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Fri Sep 16, 2011 10:31 am

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Kuris sat in the cool grass, feeling a slight breeze blow on her face. Her head was leaned up against the side of a man who had his arm wrapped around her. Kuris didn't know who this man was but, she felt safe around him.

Together they watched the setting sun, its warmth and light leaving them slowly and turning the sky pink and orange as it sunk deeper into the horizon.

Kuris looked up at the man, wanting to tell him how beautiful the sunset was, but was unable to see his face for it was faded as if her mind refused to accept the reality of this being that brought comfort to Kuris' heart.

Somewhat frightened by the sight, Kuris returned her gaze back towards the sunset. It wasn't long until she heard the man spoke, "Kuris..."

His voice was calm and soothing like a lullaby, "...find me..."

Kuris’ thick brown hair billowed in the mountain breeze as she sat in a tree that blossomed fiery red flowers. She chewed on some sweet and nutritious grass, thinking about her dream that visits her every night in her sleep.

Was it only a dream? She thought to herself. It felt more like a memory than anything else but, who was that man and why did he want me to find him?

A sudden rustling in the bushes startled her from her thoughts. She looked behind her and a little boy fell out from the wall of dark green leaves and landed clumsily onto the hard stone ground. Kuris groaned in annoyance and jumped out of her tree to the help the boy up.

She looked into his young face as she lifted him from the ground and knew exactly who he was, “Tomo, what are you doing wondering alone up here? You know how dangerous it is.”

The boy, Tomo, dusted the dirt off of his clothes and pulled a twig from his black hair. He threw it over the mountain side and then proceeded to answer Kuris, “I’m sorry Kuris. It’s just that I wanted to play with you. After all, we have the afternoon off.”

“That’s right.” Kuris said after remembering her promise she made to him. “I did say I would play with you today but, you could have at least sent someone else instead of yourself. A lot of mountain lions have been coming around lately. Killing the goats and whatever else might be living up here. Us, for example.”

“I knew that. I just thought since you’re up here, it would be safe for me to be up here.” He told her.

“The reason why I can be up here and no one else can is because the lions are afraid of me.”

“Why are they afraid of you?”

Kuris shrugged, “I don’t know. Maybe it’s my monstrous smile?” Then Kuris gave Tomo a big smile which revealed all of her well cared for teeth. Tomo made a scared face and started to laugh at the joke.

“Gee, Kuris. You’re funny.” He laughed.

“Only sometimes.” She admits. “Now, come on. Let’s head back to the village before it gets too hard to see the path downward.”

“Okay.” He greed and the two of them went through the bushes and onto the path home.

*****
It seemed like ages but Kuris and Tomo were almost at the end of the trail. Tomo’s bare feet began to grow sore from the mountainous terrain since he wasn’t adapted to the rough landscape yet and began to wine at Kuris to carry him the rest of the way.

“But we’re almost there. Surely you can survive a few more steps?” Kuris told him.

“My feet will be bleeding within a few more steps. Please will you carry me?” He begged.

Kuris sighed. “Fine. If it gets you to shut up.” Then Kuris leaned over and let Tomo climb onto her back. He wrapped his arms around her neck and Kuris used her arms to prop his legs up to her waist so that he wouldn’t slip. Tomo was a heavy load but Kuris somehow managed to maintain her balance and she continued further down the trail.

Once they reached the orange gate that marked the trail, Tomo slid off of Kuris’ back, relieving her of his weight. She stretched out her sore back and shot Tomo a look that told him to never ask her to ride on her back again.

Tomo shot a look back, merely saying that that was a one time thing.

After the wordless conversation, the two of them walked to the stables where Kuris’ caretaker, Muda, fed the goats and gave them fresh water from the pond at the base of the mountain.

“Good afternoon, Muda.” Kuris greeted.

Muda put a bucket of feed onto the ground, far enough away so that the groping livestock wouldn’t get to it, and went to give Kuris a friendly hug as well as Tomo.

“Hello, children. Enjoying your day off?” She asked, her voice soft and kindly.

“No.” Tomo answered. “We haven’t even started to have fun and the sun is almost setting.”

“Aw, such a darn shame but, what have you two been doing up until now?” Muda asked with curiosity.

“I had to help mother with the baby and then I had to go get Kuris from the drop-off.” Tomo told her.

“The drop-off? Kuris what were you doing at the drop-off? Didn’t you here about the killings going on up there?” Muda asked Kuris, looking angrily at her.

Kuris shuffled her feet nervously on the ground. She couldn’t tell Muda that she went up there to think because that was a poor reason to be in that dangerous place but, she couldn’t lie to her caretaker after all that has done for her.
“I had some heavy thoughts so I went up there to clear my head.” She told her.

Muda sighed. Even though she should scold Kuris for doing something as foolish as that, she was too exhausted to do so.

“Just please don’t do it again. I don’t want anything bad to happen to you.” Muda warned.

“Yes Muda.” Kuris promised.

“Good. Now you two go run along and play while there’s still time.” She told them and both Kuris and Tomo nodded in agreement and then ran off to play.

Meanwhile, Muda began to wonder what heavy thoughts Kuris had and why she could only lift them at the drop-off, which the Elders had deemed it forbidden due to the horrible killings by the mountain lions in the area.

“Oh Kuris, why must you be so secretive.” Muda said aloud as she watched Kuris play with Tomo. Then, she bent over to pick up the bucket of fed off the ground and went back to tending to the goats.



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