Femina finds in Dan and Ger ideal travel companions. They are vanilla and chocolate while she is the cream, the enrichment and embellishment. Ger is the simple, straight forward guy, Dan the closed up, complex one. Both are handsome if not attractive, but only Dan pays attention to his appearance and social standing, admittedly, very successfully. Wherever he goes, eyes follow him, particularly the female ones and though everyone likes vanilla, who can resist chocolate, when it is as beautifully packaged as he is. He laps up the attention like the cat laps its milk but, he leaves no doubt that he knows his worth and that he can do as good without. Besides, knowingly or not, he never provokes other men’s jealousy. To the contrary, even they seem to be impressed by him. Femina is amused and fascinated how easily he manipulates people, winning them over in no time. Most likely that is due to him knowing what he wants and what serves him; he does not even consider anything else.
Her relationship, with both, is pleasantly uncomplicated. They understand and complement each other without many words, and she likes that Dan does not expect or ask anything from her despite their relationship being intimate. He is always courteous without chivalry, but both guys are polite and respectful, to everyone, not only to her. She never has reasons to criticize their behavior or attitude towards anyone, which is indeed all she considers relevant for this trip or any relationship. Sometimes she finds Ger naive as far as his expectations of women are concerned, but she has no intentions to disillusion him. Dan does not talk about his. It does not matter. She knows he will always take care of his interests. She need not, nor does she want to know more. As long as their interests meet, their relationship will run as smooth and as perfect as his well-oiled motorbike. However, the cat in her purrs satisfied, she is aware of how her presence affects his male pride.
The country they travel in, is new territory for all of them. Her friends, coming from the same state, just have never been in these regions, are not as ignorant about it as she is. For her it is truly foreign, and strange indeed. She cannot compare it with any land she has ever seen, not as far as she can remember that is, and it sure does not compare with the country that mighty bureaucracy has assigned to her as her ‘motherland’.
Motherland! Her thoughts always trip over this word. Her difficulties to answer questions about it have never ceased, and it unsettles and annoys her, because she cannot identify any country as her motherland, having still no proof, nor clarity of her origins. She has not even a picture, that is, a picture of any kind from the time before her memory loss, nothing that could serve as a hint or some evidence. And even if she had one, it may not even be helpful, not with the limited memory she has and struggles with. Her memory is like the Emmenthaler cheese full of holes, with new memorabilia in between, and now and then, some older data that surface like the fat in the cheese, when exposed to heat. Despite having now more information from her past than ever, it is not enough by any means. Often she is not even certain, why or, if she still is in this ominous house, with which most of her current memory is associated. How can she therefore ever rightfully talk about her homeland, or mother-country? She has no native place, not in this house anyway, though the house itself probably qualifies, for what one may call to be “at home”. But can a prison ever be called ‘home’? Prisons harbor convicts! She may be a prisoner but she is no convict, not as far as she can remember, or discern. But who knows? Without her full memory, all is possible. Maybe she was expelled, banned or punished for something she may or may not have done. Whatever! She does not feel ‘home’ in this house and in it, nothing is her native land or mother-country or motherland. At best, she is a visitor, sadly, one who is lost, or has lost her way, meaning, she really can only feel home in herself. Therefore she is home anywhere or, nowhere. Sure, this may be confusing for others, because when she is asked, where she comes from, she answers according to the place where she has her belongings or bed to sleep in, wherever that may be at that time. Often enough have people looked at her, perplexed, then pointing out that she was no local as far as they knew. Sure! Dimitri and Pia always insisted, that their home was hers too, and the country was her motherland. But she knew better. Though she did not agree, she left it at that, mostly because she did not want to upset Pia. Besides, she was not even given another choice. Her view never changed, but changed has her attitude, getting tired from constantly having to explain her answers to the ‘where do you come from’ question. Nowadays she answers, more often than not, according to her travel papers. She also acknowledges, that there were times when she felt like ‘being home’ with Dimitri and Pia, though not because it was her house, her land or mother-country.
Be it as it may, the country they are travelling in, especially the regions they are passing through now, is not only one of a kind, it is fascinating, full of surprising, contrasting adversity, but also of extremes and harsh conditions, with skies so wide and as far horizons, that it amazes her every day anew, and over and over again. It raises other feelings as well, but they drown in the mighty stream of sensations that flood her body, and spread through her brain as vast as a delta, before they merge into the ocean of her mind.
