I had depended upon the boatman’s dugout still being there. If it were we had all of his supplies in addition to those being carried by Adrianna (I was sure that was her name) and Moustache (I was pretty sure his name was also Jacques) and we would be well supplied for an extended period of time. That should be, I hoped, a period of time long enough to let us get settled on that other island.
That other island was where I wanted us to go.
Partway to the place where I hoped we would find the dugout we disturbed a small flock of carrion birds. There wasn’t much left but they were still working on it. Adrianna, returning to thinking to me said, “flesh is transient; the spirit prevails.”
Thinking of the blood that had been on my shoes I shuddered.
We kept trudging. Moustache sniffed the wind and quickened his gait.
The dugout was there.
The supplies were still in it.
Apparently in their orgy of mutilation the crowd with the vicious spear pointed oak weapons had done their deed and then gone home to celebrate. That had left us – Adrianna, Moustache and me – our escape vehicle.
As the dugout became captured by the down river current, as Moustache finally took a sentinel position at the dugout’s bow – the downriver end; neither end was really a bow – I was overwhelmed with something resembling ecstasy. I had never experienced, I was quite sure – my life having been a nose to the grindstone sort of existence – ecstasy.
But what I was feeling must be it.
“I grieve at the times I missed saving you. I also grieve that I have been so long without you. And I grieve that I was so long in understanding my existence, its multiple manifestations, and your real and tangible existence. I regret not having come to you on your behalf – on our behalf – long ago. I just didn’t know.”
She looked at me. All I could see was green eyes and almost black hair streaked with red.
“I am not from here and now. Nor are you. This is merely where we began. Wrap this around your finger.” Having said that, she handed me a piece of that beautifully tanned white skin that I had seen wrapping the boatman’s bleeding middle left hand finger.
I wrapped it around my bleeding finger and we continued down river.
Moustache looked pleased.