Transcendence, p.36
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       Transcendence, p.36

           Shay Savage
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Page 36

  So I do not move when she goes to his side, but I watch closely as she curls her legs underneath her body to sit near his feet. I try harder to focus on the object there and realize it is much like the thing he was carrying in his hand when he first appeared, but it looks different now. He reaches inside of the thing—the container—and pulls out a small, cylindrical object. It makes a strange noise when he shakes it, and he makes sounds with his mouth. Beh’s head bobs up and down, and he places the object back in the container.

  Beh’s father repeats his actions with many strange-looking things, but my mind is still fuzzy, and I am having trouble keeping my eyes open. I roll slightly to look at the forms of my two sleeping children. Lee’s hand has reached out and grasped his sister’s arm, pulling her fingers to his mouth where he sucks at them in slumber. I reach over and lay my arm across them both protectively.

  Finally, my entire family is together, and I smile.

  CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO

  Beh and her father sit at the fire and make constant noise. It hurts my head, but it makes Beh smile and laugh.

  Leaning down, I scoop up a rapidly crawling Lee under one arm and bring him near the fire. Beh has finished preparing our breakfast, and Lah seems to have finished hers already. Beh lays her down on the strange, soft material Lah was wrapped in when Beh’s father brought her back and gently checks the other, smaller cloth that is wrapped around Lah’s bottom to see if it is wet. Lee has one as well, attached in the front with a small, shiny stick that is so sharp at the end it goes right through the covering. Beh’s deft fingers are able to attach and remove the little shiny stick quickly, but I end up with a bleeding finger when I try it.

  There are many strange things Beh’s father has in his bizarre container.

  I sit next to Lah and hand Lee over to Beh. He has already eaten but seems more demanding of Beh’s time now that Lah is with us again. Even though it is only the second morning his sister has been back with us, he notices that his time is now shared.

  Beh and her father continue to make noise while I eat and rub Lah’s feet until she falls asleep.

  “Ehd?”

  I look up to Beh when I hear her call my name-sound. She reaches over Lah and places her hand on my chest.

  “Ehd. ” Beh taps my chest with her fingers.

  “Lah. ” She touches the top of Lah’s head.

  I narrow my eyes a little as her hand moves to her father’s white-clad torso.

  “Dad. ”

  My eyes meet his, and I scowl.

  I don’t really know how I feel about the man. He took Lah from us in a way I can’t really fathom, and even though he has returned her, the method of return is too odd, and I don’t understand what has happened to my little girl. Part of me is grateful she is back and seems healthy again, but another part of me is mistrusting; I don’t know why he has returned or what he will do next. I have been ignoring his presence for the most part, hoping he will just disappear again.

  Beh repeats the sound she made again and again, and I realize she must be saying his name-sound. I look from her to him again, and his blue, Beh-like eyes flicker between mine. I don’t want to acknowledge him because all I really want is for him to leave quickly and never return.

  Lee chooses that moment to begin to make his own noises.

  “Da da da da da!”

  Beh beams at him as she repeats the sounds he makes. Lah’s feet kick out in her sleep, and I turn my attention back to her, rubbing her toes until she slumbers more deeply. Beh reaches over and she places her hand on top of mine.

  “Dad,” she says again.

  I meet her eyes before briefly glancing back at her father. My eyes drop to my meal, but I am no longer hungry. Instead of eating more, I reach over and take Lee from Beh, pick Lah up in my other arm, and walk outside of the cave with both of them.

  The sunshine is warm, and I know summer will be upon us soon. I take both of the babies near the ravine and not near the field where Beh’s father keeps appearing and disappearing. I don’t want them too close to the area at all. Lee is squirmy and wants to move about on his own. I place him on the ground, watching him carefully as I rock Lah in my arms.

  I’m tired and confused, and I hope a little time away from Dad will clear my head. At least I am provided with a distraction in the form of my son, who tries to put most everything he can grab off the ground into his mouth. While balancing Lah on my knee, I take things away from his little hands despite his protests.