Dryness dominates the landscape and all life. Now and then one can find an oasis, but hardly ever with a lot of trees. There are no meadows or forests, it’s mostly and predominantly bush, low, where water is scarce, and more scraggly shrubs and thicket than other vegetation, and strewn in between are plenty of thistles and tussles of dry grasses. It is strangely beautiful in its desolate wilderness and, or may be because of it, lack of human beings. Sometimes, she thinks the land is uninhabited, if not uninhabitable. They may travel for hours without meeting a soul, or finding signs of settlements, and when they do, they hardly consist of more than a few houses. One is always a petrol station with a petrol pump or two, and serving as well as a shop and little take-away or café. That’s where you can find the essentials for the stomach or necessities for the journey ahead. Sometimes, there may be even a workshop, others have a pub, and on the occasion a community hall, a church and school. The buildings are mostly of wood with tin roofs, some may just be tin sheds. The bigger ones may have a signboard with a name on it, or stating their purpose. It serves rather local pride than it is a necessity. Still, hardly ever are people around; to meet them, one must stay for the night. Then locals and the rare traveler may gather in the pub that caters for all guests to their delight. Generally, there are always more cars than people, except, a party of country workers drop in, on crowded trucks and utilities. They cater then for entertainment, their own and everybody else’s, particularly after a few cold beers. Femina feels sometimes as if being thrown into the “Wild West”, and into another time altogether, thanks to the often most peculiar, wild and unique characters that gather in these places. Though they can be rough and noisy, playing practical jokes on each other, it never ends in open quarrels or fighting but in roaring laughter, and another round of beer.
Apart from the main street all other roads are of earth. There is only earth, dry and red and dusty. A red film clings to everything, be it house, cars, cloths or fur. Though, she is told, that is only during the dry season. When the rains come, all can turn into mud, which makes travelling difficult, if not impossible. She is no longer surprised about the lack of commodities of modern civilization. In places like these, one needs solid things that can last and withstand the forces of nature, there is no need for shiny chrome and gadgetry. Most things have to be adjusted and changed to fit the local conditions, and many undergo repair with whatever is at hand. At worst, one lives without even bare necessities. Once, while sitting on the wooden bench at the local petrol pump and take-away, eating her hamburger, she observes in horror, a driver filling up on petrol with a cigarette in his mouth, and then leaving, without a tank cap, and windows wide open. Most likely the car had no windows either not just no tank lid.
Apart from the scarce population also fauna seems to be scarce. Dogs are more numerous, domesticated rather than wild ones, and plenty of birds, from the very big to the small, some colorful just like the rainbow. They have the most endearing twitter, while others croak and shriek and carry on like kids in the schoolyard. The very big ones, having lost their ability to fly, can be seen running in the open spaces, while most others frequent bushes and trees in the green oasis, or swoop down on settlements to inquisitively watch the goings-on or search for food that supplements their staple. There are also plenty of snakes and many more lizards, really big ones too, and of course creepy crawlies everywhere, as well as plenty of flies. These like to settle on all the moist places, zooming straight up into your face to get to your mouth, nostrils and eyes. One time, stopping on the side of the road for a short break, they notice the ground beneath them moving. Horrified they discover that they are not standing on earth as they presumed, but on brownish black caterpillars or grubs, creeping and crawling over each other, aimlessly and without purpose, their bodies forming a blanket who knows how thick, covering up any real earth beneath. Not one plant, not a single blade of grass can be seen as far as they can see, probably because these creatures have eaten it all. They really thought it was dark brown earth as they were passing by, not being able to discern these type of animals being far too small to be recognized at speed and distance. Besides, they just presumed there were huge fields of tilled land, particularly as they had been told of the industrial type of agriculture they would encounter in certain areas, and having already traveled along this dark earth for kilometers. Femina had no idea how extensive industrial farming could be, until now. They speculate that what they see are harvested fields, where caterpillars would find plenty of left-over organic matter to feed on, and to multiply. To be impressed by the extent of that kind of farming is only one side of the coin. The other is sadder and depressing, seeing life doomed to end this way. They don’t linger, jumping back on the bikes to travel on. This was no place to stop. Even the crows seem to share their opinion because, oddly, there is not even one to be seen. May be they have lost their appetite being offered too much of a good thing or, what is on offer may not be palatable after all. Femina has a hard time to get over the shock of being confronted with the reality of industrial farming, what it does to nature and life itself.
