Day 595

They have returned, and Songbird has rejoined them.

How am I going to survive with no one but Patches to talk to?

I have been spying on their camp, and they returned yesterday. It must have shown on my face when I teleported back to the shelter, because Songbird at once began saying, “Are they back?”

“Yes,” I said. “Do you want to go back to them?”

I was of two minds about this. Surely she was safer with me, and she was a child; it was my duty to guard her. Guard her, yes, my mind whispered, but she is not your property, and she has a mind and will of her own. Let the decision be hers.

And there was never any question of what her decision would be.

I teleported her back to the vicinity of the camp. “Go home,” I told her.

“Thank you,” she half sobbed, and then turned and ran toward the camp.

I did not leave at once. I did not know these people, and it was not out of the question that they would consider her a ghost or a sacrifice that had failed, and would try to kill her.

They were awed, yes – I could see that much. But the man and woman who gathered her to their arms had only joy on their faces, and the rest of the group, though obviously astonished to find her alive, appeared equally welcoming.

Which was the shaman? I wondered. Not there, or one of those welcoming Songbird back? I stayed long enough to be sure Songbird would be safe, but when two of the group started in the direction Songbird had come from, I teleported back to the shelter.

It is very lonely here without Songbird. There are so many reminders – the pallet I made her, which she promptly tore apart and remade to suit herself, the storage baskets and gourds, the tanned hides ….

The rain on the roof is maddening.

Tomorrow I will teleport back to the vicinity of the camp, and make sure she is still safe.

I am posting this background to my published novels on my author website as I get it written. Don’t forget this is the last day to enter the drawing!