She awoke from her sleep, alarmed by the noise. Her first thought was that one of the goats must have escaped from the pen and made its way into the hut. She picked up a stick from a corner of the room and began to search for the animal but when she looked towards the doorway, she realized that the noisemaker was not a goat but a man! She panicked and raising the hand that held the stick, she proceeded to attack the stranger but then she stopped, studied the man's face and soon recognized him. Hard jaw line and prominent noseÔÇŽShe had come to know these facial features so well in the past weeks. The man that was left in her care was now standing, watching her. "Standing?" she thought to herself, with an obvious expression of surprise on her face. She had looked after him for 2 weeks now and realized that he was in a very critical state. His condition was so bad; she did not think that he would ever recover from his injuries. The wound on his side was very deep and the sore on his leg became infected soon after he was brought to her mistress by Kaaria and the King's men. The infection had given him a grave fever; the worst she had ever seen in her experience as Massassi's apprentice. One minute his body was as hot as a rock in the mid-day sun and the next minute, his body was as cold as water from the village stream. She had to help him regulate his temperature clothing and unclothing him when he showed signs of discomfort and it was during one of those frequent rituals of undressing him that she had seen itÔÇŽ
Negasi had never seen a woman so beautiful. Her bosom bounced about alluringly as she looked around in search of somethingÔÇŽHe should have made his presence known but he remained silent. He felt frozen. He could neither speak nor move and his stillness was not as a result of pain from his injuries or his weak condition. He stood in silence and studied her beautiful profile; her slender neck like a gazelle's, her long legs exposed from her full thighs seemed to go on foreverÔÇŽ when his gaze finally reached her ankles, he saw that they were adorned with beads, making a sound as she moved around the room and her breastsÔÇŽnaked, in all its glory, firm and perfectly round like champion melon fruits held his gaze for much longer. He had startled her but they soon locked eyes and for a few seconds, neither of them moved and no words were spoken between them. The silence seemed to last for a very long time. Eventually, she relaxed her stiff shoulders and lowering her slender arm that held the stick, she said softly, in a sweet voice he recognized from his dreams "You should not be out of bed, you are not well enough".
"Who are youÔÇŽ? And where am I?" Negasi asked her sternly, trying not to show any sign of weakness.
"You must lie downÔÇŽyou are not yet strong. You are very sick and your injuries are still healing" she said, walking towards him.
"I am fine, woman. Now, answer me. Who are you and where am I?" he asked again, his growing impatience now became evident in his tone and his well defined, muscular chest heaved deeply showing a sign of distress.
"I am afraid I cannot answer your questions. I am not allowed speak to you. I have said enough as it isÔÇŽPlease come lay down". Gesturing by pointing at his head and chest, she said "See, you are sweating againÔÇŽ" He had started to perspire profusely and he was feeling dizzy again. She reached out to grab his arm but he grabbed hers instead and pulled her close to him.
"TellÔÇŽtell me this at leastÔÇŽ" he said "Am I in any danger?"
He held on to her arm tighter than before and she winced in pain. His tighter grip was not intended to hurt her but he was fading away quickly and was trying to hold on for support.
"No, you are not in any dangerÔÇŽ" she replied "ÔÇŽnot yet."