At last, the shore was near. Ajax got out of the boat, and then helped Charisse step back onto land as well. Unlike where they had traveled from, this side of the ocean radiated a much more positive aura. As Charisse stepped on the shore, what she felt under her bare feet was cold glass. It was still a wide glass pane, but instead of dark waters under the transparent glass, it was pure white fog. If there was something evil under the fog, it couldn’t be seen. All around them, there was the same fog, the mist gave off a pleasant scent, a mixture of vine flower and mimosa. How Charisse managed to make out the scent, she didn’t know. She only knew that it was this scent, and that she liked it.
The man who appeared to be glowing in the warm light was right in front of her. “Then, ma’am, I believe you promised to stay with me forever? We made it across.” He was grinning victoriously, like a child who had succeeded in playing a trick on his elders. As if to state his point, he spread his arms, gesturing to the warm world on this side of the ocean. “When you overcome your fears, doesn’t everything seem much better?”
She nodded, and then she nodded again. The first, was to confirm that she was to stay with him forever. It was what she promised. The second, was to agree with him that everything seemed much better.
Ajax understood. His smile grew merrier. “I’m so glad you didn’t eat your words, dear Charisse,” he said affectionately. By now, he had the image of “a man full of love” in her mind. His words, his tone, the look in his eyes, they were all to convey the same message to her, whether the message was real or fake.
“Thank you,” she said, beaming in relief. In the later part of the time they spent on the boat, Ajax had helped Charisse grow comfortable to him.
Complimenting, though, was a habit he wasn’t planning on quitting. “Your smile is magical,” he said. “And there’s no need to thank me. I should be the one thanking you for agreeing to the deal.”
He didn’t answer. “Come along, then. We can’t stay here forever. We are not completely out of here yet.”
With a reassuring smile, he extended his arm towards her, and she took it. Together, they headed further into the fog, but further away from the darkness that was now behind them.