Zeke squinted his eyes in reaction to her reddish glow. He took a deep breath, filling the top of his lungs. “But I can help! I have knowledge of their weaponry, their tactics, and their mindset.”
“You have helped enough…believe me. It’s best you hide until the intruders are ridden. Just like on Murminilia.”
“But—” He reached for her arm, and winced. “Ouch! Your skin. It’s burning.”
She narrowed her eyes. “Why do you seek to touch me?”
He broke eye contact. “I don’t know,” he said, shifting his gaze to the Whispering Trees. He rubbed his elbow and tucked his chin. “I…I, I think I love you.”
She remained stoic. “Has Mayatte taught you nothing? Even when we are in peril, you still can’t see past yourself—past your desires. You have put an entire ecosystem in danger, all the while lust and power fill your heart.”
His lip trembled. “But—”
“There is no but. There is no love, only Mayatte. What you feel is a desire to control and conquer. You want to be a part of me so you can understand me. That is not love. There is no love here. There is only Mayatte. She sought to embrace you, and you betrayed her for your own gain. You do not love me, you are not Mayatte, you love yourself.”
Zeke’s knees weakened as he was struck with blow after blow of veracity.
Small blotches hindered Naña’s vision, yet she revealed no weakness. She closed her eyes and inhaled high and deep. “And despite all of this, Mayatte always offers forgiveness and extends a means of absolution.”
Zeke quivered from the thunder of a booming hollow drum. He turned his head, seeking out the source of the loud rhythmic beating.
As he scanned the island, he couldn’t help but notice that the entire skyline was flooded with military-grade helicopters.
He sunk even further within himself, refusing to even look in Naña’s direction. Without hesitating or looking back, he burst into a full sprint towards the helicopters.
“Where are you going? Do not be foolish!” Naña crumbled, groveling in pain. What’s happening to me? She leaned against the base of a whispering tree, propping herself to her feet.
She attempted to give pursuit to Zeke, but both femurs fractured with her initial step, crumbling her body to the island floor. She hollered out in agony. I can’t just lay here. Get up, Naña! All this has happened because of me.
I liked the excerpt.
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