Apart from this and thanks to the size of the country, there is more beauty than not. The wide skies and wide plains, the desolation and solitude, all the colors from the most intense to the bleached and faded, she feels like being in a gallery of exquisite art. The contrast of the red soil with the bluest of blue sky is so stark that it would overwhelm her senses, were it not for the sun, whose light changes colors and landscapes ever so often, creating new shadow plays and color games, while walking from day to night. There is never a dull moment, never a boring landscape. The red canvas turns into a feast for the eyes when and wherever colored stones and rock formations crop up, and where the green of vegetation varies, as much as there are plants and water supply. Indeed, the land is a banquet for her senses and she is indulging like the maggot, never getting enough of it. Every day makes her feel freer, as if she was losing ballast, she never knew she had. Her soul dances like a butterfly, while her body fills up on the clear air and the sun’s energy. At night she fills up on the wide and wonder-some silence and the magic of the twinkling stars, more numerous and nearer than she has seen them for a long time; even the moon is bigger and brighter than elsewhere, sometimes even turning golden and red. Nothing spoils her zest of life, not even the dark heavy ball she carries since leaving the waiting room, securely hidden away in her innermost breast pocket. She does not ask if or what the future may hold. As far as she can judge, she has no future. She does not even have a past, apart from the few memories of recent times. What she has now is plenty, and it fulfills her perfectly. Easy rider! There is no need for more.
Of course, even though she has no wish for change, change happens regardless. Slowly but steady does it come along. Not only the landscape, even the air, and after all the climate itself change. First, hardly noticeable, more green appears and then other vegetation, and the wind has a moist breath. As the earth covers itself with juicy grasses, more and more bushes display lush leafy growth. Islands of small and big trees, even palms can be seen, eventually forming patches of woodland. There are more settlements too, though mostly off the road. It means however, more traffic, many more roadhouses, and much more human encounter. Initially she does not mind the change, but soon she realizes that it is not for the better. In fact, she dislikes it, that is, she dislikes the local people. Now that she finds more things of civilization, it does not apply to the native population. They are as far as she is concerned barbarians, boorish and crude, not only in appearance, but more so in their customs and attitudes. Nearly all, including females, are rude, and quick to pick a fight. There are guns aplenty, lying openly displayed in either the cars or on the cargo trays of Utes and trucks, effectively guarded by dogs with raised lips, and bared teeth, and a gruesome growl should anyone come to close. But Femina likes them better than their masters, because they do only their duty, while the other are just bullies and brutal contemporaries. Above all, - she can hardly believe her friends when they tell her, how women and animals fare, - men are hunting them, both. They may slay them on the spot or, they may drag women off to keep them as a kind of domestic animal, fitting them with a collar and leash if they think it necessary. That of course is a good reason why women have to arm themselves.
Disputes and fights among them are common. All too often is she witness to it. Different opinions are usually settled with the fist and the winner is right. Everyone agrees that only the winner can be right. It all boils down to their conviction that only the strong deserve to live, and only the strongest can survive. Women are therefore second rank, being the “weaker gender”. Though Femina is wondering, how these in many instances formidable amazons can believe such nonsense, she leaves it at that. Many of them eye her with mistrust anyway, if not blatant hostility.
Though Femina does not believe to be in any danger having two male companions with her, they seem to change too, at least their usually relaxed attitude has changed. Of course, it is most obvious in the ‘public arena’. They move slower, walk sure-footed if not steadfast, smiling and joking only when they are among themselves. As soon as they get off their bikes, they open their leather jackets not just because of the warm climate. It appears, they want to show off their muscles, at least that’s what she believes as she watches them move. Also their gaze is different, somewhat more arrogant, swiftly scanning everything as if they were not interested in anyone or anything, though paying close attention. They always appear unapproachable, with pinpoint pupils and half-shut eyes. They no longer hang around for more than is necessary, buying what they need quickly and moving on without too much talk. They stay away from the roadhouses and camping grounds, seeking their own campsites, choosing places away from frequented areas and curious eyes. It certainly helps that the population is still small and as it spreads out over a vast area, it is possible to avoid their company. Femina could not agree more with her friends, to keep out of the people’s way, and to travel rough, rather than indulging in creature comfort and pay for with peace of mind. Sadly, she realizes, and has to accept, that all the change was not only encompassing but is far more pervasive than she likes, or even can anticipate.
