Beck was on the far side of the sanctuary where the stream originated from a large pond. Gurgling over the pond was a narrow band of sparkling waterfall. He stood on the side of the pond, tossing stones in to the water.
"Hi, Tess," he replied without turning. "How are you feeling?"
"Fine." Tess felt quite irritated. "I need you to be straight with me."
Beck tossed the final stone, and turned to her. "Sure."
"Did you just happen to find me that day, or were you going back for me?"
He looked at her for several moments before answering. "I was going back for you."
"How did you know where I was?"
Beck bit his lower lip as he fought to find the right words. But none came.
"Are you ... military?"
"Are you?" Her face grew red.
Beck let out a shaky breath. "Yes."
She shook her head. Somehow, she already knew, by his mannerism and how he handled a weapon.
"It was you and the military that came to my town a few weeks ago?"
"Am I right?"
Beck lowered his eyes. "We were given the order to kill anyone who was infected."
In the next instant, Tess flew at him, pummeling his chest and face with her fists.
Beck grabbed her hands, whipped her around, and pinned her firmly against his body so she couldn't move.
"Tess, would you listen to me!"
She squirmed violently in his arms. "You bastard! You murdered them!"
"Would you please calm down!" His grip grew tighter.
Like a switch, she became stoic.
Beck cautiously released his lock on her, and took several steps back. "Will you hear what I have to say?"
Tess straightened, and turned her dark eyes to him. "No, I have no interest in what you have to tell me."
"What do you want from me?"
"I want you gone. Away from here. From me."
He looked at her, and his hands dropped to his sides. "As you wish."
And he walked away.
End of Part One