—Grasslands—Lake Clan— Believe Me
Aram and his men followed dusty footprints, scanning broken stems of grass and twigs crushed under hurried feet. The trail was so obvious—neither Namah nor Irad had taken much care. At one point, they found a crushed spot where one of them had fallen and the other had dragged the companion a short way. Aram’s eyes squinted. Surely, Namah could not drag Irad. But why would Irad drag Namah? If she were sick or exhausted, he could carry her. Sweat trickled down the inside of his tunic.
Who was Irad? The question came sudden and unbidden. Or rather, he clarified his thought, who had Irad become? Evil possesses the man, directing his actions. This was not the man he knew. Or had Irad always been different than he had imagined? Aram’s mind floundered on questions he could not answer.
When he came upon the footprints at the edge of the cliff, he peered around. No one—no body—was there. Then he glanced down.
A solitary figure crouched by the shore. Something floated in the water.
Scampering down a craggy pass, Aram let his men follow in due course and jumped from ledge to ledge. Finally, he slid to the shore. As he ran, sand flew in a backward spray. His gaze locked on his wife, and he came to an abrupt halt.
Namah crouched, huddled over, rocking and moaning.
Irad, his clothes billowing in the water, floated face down. Clenching his jaw against tearing pain in his middle, Aram lifted his head and strode to his wife. Crouching at her side, he laid a hand on her shoulder.
Namah continued to rock, shaking and groaning.
Lifting her chin, Aram peered into haunted eyes. Her face, streaked with mud and blood, held shock and grief so deeply etched that words failed. Aram wrapped his arms around her, and held her, rocking and groaning with her.
With a scream, Namah pulled away. She hesitated, her words dropped to a mere whisper. “It wasn’t my fault.” Swallowing, she cried. She gripped her leg in agony but still stared at the body. “He’s crazy—evil! You didn’t know him, Aram. But I did!”
Aram rubbed away the tears coursing down her face. He surveyed her body. Her leg lay twisted at an odd angle. Bile rose in his throat.
Gripping her thigh, Namah sobbed. “He tried to kill me, but I killed him. He killed Lamech—Shem—Anikar. Now he knows what it feels like.” Shivering through a feverous tremor, she clawed at her leg. “I’ll die too.”
Rising, Aram whistled to his men who scrambled to the shore. With quick instructions, they tore off their outer tunics and formed a soft cradle to carry Namah between them.
Holding her steady, Aram helped to carry her past the body of his one-time friend. He kept his eyes averted. They negotiated Namah up a gentle incline and started the journey home.
Namah whimpered, clutching at Aram’s arm. “You’d have killed him yourself. He’s an animal—a dangerous animal.” Her head sank back, and, covering her face, she sobbed.
Without willing it, Aram looked back. The floating body rocked with the ebb of the morning tide.
A. K. Frailey is the author of 15 books, a teacher for 35 years, and a homeschooling mother of 8.
Make the most of life’s journey.
For books by A. K. Frailey check out her Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/author/akfrailey
“…more complex and thought-provoking than your usual alien/human encounter.” ~D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
“The history is fascinating, the characters are uniquely intriguing, the plot is very rich, and the events are fascinating.” ~OnlineBookClub.org
“Tense encounters, crisp action, failures of leadership, and dramatic surprises power the story’s main thrust…” ~BookLife Reviews
“Frailey writes in a crisp, lean, and richly detailed style, building a fascinating, absorbing world.” ~Blue Ink Review
Escape into a world of monstrous cats and epic journeys in the Tolkien style. Frailey succeeds in creating a new world, but also succeeds in spinning human emotions that keeps the reader grounded in timeless themes. ~Swegart
Aram must lead his clan to safety, protect an innocent man, forgive his wayward wife, and challenge a curse that haunts his soul. As Aram encounters both good and evil, an alien world watches and waits for their part to play in humanity’s future hope or despair.