“… X, y, z. Hundred!” Teyata said in triumph.
Not that she knew what numbers existed between ten and a hundred, but she had recited the alphabet ten times ten. Her heart fluttered with joy.
“Now I know how to read.”
She opened the Bible and began at the start.
“In the beginning, the… ”
Her eyes flickered over the groups of symbols across the page. None of them yielded meaning, as they should. Her fevered scanning revealed “in” and “the,” but nothing else; not even “beginning.” It seemed she only recognised the words that Brad read out to her. She only managed to read the first four words successively because it repeated the word “the.”
Growling in frustration, she closed the Bible.
“I have to learn more.”
She looked at Brad. He laid on his side, snoring the sleep of utter exhaustion.
Brad can teach me more.
Logic dictated that she only had to give him a shake, then he’d wake up and teach her what she wanted to know. She leaned over him, about to set her hand to his arm, then hovered in indecision.
Is this sin?
Brad said that sin came from selfishness. Rorbin hated being roused from a sound sleep, so it would be wrong to do it to Brad. True, she would learn more, but in the process, she’d deprive Brad of the rest he needed.
She withdrew her hand. Yes, it is sin.
Her eyes strayed over his slumbering form, wondering why she generated any feelings for him. Like any man of the old world, Brad was physically inadequate. As yet, he couldn’t hunt, run, or defend himself. That made him a liability that needed carrying.
Why do I want to do that?
Brad’s input thus far, had only been the explanations of the old world and of his friend God. She would have written off his friendship with God as delusion influenced by loneliness, except she started to sense someone present; or at least watching. Maybe Brad made her paranoid.
She sensed more, though as yet, she could make no explanation for her suspicions that went beyond her razor keen senses. But what of Brad? He did nothing more than talk to her; treat her with kindness and consideration.
Is that what I want from him?
Rorbin never treated her that way, nor did any other manine.
Yes, she decided.
She not only wanted, but needed Brad. He made her feel better about herself, and she would do anything to perpetuate that feeling; even keep him alive. She wanted to do something for him. If sin meant the wrong thing, then what meant the opposite?
When he wakes up, he’ll be hungry!
She sprang from the rock slab in a wide arc, landing on the grass. From there, she sprinted for the nearest healthy tree and all but ran up its length. Springing higher from branch to branch, she sat in its crown where the more slender branches could barely support her. The small yellow blossoms competed with her olfactory senses, almost overpowering all else. Her mouth watered as a scent came to her nostrils; this she could hunt. Springing into the branches of a neighbouring tree, she picked her route, hoping to drop on her prey.