Nala’s Story, Part Nineteen

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[525 words – SM Cadman]Nala had had a life of strife. Some slaves were worse off than she, her strong will both her savior and the bane of her existence. The love she had for her sister, and the desire to protect her drove her to be the young woman she was. Never, however, had she ever wanted to give up and end it all. The luxury she was now afforded allowed her the scant time to consider her life. No longer was it all about protecting her sister, and her thoughts and fears weighed heavily upon her soul. The absurdity of her agreement with the Han Champion Standing; the reoccurring recollection of her murdered father; the loss of her friends over the years. These and other themes conspired to darken her soul.

Why fight? she wondered. I do not know, she silently answered herself. Why live at all? She blinked back tears of sorrow; tears of remembrance. It would be so easy to end it all and join father. Why bother living in a world dominated by murderers, assassins, corrupt men, >and complete strangers?

Nala’s home had been destroyed years ago by the domination of men she so despised. I do not know where I belong, she thought.

She wanted to go back, she realized. She longed to return to the world where her father and friends were still alive. Where she had a family that cared for her and a home to belong. A place where cruelty didn’t exist, where she and Hazina could be happy…

Hazina, she thought.

As sudden as her tears overwhelmed her, she blinked into nothingness. No longer could she see her life that could’ve been. No longer did I do not know matter. She embraced nothingness. There was no akonai field, no father, and no breeze. Nala sat motionless, a state of deja vu. She had returned to her childhood garden. Identical evenings and situations hit her with the force of a camel kick, and she was powerless to stem the tears.

She withdrew her hand. It had started aching, and she hadn’t realized it in her trance. The ache within her remained. It was a reminder that the pain of losing her father had never truly been hidden behind the strength she had built over the years. Her strength was built like a foreboding wall, but the pain lingered; it was the bedrock on her mountain of strength had been built. She was aware of the sudden realization that her pain was both the origin of, and the driving force behind her strength.

She also realized that Shui was still watching her.

He suddenly looked older, mature and beyond his years. The same eyes her father had aimed at her in her formative years. Shui’s eyes gazed with such intensity that she felt he were looking right through her, seeing the lies she told herself to keep going.

He looked away, eyes scanning the darkening horizon. “I understand,” he whispered, he placed his hand on her shoulder – the tender display at odds with his prior actions, but not with his character.

He stood and strode away to leave Nala to her thoughts and her tears.

Nala’s Story, Part Twenty

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About Mark Gardner

Mark Gardner lives in northern Arizona with his wife, three children and a pair of spoiled dogs. Mark holds a degrees in Computer Systems and Applications and Applied Human Behavior. View all posts by Mark Gardner

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