Chapter I

Seconds later, the lovers pulled apart as heavy footsteps approached. Mankayo grabbed her arm and pulled her into the heavy brush by the path. A large platoon passed them by them with weapons that Inkya did not recognize. She gasped and Mankayo put his hand over her mouth.

Scene 01

The boy with his golden brown skin and wheat colored hair pulled back to a short pony tail, smiled at the pale woman before him. His warm hazel eyes twinkled with a joy he had not felt in years. The woman’s blonde wavy hair glittered in the sunlight, and her sea green eyes rivaled the deepest ocean.

She was one of the sea dwelling people who hid in caverns under the falls, and he was a leader among the young rebels of the land dwellers who lived in the caves. It was the natural disasters that tore their world apart.

Something drastic needed to be done to end the hate and prejudice between the two races. Normally their discussions in the moonlight would be about the future and how they wanted to shout their love from the roof tops. However, today their whispers echoed with an urgency edged with uncertainty and fear. Her unexpected news thrilled them both but brought the future into a sharp reality.

He placed a hand on her flat belly. “Our infant.”

She nodded, chewing her bottom lip trying to fight off the tears that threatened to spill from her eyes. “What are we to do, Mankayo? Our baby is bound for death or the home Of Relicta.[1]

“We get married, Inkya, we go ask our Lord to bless our union at the junction of land and sea. Say our joining vows, find a dwelling in the protected zone, and live our lives. Raise our child.”

“And die among the uncivilized. Besides, Mankayo, our families would never agree,” Inkya cried. “A marriage between us could increase the wars.”

“Or it could end it!” He studied her delicate features and grabbed her by the shoulders. “Don’t you see? We are loved and respected among our people; we have the power to change. We can be the first to start to rebuild our world. To create a new land where both our clans can live in harmony. That is what we want Amica Mea.[2]” He smiled. “We are so crowded in our caves. Both of our clans crave to expand onto the wasteland, and refine it. We can make that happen, by leading by example.”

“How can you be sure that we can do such a thing, will ever exist?”

He smiled and pulled a wrinkled paper out of his pocket. “Look,” he thrust the paper toward her. “Look at the picture!”

She took the paper and looked at it. Many people of all kinds were working together to assist the injured. She raised her eyes to his. “We are a broken people, Mankayo, your people consider us inferior.”

He gently cupped her face and kissed her. She felt it to the depths of her soul. Their souls intertwined, and then floated above the physical body. Seconds later, the lovers pulled apart as heavy footsteps approached. Mankayo grabbed her arm and pulled her into the heavy brush by the path. A large platoon passed them by them with weapons that Inkya did not recognize. She gasped and Mankayo put his hand over her mouth.

One of the soldiers separated from the group and looked into the shadows. He reached up to the top of his head, and pulled  the eyewear goggles over his eyes, and searched the roadside bushes slowly.

Inkya’s chest heaved, she had a sudden desire to become invisible. She tugged on Mankayo’s hand, and led him to a hidden cave. She moved the brush covering the opening aside, and pulled her lover inside, letting the brush noiselessly snap back into place just as the man’s eyes searched the area.

“Archaic, what are you searching for?”

“I thought I heard a noise, Liber, in the bushes.”

“Sea Dwellers?”

“It is their territory.”

“They wouldn’t take the chance. Any law breaking banishes them to the desert. The animals have been rather feisty. Any man walking across that territory, if the sun don’t get them, the jaws of the lion will.” They looked at each other and laughed. “We must catch up with the others, before they notice we are missing and we end up taking pilgrimage across the desert.

“You’re probably right, Liber.” They took off.

After a few moments, the young couple came from their hiding place.

“Arca!” She whispered. “He rules the world between the Dwellers?” She angrily turned to face him. “Why did you not tell me this? He raids our caves, plunders our storage huts, and takes our children.” Panting, she pushed him away as he reached for her. “He is who you want to form an alliance with. Live amongst he and his foul mouthed, evil men.”

“He is not with the Rebels. We are a separate group and control the land further north. Beyond the middle bridge! We do not run for him.”

Middle Bridge. Inkya remembered the tales from the elder Sea Dwellers how the tragedy of that day left many dead, but that those that survived, populated the caves. Many children had survived the upheaval of the waves. Her grandmother had been one of them and was adopted by the Royal family of the Sea Dwellers. Inkya was the third generation out from the Great Disasters and carried the continuing line during a period of unrest.

They could change the future, but at what cost? She held up her hand to stem his flow of words. “I am tired, Makayo, it will soon be morning. We must return to our homes and think about this. The danger you are asking me to put our child in is great. I need time.” She sighed and put a hand on his cheek. “We could not escape tonight if we wanted to.” He pressed into her hand. Smiling tearfully, she moved into the darkness of the shadows and sunk into the water to enter into the caves behind the falls.

He swallowed back his own tears and started his own journey home. He ran through the Sea Dwellers territory, his heart beating in his chest. He jumped into his boat, cutting a path across the surface until he reached the other side.

The heavy silence of the night made him uneasy. What if Inkya decided to deny him his child? Maybe he should not have let her know about the Rebellis. His mind was churning with all the possibilities of them striking out on their own, and before he knew it, he had made it across the uncharted part of the protected land. Minutes later he set foot on his territory.

The labyrinth like caves were formed during the Great Disasters and circled the great meeting space by the giant fire pit. Marriages, final goodbyes, and great feasts were held there. Could he truly give all this up? Could he and Inkya survive in the untamed wilderness of the Protected land? All he knew was that with the coming of the child they had to make the journey together or she would be banished alone. Sighing, he climbed to the third level, and disappeared into his sleeping quarters, taking one last look at the sunrise.

copyright@Bonnita L Pleisch 2019

[1] Latin for Forsaken

[2] Latin for My Love