Moth Ch. 042byellynei©
Submitted to literotica.com by the author.
"I almost miss you jumping," said his Lei, her face sticking out of the blanket.
"I miss jumping," said Kokata, running on the six legs that weren't holding his woman and her meat. "But it's not safe out here in the open."
Two days had passed since they had left the forest. Trees were sparse and far apart.
"How are you feeling?" he asked.
"Weak," admitted Lei. "But still no fever."
"The no fever part is great. Do you think it's the spring clearing you up?"
"No, Black. I don't think it is gone for good. It comes and goes. We have to hurry and fatten me up while its gone. It's too damned hard to keep the food in when it's bad."
Black stopped moving and reached into her blanket for the meat-bag.
"I didn't mean right now," said Lei. "It's barely been an hour since I ate last."
"Fattening up is hard work," he said, and handed her a hunk of cooked meat. "I have faith in you."
Lei looked at her bone-thin fingers holding on to the meat and sincerely hoped the baby inside her wasn't as thin as she had become.
"Here we go," she said and moved the meat to her lips. She still felt stuffed from her last meal.
"Less talking, more chewing," urged her man.
Lei bit off a mouthful and started chewing. A sharp pain spread through the lower half of her back.
"Did you bite your tongue?" asked her man.
Lei shook her head, and still chewing, crawled out of the blanket. She must have been laying badly. Sometimes their luggage got moved around into uncomfortable lumps below her.
Another sharp pain struck through her back, this time it lasted longer.
Lei spat out her mouthful of meat.
"Bat-shit," she yelled, when a third pain struck her. This one stretched all the way into her hips.
"What's the matter?" asked her man.
"It hurts," hissed Lei, rolling onto her side. That didn't help.
Lei gritted her teeth against a new round of pain.
"My back. My hips. Everything."
She arched with another round.
"Is it Redrock? Is it time?" asked her man.
"It's not supposed to be like this," hissed Lei. "It hurts too much."
"How?" Her man's voice and face was all worry, and concern, and fear.
Lei shrieked with another pain.
"Lei, what is happening?"
The pain disappeared.
"It stopped," said Lei, taking a deep breath of relief, then another. "I think Redrock is ready to be born, Black."
"But we don't have a healer," objected her man. "I have no clue where to find one."
"We'll have to do it just the two of us," said Lei, and smiled at him. "Together we can do anything. Remember?"
Her man looked panicked.
"Oh, get over it, Black," complained Lei. "You are not the one who has to feel the... PAIN!" A fresh surge of back-crunching pain had taken her by surprise.
"Do you want me to make a fire?" asked her man, when she again could breathe.
"No," hissed Lei. "No fire."
"What do you want me to do then?"
"Shut up and help me undress," hissed Lei. "The pains are coming too fast and hard. I don't think we have much time."
"How can you tell it is too fast and hard? You've never done this before."
"Black," warned Lei, this was not a time for him to argue.
Without further objections her man shook their belongings out of the blanket and spread it on the ground. Then, after awaiting her permission, he lifted her onto it, and started pulling her leggings off.
"Black," panted Lei, after another back-wrenching round of pain. "I think something is wrong."
"Nothing is wrong. It's just happening a little fast."
"If something is wrong," persisted Lei, and paused for another sting. "If! Bat-shit, it hurts. If something goes wrong."
"Nothing will go wrong, Lei."
"Shut up," hissed Lei. "If I die, you cut him out of me."
"No," her man shook his head. "I won't cut you. Never."
"If I die, you cut him out of me," hissed Lei, ignoring fresh agony spreading through her hips and back. "You hear me? You cut him OUT!"
"You won't die," snarled Black. "I won't let you. So shut up and give birth to our baby."
"Those screams, Officer Zoa," whispered the experienced soldier next to Zoa. He was one of her rope-men.
"He likes to torture his prey," whispered Zoa.
"We have to save that woman, Officer Zoa. Please give us the go."
"Stand down, soldier," commanded Zoa, still whispering, still moving slowly without disturbing any stems. "If we go early he will simply carry her off to torture her someplace else. Nobody goes before I give the go."
Intellectual property of Nanna Marker.
The whole of the city of Dewgold's army was hiding in the fields. The ones who hadn't been trained for combat against the spider had been placed far from the spider's route, where there was no risk of them interfering with the main event.
