“Show it to me.” She whispered so softly that only Djarret could hear her. She took his hand and pulled his spirit into his memory. She did not need Korosadja’s strength for this any more.
They stood between a couple of rocks in a desert of black sand.
Djarret’s eyes widened. “Palumâ.”
Melissa was surprised how much more at ease he suddenly seemed to be.
“Hey, that’s me.” He pointed to a boy of maybe five-years who crouched on the bank of a dry creek. The boy had extended his right arm behind himself. He did not move.
Melissa was surprised at the uncomfortable position till she noticed the slingshot in his hand. The child was hunting.
Djarret breathed deeply. He did not look particularly happy. “Mother of All Worlds. I thought I had long forgotten this hunt.”
Melissa indicated the black sand that extended in all directions. “Is there anything to hunt at all?”
Djarret shrugged. “There are Minidrags, Wartgrumblers and occasionally flying Satursy. Look, there is a swarm.” He pointed at something Melissa had taken for birds. But when she looked closer, they resembled flying ferrets more.
“During the dry season, Palumâs gifts are hard to find. Even the best hunters often only succeed with magic.”
The arm of the boy zapped through the air so fast that the loop of the slingshot sang. Melissa heard the death cry of the Wartgrumbler before she saw the black, hyena like animal.
“Congratulations,” she said.
Djarret was silent. Together, they followed the boy and watched as he bled the animal professionally. Melissa found it disgusting but she did not let Djarret notice.
“It was my biggest prey till then,” Djarret said.
Melissa felt him crunch his teeth. The boy slung the animal over his shoulder and trudged off through the black sand. She smiled because the Wartgrumbler was almost as big as its hunter.
Djarret took Melissa’s arm and pulled. “Take me back to my body, right now. You can kill me, but you cannot force me to watch this again.”
“But I can.” Melissa used her newly discovered magic and reached for another of Djarret’s memories. Immediately, they stood beside young Djarret in a badly illuminated corridor made of black sandstone. The thick walls and the tiny windows resembled those of a castle Melissa once visited with her mother.
“Take me back, or I will kill you,” Djarret said.
Melissa ignored his resistance; he could do nothing against her magic. Young Djarret carried his prey on a big wooden board, cleanly gutted, washed and skinned. Melissa was surprised how fast she had gotten used to the sight of raw meat. She followed the boy through a curtain into a small, bright room and bounced back. Both Djarret’s stood besides her as stiff as rods and watched what happened.
A young, naked woman squatted on a red carpet. Her long, black hair stuck to her skin and beads of sweat ran over her face and body. She breathed in bursts. With her right hand, she clasped the arm of a man who resembled Djarret a lot.
“This is my brother’s birth of. Please, I want to leave,” Djarret whispered. His hands trembled. He extended one hand toward the woman but she did not see him. She screamed with pain.
Melissa put her hand over her ears because the cry did not end. Two tiny legs dangled over the red carpet. Djarret’s brother is coming the wrong way round. Disturbingly slow, bottom, back and neck followed with a little black haired head.
The man picked up the child and put it in the arms of the woman who had finally stopped howling. Young Djarret gasped for air and tried to withdraw. The man and the woman noticed him simultaneously. With a smile on her lips, the woman opened her mouth as if she wanted to say something. Her eyes widened. Unconscious, she fell backward. A flood of deep red blood soaked the carpet. It took Melissa two heartbeats to realize that Djarret’s mother was dying. A look at young Djarret and his father showed her that they had understood faster.
“Murderer!” The voice of Djarret’s father sounded brittle.
With a shout, the boy dropped his prey and ran from the room. But he did not escape the voice of his father.
“He already didn’t like me before this for my lack of magical talent, but after mother’s death he hated me,” Djarret said.