Realising he had to bury her body, he looked ahead. Between the trees, going down a short incline, the land levelled out onto open ground. Between the trees, he extracted his claws and dug away at the earth, not stopping until he had reached a suitable depth. Taking a moment to compose himself, he lowered Teyata’s body within the grave and commenced to refill the hole.
Brad gathered wood for a fire. It burned waist high as he split a thick branch down the middle with his hatchet. A few chips away cleared up the rough edges before he began to fashion a cross together. He carefully cut out a recess on the upright to allow the cross member to perfectly fit within. Previous experiments with plant saps educated him in the making of glue. Heating three different plants above the fire allowed him to drip an orange resin into the recess. Once he placed the cross-member within, he waited and attempted to pull the cross apart. It held rigidly.
He hammered the cross into the ground with the heel of his hatchet as his dagger blade rested in the fire. When it glowed red, he pulled it from the flames and set it to the cross. Reheating the dagger two more times, he pulled away to view his handiwork. Teyata showed in neat black letters.
Brad lowered his head respectfully, wondering why he went to so much trouble to mark the grave properly. He knew he would never come by this way again and have the heart to see the cross.
In reflective silence, Teyata’s final words returned to him. Brad, do you think I have a soul?
It pained him that he couldn’t give her a better answer than “I don’t know.” She needed solace at the time, but he didn’t want to lie to her either.
“I hope so,” he whispered, eroding into sobbing.
Lisa stepped closer, with tears in her eyes, assimilating the resting of her hand on Brad’s holographic shoulder.
“Oh Brad; I’m so sorry.”
As if sensing her presence, Brad turned away and walked a few steps, staring into the open plane from the fire’s side.
Lisa retreated to her chair by her lab computer.
“I’ll be right here,” she said, determined to sit out the night with him.
Out of habit alone, he gathered plants in the surrouding bushland for his healing and applied them to his wounds as he say by the fire. He didn’t try to find a better spot to keep watch against predators, or even take the precaution of sleeping in a tree. At the very least, he should have prayed for his safety. God would have expected him to do so. Even though he recognised the sounds of dangerous beasts, he lowered himself to the ground and closed his eyes, too broken and weary to care.
Unknown to him, the Creater of the universe kept them at bay as he slept. He also didn’t know that the Lord did so, due to the prayers of someone else watching, 600 years into the future.