Sharon’s Note: Life doesn’t have to suck. It’s about attitude. Bad stuff is, inevitably, going to happen. The old cliché is true. You can’t control everything in your life, but you can control how you react to it. Being strong isn’t about toughing something out. It’s not about overcoming what’s happening to you. It’s about overcoming yourself. If you have a handle on you, it’s amazing how easily the other stuff can fall in line.
I couldn’t lift my feet anymore. When the trees started to thin, and I couldn’t use them to lean on anymore, I used my rifle case as a second cane. When I came to the end of the trail I almost cried. The observation tower was a decrepit, wooden, two-story building that had a narrow band of stairs wrapping around the outside. Green paint was peeling off the sides in large patches, making it look leperous, and it might have been the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen.
Brain had paused his marathon of wolf themed fairy tales to check on the kid holding the circle. He murmured over the com, “Hey, Joy? The kid isn’t really looking good.”
I closed my eyes. That information didn’t scare me as much as it might have only a few minutes before. “It’s okay. You can go ahead and let him rest. Take the circle. The cavalry is almost there.”
“Sure. You want me to keep telling stories?”
“How many more stories about wolves do you know?” I stopped at the base of the tower. There was a piece of caution taped stretched across the base of the stairs with a laminated piece of paper that said the tower was out of order. How was a freaking tower out of order? I glanced in the direction of the hiking trail. I could almost see the trail from where I was, but there was no way I was going to get a clear shot.
“I may have just started inserting wolves into any story I could think of.” He sounded sheepish, and I smiled.
“Nah. It’s okay. I’m going to go quiet again while I’m concentrating, but I’ll contact you again in a few minutes.”
“Yeah. I’ll just sit here. The werewolf is eating someone again, so at least there’s something to watch.” He paused for a long moment. “I am going to need so much therapy when this is done.”
“Aren’t we all.” Mine was going to be mostly physical therapy, but I was sure Seth was going to bully me into going to see the shrink. I switched off the com, and glared at the first step. I hated stairs. Stairs were the bane of my existence. Maybe the tower was out of order because they were going to make it handicap accessible.
I put my foot on the first step and pushed myself up. I tried to push myself up. When I pushed up, my arms started to take the weight, but it felt like someone had tied cement blocks to my feet. They tried to lift, but I couldn’t even get my good leg on the step. Fine. When you can’t walk, you crawl.
I abandoned my cane. It was one too many things to carry. Biting my lip, I used my case to lower myself to my knees. The gravel bit through my jeans and I allowed myself a whimper. That was it. That was all I got. I made sure I had a good grip on my case with one hand then grabbed a ballister to haul myself up.