Chapter 10: Waiting Out the Storm
What started as a promising drizzle to cool the island’s unhappy inhabitants soon became a terrible storm putting all plans of overtaking or escape to a halt. Sitting on the porch, shaving away the ends of a spear with a pocket knife he’d acquired from Trader, Lex watched his tribe mates scrambling like chickens with their heads cut off. Back and forth they went; carrying loose furniture into empty huts and looking for ways to tie close the shutters of the inhabited dwellings. He often rolled his eyes at them, thinking they were missing the bigger threat. He was incredibly on edge with the Guardian around.
Finally, the movement stopped and they headed towards a structure slightly larger than the others, Lex taking up his spear and following behind them. The Mallrats could only guess the room they’d chosen as a safe haven was at some point in time was a recreation room due to the odd games strewn about, an air hockey table, and various toys.
Lex wasted no time in announcing his distaste. “I’m not comfortable knowing he’s around,” he announced testing the tips of his weapon with his fingertips. They all know the ‘he’ their self-appointed sheriff was referring to: The Guardian.
“Funny,” it was Amber, quick to quip, rolling her eyes at the young man. “We women used to say that about you, Lex.”
Lex glared, opening his mouth to defend himself, but clamped it shut quickly. He knew all too well she was right. He’d made a pass at all the women in the tribe, except for Lottie of course.
“I, for one, have to agree with Lex,” Alice chipped in, “This man is outright loony.”
“But right now he’s helpless and unconscious and I’m going to do everything in my power to sustain his life,” Salene said firmly, with her mind made up.
Ebony scowled at her, “Yeah well just keep him away from me, otherwise all your hard work will go to waste. We all know I’m a little less forgiving than most.” Ebony was of course holding a grudge from when Jaffa had attempted to kill her and humiliated her in front of an audience.
“As many times as you were let back into this tribe, you think you would be,” May muttered loud enough to be overheard.
“Who are you to be acting high and mighty, not that I’m taking Ebony’s side, but I seem to recall you being an all around shady character not too long ago,” Trudy broke in.
“Alright, enough!” Taisan interjected. She was tired of the fuss. “We’d all do right just to let Sal do what she is doing; besides we have other matters to fuss about.”
“Exactly, like how do we get off this island when we’re being flooded around mass bodies of water?” Ellie piped in.
The room grew quiet aside from the children playing. It had been raining non-stop for five days now. They had to bail water out of Trader’s boat twice already.
Shrill screams pierced the growing silence. They were those of Gel. Nobody had even noticed she was missing. It was Lex, spear at the ready that went charging out of the room first.
“That ghostly man is awake!” Lex found Gel in a panic.
Jay, hot on Lex’s tail couldn’t take Gel and her hysterics. “Sammy, see if you can calm her down,” he suggested, his eyes pleading with the boy.
Salene pushed past the group into the room where Jaffa was sitting upright in the bed staring straight ahead and chanting some gibberish.
She spoke softly to him, coaxing him to lay back down, “You’re fine. I’ll get you some water.”
Ebony, still befuddled at the woman’s care for the Guardian said, “She has always felt the need be the ‘mother’.”
Salene shooed everyone away, shutting the door in their faces. She was going to help this man in any way she could, her future depended on it. At least she hoped she’d benefit from nursing Jaffa back to good health.
During the reunion stage, Amber and Bray had decided to take things slowly, but things were moving at a snail’s pace for Amber, who unlike everyone else didn’t go chasing after Gel’s screams. She hadn’t realized she wasn’t alone.
“You look terrible,” Taisan entered into the kitchenette of the rec room where Amber sat in a stool at the counter.
“Do I? Gosh, I hope it’s not that evident,” Amber panicked.
Tai laughed, “Relax, I was just thinking about your expression.”
Amber sighed, “Oh good, I though maybe my whole heart was displayed on my face.”
“Matters of the heart you say? Are things okay between you and Bray?”
“Oh, things are fine, sure, but…”
“But you wish things were moving at a faster pace?” Taisan finished the sentence for her.
Amber smiled, “Are you a mind reader too, medicine woman?”
Taisan played into the joke, “No, that’s what my crystal ball is for.”
After a small laugh followed by silence, Taisan spoke some more, “I know what you’re going through, it’s hard to get back to that place of ecstasy and joy that was once.”
“Exactly! Am I wrong for loving with my every whim?”
“No, we just have to give it time, though patience is running thin.”
Amber pouted, “I know you’re right, and I know we need to give it time, but I don’t know how much longer my patience will hold. He doesn’t even touch me hardly when we kiss, it’s like I’m diseased.”
“I have faith in you Amber. He’s probably thinking you took things too fast to begin with and he wants to go about things right this time. Just…”
“Give it time, I know, I know.” Amber relented, though her mind was still full of worry. She knew Bray. Something or someone else was on his mind. If she had so easily moved on with Jay, wasn’t it possible he’d have found someone?
Taisan smiled at her, breaking up her thoughts with what she said next. “I have an idea. I think its time for one of our ‘Mallrat’ parties.”
Amber was hesitant to be an enthusiast, but finally gave in to Taisan’s stares, “We may as well, right, to help wait out the storm?” She was starting to gain enthusiasm, “Just make sure there’s no paint or A.I. Zoot’s around.”
They both laughed and set in motion the plans for a party.