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I wiped away the imaginary spittle and smiled. I was with Mother in the tent. The caravan had camped for the night and Mother was snoring beside me. She rolled, faced away, and broke wind. Mother! I stifled a chuckle. Another reason not to grow old.

Then, a small pain seared my heart. I missed Kovalan. Tears slipped out of the corners of my eyes and I sniffed.

But Mother Nature had her ways, and she embraced and carried me into a dream-filled sleep. She was kind. She rewarded me with several short happy dreams. But one dream discomforted.

Kovalan, riding hard on his horse, caught up with a thick Arakan who was hurrying away with me slung over his sweaty shoulder. Kovalan leaned to his side and grabbed me. With one arm, he scooped up my lithe body and sat me in front of his saddle. The horse veered and carried us away from my abductor, as more howling Arakans appeared from the thickets and gave chase. The Arakans, though fleet footed, were no match for us. Kovalan urged his horse and our hips moved in rhythm with the gallop. Kovalan had one hand on his reins and the other wrapped around my waist. His hand slipped over my smooth silks and I tensed.

‘Wake up! The sun is up.’

Mother delivered a slap to my buttocks and disappeared into the blinding sunlight outside. All around the tent, I heard people going about with breakfast and other chores.

I tried to recollect my dreams but only the risqué dream filled my mind’s eyes. I wondered if I should share this dream incident, as I came to refer to it, with Chinnamma. But I discarded the idea. She was an approachable woman, but I suspected she would not entertain such matters. During my time in the farm, she proved me right. Below her jovial veneer, she was quite similar to Mother, but I took several months to recognise this side of her.

Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2019

Thank you all for having followed these excerpts. Those were the first 3 chapters.

I hope you pick up a copy of Song of the Ankle Rings.