Season Content Notes: Natural disaster/death, ableism
Tears leaked down Lefeng’s cheeks. Dripped on eir dead hands.
It was done. They had a family. Enough of one.
Tears dropped faster now. Ey choked back a sob.
As quietly as ey could, ey moved away, to the far corner of the compound. Ey crouched down, leaning against the wall, and let the tears pour forth. Ey had kept eir promise to Chestef. It was like laying a burden down.
So why did it hurt so much?
Eventually, ey slept.
Lefeng woke slowly the next morning. Moving was hard and thinking was harder. Eir whole self felt slow and weighed down. Like ey was carrying a heavy pack through thick brambles instead of… just waking up.
Tears leaked from eir eyes and ey buried eir head in the blankets.
Ey looked around. Ey was still in the corner of the compound where ey had retreated to last night. But someone must have found em and brought blankets during the night.
More tears poured forth. Wrapping a blanket around eir shoulders like a cloak, ey stood and stumbled toward the firepit.
Paiokp and Kolchais were up and eating. They filled Lefeng in on what ey missed. Tsouchm went back to eir rooms last night, but would be moving into the compound that day. Kolchais and Paiokp were to put together a sleeping area for Tsouchm while Lefeng helped Tsouchm move eir things into the compound.
Lefeng said nothing. Talking seemed to be too much effort. Ey had known ey was not doing well since Chotaikytsai accepted them, but that had been a general grumpiness and tiredness ey had put down to being stuck in the city. This was different.
Ey barely managed to choke down any food and more than once had to scrub tears from eir face.
Chotaikytsai was absorbed with Chestef, but Paiokp and Kolchais asked em what was wrong. Lefeng tried to shrug it off, push the way ey was feeling aside, but Kolchais wouldn’t let em.
“Pushing stuff away doesn’t help. I mean, if you’re in danger and have to push stuff away to deal with it, that’s one thing. But you’re safe here, so don’t push it away, whatever it is.”
“Maybe you should rest for a day,” Paiokp said, “You haven’t stopped pushing yourself since… ” ey swallowed, “…Since the wave killed everyone.”
Once Lefeng had witnessed a flash flood in the mountains. One minute the narrow canyon had been dry, the next it was running knee-deep with water, and rising. That was what it felt like now, as grief surged through em and washed eir control away. Ey broke down, crying, sobbing, blubbering.
By the time Tsouchm arrived, the worst of the storm had passed. Paiokp had helped Lefeng retrieve the Baba’s old necklace from the bottom of eir pack and Lefeng had wrapped it around eir hand, fingering the beads.
Lefeng managed to help get Tsouchm’s things but had no life to spare for curiosity about the city or the new grandparent. As soon as they returned to the compound, Lefeng retreated again. Ey had done eir duty to the living, but Kolchais was right. Lefeng couldn’t push eir dead away any longer.
Ey had much grieving to do.
Episode 11 The Grandparents
This ended up being a very short episode. Sorry about that.
Next week we’ll be starting the first season of The Price of Survival.
The wolves of Long Valley knew they couldn’t win a two front war, but they thought they had leverage for a negotiated settlement.
A genocidal attack has forced their hand. The Pack Father will offer full surrender to the lesser of two evils. Now the pack will discover – can they afford to pay the price of survival?
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