Episode 6:New Beach in a Cold Dawn

 

The duvkanan ground ashore sometime after the storm stopped. It was the night of some day, but Victana had no idea how many days had passed. Their food was almost gone, but Amos hadn't been eating very much. In fact, he had sort of lulled in their magical bubble, barely moving. Occasionally he broke out into half-articulated thoughts, guttering out before he reached most verbs.

The moon was a very dully, clouded yellow. The stars were still hiding behind the retreating storm clouds. Victana had tried sleeping fitfully, but all she gained for her attempts was a sore back and a generally grumpy disposition.

"Help me pull the boat up," she said. She was sloshing in the surf. Amos still lulled in the duvkanan.

"We're all alone," he said.

"Yes," she said. "And we are going to die if we don't get out of this boat. The ocean never promised to protect us from the rocks."

Amos managed to wrap his legs around the gunwales and fall, unceremoniously, into the spray. A break flung him up onto the strand, where he lay.

"You're useless," Victana said.

"Sorry," he muttered. "It's taking all my magic just to keep myself alive."

"What are you even talking about?" Victana asked. She'd pulled the duvkanan far enough up the shore to not lose it at high tide. Now she was pulling what little gear they had stowed in the craft and arranging it on the beach.

"The Guardian Tree was our source of power," Amos said. "We...existed because it fed us. Now it's gone and I am...hungry."

"If that's true, why aren't I feeling it?" she asked.

"You will," said Amos.

"I never believed all that nonsense," said Victana. "About our connection to the Guardian Tree. I walked past that old stump every day for my entire life and I never felt anything."

"It is our life," said Amos.

"Well, it's dead and we're not," said Victana. "I think we need to keep going. Lulling about on the beach won't help."

"I can't move," Amos said.

"You will," Victana said. She stomped over to him and grasped him under the shoulders. He didn't resist, but he barely helped as she pulled him up.

"We're alive," she said. "And we have to keep going."

"I feel so empty inside," Amos said.

"So do I," Victana said. "But that shouldn't stop us."

"I just don't want to go on," Amos said. And he collapsed back to the sand.

"I'm not giving you an option!" Victana said, pulling him to his feet again.

"They're dead," Amos said.

"We're not," said Victana.

Amos sighed. He looked down at the ground and shifted a shell with his toe.

"I don't want to be alone," he said.

"We don't have a choice," Victana said. "We've got to move, though. That storm is coming back."

Amos sighed again.

"I'm not ready to be alone," he said.

"Neither am I," said Victana. "Help me drag this stuff up to that stand of trees. I'll try to rig up a shelter."