He masked his facial features. “Who is Zeta? What does she know about my task?”
“I am Doctor Wanda Dove and Zeta is my ancestor guide. And the task? She will tell me what she knows when the time is right. Are you going to let me look at your leg?”
Again, her voice sent a soothing sensation rippling down his spine. He coiled his remaining energy. The SAS recruiters used mysterious, drop-dead gorgeous women like her for interrogation training exercises.
He inhaled sharply. Now what?
Though he wanted to, he didn’t flinch when she stood, reached down, and removed his hat. Guarded and unable to trust his voice, he watched her study his head. The morning breeze lifted and dried the thick strands. Hadn’t she ever seen blond hair? Her eyes sparkled at him. Uneasy, he shifted and pointed to his leg, then tugged his hat away from her limp hand and tossed it behind him.
She knelt to remove the make-shift splint bindings, her backside facing him. He reached for her mantle of black hair, which had pooled on the ground and brushed off the dirt. Her movements stilled. He’d only meant to hold her hair out of the dirt, but the sensuous heavy strands were now wound rope-like around his hand.
She pivoted and eyed his fist. “You do not need to trap me. I will not run away. I have promised not to harm you.”
Lars looked beyond her shoulder for a moment then back at her eyes. Her face remained expressionless, and yet her eyes spoke of shock and wariness. Releasing the black tresses, he held up his palms.
“I…so sorry. The dirt…I lifted the hair from the dirt.”
Had he said that?
She made several quick hand gestures around her head while mouthing words. Was touching her hair some kind of sacrilege? She removed a cloth band from her bag and swiftly formed the hair into a long sleek braid all the while murmuring foreign words. Without further comment, she returned to unbinding the splint.
Ignoring the pain, Lars replayed the previous few minutes and her unusual psychic abilities. He itched to take some measurements, but his pack was just out of reach.
Finished with the unbinding, she slid his pant leg past his knee. At her quick intake of breath, he darted a look, assessed the damage, then studied her face. Her gaze focused on some distant point; her head cocked as if she were listening.
“Stephan Lars, this is serious. The village clinic cannot provide the care you need. With your permission I would like to use alternative treatment.”
Wary of her request, he leaned away and lifted his chin. “I have not told you my name and yet you know it. You gaze beyond this place, listening to someone--”
Again, her eyes sparkled like a child bursting with secrets. She gave a deliberate nod of her head and he witnessed a barely perceptible change in her facial muscles. Fascinating.
“I am Zeta. I am kachina. Wanda is a seer and healer. You are also a seer, a spakona, but of course, you deny this. You would not be able to see me if you did not have this gift. You and Wanda must work together, and this injured leg must not impair the progress. Wanda and I will heal the wound using ancient medicine. I would offer to remove you to a safe place beyond the human pain, but I sense your curiosity and knowledge would not allow this. The pain may seem to extend forever, but I guarantee in your time, only mere minutes.”
After a subtle facial change, he recognized the woman, Wanda, was back. He hadn’t seen her speak, yet he’d heard a voice. Pain forgotten, his fingers twitched in anticipation of recording this encounter. He realized she was waiting for his response. With his choices limited and his curiosity piqued, he resigned himself to the alternative route and nodded. (Click here for the download.)