General Hopez had claimed it would do them good to move out for something that wasn't a mere exercise.
It made Zoa's burden worse. If her couriers, ropers, net-throwers, and chainers failed, she had no doubt the spider would go on a killing spree in the fields. No matter how well-trained and experienced General Hopez other soldiers were, they stood no chance against the monster.
The tortured screams were freezing her insides. The tracksters hadn't warned that the spider had resumed his murderous ways.
"This time he won't get away with it," whispered Zoa. In her hand she was holding her still cloth-covered spiked chain. She couldn't unwrap it before giving the go, lest its rattling should alert the monster.
They had one unexpected advantage, though. Even if it was one Zoa would rather have been without. If spiders really could see death. And the spider did see Death. Then he would assume the pale man had come for his prey, not himself.
"Your water broke," said Kokata.
"It hurts you son-of-a-slug. Why did I ever let you put this thing into me," complained Lei and screamed again.
"It won't be long now," promised Kokata. The more erratic his mate behaved, the more calm he had to be.
"I'll never let you touch me again," wept Lei. "Never."
"Allright," said Kokata. The termite-woman he had abducted at the false alarm had said that the baby needed to come soon after the water, or the woman might dry up and tear. "I won't touch you again. Now, when the next contraction comes, you push, Lei."
"Don't say you'll never touch me again, you piece of rotting bat-shit," wailed Lei, her stomach cramping with fresh contractions.
"Push, Lei," reminded Kokata.
His woman bared her teeth and pushed. She was all skin and bones and belly.
Kokata was more than afraid. He was terrified. His Lei was loud-mouthed, but her hands' tight grip on his legs was weak. He couldn't let his feelings show, though. He had to be calm. The contraction faded and his woman stopped pushing.
"I hate you," she whined.
"Here comes another one," said Kokata. "Push."
His woman pushed. Kokata could only hope that her insides had more muscles left than her outside. He glanced about for Death. The pale man was not about, his absence inspired hope. Kokata was in great need of that, for, as his eyes returned to his woman, he saw something big and bloody pushing against her dilated opening from the inside. It was a horrible sight.
"I see the head, Lei," he said, and moved his legtips into position, ready to take hold as soon as it should come out. "Keep pushing."
"I wish I'd never met you," hissed his Lei, then grunted with effort. She was pushing.
"Just a little bit more," urged Kokata, who couldn't imagine how that huge head was supposed to squeeze out of his tiny woman. "It's almost there."
And then, it was there the head, far enough out for him to hold. Sooner than he even dared to try pull at the head, his woman pushed the rest of the infant out.
"It's a boy," wept Kokata. "It's a beautiful little boy."
The infant was all gooey and bloody, and just about the most wonderful thing Kokata had ever seen. It opened its mouth and took a deep breath. His Lei slumped back against the legs he had supported her back with.
"I'm so tired," she said. "I have to sleep."
"Wait," insisted Kokata. "The afterbirth." But his woman had already passed out. The infant started wailing.
"Lei," yelled Kokata, shaking his woman, and wrapping dry fresh silk around his son. "The afterbirth."
A sharp, high-pitched, whistling sound filled the air.
Kokata looked up and saw long strings shooting through the air. He covered his woman and his newborn son with his body, caging them within his legs.
The first round of throwing ropes landed, the spikes at their heavy ends burrowing into soil and plant. The spider wiggled beneath them, already cutting to free himself.
Zoa whistled the go for her second half of ropethrowers. Her heart pounding with fear for the infant below the monster. The spider and his woman should die for their evil, but the newborn was innocent.
Those who had thrown ropes turned and ran behind the net-throwers, giving them room.
The second half of rope fell on the spider. Zoa dropped her spiked chain and ran forward empty-handed, her whistle in her mouth. Even as she ran, she whistled the go for the net-throwers. She landed hard on the spider's back just as the net landed on the both of them. The whistle flew from her lips.
"Chains," she yelled, struggling to get beneath the spider to where the infant was. "Throw the chains."
The tightening net kept Zoa in place on the monster's back. On all sides of her its legs were cutting ropes and net masks.
"I don't care if you hit me," screamed Zoa. "Throw the damned chains."
