No Place Like Home
By Maquis Leader
Author’s note: This was originally written for the Picnic Prose contest using the picture to set the story.
Lightning struck and thunder rolled across the Indiana plains. The smell of rain was in the air and Kathryn inhaled deeply, closing her eyes and tipping her face up to the gray sky. At her feet, Molly whined and moved restlessly.
“Don’t worry, we’ll go in before it starts raining.” She rubbed the dog’s ears affectionately.
Lightning crackled again, crawling across the clouds in a crazy pattern. This was what she’d missed the most. Fresh air and wind, the feel of solid ground. Holodeck programs gave the illusion of being on a planet, but she could always feel the thrum of the engines.
Molly whined again as a cool wind whipped across the balcony. Leaves danced and skittered before falling over the edge. Shivering, Kathryn pulled her robe around herself and sucked in another deep breath of fresh air. Home. Her body shook and tears filled her eyes. Finally! Finally home!
Seven long years of despair and pain and sorrow. Frustration and anger. The cold empty nights of loneliness. Loneliness until she thought she would die. “Home.” She whispered.
The Admiral had dropped into their lives like the Good Witch Glenda to send them on a crazy kamikaze ride home. Kathryn chuckled and wiped her eyes. Or maybe the Wicked Witch of the West. Telling her who lived and died. Telling her about Chakotay and Seven. Her heart ached at the thought of them together. Ached as she remembered hearing that Chakotay was long dead and buried.
The rain was moving across the fields, the corn swaying and bending as it hit. Fat drops splattered on the railing, then the floor, forcing her to back up. Kathryn gave ground inch by stubborn inch before turning and going inside.
Molly crawled under the bed as another rumble shook the house. “Some watch dog you are.” She carefully closed and latched the French doors as the wind howled at her and tried to pull them back open.
Dropping the robe across the chair by the bed, she crawled under the warm chenille blanket.
“Not anymore.” Kathryn snuggled into Chakotay’s arms, pressing her naked body to his as the rain poured down.
The black velvet eyes opened sleepily. “And never again, beloved.” His arms tightened around her as they drifted back to sleep.