Chapter 18: The Parting
Kerri stared at the Unnamed’s retreating figure until it was lost among the harsh angles of rock and twisted trees. Tiponi shifted where she stood, Kerri only then realizing she was kneeling in the snow, Tiponi crouching defensively by her side.
Kerri looked back to Mahasani. The old shaman had stilled in his steady motions and was now murmuring something under his breath, eyes closed. As she watched, the glow around him dimmed and then extinguished. For a wild moment, Keri wondered who it was she’d just seen: Mahasani, or N’Mahkah.
Eyes sliding back open, he approached.
Struggling against the shakiness in her limbs, Kerri stood, staring wide-eyed at the old man as he came to a halt in front of her. Her heart was thundering in her chest, and tingles of adrenaline were still racing over the skin of her face and fingers.
Meeting her eyes, he nodded once, massive ram’s horns dipping with the motion. “You, go.” Then he took Tiponi’s arm in a strong, fond grip. “We hunt.”
With a vicious grin, Tiponi made a sharp yip like a coyote, lifting her blade to the warriors still on the hill. They returned her cry with enthusiastic ululations.
The Hopi woman turned her face back to Kerri’s. “Travel south as fast as you can. There you will meet the lake. We will keep the hunter from your heels.”
Without another word, the four melted away into the landscape, leaving Kerri alone in the woods before she even had a chance to say thank you.
“...Holy... What did I just watch?”
Kerri jumped, having forgotten Jim was still riding in her ear. “You’re asking me?”
“Yeah, well…” Then his tone changed. “She’s right though. You need to move. I’ve lost visual with Darren. Looks like he’s finally abandoned Todd’s HeadCam.”
“It’s not fun anymore,” she reasoned. “Not now that he’s the one being hunted.”
“Be that as it may, who knows how long they’ll be able to keep him occupied. Get your butt moving, Ker.”
“Moving, right…” And she checked the sun in the sky. “South.”
Taking a deep breath, she started running.