Paula looks at her strangely and ignores us, I glare at her. The man tells them to give us food I assume because different fruits and meat are brought to the table, I try to explain that I can’t eat at the moment and then I remember that Rabians take their food seriously, me rejecting the food can be the same as asking for a fight, I sigh in resolve, I look to warn Elena not to reject the food, but I see there is no need for that as she is already digging in, Paula rolls her eyes at her.
“Aren’t you supposed to be elegant?” Paula taunts.
“Says the girl whose father is a savage.” Elena retorts.
“I could show you what savage looks like and he is not my father, his name is Papa… he is, I mean he was close friends with my father. He gathered those he could save and now they are rebuilding the community.” Paula explains.
“Okay, do they usually watch people eat?” I ask.
“Only when they are two beautiful women and a half-wit.” Paula replies.
“You realize that you are the half-wit.” Elena says with a mouth full.
“Keep talking like that and I might just show you where they bury their dead.” Paula threatens.
“All bark and no bite, just empty promises.” Elena grins.
“If I were you, I’d sleep with my eyes open.” Paula grins at her.
“What are you going to do to me, tickle me to death?” Elena smirks.
“Keep giving me ideas!” Paula raises her brows.
“Alright, you two! Enough.” I raise my voice at them which makes other people in the room sensitive.
“He wants me to stay.” Paula says while putting a piece of meat in her mouth.
I nod my head, “What did he say when you refused?”
“Well… you can’t exactly refuse.” Paula eats another piece.
“Why not?” I ask.
“It is an order and not a request, Rabians rule by hierarchy, I can’t refuse him, he would not hesitate to kill us and I really don’t want to have to kill him, at least not yet.” Paula whines.
“Why?” Elena asks.
“Why would I not want to kill the last person on earth who is the closest to what anyone would call a family?” Paula asks her sarcastically.
“You are capable of such emotions! I thought you were an animal who lived on Instinct, there is more to you after all.” Elena smiles at her dryly.
Paula looks at me with a pleading look, “Please let me kill her, or at the very least slit her throat, give me something, anything at all before I devour her!”
I sigh, “You can hit her on the head once.”
“heyyyyy” Elena exclaims.
Paula hits her on the head and Elena looks at me with one of betrayal, I finally take a bite of the meat and close my eyes in pleasure.
“You deserve it and you know it.” I answer her, she shrugs and gets back to eating.
“We escape tonight, we can’t kill anyone also.” Paula tells us.
Papa chuckles out loud; “Your Father was right, you are weak.”
The three of us look in shock at him, I thought Rabians looked down on everyone that wasn’t part of their tribe and so they don’t bother learning other languages. Paula looks more stunned than the rest of us. He speaks with an accent but still clear enough to understand.
“You speak our tongue?” I ask.
“Why not? How else would I have survived, we all speak and understand, we just refuse to tarnish our tongues by speaking in yours.” Papa says with a scoff.
“You are doing plenty of defiling right now.” Elena mutters but it is loud enough for everyone to hear, a girl glares at her, Elena winks back with a smile.
“What do you mean by I am weak?” Paula asks very calmly and it raises my alarm radar.
“You abandoned everything you have been taught, you bow to this woman, and you walk with the likes of the uncircumcised. You have brought disgrace to our land and our people.” He says while looking down on us.
“When you say uncircumcised, you wouldn’t be referring to me, would you? I am not a man, so why would I be circumcised?” Elena asks as her eyes go into that innocent puppy thing; she does that makes people think she is defenseless.
“Rabians circumcise their girls, they think it will make them pure and ripe for marriage and at the same time control the libidos of their women it is quite barbaric if you ask me.” Paula cooly stares at her uncle.
“Are you circumcised?” Elena asks.
“No, which made me kind of a trouble maker as a child, my mother would have rather died than let them do that to me, we were the outcasts. My father didn’t care and he was the greatest warrior to have existed, yet they mocked him for his inability to control his wife and child, especially my Uncle here, it didn’t matter how many times they dueled, he could never win him which is why I know my father would never call me weak. He thought you were an ignorant, weak excuse of a man and he was right, if you had stood and fought like everyone else, you’d be dead, yet by some miracle, you are alive, without a scratch and you have the guts to call me weak because I am not bound by some rules kept in place by ancestors who were so full of themselves that they could not see beyond their needs.” Paula keeps a straight face as she takes her uncle to school.
“How dare you?” Papa fumes.
“I don’t think we should get him angry; these people look like they would not hesitate to kill us if he says the word.” Elena whispers to me.
“I trust Paula, she knows what she is doing.” I say to her even though I know that she doesn’t, Paula’s hot-tempered nature might be to our advantage sometimes and I sincerely hope that this is one of those times.
“I agree with her.” A woman says from the crowd.
“Times have changed and we need to change with it. We do most of the work, we outnumber these men, we have proven to be as skilled as them, so why do we always have to do exactly as they say, why do we have to listen to them simply because they have a stick between their legs?” The woman continues.
“It hurts when I get intimate with my husband, he screams with pleasure for the same action that brings me pain, enough is enough. Papa you have helped us, but we have helped you too.” Another chimes in.
“Well, well, well… you have plenty to say and in the language of these women. Tradition is not a mistake. I don’t have to listen to you. Martha and Luna are put on night duty for until you are ready to repent of your unclean thoughts.” Papa screams at them and there is complete silence.
I take a look around discover that most of them are women, it is understandable as men were lost during the war, the men around were mostly boys. Papa seems to be the only older person to be alive from the war.
“Since you like the rules so much, why don’t I play one by you. I challenge you for your place as chief. Anyone can do that; the rules did not specify it has to be a man.” Paula smirks.
“I thought you didn’t want to kill him.” Elena says to her.
“I don’t have to kill him to win.” Paula answers.
Papa laughs out loud. “Stupid girl, you underestimate me. I accept the challenge.”
Paula stands but feels a little bit dizzy so she sits.
“You poisoned the food.” Paula whispers and Elena stops eating immediately.
“Seriously, you people need to stop with the poison, what happened to good old-fashioned fighting.” Elena barks and tries to throw up the food.
“It won’t kill you, its Moonshine’s leaf, it is like alcohol; it would mostly destabilize you.” I say and take another piece of the meat which surprises everyone.
“I am immune to it.” I explain and Elena closes her eyes and starts snoring, really loud.
“Take my place” Paula says to me as she closes her eyes and sleep.
I look at Papa and sigh; “I could give you a handicap if you want, Should I use one hand?”