Chapter Fourteen

It was dark when he woke.

As he was stirring, he was aware of light footsteps jogging away from where he lay. He sat up and removed the light blanket which had been covering him. An unconscious groan emanated from him, he was sore all over and his head ached.

A pitcher of water sat on the table beside him. After smelling the fluid and performing a quick taste test, he guzzled the rest down gratefully.

Upon wiping the spillage from his chin he realised how calm he was. The situation was bleak but he found himself unafraid. He had spoken too quickly. A jolt of angst coursed through him as he saw bobbing lights moving towards him.

“Ahh, our young friend has awoken from his beauty sleep!” bellowed a man’s voice. Through the trees a man emerged with an enormous belly. A small girl accompanied him. She must have been the one keeping a bedside vigil.

The man was completely devoid of hair, wore no shirt and had strange markings on his body.

“Sorry about the rough introduction,” the big man said guiltily. “We had to find out if you were a threat”.

“One of our lookouts witnessed your ordeal out near the western reefs but a scout reached you before his message got round,” the man explained.

“Come, you must be hungry,” he said while slapping his belly which appeared to be surprisingly firm.

The three walked down a well-trodden path when the giant man stopped suddenly. He turned quickly to face Joma and said, “How rude! I haven’t introduced myself”.

The big man beamed, “I am Babo and this is Elta,” he said while indicating to the small girl who smiled shyly and hid behind the big man.

“Nice to meet you. I’m Joma,” he replied politely offering his hand, which the large man turned to mush with his handshake.

The trio continued their walk and Joma found himself trusting the strangers. He thought, why did he trust complete strangers but found it difficult to believe those most dear to him back home? He would change this. If he made it home, that is.

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