It is a blue cloudless morning as they rise from their sleep to get ready for the journey ahead. The black metal and chrome of the bikes gleam wet in the early sun, and the air is moist and cool. These days they hardly light up camp fires, night or morning, eating their breakfast usually mid morning after having traveled a good many miles. The ritual of greeting the new day with a cup of hot coffee or tea has been replaced by a swift and silent routine. Sleeping bags are rolled up quickly, their little tents as quickly taken down and packed up. Their personal hygiene has to wait until they find the next opportunity, at a river or pond or at worst at one of the roadhouses if nothing more suitable can be found.
Today she feels not yet ready to travel on. Waiting for Ger to get on his bike, she embraces Dan’s waist and hugs up to him closely. He is comforting warm. His brown locks spilling out from under the helmet, she rests her head beneath on his broad back. She lets her sleepiness take over again, until Dan starts up the engine, and the howls and vibrations put an end to it. His back thrusts against her, the rumbling and booming rises quickly to its crescendo, only to settle down after all into a satisfied growl. She sees the asphalt fly along beneath them, and stretching out before them into wide distant land. One mile after the other gets lost behind them as they fly past the green into ochre burnt hills and open country. It is a lonely route they travel, meeting no-one and nothing, no vehicle, nor human soul. The sound of the engines rock her back into some kind of dozing sleep. Sometimes she takes a glance over Dan’s shoulder, gazing into the distance where she can make out a mountain range, but falling back quickly into her dreamlike mental state, for how long she can only tell by the distance the sun travels in the sky.
A strange noise appears suddenly above all other sounds like a rolling thunder. It vies for her attention, jolting her into a sudden wakefulness as if a light-bulb was switched on. May be a weather front is approaching, but not even the wisp of a cloud is to be seen. The thundery noise however gets louder, ruffling the smooth silky blue sky and rippling the shiny air at the horizon. A cold shower sweeps through Femina’s body. The rumbling and rolling carries in it something she does not like. Dan and Ger slow down and line up side by side, obviously for the sake of communication. After some gesticulating and Ger finally pointing into a certain direction, they speed up again.
Femina ponders what the noise could be. It sounds like a squadron of some kind of flying machines. But she can’t see anything as much as she tries, besides, the rumbles become fainter again, unlikely that she finds out more now. On their trip so far, she never even has heard an airplane, and sure she has never heard anything like these noises that she could associate with airplanes she knows, like the big ones for public, or, the small ones for private use, or any of military kind. She remembers Ger saying a few days ago, that he wanted to meet up with his little brother, the youngest of the many siblings he has, having not seen him for a long time and hearing less and less from him too. He was apparently settling somewhere along the way they were travelling, and it seemed Ger is a bit worried about him. Nothing more was said, but maybe they are heading now towards a townships or even a city where they would find him, and where there were airports or similar facilities, with lots of air traffic that could be heard from afar.
Femina stops to speculate. She also finds her uneasiness ridiculous. What difference does it make? Does she really care what will happen, or whom she will meet on this journey? She has no plans, no goals, and no wish. These are rolled up within the ball she carries, no bigger than a golf ball or, may be just a bit bigger than one of the big glass marbles kids like to play with, only without their beautiful coloring, and far too heavy for any games, this one or that one. Hidden in the innermost pocket at her chest, she has become so used to its weight that she hardly feels it anymore. Sometimes, mostly on quiet evenings when she feels left to herself, does she take it out to look at it, rolling it in her hands, just to confirm that it was still there, and still the same, smoky brown and black, impossible to see through with its dark and muddy shadows captured inside. Most times however it remains hidden and untouched. She feels it anyway when Dan’s body presses against her, be it his back, during a fulminate take-off on the bike, or a passionate embrace on other occasions. Once he asked her what it was she was carrying, if it was a kind of talisman or an amulet; he must have seen her handling it, observing her more than she thought he would, or may be just having it felt on some of the mentioned occasions. She was taken by surprise, and not sure, what to answer. ‘No, no, or may be in a way’, she said vaguely, then adding quickly, that it was rather kind of a souvenir, of sentimental value, but she could not let go of it. He never asked again. Probably because he knew she was not prepared to tell him more, but also because he knew, it was better for him to leave it at that.
Femina’s vigilance does not disappear as they travel on. It does not help either that they make only short breaks, usually just for a drink from their water bottles and one time for something to eat. That’s the only time they actually get off their bikes. They don’t even have their morning wash, settling for a quick hand and facial cleans from the extra water container they carry for the sake of an emergency. Though nothing significant happened so far, it adds to Femina’s feelings of uneasiness. Obviously, the journey has an urgency instead of being just the usual relaxed trip. Besides the thundering noises coming and going, never close enough for more to be discovered, there are increasingly more roads intersecting, but they are still the only ones on the road, and no signs of houses, or any of tiniest settlements whatsoever can be seen. So she has a few questions for the guys. They agree, it does not mean that there are no people living here. However, townships and even cities are beyond the mountain range, which they intend to cross over before night falls. But they do not know what the thundering noises are, so they say. Femina can’t say that the answers are all that satisfying. For some reason, and she cannot figure out why, or what happened, her feelings of uneasiness grow.
