2nd look inside ( Trapped in the Valley of Tears)

Chapter 4

Cat opened her eyes. If you ignore count­less injuries and her torn jack­et, she had to admit that she had been damn lucky in mis­for­tune. Only her head was boom­ing and ham­mer­ing, as if it had been worked with a pneu­mat­ic ham­mer. Care­ful­ly she tried to straight­en up, but already with this small move­ment she got dizzy.

Damn it! She must have suf­fered a con­cus­sion. That was all she need­ed now, too! If she real­ly had a con­cus­sion, it meant she had to stay in bed for sev­er­al days. This way she would cer­tain­ly not be able to fin­ish the cursed work, and that meant that she could for­get her master.

“You fuck­ing son of a bitch, I nev­er would have met you,” she cursed.

“What a day,” she heard the deep voice of a man who seemed to come straight from the water­fall. “First Fiona and now anoth­er woman spit­ting poi­son and bile! In this time the women have far too much leisure! They should bet­ter con­cen­trate on the real­ly impor­tant things, such as hav­ing chil­dren. That would def­i­nite­ly take away their enthu­si­asm for such a behav­iour and idiom.”

“Is any­one there?“ Cat tried to turn her head in the direc­tion the voice had come from, she demon­stra­tive­ly ignor­ing the dizzi­ness again.

 “Did Gwen­ny send you?” She could see the con­tours of a man in the fog­gy wafts. A man in full High­land cos­tume! Plaid, shirt, Bon­net and every­thing else that belonged to it. He looked as if he was about to go to a cos­tume par­ty, and maybe it was, because she her­self had orig­i­nal­ly want­ed to go to a par­ty too. The stranger squat­ted on one of the stones, stared at the water­fall and mut­tered incom­pre­hen­si­ble things.

“Hey, you! Did Gwen­ny send you?” she repeat­ed her ques­tion. But the man she asked did not respond.

“Hel­lo! I mean you! You there at the water­fall in the green-blue-red plaid.” Men­tion­ing the colours of his tar­tan, the man raised his head and looked in her direc­tion. Was this aston­ish­ment, what showed up on his face? Or was she sim­ply too dazed from the fall to be able to inter­pret his facial expres­sion correctly?

Now the young man stood up and moved slow­ly in her direc­tion. The clos­er he came, the more clear­ly she could see him. He was tall! Real tall! About six feet, if she had to guess. He was strong, but not fat. Prob­a­bly an amaz­ing­ly trained six-pack hid­den under his wide shirt! A true nature boy! Her gaze wan­dered fur­ther up. Pitch-black hair, tied in a braid at the neck, framed an even face. But the most fas­ci­nat­ing thing about him were his dark blue eyes, sparkling like lit­tle blue stars even in the white soup of the mist.

“Wow!”, was all she could say. “I have to go to the coun­try a bit more often, where at least the men still look like real guys!”

“Are you talk­ing to me?” The young man had final­ly reached her and looked at her with disdain.

“With whom else? Do you see any­one else?“ The stranger looked around, shook his head and then mum­bled “That can’t be” to himself.

“What can’t be?“ The young man ignored her ques­tion and stared at her only com­plete­ly amazed. “I have to say, you are behav­ing very strange­ly,” she remarked. “I don’t under­stand why you won’t help me and just stare at me like I’m a dog with two heads!” His gaze became even more pen­e­trat­ing, which slow­ly drove Cat to the egde of the fran­cy. The more he stared, the more angry she became. Even her headaches were tem­porar­i­ly forgotten.

“If you did­n’t want to help me, why did you even both­er to come here? Then you might as well have gone to your damn par­ty,” she pressed out snort­ing as she slow­ly straight­ened up. “I’m used to a lot of things from men, but thi­sis the crown­ing glo­ry! I’ve nev­er expe­ri­enced any­thing like it before!”

“Have you fin­ished your litany?” The stranger’s eyes sparkled with amuse­ment. “A hell­cat is noth­ing against you!”

“Hell­cat? You com­pare me to a hell­cat? Would­n’t you be angry if you fell and the only per­son who could help you just stood there gaw­ping at you like a mon­stros­i­ty from a cham­ber of hor­rors? And how do you even talk? Are you one of those role-play­ers who, once they wear their cos­tume, are com­plete­ly absorbed in their role?” The young man raised one of his eye­brows questioningly.

“Role­play? Cos­tume? And, what the hell does “a mon­stros­i­ty from a cham­ber of hor­rors” mean?”

“Enough of this shit! I think it’s good that you’re total­ly absorbed in your role, your cos­tume is real­ly awe­some, but in my sit­u­a­tion, you’re not real­ly ready to play games!”

