Allaynah’s eyes eased open slowly. It took her a few moments to remember where she was and why so much of her body was stiff with pain and cold; but when the realisation that she must have fallen asleep during the night floated into her awareness and what little reserve of adrenaline she had left was released into her blood stream. She threw her arms out as though anticipating an imminent attack at that moment. However, she ended up instead getting tangled up with Rosha who had been sitting beside her attempting to coax a feeble spark into a flame. Rosha explained that she had woken up and found Allaynah fast asleep and didn’t want to bother her as she needed some sleep too.
Allaynah untangled herself, and sat cross legged looking around her dumbfounded. It was a regular cool late Spring morning, the birds and animals were silent, and there was little activity in the camp around her beyond Rosha and about a dozen other women trying to start fires without enough kindling to keep a fire going. Obviously, none of the women were confident enough to ask the Bellamani women for an ember from one of their fires, nor for some proper firewood.
There were a hundred or so Paximani women huddling together after enduring the cold night out in the open and were obviously similarly cold and stiff as she was. There was no sign of her sister Printara anywhere. She looked at Rosha who was gently uncovering something from underneath from her meagre pile of kindling. With delight she realised Rosha had a plate of bark with two fistfuls of berries and a mushroom on it. Before she even thought to ask where the berries had come from Allaynah devoured the mushroom whole without washing it and gorged on the berries devouring even the empty skins of the berries that had burst during their picking. The meal was small but it lessened her intense hunger pains enough for her to find the space to think clearly again. Continue reading “The Paximani – Part 5”