She couldn’t say how long she’d been there. How much of it was real, how much illusion. She knew only that she was losing her mind.
“It’s time to go, Ruth.”
Her heart sank at the words and, as she looked down into the face of the cat, the product of her madness spoke again.
“We need to hurry.”
She stared into his dark, unblinking eyes and wondered why they were familiar. He’d called her Ruth, more than once, and it felt right, though she couldn’t know for sure.
At first the confusion had come in waves. Now it was a permanent state. The scenery around her rose and fell as she was thrown from one place to another; familiar yet strange all at once.
The cat’s presence pressed against her, soothing even as it frightened. She blinked, on the edge of remembering something. Then the grey was back, bleeding into the colour and stripping it away.
“Now, Ruth. It has to be now.”
Her gaze dropped to him and she felt his power; the connection she couldn’t explain.
Jacob looked into the pale face of his wife and felt his heart stutter in his chest. She was still the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen, and it hurt to see the vacant look in her pale blue eyes.
“Come back to me, Ruth,” he whispered.
His world had stopped turning the day she’d been kidnapped. He searched for her with a single-minded focus that didn’t allow him to consider anything else.
They’d tortured her, tried to destroy her mind as well as her spirit. The doctors told him she would never recover, that the damage was irreparable. He refused to believe it.
Some considered his love for her an obsession, and it certainly consumed him. But it was also pure, and born of a connection few would understand. So he began a search of a different kind.
He’d found Michael Wang three weeks before. His genius was undisputed, and though his latest invention was in its infancy, Jacob didn’t care.
He secured that technology now, bracing himself for the connection and entered Ruth’s mind with the grace and cunning of a cat.
He’d been warned against presenting himself in his true form more than once. Jacob had never been good at following rules and the time had come.
She was still stood in the centre of the field, surrounded by a beauty that paled in comparison to hers.
He saw the recognition hover in her eyes and willed the thought to take root.
“You found me.” The words that formed on her lips were so faint he might have imagined them. He didn’t imagine the look, or their connection.
“I’ll always find you,” he said and held out his hand. “Let’s go home.”