Mr. Stevenson believes in the stars and (stripes) wrote in repose,
log: grant/matt, the woods
Grant was vigilant too, in his way, in the way of a soldier come home, to a home that wasn’t supposed to offer the dangers of the places he’d just been. Grant healed in body, but not always in mind. There wasn’t bandages for that, except time. Time, time did it. He just needed his body and unconscious mind to realize what he told himself he already knew: he was safe. The town was familiar, with its two long, simple roads, its left and its right, its north and its south. The whiff of cinnamon from the bakery, the trill of the school bell in the morning, the glint of the antique shop window (occupied now, he would have to go buy something, just to support local businesses), all of it was becoming a regular series of thoughts and sensations that helped him know that safety, all the way through. Repose. Home. Safe.
Grant didn’t feel the cold as keenly as most people; his heart beat more efficiently, and his blood ran warmer. He still had a jacket, more than a summer jacket, but the deep winter wear wasn’t in evidence. No hat, just a blue scarf and wool-lining in his rainproof. He was going down the road, his civilian cellphone in his pocket and the thought of diner food and bad coffee, and he saw him. It was just a glimpse, someone crossing the street and going down the road, a man, nobody he knew—then someone. A flash. A familiar profile. It wasn’t in the gait or the shape of his shoulders, nothing in his clothes, the length of his hair, no. Just… just a look. A turn of the man’s head.
A dead man.
Grant didn’t think. He just followed. His steps turned, his mind focused. He wasn’t armed, and he didn’t think of war, or battle, or safety. He just followed.
He realized when they were in the woods before it occurred to him that he wasn’t just following, he was following with care. He eased forward instead of running, he kept his feet light, and his profile thin. He also kept him in sight, and you couldn’t keep the quarry fully in sight and yet still be silent. Too much haste was necessary. So by the time the man turned, Grant was fully outlined against the background of the trees, blue scarf like a flag against the gray and the white of the sleeping forest behind.