Sigourney knew she should be more frightened, but her senses had been dulled by the emotional upheavals of the past few hours. At that moment, she wanted nothing more than to find a quiet place to rest her tired body. She briefly considered handing the manuscript to the Tibetan farmer and walking down the road to the waiting police cars. What a tempting thought! It would put an end to her fears and avoid the hardships she knew awaited her. She was astonished to find the idea of surrendering so comforting. Was this how fugitives felt when they were on the run, she wondered? Did they have a subconscious desire to be caught? Probably not. She was just tired, hungry, and dehydrated. She hadn’t eaten since last night, nor drunk any water since rising early that morning.
But, she wasn’t just hungry; she was alone. John had been her support system, and now he was gone. She looked across the cheerless fields and fought back a sudden urge to weep. She wasn’t certain how she was going to face her ordeals, but she knew she must find a way.
An old woman using a crude stick as a cane stepped out of the nearest house and motioned to Sigourney to come inside. She got out of the car and followed the woman into a small room with a cement floor and open stove. The walls around the stove were covered with smoky grime. The woman pointed to a wooden chair and set hot, butter tea and cooked bread dough on the table. Sigourney assumed the dough was tsampa. The unusual taste of the tea reminded her of a rich soup that had just started to turn rancid, but she hungrily devoured it along with the dough, then looked guiltily at the wrinkled woman standing in front of her. The woman leaned on a handle strapped to the end of her pole and smiled, revealing a mouth missing most of its teeth. Her dirty dress and faded yellow cap told the world how poor she was.
Sigourney hastily removed some of the coins John had given her and offered them to the woman, but she only laughed and shook her head no. When Sigourney tried to insist, the woman gently wrapped her hands around Sigourney’s and pushed the money away. The woman lifted her cane and tapped the valise, which hung from the chair. Sigourney could see in the woman’s unwavering gaze that she knew whom she was.
Sigourney's Quest - Excerpt
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