One of the spider's legs made it out of the net and was caught by a perfectly aimed chain-throw. The spider bolted, and Zoa, more by luck than intention, slid down its backside and onto the ground. And, finally, she got below it.
"More net," screamed Zoa. "More chains."
She saw the infant. The spider was holding it against his chest, just above his woman's chest. Zoa would have made a move for it, but the spider mashed her into the ground with the rear of his body.
Zoa's face was being pushed into the soil. She couldn't breathe.
And then the weight was gone.
Zoa raised herself. The infant was no longer close. The spider was no longer above her. Zoa glanced about in time to see the spider cutting the last pieces of net and rope, and jump.
Written by Nanna Marker; literotica ID ellynei.
Its jump was stopped when two grounded chains reached their limit. One was across its back, one was around a leg.
"More chains," yelled Zoa.
Chains were thrown, but the monster evaded them all and tore off the one from his back.
Kokata threw away the spiked chain that had bitten into his back armour and turned his attention to the one on his leg. It had curled three times around his leg, he couldn't just tear it of in one go.
More chains were being thrown at him.
Clutching his woman and wailing son tight, Kokata evaded. He didn't have time to free his leg. A bloody rain of spiky metal was surrounding him. Kokata spun and twisted, avoiding most of it. The rest he tore himself out of.
He had to get away before they hit Lei and Redrock.
Kokata cut off his trapped leg and jumped.
"No," screamed Zoa, and set off the ground. Within seconds, she was up higher than the grass, but the spider was out of sight.
"Couriers," screamed Zoa, and within seconds they were around her. Ten of them she ordered to spread the word that the monster had escaped and was bleeding, ten she ordered to spread out and search. All she instructed not to engage the thing.
Then she flew to seek out General Hopez. She'd need him to command his army to cluster up behind sharp blades.
"Lei," whispered Kokata, shaking his woman. No matter where he went there were termites nearby. Kokata hadn't known there was that many termites in the world. "Lei, wake up."
His son had stopped wailing. He was too thin and weak. Not as thin as his mother, but still far thinner than a newborn termite, as he, should be.
"Lei, wake up," whispered Kokata, keeping his voice down not to wake his son. The nearest termites were close enough that they would be able to hear wailing.
"Tired," whimpered his woman.
"Lei, the afterbirth. It needs out," whispered Kokata, he had already tied and cut the cord. "I'll let you sleep as soon as its out."
"Can't," whimpered his woman.
"Together we can do anything," whispered Kokata.
His Lei forced her eyes open.
"Stay with me," urged Kokata.
This time his woman managed to stay awake long enough to push out the afterbirth. She was too warm. Her fever had resurfaced. Kokata heard termites walking and talking nearby, and lifted up his woman and son. He had to move on.
Zoa had finally convinced General Hopez to order his soldiers into 'blade-clusters', and was now pressing the spider's cut off leg into the arms of a hesitant trackster. The middleaged man had a hard time forcing himself to touch it, so Zoa grabbed one of his man hands and smeared it into the blood covering the leg.
"If this don't give you a connection," she hissed, pressing the trackster's hand against skin-covered legplating. "I don't know what will."
The trackster closed his eyes and of his own accord moved his other hand to the leg too.
"He is afraid," said the trackster. "He fears for his woman and his son."
"Is the baby still alive?" asked Zoa.
"The infant is weak. He isn't wailing anymore. He worries for him."
"Where are they?" Zoa released the trackster's hand not to interfere with his visions.
"He doesn't know where they are. He doesn't know where to go. Wherever he goes he hears termites. He didn't know there are so many termites in the world."
"Can you see where he is headed?"
"No," said the limited seer. "It's all fog."
"Keep talking," urged Zoa.
"He loves her so very much," whispered the seer, tears rolling out from his closed eyes. "He can't live without her. He has to find a safe place to nurse her and his son. He is so very tired, but he doesn't stop to rest. He doesn't know that he is still bleeding. He hasn't noticed."
Zoa rose and waved one of her courier veterans closer.
"Stay with him," whispered Zoa to the courier. "Sooner or later he will have a location for us, when he does you send word directly to General Hopez."
"He will die if he keeps bleeding like that," said the seer, absently, "and he still hasn't realised it. His juice of life is streaming out of that stump of leg. What a silly thing to do. He is running himself toward Death."
