“Trail of Fears”

Chapter 4, Scene 2


Atohi listened as his wife, Yona, sang to their infant daughter. He hoped the small girl would be sleeping soon. Atohi longed for a few moments to reconnect with Yona. Moments together were far too scarce these days. Hadn’t they known it would be like this? With Mohe already seven years old, it had been some time since they’d experienced this newborn stage. Many things were forgotten.

Yona stepped out of their partitioned off room and smiled at her husband.

“She sleeps,” Yona whispered.

Atohi smiled back at his wife, a weight lifted from him. He sank into a living room chair. Yona came to sit next to him. Her hand grazed his. Flipping his over, he took hold of her smoother hand in his larger one.

“What is happening in the world?” Yona nodded toward the paper sitting on Atohi’s end table.

Atohi shook his head. “More politics. More trouble.”

“And what of your friend Thomas Greyson?”

Atohi turned away from her. His brows furrowed. He didn’t want her to see the concern in his eyes. “He was convicted. But accepted a pardon. So he will be safe.”

“Will he return?”

He turned back to face her. “I don’t think he can. Not without a license. And I do not think the state is going to grant him one after being part of that protest.”

“That’s too bad. Mohe will really miss him.” When Yona spoke, it was smooth and melodic. It sounded like a song to Atohi. He could not forget how this drew him to her in their younger years.

“Mohe is not the only one,” he said, giving her hand a gentle squeeze.

“I know he was becoming a dear friend to you, too. But you will manage.”

“Yes, yes.” He waved her off with his free hand. “But that’s not what I’m talking about.”

“Then who?” Her thin eyebrow went up. Truly there was none more becoming than his Yona.

“Adsila.” He spoke in a hushed tone as if he shared a great secret.

“Adsila? What concern could she possibly have for Thomas Greyson?”

“They have developed a…friendship.” He chose his words carefully.

“Are you sure that is all?”

Atohi thought for a moment. His mind flashed to conversations he’d had with Thomas, to looks he had seen pass between the two of them. “I am not certain of anything.”

“It would be best if that was all.” The singsong quality of her voice vanished.

“Hmm,” Atohi mumbled. It would be better for all involved if nothing further developed. They were from two very different worlds. Two worlds which were very much at odds right now. But Atohi could not deny the spark he had seen between them.

“Come,” Yona said, standing. “Let us retire and get some sleep while we can.”

Atohi could not argue with her wisdom. He allowed her to pull him to his feet and lead him to their bedroom.