Sondra stood at the door a moment before she knocked. She heard the gentle strumming of a guitar playing pleasant chords. She hesitated to interrupt with a knock at the door, but realised that she really had no choice. She tapped lightly on the thick-planked door. The guitar strumming stopped, and a moment later Darkwater opened the door.
“Sondra,” he said, “You shouldn’t be out here alone in the dark. Come in!” Sondra stomped the snow off her boots and entered the warm cabin. “There are wolves and coyotes and even some mountain lions out there, you know.”
“I didn’t know,” Sondra said. “I’m sorry to disturb you. I was just going for a walk to clear my head after the unusual day here, found myself following a trail, and here I am.”
“Well, take your coat off and warm yourself in front of the fire,” Darkwater said. “When you’ve warmed up, I’ll see you safely back to the cottage.” Sondra looked around at the Spartan interior of the comfortable cabin. She sat on a large pillow on the floor near the stone fireplace. The dancing glow warmed her while she looked at her surroundings.
“This is lovely,” she said. “But why don’t you live in the big house with your mother and Truman Garrison? Or at least in the cottage.”
“I like to be on my own here,” he said. “I write my songs and do some sculpture, all in peace and quiet. It’s what I need.”
“I didn’t know you were an artist,” she said. “May I see your work?”
“Maybe… sometime. Not now,” Darkwater said. “Would you like something to drink? Coffee, tea, Heineken, Chivas Regal, Jack Daniels…”
“Goodness,” Sondra said. “One wouldn’t expect such special quality in a primitive forest cabin.”
“I’m not a lout, Sondra,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot of the world, and I’m in this remote area because I like the peace and quiet, and I can take care of my parents if they need help.”
“Your parents? Is your father here, too?”
“My white name is Eamon Garrison,” Darkwater said while he stared into the fire.
“Truman Garrison is your father?” Sondra exclaimed.
“Yes,” he said. “Mother and Truman were lovers for many years.”
Sondra looked at Eamon’s handsome profile, glowing golden in the firelight. Her mind was racing. So many situations were assailing her emotions that she couldn’t think straight. She had new desires for activities that she had always considered perversions. Her inhibitions were falling away, and she was asking herself why she should limit her life’s potential for pleasure.
“I think I’d like a bit of Chivas Regal now, if you don’t mind,” she said.
Eamon made no reply, but went to a beautifully carved cabinet on the wall. He swung the ornately decorated door open to reveal a neat bar with a small but elite selection of alcoholic beverages. He poured the drink before he asked if she wanted ice.
“No, neat please,” Sondra said. “Aren’t you having something?”
“Just coffee,” he said. “People of my blood are susceptible to disease by alcohol.” He poured a mug of coffee from a kettle on a grate over the fireplace.”
“I guess the well-stocked cabinet is for visiting guests,” Sondra said.
“Like you,” Eamon said. He placed his coffee mug carefully on the stone hearth and stretched out on a bearskin rug in front of the fire. His buckskin shirt stretched tight across his broad chest, the thong laces dangling loosely down his dark, smooth-looking chest. Sondra averted her eyes and took the Chivas down in one smooth swallow. The delicious flush from the fine whiskey filled her body with abnormal sensitivity. She felt the warmth of the fire filter into her through her pores and ignite her emotions. She felt the clean fragrance of the male animal that stretched out before her like an invitation to passion. Her inhibitions dissolved during the following minutes.