They have now come very close to the mountains. The plains before them already show off pockets of woodland, the first messengers of the thick forests that cover the mountain range ahead. But they don’t get very much further. A roadblock forces them to a sudden halt. It is made of a big rough cut tree log that rests on two solid stone blocks at the ends, and a heavy metal grate in between. A big stop sign is nailed on it in its midst. They take off their helmets to consider their options, though there are only two, - either to turn back or wait. As she quickly discovers, it would be impossible to circumvent the obstacle. A stony field runs along each side of the road, sharply edged and craggy, with many more metal spikes in between. It is a formidable barrier. Only an army tank could survive a drive over it. Besides, there is another reason for waiting, as she finds out after all. Easy rider it is no more!
Having felt alarmed for most of the day already, what her friends tell her now is even more disconcerting: This kind of road blocks apparently are used to mark territories and also function as a kind of road toll collection poste. Local gangs control certain areas, and though they may not be the legal owners of the land or road, they assume ownership, with brutal force, if necessary. These groups make their own rules and live according to their own laws. Rivalling each other they fight bitter battles, bloody and deadly more often than not. Manslaughter and murder serve as means to spread fear and to enforce control. They usually fight over territories and dominance, or it is for the purpose of demonstration of strength, and always of course, for monetary gains. Somehow this reminds Femina of the robber knights she has heard about in history lessons at school, the only difference being the legality of landownership. However, how land is taken and ownership is claimed, is in itself a questionable and arbitrary affair, meaning, there is not really a big difference between the robbers of the past and the ones of modern times, at least not how she sees it. At the thought of history education she smiles. She loved the subject because of the many peculiar events and stories, but she liked to call it the fairy tale hour or sometimes, the horror story time. Far too much was just so unbelievable, and truly shocking; far too much is obviously not even just a historical event long time past.
From afar the thundering noises approach again, but this time they do not turn away, instead, heading straight towards them. The closer they come the more trepidation Femina feels. Though the roars are now above them, she still cannot discern anything despite straining her eyes as she scans the sky. Finally, several black dots appear far up over their heads, and now and then a red glow lights up between and around them. She presumes, they are the flying objects, though they could be birds, like circling vultures, if it was not for the noise and the red shine accompanying their flight. Therefore, they can’t be birds, but they could be dragons, except, they have become extinct a long time ago, isn’t it? And then all of a sudden the dots race down towards them, nose diving with such a speed, as if they were torpedoes, or missiles with trailing smoke. There is no roar any longer, only an ear-piercing whistle, coming closer to impact any instant, now. And then, nothing of the kind happens! The whistling suddenly stops, changing back into ear deafening noise as the flying machines cease speeding downwards, only to circle and hover above them again, but this time, not far above at all. As ear crushing as the noises may be, Femina’s racing heart is the only thing she feels, or hears, coming back to life, because only seconds ago, everything seemed to come to a standstill, including her heart. Now she knows what it means to be stunned; something that is clearly a natural reaction when staring into the eye of imminent annihilation. And she must admit, it is something extraordinary indeed, though there is no time for a close examination.
The new development, welcome or not, leaves little time for thinking. The squadron now close enough for inspection, baffles and confuses her, being nothing she could have ever imagined. What she sees are wide black wings, spanning like skin between arms and legs, just as if they were flying foxes, though of human proportion. Of course, they are no bats, nor any birdlike creatures, nor anything else but man, having rockets stuck on the side of their lower legs that spit out fire and ear numbing noise. There are about eight or nine, and though they pass over and briefly away from them, they part into two lots, only to set down on the road before and behind them. The noises fortunately subsiding, they slowly roll towards them, stopping a few meters away, strategically posted across the road at the front, and closing them in at the back.
Dan and Ger exchange meaningful glances, while Dan tells her that they are facing a patrol of the “Desperados”, who apparently control this region, though much further down south than they had anticipated. She just should stay calm. He did not believe, there would be a serious development, as long as they played to their rules. Femina does not really need this advice. Whatever she may feel has no bearing at all. It would be pointless to act on any emotions. Obviously these bandits want their toll, not their lives. The question however is, what type of toll they want, or how much they need to pay, before they were given permission to continue with their journey. Any attempt to escape these headhunters would be absurd. Femina also refuses to let her feelings overwhelm her, because no matter what, the situation does not need feelings, only a cool head and reasoning.
