[Story] Story a Week 22

[ This week’s prompt word: Grass

Not really about grass, but that’s where I started! ]]

Kamara stood atop the flat outlook, watching the grass intently. The smell of it, warmed by the heat of the mid-day sun, still lingered in the night air. Kamara had never seen the sea, but she had heard tales of it, from the story-tellers. They said that it looked very much like the grasses as they bowed to the breeze, catching the gleam of the Huntress’s eye. Tamazi was out there somewhere, she had to be. Someone couldn’t just disappear with no trace. There would be tracks, a scent, or — she shivered — at least bones, if something terrible had happened. But every day Kamara searched while she was at hunt, and she asked the others if they had come across anything. They never had. Tamazi was not her blood, but she had raised the girl as if she was her own, from when she was very small. Her absence left Kamara’s heart wounded, and the not knowing was the worst part. On the horizon, a herd of grass-deer moved slowly along. The huntresses had already returned for the night. They were in no danger.

She would have liked to stay all night, keeping watch, but hunger got the better of her. The meat was roasting over the fire, and she would miss her share if she stayed away too long. Tamazi was missing her share, too. Was she hungry now? Kamara had done her best to teach her, but hunting alone was even more difficult. She joined the circle, illuminated by the dancing flames. The others seemed eager and cheerful, untroubled by Tamazi’s absence. They had never cared much for her, a motherless and nameless child. But that didn’t mean they should forget she had ever been there. Kamara frowned. Even as she ate her share of the meat, she thought of Tamazi. Should she save some bones for when she returned? There were some still in her lair, full of sweet fatty marrow, but she was afraid they might be stolen. Eating them would feel like betrayal, as if she’d accepted that Tamazi wasn’t ever coming back. And maybe she wasn’t. The Huntress had blinked three times since Tamazi had disappeared.

The males moved up to eat their share, after the hunters had theirs. It was the comfortable part of the meal, the hunters lounging with full bellies as they listened to the stories. There was a new male among them tonight, as yet unclaimed by any hunter. Kamara thought him handsome enough; he had a full dark mane and clear yellow eyes, and subtle dapples around his legs. He was from the south, the strange lilt of his words unusual to their ears. As the hunters listened, he told them fanciful tales of a young hunter who moved like a ghost across the broad southern plains. She had, he said, flown across a canyon to escape hostile scouts, on wings of light. Kamara scoffed. They had all heard these tales before, every child learned the tales of the Huntress before she could even walk. But he insisted the stories were true, suggested even that she may be blessed by the Huntress herself. Had he seen this wondrous hunter with his own eyes? Well, no, he admitted, but he had heard the tales all over the southern clans. Kamara snorted, and picked up her bones to bring back to her lair. She had no time for such foolishness while Tamazi was still missing.

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