Economics 101, a Novel, ch_30 -- Fear at Night

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Sometimes we do things to each other that we don't understand.

Even when we think we know each other well, we can catch each other off-guard and hurt each other when we intend the exact opposite.

Bobbie's eye's opened and she saw the now-familiar stars of the island skies and smelled the now-familiar sea nearby and felt the now-familiar sand and salt on her clothes, and listened to the now-familiar and not-so-distant surf. She felt disoriented, stuck between two roads forward, knowing she had to choose her road, but not sure what it was she had left to choose. There was some vague pining inside her for the world she was leaving behind, but the dream was evaporating and drifting away in the island breeze.

Suddenly she wanted to hear Karel's voice. "Karel?"

The reassuring hardness of the ground under the bedroll gave her some confidence that the surreal scene she could still see in her mind's eye was in fact the dream, and that the island underneath her was real.

Wycliffe asked Hanaka, "Shouldn't we try to help her, maybe suggest she stay on her side of the tent?"

But Hanaka replied, "Then they'd never know for sure where they would have drawn the line."

"Karel?" She could hear a low mumbling, as if Karel were talking to himself. She crawled out of her bedroll and peeked around the other side of the tent at her study partner lying dreaming under the stars on his bedroll, talking in his sleep, and she smiled to herself.

"... mumble mumble Bobbie mumble mumble love you mumble mumble don't ..."

She suddenly felt an urge to kiss him, and, acting on the impulse, she crawled over to him and, did so, smiling in anticipation.

"Ahhhhggggg!" Karel's body jerked as he cried out.

Bobbie sat back in surprise, eyes wide.

Karel rolled almost violently away and sat with his back against the tent wall, still not fully awake, terror and confusion in his face.

"Bobbie! What are you doing?"

"Uhm, ..." Bobbie was a bit perplexed. She wanted to laugh and cry at the same time, but the terror in his eyes was real, and not going away.

And she began to feel a bit of fear. "What did I do?" she asked, indignation mixed with concern. "I just thought it would be a nice surprise."

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