Day turned to night, with Teyata sitting by the fire, reading the Bible as Brad sharpened his hatchets.
Brad listened to Teyata’s voice without interest. He put it down to being tired as he abraded the hatchet’s edge on the concrete. His motions slowed as her voice became a pleasant sound without meaning, except to soothe his soul as his mother once did. Teyata’s face consumed his consciousness. In a world where everyone died and left him behind, only God and her stuck by him. Yes, she had been cruel with her lessons, but she administered them to help him. Even before, when he shared a planet with billions, he’d never seen a more beautiful woman.
God said, “do not be unevenly yoked.” He meant that a Christian should only marry another Christian. Would God begrudge him making a life for himself with Teyata? Thus far, it seemed only they shared the earth. In his mind, he fervently prayed for her salvation, as he did most days.
His prayer halted in mid sentence, as he lacked the words to go on.
Do you love her? he felt God say.
He tried to imagine a world without Teyata. His mind’s eye took him to a graveside; hers. Something irritated his cheek. Reaching up, Teyata’s reading voice resumed in his hearing as he dabbed at his cheek. It was moist; a tear. He had his answer.
Yes, Lord, I do.
Teyata read on.
“I love you, Teyata,” Brad said softly.
She continued to read, apparently not hearing him.
“Teyata, I said… ”
Slamming the Bible shut, she stared ahead as if in deep thought.
“I want to become a Christian,” she said.
Brad gaped, not knowing how to respond. He had often prayed for her salvation, but now that she wanted it; was it a good idea?
“I don’t know if you can,” Brad said aghast.
She looked at him.
“God wants all men to be saved and to know the truth,” she quoted.
“Yeah… all men, Teyata, but you’re a manine.”
“So?” she asked hotly.
“Well you’re not fully a man. You’re half cat.”
A twisted growl emanated from her throat as she bared her teeth. All at once, Brad no longer saw the beautiful woman, but the dangerous feral being.
“You don’t have the right to deny me!”
“I’m not denying you, Teyata,” Brad said, almost mournfully. “I just have to be sure about praying with you or else I’d be treating Jesus’ gift of salvation as a joke.”
Teyata’s face softened. “Please, Brad. You’ve come to understand the dangers of the new world. Anything can poison me, or something might eat me. I could take a fall.”
Brad laughed. “I can’t imagine you falling.”
“Manines fall,” Teyata said sternly. “What I’m saying is; any day can be my last. Please, Brad, I need this. Pray with me. Salvation is for today. There’s no guarantee of tomorrow.”
Brad nodded reluctantly, closing his eyes.
“Repeat after me.”
He led Teyata into prayer. Accepting Jesus as her Lord and Saviour. Brad had no way of knowing his prayer would have an effect on another human being 600 years into the future, but it had. At the same time, tears ran from Lisa’s eyes, saying “amen” in unison with Teyata.