She avoids to stare too blatantly at the men, though it does not come easy to keep her curiosity at bay. The men are fully clad in what appears to be leather, wearing helmets, with their nearly black visor down. They come in all shapes and sizes, big and small, solid though, likely packed with muscles beneath their outfit. Moreover, they are armed to the teeth with various guns stuck in holsters around the hip, and knives of differing sizes on their thighs. Their wings are folded and tucked away, obviously consisting of a thin but never the less strong material that can be easily pleated so it seems, because there is only a small flap visible between their arms down to the knees. Though keen to find out more, she does not dare to get stuck on details. She glances down the legs to the rockets. In fact they are part of a ‘roller-blade boot’ reaching just underneath the knees and the rockets attached to the sides. The whole unit reminds her of skiing boots, stiff and solid but still of a lightweight synthetic material that fulfills more than one function, without being too heavy or awkward to wear. By all means, the whole outfit is more than impressive, if not mind boggling. At their chests seem to be various buttons or knobs, but being all in black she can’t make out specific details. The other question she wonders about is how the rockets work, what they are made of, how they are fueled. Naturally these question cannot be answered at this point in time, but she does not even see anything that would suggest to be a fuel containing device. Maybe they carry rocket fuel in containers on their backs, which of course she cannot see under the circumstances. They still have not opened their visors, eyes remain hidden behind. While their helmets are of grey color, right in the middle, well visible, but all black and not elaborate at all, is an emblem, a skull with two guns crossed in front over it. Despite its simplicity it says more than words could. They certainly are a gang, but rather like a hostile pack of hungry wolves, or mutant, bloodthirsty, men eating flying foxes, more threatening and more dangerous than any animal could ever be, and for sure crueler than any of it.
So far they were only stared at in silence. A low frequency hum can be heard as if the gang had their engines running, indecisive of what to do with their victims as yet. Dan sits upright, waiting, his back hard pressed against her, muscles tight and hard as steel. If his heart was still beating, it did so behind walls that were impenetrable to motion or sound. But Femina, in contrast to Dan, becomes more and more relaxed. While she was scanning over the armored men, admittedly only a superficial scan it could be, her fears dissipated slowly but steadily. She becomes more and more curious, and even fascinated. Sure, this modern robber knights or bandits are sinister, angst provoking, and likely more menacing and dangerous than anything she has ever encountered before, but they were also fascinating. She can’t help it, her curiosity wins. She has to find out what lies under their armor. Despite the signs not suggesting anything good, fear is neither useful nor reasonable or necessary, not at this stage at least, that’s how she sees it. What is however without any doubt important, is cautious attention and clarity of mind. Logic tells her, that no hunter is perfect, and not every hunt is successful. Besides, every pack has a leader. Of course, many dogs are the rabbit’s death, but death is not what she is afraid of, not since she carries it with her anyway. Without actually being aware of, she reaches into her inner pocket. The heavy ball rolls into her hollowed hand. Easy Rider! Street robbers! Whatever! Nobody is only bad, nobody is only good!
So! She is able to put her fears on a leash, since she knows what she is dealing with. In the depths of her sub consciousness however something stirs, but is too vague to be acknowledged yet. There she is, like the watch dog seemingly asleep, listening attentively to all the noises, but leaping into action only when the signals become clear. What they may be is hard to tell, waiting is therefore the best policy.
Suddenly the humming noise stops and a sharp loud somewhat hollow voice, as if coming through a speaker, asks:
“What do want here? This is our land. You have no business to come here!”
It is Ger who answers. His voice is calm bearing no threat or fear:
“We did not come to cause trouble. We are on our way up north, but I have a brother, who intended or already has settled somewhere along this way. I would like to catch up with him as we pass through. Maybe you have heard of him, or even know his where abouts.”
Silence ensues. Femina is quite sure that these guys have means to talk with each other despite that she cannot hear or see anything. Why else would they be left waiting for an answer!
After all, one man from the front row rolls to the barricade while the others watch motionless, with hands close to their weapons.
Femina feels Dan’s muscle relax. He reaches back to her with his left in a gesture of reassurance, obviously to indicate that all is well, that there was no longer, or at least no immediate danger.