Sunday, July 15, 2007

Thirty Nine

Diana lay stiffly in Will's arms. Although his body was solid and reassuring, she couldn't draw comfort from him like she had for so many years that it had come to seem like her birthright. She wasn't sure why, but his kindness made her angry. In fact, nearly everything made her angry. It was only the strong downward pull of indifference that kept her from lashing out at everyone. Who did they think they were kidding? Stews, kisses and platitudes weren’t going to undo the mistakes she had made. She sulked, wondering when Will would go away and leave her in peace.

But when he left to go on watch, she missed him and buried her face in her pillow to cry. That was no good either, because before long, Amalia came in. Diana choked down her tears and feigned unconcern while Auntie explained about the midwife and what she was going to do. She brushed off all reassurances and pretended to sleep, but sleep wouldn't come. Instead, the same dull round of self-reproach resumed. She should’ve had a plan. She got her friend killed. Macy might never walk again. It was all her fault. She was stupid and incompetent, and had gotten what she deserved.

It was a relief when she sensed more than heard someone enter the room. Grateful for the distraction, she opened her eyes. By the light of an oil lamp, she saw Coyote creep in and approach Macy's pallet. She didn't wake up and this seemed to suit him fine. He stared at her for a long time, then lay down beside her like a faithful dog and went to sleep.

Diana smiled, reassured that something was still good in the world. She closed her eyes and drifted into a fitful sleep.

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Alice Audrey said...

She sees herself as their leader. Did they?

Ann (bunnygirl) said...

Diana organized the outing, so naturally she feels like she should've planned for what they would do if things went wrong.

As far as group dynamics in general, Macy is just a camp supporter, so she's low-caste. Pepsi is a soldier, but her well-known clumsiness on a horse puts her at a status below Diana and Sachi, who are the expert riders in the group.

Diana is also good with a rifle, having learned to hunt when she was a child. Diana's skills tend to be underutilized, but that's because Amalia does everything she can to minimize her exposure to danger.

Had Amalia not been so protective, or if Harley hadn't indulged her because he was sleeping with her, Diana might've been a little more aware of danger. That doesn't excuse Sachi for not suggesting a contingency plan, but she's Diana's best friend and trusted her.

Alice Audrey said...

And I can see how they would assume they wouldn't get turned around while sober and not even remember any contingency plans while drunk. Yeah, they should have had a designated gun. :)

Ann (bunnygirl) said...

The bottom line is that the girls got careless and Diana feels responsible, since she suggested the outing in the first place. It's always that way when something bad happens, though - people start looking for someone to blame, and since Diana was raised to take responsibility for her actions, she is quick to blame herself.