Chapter 4 Not in Kansas Anymore
Ryanne snuggled deeper into the warmth in front of her. Oh I love this dream, Ryanne thought to herself. The dream was so vivid that she could literally feel the strong arms of her dream lover wrapped around her like steel bands. “Are you awake, my love,” The dream man whispered into her ear. Ryanne nodded afraid if she opened her eyes or spoke that she would wake up and lose this incredible dream. Then he was kissing her, and sparks ignited in her bloodstream. Oh, this was going down in the Hall of fames, Best dreams ever, Ryanne mused.
“Hey Tylander, you coming out? Breakfast is ready. You better hurry before Junkar eats everything in sight.” A high pitched voice called out. “Still don’t understand why he put that tent up last night.” The voice trailed off. Ryanne’s dream man stopped kissing her to respond, “Yeah, I hear you. We will be out shortly.” Tylander began to get out of the makeshift bed they were in.
“We? Who’s We Tylander?” A giant dark purple cat poked his head into the tent. Tylander grabbed the covers to shield Ryanne from Junkar’s sight. Oh God this isn’t a dream is it?Ryanne thought mortified at her behavior.
“Get out of here, Junkar!” Tylander yelled. “My wife isn’t dressed yet, I’ll bring her out in a minute and you can meet her.”
Wife, did I hear him correctly, Ryanne asked herself, now that she was fully awake. Looking around she realized she was laying on a makeshift bed in the center of a round tent. It seemed to be tall enough to stand up in, but not much bigger around than their bed.
“Your wife? How the hell did she get here? Isn’t she de..” Junkar didn’t get the chance to finish his sentence before Tylander shouted at him again.
“Not now Junkar.” Shaking his head Tylander smiled down at his wife. Her eyes were wide and full of fear. “It’s ok, that’s just Junkar. He’s a little bit of an acquired taste, but I think if you give him a chance you’ll like him.” Tylander expected the fear to leave Ryanne’s eyes, but his explanation seemed to do the opposite. “What’s wrong baby? Are you hurt?” Fear suddenly filled Tylander’s stomach. What if she is more injured than he thought? “Are you in pain? What is it baby? You have to tell me. I can’t help you if you won’t talk to me.” Tylander took both Ryanne’s hands in his. His eyes filled with worry.
“Who-o-o ar-r-r-e y-y-you?” Ryanne stuttered as she looked up at the most handsome man she had ever seen. He had shoulder length golden sun kissed hair, deep sea blue eyes, and very pale white skin.
“I’m your husband, Tylander.” He searched her eyes looking for some sign of recognition, but found none. He had no doubt who she was. Her scent called to him, that addictive pheromone that made him feel happy, peaceful and loved. He had been craving that scent for eight long years and the memory didn’t do it justice.
“No, I would have remembered getting married,” Especially to a guy who looked like you. Ryanne didn’t say that last part out loud.
Maybe it’s a side effect from crossing over into the afterlife and returning. Tylander thought as he made a mental note to speak with the high priestess, Yelillya. She would know. Very few people ever manage to return from the afterlife, but it does happen. Perhaps staying in the after life for eight years has had some severe side effects on Ryanne. Tylander needed to get Ryanne back to Quinnetta as soon as possible.
“Yes, you are my wife. It’s no mistake, you will just have to trust me. Don’t worry we will get it all straightened out. I’m sure once we are back in Quinnetta, Yelillya should be able to help you to remember. Come on, we should get dressed. We have a long way to travel today.” Tylander said as he released Ryanne and got out of the sleeping bag. He was bare chested but wore a snug fitting pair of soft tan leather pants. That was when Ryanne noticed her clothes or lack thereof. “Ack! What the hell! Why am I naked?”
“Your clothes were ripped, and covered in both mud and blood when I found you. I tried to clean them but they were beyond repair.” Tylander stood up and walked over to his bag to pull out one of his extra shirts. “You will have to use one of my shirts as a dress for now. Hopefully we will be able to find you something more suitable on our way home.” Tylander tossed a large white cotton shirt with long sleeves at Ryanne and she quickly pulled it over her head.
“Why was I covered in blood and mud?” Ryanne asked as she stood up. The shirt Tylander had given her was long enough to be a dress. It reached well past mid-calf on her.
“What is the last thing you remember?” Tylander asked as he tried to deflect Ryanne’s question with one of his own.
“I’m not sure, I think I was in my car, driving home.” Ryanne closed her eyes and concentrated hard trying to remember what had happened to her. The image of the red truck coming at her passed before her eyes. “I think I might have been in an accident,”
“It is no accident that you are here.” Tylander said taking Ryanne’s hands and pulling her to him. “You knew I needed you and you returned.” Tylander gave her a quick kiss on the lips before he moved away and began to dress himself. “Oh I was able to save your shoes.” Tylander picked up a pair of high heel shoes, “Although I’m not sure how you managed to walk in these things. We might want to get you a new pair of shoes if we get a chance. It’s a good three days walk back to Quinetta.”
Ryanne looked at what had been her most comfortable pair of heels. She doubted that they would still be comfortable in three days time. Tylander handed Ryanne an extra belt to cinch in her shirt dress. While this made the outfit a little more appropriate, walking for three days without a bra or underwear would be more than just uncomfortable, it would be embarrassing.
Although Ryanne was short in stature, she had an hourglass figure that required foundation garments just to be comfortable. “You weren’t able to save any of my garments?” Ryanne asked again as she watched Tylander lace up his black leather boots.
“You can see for yourself.” Tylander said pointing to what looked like a pile of rags off to one side of the tent. Ryanne hurried over to the pile. While most of the clothes were in fact far beyond repair she did find her undergarments. They were in surprisingly good condition considering what she had apparently been through. Ryanne looked over to see that Tylander had his back to her as he packed up their bed. She removed the belt and quickly shimmied into her panties and pulled on her bra. She managed to get herself decent before Tylander turned toward her again.