“Games? Your sit­u­a­tion?“ Was he men­tal­ly retard­ed? It was obvi­ous what was going on with her.

“I slipped down the slope and hit my head on one of the rocks.”

“Oh, that’s why! I thought you’d sim­ply enjoy insult­ing unsus­pect­ing strangers!“ His amused tone of voice broke the camel’s back.

“Now what? Will you help me or not? It seems that Gwen­ny did not send you. While you’re here, you might as well make your­self use­ful.” Again he stared at her.

“God damn it! Give me your hand so I can final­ly get up!” The stranger stopped stiffly in front of her with­out mak­ing the slight­est effort to ful­fill her request. “What a stub­born buck! Maybe I should think about going to the coun­try more often.”

“No!“

“What, no?”

“No, I did not come to help you!” Fuck­ing bas­tard!, the thought fol­lowed his state­ment with­out her doing. Were there real­ly only self­ish idiots on this earth?

“I could have imag­ined that too! What’s the mat­ter, are you afraid that I could spot your expen­sive costume?“

“No, it’s noth­ing like that,” she heard him say qui­et­ly. “I can’t!”

“How, you can’t! Is that sup­posed to be a joke? You are stand­ing here in front of me, so you can help me too! What is the problem?”

“Cat? Cat? Can you hear me?” Gwen­nies voice echoed down to her before her head appeared above the slope. ““Are you all right? Or have you bro­ken some­thing? Don “t move! I brought help! They’re com­ing down for you now!”

“Except for my head, every­thing seems fine. If the guy here was­n’t so unpleas­ant, I’d be up there again by now!” she yelled to Gwenny.

“Which guy?” her friend shout­ed back.

“I am not unpleas­ant! To a cer­tain extent I am only not able to help you!“

“Who asked you?” Cat then drove at him. “Ear­li­er you did­n’t get your mouth open either. You can leave! I don’t need your help anymore!“

“Who are you talk­ing to”, Gwen­do­line looked down at her irritatedly.

“With the guy here!

“What guy?”

“The one stand­ing right next to me star­ing at me as if I had two heads!

“Cat, there’s nobody!”

“Gwen­ny, are you kid­ding me? The guy can’t be overlooked!”

“Catri­ona Camp­bell, appar­ent­ly you hit your pret­ty head a lit­tle bit more than you want to show me with. You’re hal­lu­ci­nat­ing, my dear!”

“Damn it, Gwen­ny, I’m not hal­lu­ci­nat­ing! You should see him too! He …!”

“You are a Camp­bell? That explains a lot! Actu­al­ly I should have noticed it much ear­li­er,” the stranger inter­rupt­ed her rudely.

“What does that mean?“

“You have unmis­tak­ably the traits of your clan! Your men are smug cretins and your wives …”

“Oh, that’s the final straw! Do I have to take your abuse too? You…! You…!”

“If I were you, I would­n’t say what you think! Oth­er­wise you might be sorry!“

“Do you want to threat­en me? What do you actu­al­ly imag­ine? You …?”

“Not at all! It’s just… All the Camp­bell women I met were man-hat­ing hellcats!”

“I’m not a man-hating …”

“Are you not?” he inter­rupt­ed her again. “May I remind you of what you said? I think you men­tioned a cursed son of a bitch.” Cat died the words on his lips.

“You heard it?,” she final­ly brought out ago­nized. “That was …”

“I don’t think your son of a bitch can be any worse than the sons of a bitch of your clan I owe my sit­u­a­tion to.”

“Cat, stop argu­ing with your imag­i­nary stranger. It’s get­ting embarrassing!”

“Gwen­ny, I would, but this guy is dri­ving me crazy. He insults me all the time! Would you stay calm there? I …”

“I do not insult you, I only show you things from my point of view!” Now it was the young man who flashed angri­ly at her. “Who was to blame for the mas­sacre? If this cursed mas­sacre had nev­er tak­en place, I would not stand before you now. Mor­gane would not have tak­en me into her clutch­es, and I could have spent my life peace­ful­ly at the side of my clan. But thanks to your betray­al, noth­ing of this has hap­pened. No, quite the oppo­site! Morgane’s game has gone so far that you of all peo­ple can see me! After all these years, anoth­er Camp­bell. Vil­lain­ous Camp­bells! Sneaky female! To hell with both of you.” With those words, he van­ished into thin air before her eyes.

Cat stared at the emp­ty spot. How was such a thing pos­si­ble? He must have dis­ap­peared in the increas­ing fog that was get­ting thick­er and thick­er. There was no oth­er expla­na­tion. Espe­cial­ly not for her.