  I hear my mate’s sounds behind me and look over my shoulder at her and Dad coming out of the cave. He holds a small black rectangle in his hand—one I have seen him carry before. My heart begins to pound, and I quickly grab Lee and pull him back into my arms. Beh and Dad walk toward me, and I walk a few steps backwards.

  I will not let him take them away.

  As they approach, I continue moving away, slowly circling to one side. If I get the children to the cave, they will be easier to protect, but Beh and Dad are between me and the entrance.

  “Ehd,” Beh says softly as she reaches toward me. At the same time, she uses her other arm to reach out and press against her father’s chest. He stops moving forward, and only Beh approaches. I eye her father as she comes closer, watching him intently until I feel Beh’s hand against my cheek.

  I look at her, and I see sadness in her eyes.

  She’s been crying, and I instinctively move closer to her, wanting to offer her comfort. Her eyes meet mine, and she sniffs a little. She tries to smile, but it doesn’t remove the sorrow from her eyes. She moves her fingers from my face to the tops of each of the children’s heads before she places her hand against my back and guides me toward the cave. I follow, unable to take my eyes from her as we move around her father in an arc, keeping a good distance between us.

  He makes sounds, and Beh responds with more noises from her mouth.

  My eyes dance to his and narrow as an instinctive growl emanates from my chest. Dad walks in an opposite arc away from us, heading to the middle of the field outside our home. Beh whispers my name-sound and leads me in silence the rest of the way to the mouth of the cave.

  I stay near the entrance, holding both children tightly as Beh moves away from me. I feel the tightness and panic in my chest as she walks away from the cave. I have no idea what she is going to do as she heads to the middle of the field, steps close to her father, and wraps her arms around his waist. She leans the side of her face into his chest, and he returns her embrace.

  For a moment, the nightmarish vision of Lah in the man’s arms as they vanished from my sight returns. My breath rushes out of me in a gasp as I think of Beh in Lah’s place…of losing her.

  Before panic can overwhelm me, Beh releases Dad’s waist and walks backwards away from him. She raises her hand up with her palm facing him as she moves back to the cave. I can see her shoulders shaking in quiet sobs, and I don’t know what I should do. I want to hold her, comfort her, but the babies are taking up both of my arms, and I’m afraid to let them go.

  I place myself as close to her as I can and lean my body into hers. Beh turns quickly and lifts up her arms to wrap them tightly around my head, making me lean over to her. She holds me so tight it hurts, but I don’t mind. Her face rests on my shoulder, just above Lah’s sleeping head, and she turns to watch the center of the field where the bizarre, insect-like noise grows quickly.

  I try to shift Lee up on my shoulder a little better so I can at least touch Beh’s hair with my fingers as I look from her red eyes to the field. The swirling circles encompass Dad, making me dizzy as I try to follow the motion with my eyes. Beh’s tears stain her cheeks as she raises her hand to him a final time.

  Then he disappears.

  I hope he never returns.

  With the babies still in my arms, I move around Beh and push against her gently to encourage her back to the cave. With one last look toward the field, she turns a
nd I follow her.

  Later, when the babies are settled in for the night, I wrap my arms around Beh. As soon as I do, she begins to cry again. She turns around and buries her face against my shoulder as she wraps her arms around my neck. I hold her as her quiet sobs shake both of us.

  With one arm around her shoulders, I use the other to run my hand up and down her arm. I brush over a small spot on her shoulder and tilt my head a little to examine it in the firelight. It’s very small—just about the size of the tip of my smallest finger—right at the top of her arm. Just a little, rigid bump under her skin. I run my finger over it.

  Beh sits back in my arms and glances at her shoulder and then to me. I see a red tinge cover her cheeks for a moment before she lays the side of her face against my chest.

  “Beh loves Ehd,” she whispers softly.

  “Luffs!” I call out, and look to her face for her smile.

  She doesn’t have one.

  “Luffs. ” I repeat, and her eyes turn to me. “Beh luffs. ”

  She reaches up with her fingers and strokes my cheek. She makes more rapid sounds, which I can’t follow and don’t recognize, but at least she finally smiles at me.

  “Khizz?”

