“Why haven’t you cut your arm off?”
The boy watched the cinders of the fire rise towards the leaves. Occasionally he would close his eyes and listen to the crack of the kindling. Marra pulled the scarf tighter around her throat. The skin on her forearms goosed. Hairs on end. Marra stood up and walked towards the animal carcass.
“Help me with the dog.”
They skewered the animal and placed it above the flames. A crow cried out in the distance. Marra shuddered for a moment. The boy didn’t seem to notice. The forest was everywhere. Occasionally the weathered remains of an old building greyed the green surroundings. Covered in roots and ivy they were easy to miss though sometimes finding them could prove invaluable. Most often wanderers of the forests died. It was hard to live long enough to starve but dehydration was a severe threat. Man had once been king of the food chain. No living human was old enough to recall that time. Wanderers used the buildings as camps leaving behind goods after death. At first Marra had refused to take these items. Rarely was a body found inside the camp. She took comfort in believing they were hunting. That they would be back. After some time she realized that her chances of survival depended on looting these camps. Marra blamed these actions on her possession. The Sin’s selfishness. But sometimes, in the quiet moments before she slept, she accepted the real truth.
The dog’s red flesh browned. It had been a long time since Marra felt guilt about eating an animal. The boy was still used to seeing dogs as family pets. He bit into the meat and chewed. The taste was not bad but it didn’t help his stomach from trembling as he swallowed.
“How long are you alone?” Marra didn’t look at him as she asked.
“Maybe a couple of weeks, I lost track early.”
“Easy to do.”
“Best part of two years. Give or take.”
“You haven’t found a town? Even a fort?”
“Many. It’s hard to get accepted under normal circumstances. People are scared. The mark makes it impossible.”
Wren tore another piece from the dog. His sense of guilt yielded to his hunger.
“The ancients said the Nephilim were the children of fallen angels and the daughters of men.”
“The ancients said a lot of things.”
“Do you believe them?”
Marra looked at the boy. His eyes gave him away. Those giant black pupils. He might die without Marra’s help. She might kill him if he stayed with her. She rolled a piece of the dog on her teeth. Marra didn’t consider whether or not the ancient’s were right. It didn’t matter to her. Even if the Nephilim that marked her couldn’t restore her she could get revenge. Or at least die fighting. Heaven or Hell. Whichever one she ended up in couldn’t be much worse.
“If God is real he’s got some explaining to do. If he’s not that would explain everything.”