She didn’t leave after six moon turns, her face growing more and more beautiful as the sun rose and gently rubbed her face with rays in the mornings. In the afternoons, she would sweat with the other men, making herself useful to the tribe that she wandered in to.
The first week, she was tied to a tree, watched by tribesmen, trying to figure out where she had come from. With her jeans, her vibrant green hair, the odd brick she clung to, talking to the black front of it in a language that made no sense but sounded of family, no one knew what to do with her. She was fed the leftover scraps of the day, devouring the crispy boar skins with joy in her eyes, fingers fondling the fruits, vegetables and other finger foods as if she didn’t want to forget what they felt like. After the week, they had untied her and walked her to a river, a few miles from the beach they had met each other on. Blood still stained her upper arms, some specks of dried red on her face reminded the tribe of what she had saved them from. The softer folk shooed away the harder folk, chastising them in a tone the now guest assumed was light jokes, the way the tall soft one moved their head and smiled at the smaller hard one, who smiled back, their cheeks turning a shade of dark red against their dark skin.
The soft folk smiled at the guest and started to talk to them, making small hand gestures, the guest understanding what was asked of them even if she didn’t understand.
The tall soft one and the guest were of similar height. The guest was around 6’5, the soft one probably a few inches taller. The guest slowly took off their printed tee and started to put it on the ground before one of the others grabbed it and held it close, talking to it and to her. She blinked but nodded, sliding off her jeans, the leggings underneath, her Spongebob boxers, and handed them to the collector. The collector smiled at her and ran off. The tall one took her hand and led her to the water, not stepping in but still leading her into the cool water.
She put her head underwater and started to swim, the sensations of the lack of chlorine, lack of pollution, and the fish nipping at her skin made her come back up for air what felt like 20 minutes later. She gasped, taking in the fresh air once more, the air crisp and clean in her lungs. She stared up at the canopy of palm trees, watching monkeys swing across them, grabbing at fruit the size of her head and cracking them open, digging into the juicy meat. She floated on her back, not noticing that the group of soft folk had abandoned her, only leaving one lone hard folk behind to watch her. And watch her they did. They watched her lay in the water, how it collected on her arms and chest, how the goose pimples seemed to only form on her legs, how long her fingers stretched out when she raised her hands above her head.
In six moon turns, the one sent to guard her had fallen in love with her, but couldn’t place the feeling. She had not won just their heart, but the heart of the whole tribe as well. After her first bath, she had walked back into the tribe, green hair still wet and plastered to her face, helping a group of folk pick fruit. She sang with them, even if it wasn’t their songs and their language. When they had given her her now clean clothes back as well as her messenger bag, she offered them smoke from her dab pen. She laughed as she taught them how to use the small future tool, laughing, even more, when the smoke caused her new tribesmen to nearly cough their lungs out. She had no way of telling them the THC percentage but helped them devour fruits and salads and nuts not even an hour later, laughing at everything and nothing. She danced with them at the night fires, her former guard watching from the base of a tree.
She had them her name and took selfies with them whenever the mood struck her. But her phone finally ran out of battery about three weeks she had been free. She stared at the black screen one night, holding onto the power button, hoping that it would turn back on, but it didn’t. Her former guard came up behind her and place a hand on her shoulder. She looked up at them and smiled, placing her hand on theirs. The joy they had felt surged through their body and held their spirit up for many days.
When the moon was full and her belly was about to burst once more, the former guard followed her to the lake once more, staying well behind her as to not disrupt her thoughts as her hands passed through the leaves of the plants she had grown to love. She undressed from her boar leather skirt, placing it on a low branch before stepping into the now warm waters.
Her guard followed her in after undressing as well. They reached out to touch her but hesitated before just saying her name outright. She jumped and turned around, her eyes confused and a little nervous. She answered them back by saying their own name and they smiled, their heart fluttering about in their chest.
Above them, the canopy opened up a bit, the pregnant belly of the moon peeking through, stars she had never seen before flickered and glistened against the inky purple night sky. Birds cooed, chirped, squawked, fluttered above them, as the glow of lightning bugs swirled around them. She tensed up when they reached out to touch her face, a little ashamed when they dropped their hand when they noticed the discomfort.
Six moons ago, they had watched this guest go from green-haired and bloodied to black hair and vibrant. She had bonded their tribe in a way they didn’t know possible with new ways to treat each other and themselves. They leaned over and kissed her cheek, soft, sweet and thankful. She smiled and lowered her head, bashful and shy. They lifted her head with a finger and kissed her cheek again, laughing when she giggled.
They touched her hair, their fingers combing out the naps that had rolled up from the day. They dipped their hands in the water, gently touching her face, wiping the dirt and sweat away from around her eyes. She stared into their dark eyes, reaching up and placing a hand on the stubble on their face, scritching at it. They stared at each other, time moving nowhere and everywhere. She used her other hand to grab their hand, lacing their fingers together. They squeezed her hand, pulling up, kissing the back of it. She kissed their fingers. They kissed their wrist. She kissed their lips. They wrapped their arms around each other, their height even.
They seemed to melt into each other, their bodies becoming one with the water they fell back into. They sank to the bottom of the lake, the warm mud embracing and grounding them as they explored each other’s bodies, fingers gliding over each other’s skin. The moon started to glow even brighter as if a spotlight shining on them. Their lips touched once more and they fell into the mud, coming out to the fabric of space on the other side. They groaned and moaned as they spun and floated past asteroids, giggled and tittered as they danced through the stars, laid in silence as they watched stars devour each other just as they had not moments before.
A yell came from the trees, one of the harder folk rushing through the treeline. The guard rushed out of the water, grabbing their clothes and dressing as they rushed back to the beach. She showed up behind them a few moments later, their tribe watching several dark spots come up against the light purple and dark pink sky as the sun started to come up. The guest had a rage in their heart in that moment, thinking back to the day where she showed up and blood hit her face and stained her hands. She ran back to the trees, coming back with a bow and a quiver of arrows. She pulled out a small pouch of oil, pouring a bit of it onto an arrow before notching it and dipping it into the dying night fire. She held her breath, aiming the arrow high into the air and launching it. It flew, tried and true, landing onto one of the dark spots that grew bigger and bigger. A scream carried out over the water, causing her to smile. She repeated her process, her new tribe hiding in the trees.
She stood with her feet as deep in the sand as she could get, firing arrow after arrow after arrow by herself before another stood next to her. She looked over and smiled, her guard taking her oil pouch and dousing more arrows, putting the oiled arrows in her quiver. The dots, which started to come into view as ships, seemed to stop. She kept firing, more of her tribe coming out of the trees with their own bows and following her lead.
It was an hour before they stopped firing, as the ships started to turn around. She smiled, a sad one, as she knew they wouldn’t stop coming. She turned to her guard, tossed her bow into the sand and opened her mouth.
“We kill them.”