  Her smile broadens, and she leans up to place her lips upon mine as I brush the tears from her face.

  Lah grows so quickly, I begin to wonder if she will catch up with Lee.

  Beh laughs as Lee tries to run away from her, his tiny feet carrying him much faster than I would expect from someone so small. Lah laughs, too, and tries to keep up with her brother with her rapid crawling. Beh quickly catches first one, then the other, and brings them back to the cave for the night.

  As she does most nights since Dad disappeared, Beh brings out the rectangular flat thing that opens up over and over again from the container. Each time she opens it, there is something different to be seen. Yesterday, it looked like seeds inside. Tonight, the flat part appears to be flowers, but when I try to touch them, they are just smooth and a little warm—not like flowers at all. My fingers grace over it and my eyes narrow. I shake my head a little, not understanding her fascination with a flower you can’t eat.

  My mate is weird.

  “Khizz?”

  Beh places her mouth on mine for a moment before turning back to the flat thing. I return to ushering Lee and Lah toward the sleeping furs. There are many strange things in the container left by Beh’s father, and I try not to touch them if I can help it. Beh usually pushes my hand away when I do try.

  The children are a little more difficult to get to sleep now. They want to play with each other instead of lying down and closing their eyes. It takes some foot rubbing and some time, but once Lah is asleep, Lee gets bored and follows his sister’s lead. Beh puts the flat thing back in the container and closes it before lying on the furs beside me.

  I roll over on top of Beh, who covers her mouth to stop her giggle. I touch her bare sides with the backs of my fingers, and I run my nose across her shoulder, over her collarbone, and down to her breast. I continue down, and Beh fists her hands in my hair as I take her sex in my mouth. When I look up through my lashes, she is biting down on her lower lip, trying not to cry out, which makes me smile and work harder.

  I feel her shudder around me, her thighs practically smashing my head before I rise up on my knees and guide myself inside of her. She’s so warm and slick inside…it is not long before I have to stifle my own cries against her shoulder to keep from waking our children.

  I think she already has another baby in her; she hasn’t had her bleeding time for quite a while, but I want to make sure.

  As the seasons pass, our children grow.

  I awake to Lah and Beh making soft sounds by the fire.

  Lee is stretched out beside me, and I am amazed at how long he is. I’m sure he will be a tall, strong hunter when he is fully grown. Someday, he will make a good mate.

  Of course, I still need to find another tribe.

  It is a thought that comes to my mind often now with both of the children growing so fast and learning so many things. Beh has been teaching Lah how to boil water, using rocks heated by the fire, as well as showing both children the inside of the flat thing and pointing to different flowers and trees outside. Lee has been trying to help me make tools from flint, though so far, he has only ended up with broken pieces of stone. He’s learned to set traps for rabbits and caught his first one just a few days ago.

  Beh makes noise at both of them all the time, and they make noises right back at her. I don’t mind though. The constant sounds remind me that they are all here with me. They can make as much noise as they like as long as we all stay together.

  Though we haven’t seen anyone since the man who attacked Beh, I still wonder what others will think of their sounds. I’m concerned it will make it hard to join another group if we do find one. I know we need to search, and with spring near, it will be a good time to travel to find other people. If we don’t find anyone before summer, we can make our way back and start saving for winter again.

  Though the cave seems smaller now that Lee and Lah are bigger, the work goes much faster with them helping. Of course, now that they no longer drink their mother’s milk, much more food needs to be gathered, too.

  Another reason to find a tribe.

  I stretch my arms above my head and yawn. I scratch at my stomach for a moment as I watch Beh and Lah by the fire, making breakfast. Lah’s hair is lighter than Beh’s—almost like mine—and it is long enough to cover her shoulder blades now. I would like to watch them all morning, but I need to go outside to relieve myself.

  I urinate into the ravine and think about how lucky I am to have Beh, Lee, and Lah. Even though I have tried over and over again, I have not managed to put another baby inside of Beh. I wonder now if we will be able to make any more. She does not have bleeding times, which is nice because she never makes me wait, but it doesn’t seem right for a woman as young as she is.
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