The foliage was thick, pulling at the hem of Allamu’s skirt and tangling in his hair with every step. He struggled to make much progress, but when he could manage a glimpse between the broad, green leaves, the sight of the tops of the spires that marked the Wicked Rocks seemed to grow no closer.
Resting against the trunk of a tree, Allamu took stock of his situation. He had escaped the slavers with the sandals on his feet, the skirt on his waist, a few lengths of stout cord that had bound him, and several still-healing scabs upon his back. Even if he found these outsiders and their seaworthy ship, he had nothing to trade for his passage. After his ordeal upon the slave ship, Allamu was reluctant to offer them his service. Sabit would have known what to do, but she had been swallowed by the storm and dragged to the unfathomable depths along with all the other slaves and their masters. Allamu missed her sharply. He hated traveling alone.
The snap of a twig brought Allamu out of his reverie. Something was stalking him! The physician had warned to steer clear of the wild boar that roamed the forest. Although not always aggressive, he said, their sharp tusks could tear a man from groin to chops.
Allamu grabbed a rock and scrambled to his feet. A frond of fern moved nearby. He turned to face it. Another, nearer frond trembled. Allamu raised his rock, poised to strike.
From the greenery stepped a young woman with large, caring eyes. “You are Wensa,” Allamu said, dropping the rock. “You pulled me from the water.”
“Yes, the dolphin entrusted your life to my keeping,” Wensa replied. “My family thinks I am a fool, but I feel it is my duty to see to your safety so long as you are on our island. To neglect the gift of the ocean would be to invite the ocean’s wrath. There are outsiders to do that, they don’t need my help.”
Allamu grinned. “I do need your help, and am glad of it. But I have nothing save what you see; nothing to repay your kindness. I am headed for the Wicked Rocks, and from there away from this place.”
Wensa nodded. “You came from the ocean and will go back to the ocean. It is just so. I aid you for the sake of the dolphin, not for what you could offer me.” A wry smile bloomed upon her face. “But if you truly want to reach the Wicked Rocks, you have chosen the hardest path to travel. Perhaps you don’t want to leave us after all?”
Allamu laughed at his own folly. “If I were a wise man, I would not wish to part from your company. Alas, I am a fool and beseech you to guide me on a better path.”
Wayfarings of Sabit: Isle of the Wicked is copyright (c) 2016 by Michael S. Miller. All rights reserved. New chapters post every weekday. You can support this and other stories on Patreon: https://patreon.com/michaelsmiller