"Well, that's something to hope for," whispered Zoa, glancing back at the seer. "We will want to be informed if he declares the spider dead too."
"Of course," whispered the courier veteran.
Zoa padded him on the shoulder and set off. She'd check on the 'clusters'.
Kokata's legs gave in below him and he staggered to regain his balance. As soon as he did, he moved onward. His legs refused to run, so he walked. He had to keep moving. He could sleep later. First he had to get them all to safety.
He had forgotten about his missing leg and fell when he tried to support on something no longer attached to his body. In the last moment he lifted his woman and son up and forward not to land on them. His body impacted the ground with a tooth-rattling thump.
Submitted to literotica.com by the author.
Kokata lowered his woman and son to the ground in front of him. He had to get back up. He curled up one leg, then another, then... The next one refused to move. Kokata frowned. That wasn't the one he had cut off, was it? He tried to remember which one he had but his mind felt like a big ball of cotton.
A big ball of cotton floating across the blue sky...
No! Kokata forced his eyes back up. He couldn't allow himself to fall asleep. Not yet. His legs had all fallen down again. He had to start all over.
First he had to curl one leg up... The leg wouldn't listen. Kokata's eyes were closing.
No! His leg had to listen. He dragged the tip of it closer, now it was bend, all he had to do now was raise the curve of it into a curl. He had never realised how heavy his legs were.
"You are still as beautiful as you were the night you were born," said a gentle voice.
Kokata looked up to see Death looking down at him.
"You can't have them," whispered Kokata, not having enough strength to yell.
Death knelt next to him and Kokata spent the last of his strength protectively laying two more legs around his woman and son.
"You have bled too much, Kokata," said Death, gently. "You can't stay awake much longer. You can take no more action toward who I will, or won't, touch this day. Go ahead and close your eyes."
Kokata wanted to object, wanted to protect his Lei and his Redrock, but his eyelids closed and he couldn't force them up. He was so very tired.
"My sister was smiling when she blew your first breath into your mouth, Kokata." Death's voice was soft, and Kokata remembered.
Death's sister's was the first face he had ever seen. One of her eyes had been blue as a summer-sky, her other had been green as fresh grass. Her skin and hair had been striped with every colour of a rainbow. She had been beautiful and she had been smiling at him. She was Life.
"Go to sleep now," said Death.
Kokata passed out.
"I don't wanna see it," screamed Evelin, clawing at her eyes.
The worn out man pulled her hands from her face and hugged her even tighter. The child had been frantic for hours.
"Make it stop," screamed Evelin. "Make it stop."
Zoa was flying high, scouting for which group to check in on next. In the distance she noticed a courier flying low.
"Bat-shit," hissed Zoa and set off toward the idiot. She had thoroughly instructed her couriers how high they had to fly for the spider not to cut them out of the air.
"You're early," said Kuruma. "It's not time yet."
Death raised his eyes to her.
"I was wondering where you had gone off to," he said. "How did you find me?"
"A little girl told me where you would be," said the ghost of the old healer, who in death was no longer blind. "What is about to happen will break her heart."
"The seer Evelin knew what she was doing," said Death gently. "At least some of the time. She will have to carry that burden till I relieve her of it."
"Is there any way you could... not..." the old healer Kuruma's ghost spread out her hands.
Death shook his head.
"I only ever take who I have to," he said.
"I was afraid you would say that," said Kuruma and shook her head too. Then she let it be. "While we wait, maybe you could tell me about where you will bring us?"
Death smiled and again shook his head.
"Some things are secret even to the dead," he said.
Keme landed. There was the spider. Exactly where and when Evelin's letter had claimed.
"Helplesses," whispered Keme, and drew his sword.
Just as Evelin's clumsy letters had promised, the black spider lay before him, still alive but unconscious. Even if it woke, it couldn't move, the letters had promised.
Evelin had written that he could kill it with his own sword.
Before him lay his greatest enemy and everything he loved. Merely pushing his sword into the spider's neck would be too merciful.
"Waky, waky," yelled Keme and kicked the spider's abdomen.
The monster didn't stir.
"Wake up," yelled Keme, walking around it. "I want you to see this."
The monster's woman whispered something, but kept her eyes closed. Keme recognised her.
"Was it you that told him to murder my family, Lei?" he asked. "Was it? Was the idea his or yours?"