After a short walk through the trees the farmhouse comes into view. The familiar sight of it sends a wave of calm sweeping through me. I wonder where Lisa is. Part of me was picturing her waiting for me at the door, but I know that's not realistic. Seven months pregnant, she needs her rest. She'll be in bed.
Not wanting to scare her, I knock loudly on the door and call her name. "Lisa! It's me! It's David, I'm back." I wait. When there's no answer, I try the door and find it locked. I knock again, wait, shout again. I'm starting to get anxious when the door unlocks and there she is, blinking exhaustedly at me, but smiling too. Her bump is more prominent than ever. It makes her look somehow vulnerable, small.
"David," she says. And then we're hugging, and this more than anything feels like coming home. The warmth and gentleness of her, her breath bouncing off my neck. So human.
"I was so worried about you," she says into my shoulder. "It's been horrible. Let's not do this again. Let's not split up. I've hardly slept since you left."
"It's okay," I say. "It's okay, I'm back."
I flash back to the crazy again, the feel of the gun kicking in my hands, seeing him fall, hearing him die. She doesn't know. She can't know. You have to protect her.
We go inside, where there's a fire burning. I dump the backpack and we sit down on our bed in the middle of the floor, then lie down beside each other. For ten or twenty minutes there is silence but for the crackle and spit of the fire, silence as we get used once more to each others' presence, as we enjoy not being alone again.
Then Lisa says, "Tell me. Is it bad out there?"
I don't know what to say to her. So much has happened in such a short space of time. It's hard to know where to begin. In the end I fish in my pocket for the fold of papers Sven gave me and hand them to her. She unfolds them slowly, cautiously, frowning at the map.
"What is this?" she asks. "Where did you get it?"
And so I tell her everything, from the moment I left her to the moment I watched Sven walk away down the road. Lisa listens, rapt, frowning occasionally but not stopping me. I don't mention my encounter with the crazy on the way back to the farmhouse, even though the secret feels like it's burning a hole in my stomach.
When I've finished Lisa looks at the map again, tracing a finger along a road with a strange, distant frown on her face. Then she turns to me.
"Well," she says simply. "When are we going to go?"