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This is a continuation from last week, taken from a book I’m working on called (tentatively) Both Sides Now. Mik has just been stunned by Nonie’s obvious enthusiasm for Kevi’s accompanying the clan on their migration, and asked if she would really feel safer with him along. Nonie is about 10; Coralie (Mik’s sister) is in her 20’s.

“Yes,” Nonie replied. “Doctor Alsyn is nice, but I like Kevi better. He understands about being scared.”

Coralie nodded. “I’d feel — safer — with him along, too. Mik, why are you so doubtful? The only problem I can see is that he might not be up to the trip. And we always carry the rigging for a horse litter in the emergency supplies.”

Mik turned away and walked quickly to the cave mouth, where he stood for a minute. “It’s just that I know more about his background than you do, Coralie,” he said finally, without turning around. “We do need somebody—with old Bethe gone, we don’t even have a midwife. And if Kevi’s really had medical training, and Doc says he has …. I don’t think we have much choice. Just remember there are some things you don’t know about him.”

Coralie looked at Mik’s back with some annoyance. Things she didn’t know? There were things she didn’t know about everyone, including herself. If Mik really knew something bad about Kevi, why wasn’t he ready to tell her about it? Well, she wasn’t listening to what were likely mere rumors. “I’ll remember,” she said stiffly. “But I’m glad Kevi’s coming with us.”

But Mik really does know something about Kevi, something he’s sworn not to reveal.