Moth Ch. 014byellynei©
Please forgive the redundant copyright messages, I've found that sometimes my stories are copypasted in part and used elsewhere.
Copyright of Nanna Marker 2010.
"What's wrong?" asked Lei.
"What?" snarled Kokata.
"Don't give me that, Black. You've been acting strange for days," said Lei. "Ever since we traded with the termites, actually."
"You traded with the termites," snarled Kokata. "I didn't. I don't trade things. I don't need things."
Kokata wasn't in a mood to joke around and didn't retort.
"What's bothering you, Black?"
"I don't like people knowing where I am," admitted Kokata.
"People know where you are?" The young woman sounded confused.
"The termites," snarled Kokata. "Your devoted admirer."
"Keme was not..."
"I was watching," snarled Kokata. "He was eating you with his eyes."
"I was half naked," said Lei, rolling her eyes as if that explained everything. "And they don't know where we are."
"I don't like living near a place where I have been sighted," snarled Kokata. "Sooner or later this area will be crawling with monster-hunters."
"Are you serious?"
"Do I sound like I'm joking?" Even while talking, Kokata couldn't help but glance around for signs of danger. Now that he had someone to protect, the outlook to being hunted was a heavier stress than it had been for years. He had a strong notion that if he ended up having to fight, he couldn't trust Lei to just fly away to safety.
"Why would people come here to hunt you down? Why would people hunt you at all?"
"Because they are afraid of me," snarled Kokata. "I'm a monster."
"You're not a..."
"They think I am," interrupted Kokata. "People tend to kill first and ask later."
"Is that how come you live alone?" asked Lei.
"No," snarled Kokata. "All I ever dreamed of was spending all my life having no one to talk to."
Lei just looked at him, and Kokata remembered that when he snarled she often had trouble telling whether he was serious or not.
"After I left the beetles, I searched for people who would accept me," snarled Kokata, afraid that if he said it without snarling his voice would break. "You're the only one who's ever looked past my appearance." Again, he glanced about for signs of danger. "I've been hunted many times, Lei. More than I've bothered to count."
"We will move," stated Lei. "We will find a place where you feel safe."
"You will come with me?" snarled Kokata. Snarling was the only way he could possibly force anything past the lump in his throat.
"I'm your friend," said Lei, straightening her back and raising her chin she was the perfect image of moth-pride. "I will never abandon you."
Kokata's eyes widened and his legs weakened, his body was filling with more emotion than he could carry. Almost unable to walk, he staggered to Lei, and, unable to stop himself, curled his legs around her and pulled her tight.
"I'll never leave you," said Lei and returned his hug. "Never."
Kokata squeezed her as tight to him as he could without hurting her, and wept his heart out.
"No one will ever hurt you again," said Lei, with menace in her voice. "I won't let them."
At that moment, Kokata could not have spoken a single word even if his life depended on it, but he made an oath that he would protect this girl with his life. No matter what.
Kokata had never before wept in the arms of another. It was far more draining than he had ever imagined. But, it was a good draining. When he fell asleep in Lei's arms, he felt better than he had imagined possible.
Long after Black had fallen asleep, Lei kept her arms around his head. Her heart was boiling with anger at people, and their stupidity, and their cowardice.
Valo was standing at the ledge of his home. The first light of dawn was reflecting off the tip of his arrow. Behind, were his wife, and all his children but for one. On the branch closest to his home stood his beautiful daughter.
His arms were hurting from the strain of keeping his bow taut.
He was yelling lies at the girl. One after the other. Anything to make her fly away. But, the wind was tearing the sound from his lips and the girl couldn't hear him.
"I never loved you," yelled Valo at the top of his lungs. "You weren't wanted. We hate you."
If the girl should fly to him, then everyone Valo loved would die.
Submitted to literotica.com by the author.
"Fly away," yelled Valo, but couldn't even himself hear his words.
The girl spread her wings, greyish white as his own.
"Don't," yelled Valo, but the wind stole all sound. "Don't!"
As slowly as an airborne seed falling to the ground, the girl floated upwards toward Valo and everything he had to protect. Her hands were outstretched as if to hug him.
"Stop," screamed Valo, but there was no sound.
The girl was almost close enough to touch.
Valo released his arrow. It bore into the child's chest and her eyes widened with disbelief.
Valo screamed something, but the world was as silent as a winter-cocoon.
He woke. Panting for breath he sat up in bed. There was no one next to him to be disturbed by the movement. His mate had her own room now, her own bed. When the children had asked why mum and dad needed separate rooms, Valo had explained that mum needed her sleep and dad moved around too much in his sleep.
He knew that wasn't the real reason. His mate resented him. Valo didn't fault her for it. He too blamed himself for the loss of Lei. He hadn't shot an arrow through the child's heart, but he might as well have. There were so many ways he could have handled that moment. Since it had happened he had thought up countless ways to deal that could have led to a better end.
The rest of his children had survived the plague. The sickness hadn't entered his home. Somehow that ought to be a bigger consolation than it was.
He couldn't stop hoping that some night Lei would come by to visit her mother and siblings. He could just imagine her landing on the ledge and her eyes narrowing with fury at the sight of him. Furious, but alive and well. Lei had always had a temper. Always a perfect example of the unforgiving ideology of youth.
He had always been proud of that. Since she could walk, Lei had strutted about and, like a princess of times far past, declared right and wrong with but a wave of her hand.
The not knowing was the worst of it. Both Lei and her cursed butterfly playmate had simply vanished. After winter, when every trace of the plague was gone, Valo and his oldest son had taken turns at venturing out to ask about. Before midsummer, they had been by every village and hive gather in Aribo forest.
None had seen a moth fitting Lei's description, nor a butterfly fitting Oli's, since the plague had begun. Wherever Lei had chosen to face the plague, was not a plague-camp.
She might have died from it, and she might not.
"This place is perfect," said Lei, staring out at the lower forest on the other side of the river which ran below the steep cliff. It was as great a view as one could ever gain by flying above trees, and yet she was safely seated in a thickly branched tree.
"The wind will be nasty when it blows the other way," commented Kokata.
"I don't mean for us to settle in this tree," said Lei. "I think we should set home in the oak tree where you caught that small beetle-beast."
Kokata licked his lips. The beast hadn't had much juice in it but it had been very tasty.
"I guess the wind wouldn't be too bad back there," he agreed, besides where there was one tasty beast, there was likely to be more.
"It won't be bad at all, the nearby trees form a perfect wind shelter," stated Lei.
Kokata made no comment, he had no doubt a moth would know more about the wind than him.
"It's a perfect place to build a hive and raise children." Lei was apparently in a mood to spray random facts.
"Children," snarled Kokata. "Were you planning to rape me in my sleep?"
Since they had started travelling, Lei often touched him. Hugs had become commonplace. They had even started sleeping next to each other. But, even though the proximity heated Kokata's blood, there was nothing erotic in its nature.
Lei treated him more like a baby-brother than a man.
"No," said Lei, with a laugh. "I'll save myself for my great love."
"Great love?" A sharp pang of jealousy struck Kokata. "A seer has promised you great love?"
"Yes," stated Lei.
"Did he give you a name?" asked Kokata. Maybe there was just a tiny bit of hope that the name would match that of a certain legendary snail monster.
"No," laughed Lei. "But don't worry, you don't match the description. Your sleep is safe."
The spider was silent and the moth couldn't hear the sound of his heart breaking. The spider didn't know what the seer's description had been, and the moth didn't know that the spider thought she was beautiful. After all, he often said she was scrawny.
Intellectual property of Nanna Marker.