She came towards me slowly, the bowl held in her hands. Her eyes flicked towards the guard, but he was too busy investigating the contents of his nose. He looked young, too young to be a full warrior.
The women made the sign of belonging with one hand while her other held the bowl.
I gasped, glancing towards the guard, but he was still finding all he was discovering up his nose fascinating.
‘Tula?’ I mouthed, not hiding my surprise.
She looked down at the ground, nodding. It was the way of the Tula, for a woman to lower her eyes when in the presence of a warrior. Not that I felt much like a warrior, bound hand and foot, waiting helpless for my fate to be decided by these strangers from another tribe.
She put the bowl down in front of me. Something fell from under her skirt. She kicked dirt over it, but not before I saw the glint of a blade in the torchlight.
The young guard noticed the woman and was now busy rummaging in his trousers. He called to the woman, but she shook her head.
He called again, curtly.
She shook her head and then nodded towards some of the older warriors around the campfire.
The young one gulped and nodded.
My foot stretched out, as I tasted the foul broth from the bowl. The broth was warm and I didn’t know when I’d eat again, so I swallowed it down. Maybe I would never eat again. I knew nothing of the ways of this tribe that had captured me. They had a captured Tula woman though, so maybe slavery was my fate, or rather death would be for I would kneel to no man… ever.
I felt the hardness of the knife under my reaching foot. I drew my foot back, bringing the knife with it.
The woman had walked away, but now she came back slowly towards the grinning boy. She glanced nervously over her shoulder towards the warriors at the fire, and then reached out to him.
I had the knife now, hilt held tight between my knees, as I used the blade to cut the bonds around my wrists.
Then I freed my ankles.
The boy should have been watching me, not the woman peeling her dress from her shoulder with one hand while the other hand freed his manhood from his trousers.
Her died before he even realised I was behind him.
The woman watched him die. She smiled at me. ‘I wish we could kill them all,’ she said, glancing back at the warriors around the fire. ‘But come, we must go.’ She took my hand and led me out into the darkness of this unknown land and deep into its night.