Tylander smiled to himself as he packed up his tent. He was not greatly concerned that his wife didn’t remember him, he could work with that. In fact, he was looking forward to making her fall in love with him all over again. She was alive and this time he was going to ensure she stayed that way. Nothing or no one would take her from his this time.
Once everything was packed up, Tylander took Ryann’s hand and led her out of the tent. While waking up in a tent with a strange man had been startling to her, the sight that greeted Ryanne outside the tent was by far more so. The large Purple cat from earlier sat indian style on the ground near the fire. He was eating what looked like porridge from a bowl with a spoon. The Second man looked more like a cross between a turtle and an egg than a man and was seated on a log directly across from the Catman. Both stopped eating and looked up at her and Tylander.
“Ryanne, that is Junkar,” Tylander motioned to the Catman “He’s the Nilactin Captain of the Guard.” Then he pointing at the Egg man, “And that is the Ambassador Ren Othyos of the Asoonadye.” Tylander took a deep breath as if gearing up for something unpleasant. “Guys, this is my wife, Ryanne.” Tylander cleared his throat, “She, um, has been with Lunester for a while, but now she is back. Ok, lets get packed up to so we can leave. She needs to get back to Quinetta as quickly as possible” Tylander spoke quickly, hoping to move on to packing without answering any questions. The only people who have ever come back from the dead have all been Arrainanites. Tylander was not sure how his traveling companions would react to Ryanne returning from the afterlife.
“Tylander,” Othyos looked up at the Arrainanite, “Your wife died eight years ago. This woman can’t be your wife”
Finally someone making since, Ryanne though before the full meaning of what Othyos was saying sunk in. His wife is dead. Ryanne suddenly felt very sorry for Tylander he must be in a great deal of pain to think she was his wife. Wait! What if he’s having a psychotic break down? Could I be in danger? Now, Ryanne didn’t know what to think==things just kept getting weirder and weirder.
“She is my wife.” Tylander released Ryanne’s hand as he approached Othyos. “I would know her anywhere.” Tylander was now talking through his teeth while coming face to face with the Ambassador. “Yes, she died, sacrificing herself to save countless others but she was blessed by Lunester. He has finally decided to give her back to me. You will not doubt that a second time. Are we clear?” Othyos nodded. He was quite surprised by Tylander’s outburst, as was Ryanne.
“Serves you right!” Junkar laughed as he approached the Asoonadye. “Even I know not to speak ill of an Arrainanite’s mate. That’s a sure fire way to end up dead.” Junkar joked as he moved closer to Othyos in case Tylander decided to use more than words to scold the Ambassador. “I’m sure he didn’t mean any harm Tylander.” Junkar said trying to sooth the Arrananite. Tylander noticed the big cat’s movements and realized he was overreacting.
“No. I’m sorry. I overreacted.” Tylander said as he stepped back and retook Ryanne’s hand. “I’m just a little protective of her is all.” He knew what life was like without her in it and would rather die himself than go back to that.
“It’s nice to meet both of you,” Ryanne said finally finding her voice. That seemed to cut the tension. Junkar handed Tylander’s bowl of porridge to Ryanne, “Nice to meet you too Ryanne. Here have some breakfast while we break camp.” With that the three men seemed to fall back into their normal routine of packing up camp. By the time Ryanne finished her porridge everything was packed and they were ready to move out.
They traveled off and on throughout the day. They had to stop far more often then the three men would have liked due to Ryanne’s very insensible shoes. “I have an idea,” Junkar announced when they had to stop for the third time in two hours. “Why don’t we have Ryanne ride me. I can walk on all fours just as easily as two. What do you think?” Junkar smiled proud of himself. Ryanne seemed to consider it. “Absolutely not!” Tylander growled. The idea of another man touching his wife was more than he could handle. “No, my wife will not be riding you. If she needs to be carried I will carry her.” With that, Tylander swept Ryanne off her feet. Ryanne grabbed Tylander around the neck to stabilize herself. “Tylander, put me down. I can walk.”
“I think we’ve already decided that you can’t–at least not in those shoes. Just relax you don’t weigh enough to slow me down. This way we can keep moving and you still get to rest your feet. We might even make it back to Quinnetta in three days instead of the ten it would take us if we keep going at your pace.” Completely out of arguments, Ryanne decided to go with the flow and allow Tylander to carry her back to Quinnetta–at least for the day.
They traveled like this until the sun began to set. “This is a good place to camp.” Junkar stated as he dropped his bags to the ground. Sniffing the air Junkar pointed towards a tree line a few yards to his left.”I can smell water just on the other side of those bushes.”
“Yes this is as good a spot as any.” Tylander put Ryanne down gently. “Why don’t you head over and get washed up in the creek while we get camp set up.” Ryanne nodded her head and hobbled towards the water. She was utterly exhausted, but the idea of soaking her feet in the water was too much to pass up.
Ryanne sat down by the water and removed her shoes, before she gingerly placed her feet in the freezing water. “Ohh, that feels so good,” Ryanne said out loud to no one in particular.
“Yes, it does doesn’t it.” A strongly accented voice, Ryanne had never heard before, came out of nowhere. Startled Ryanne stood up. “Who is that?” She called out. That’s when she saw it. A giant greenish grey beast stood not three feet from her. Ryanne was so terrified that everything seemed to freeze. Suddenly, she heard someone screaming. It took her a moment to realise that the someone screaming was her.
Back at camp Tylander heard Ryanne’s terrified screams. He dropped everything and ran for the stream. Junkar and Othyos were hot on his tail. Please don’t let me be to late, Tylander prayed as he ran. He couldn’t lose her again.