Saving Caeorleia Book Two
Published by Dreamspinner Press
We found a small stream a little while later. “Is it safe to drink?”
Should be wasn’t very reassuring. I’d had my guts twisted by some bad-water bug on MC34R our purification tablets didn’t kill. I thought my stomach was going to explode that time. I really didn’t want a repeat, but I was sweating heavily in the humid heat of the jungle, and I knew I had to stay hydrated. I grimaced and then cupped a handful of the silvery water.
It was cool and a little thick, with a metallic tang. It didn’t burn my mouth, so I let a small trickle slide down the back of my throat. The relief was instant. As difficult as it was to wait, I gave it a little while to see if I would vomit before I drank any more.
Yaseke suddenly lunged forward, the claws of one hand exposed as he sank his arm into the water up to his chest. He pulled out a long, slender creature with black skin. It was flat, like a ribbon, and his claws had nearly sheared the entire head off.
Which was good, actually, because the thing had fangs that looked like they could easily go through the thickness of my entire thumb.
“What the hell is that?”
“Caoud. They’re pretty good, sliced thin. We’ll have to be careful of the bones, though.”
I’d worried eating meat would leave me with the feelings of the animals, but so far, it hadn’t. I’d lost all desire for real flesh since the first experiment, eating only processed foodstuffs. I’d been on government subsistence, and their generous program provided three bland bars a day full of all the nutrients a body needed but with all the flavor of dirt. But the meat I’d eaten before that had been horrible, so it wasn’t that hard giving it up. I’d been enjoying the variety of having real food again. Besides, maybe animals didn’t have feelings.
With the way my stomach was growling, I’d probably eat the whole thing, skin, bones and all, even if I could have felt its emotions. “Can we eat it raw?”
Yaseke nodded. “It’s not good cooked, turns it rubbery.”
“All right. Can you use your claws to cut it?”
Yaseke didn’t waste any time, splitting the thing open after he finished tearing off the head. He rinsed it in the water, thankfully downstream of where I was drinking. We sat there on the bank of the stream and ate the caoud, along with another mae fruit. It was a little slippery, and I had to keep spitting out small black bones, but I’d eaten worse. The fizzy seeds of the fruit cut the slightly oily taste from my mouth when I was done.
My whole body still ached, but my stomach was full. That was all a soldier could really ask for. I washed my hands in the stream and splashed water over my face.
“It’s hot,” I said as I sank back down on the ground next to Yaseke. He’d tossed the remains of our lunch into the stream, and the water washed the evidence away.
“Middle of the day. We should rest while we can.”
I lay back on the ground, pillowing my head on my hands. “You know, we haven’t talked about it at all, but our little jungle expedition is happening because we were attacked.”
“I know.” Yaseke clenched his hands into fists.
“Do you know why? Do you have any enemies? Were we stuck in some border dispute, another territory trying to claim Seral’s dad’s lands or something?”
Alicia Nordwell is one of those not so rare creatures, a reader turned writer. Striving to find an interesting story one day, she decided to write what she wanted instead. Then the voices started… Yep, not only does she talk about herself in the third person for bios, she has voices in her head constantly clamoring to get out.
Fortunately, with the encouragement of her family and friends, she decided for her own sanity to keep writing. Now you can find her stories both free and e-published. When she’s not on the computer typing away, she’s a wife and a mom of two in the dreary, yet ideal for her redhead complexion, Pacific Northwest. Except for when she disappears into one of the many worlds in her head, of course!
She can also be found quite often at her blog, where she has a lot of free fiction for readers to enjoy or working hard, or maybe hardly working, as an admin on GayAuthors.org under her online nickname, Cia.