I stare at my husband’s gently lined face and burst out laughing. “It’s Secret? What the hell?” It’s not that I actually find him funny, but his very seriousness sparks unease and it flutters into my throat, tightening it slightly. “Just come on” He says, curtly and I grab my fanny pack, now upset at his tone. Of course, I knew my tone had not been any better, but I never was any good at controlling the intensity or logic of my emotions and I was now somewhat unnerved by the whole thing.
Outside, the air was still warm and humid despite the fact it was now October and the sun had not quite started rising. This was Florida, after all. Barely perceived streaks of light hinted at a nearby dawn, but for now, the stars twinkled above us as if the night was not nearly done. I nearly gave the keys to my husband, but decided with the sun coming up soon I should be fine despite being prone to night blindness. Besides, few cars would be on the road this time of day. I poked the key into the door, no key fob for us! The insistent honk of the alarm warning filled the air, but I managed to get my key into the wheel within a few seconds to start the engine and stop the excess noise. It was at this point my husband said, “I should drive”. “Oh, you are right” I said, embarrassed that I did not consider the fact I had no idea where we were going.
The drive itself was uneventful and we drove in silence the first 10 minutes. As we hit Pt. Malabar, I wondered aloud “Just where are we going, anyways?” He did not respond immediately, but as we turned into the road that led to Turkey Creek Sanctuary, it was obvious, so I thought, we had to be close. There was no outlet other than the way back, after all. We pulled into a spot near the back entrance that shared a parking lot with the Palm Bay library. He then shut the engine off and sat back with a sigh. Slowly, he turned towards me “Now, try not to get…overwhelmed like you can get at times. I promise I’ll keep you safe. You just gotta trust me” He touched my hand “Ok?” I looked at him with wide eyes but nodded without a sound.
“Ok” He says, again, and gets out and comes around to my side. The gentlemanly act alarms me a tad more, but I know, without a doubt, he would never harm me on purpose. So, I make sure my grey hoodie is around my hips as he locks the SUV and mutely follow him into the Sanctuary. I’ve been here many times, but everything always looks so different in the dark, doesn’t it? It’s not a long walk down the path to get to the entrance of the boardwalk and the small cabin used to educate people on the creek and its critters. I fully expect him to take me to the boardwalk, but instead, he passes the gate by and takes me towards the cabin. However, it’s not there he stops, either. To the right is a struggling butterfly garden, the heat of a Florida summer having wilted it into near oblivion. As we enter the garden, I begin to notice a slight humming, which grows in intensity as we made our way through. It almost sounded like bees, except this sounded like such a vast amount of them it was hard to credit the thought.
The path through the garden weaves around to behind the small cabin, where a gate surrounded by overgrown bushes, trees, and vines make it impossible to see beyond its confines. He reaches out and simply touches the lock on the gate and a small, but bright, burst of light occurs. There was no flashlight and I can’t figure out how he produced it, but none the less the gate opens and he pulls me through with him. The gate clicks shut of its own accord and my husband looks at me “Can you see it?” But, I am unable to answer, overwhelmed by the sheer mass of bees surrounding an intense, yellow glow, much like how the sun would shine through a doorway made of honey if such a thing were possible. “I am guessing you see it” He smiles suddenly, a strange relief flooding his face. “Welcome to the Turkey Creek doorway to the Argatha pathways”.