
He decided it was time to make his presence known and to try to defuse the situation. As he rounded the corner he stopped in his tracks. There stood Emberlyn James with a tall, dark man. Jackson could tell by her stance that she was standing firm, but the man’s balled up fists told Jackson the situation was getting out of hand.
“Everything okay here?” asked Jackson.
“Mind your business and get out of here,” snapped the man.
Jackson held up his hands in a peaceful gesture. “I’d love nothing more than to do that, but I’m embarrassed to say I’m a little lost in this maze and I’m afraid I can’t leave the lady alone with you.”
“We are fine,” said Emberlyn, her voice melting over him like the warmed wax of a scented candle, warm and comforting. “Follow this trail, take, a left, then two rights and another left … that will get you back to the house and garden.”
“So get going,” snarled the man, “the lady and I are in the middle of a conversation.”
Jackson closed the remaining distance between himself and the couple. His mind raced with everything he wanted to say to the man, but instead he turned to Emberlyn.
“Are you sure you won’t join me?” Jackson offered his elbow for Emberlyn to take. “Seemed to me your conversation was over.”
Emberlyn looked at the man and then back at Jackson. “You’re right, it is.”
She took Jackson’s elbow, but before they could take a step the man grabbed Emberlyn’s arm, swinging her back around. A vision of Genna being pulled around the corner flashed through Jackson’s mind, followed by a flash of Tucker’s smirk. Without another thought, Jackson turned and punched the man in the jaw.

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