Alone in a crowd

She watched him as he told his tale, leaning on her elbow to prop her head up. It was hard for her to believe he had once been a slave, that there were creatures more powerful that her godman. It made her heart hurt for him. Part of her wanted to comfort him, she could hear the pain in his voice, and it broke her heart.

Her crests rippled, not quite rising as he got towards the end of his tale. She heard his words and the inner membrane in her eyes flickered shut then open, studying him in the dim light of the banked fire.

“But... we're all people. We all need someone. Even I have to admit that and I prefer my solitude. If my mother can be a giant bug... well family comes in all shapes and sizes... That's my point. Wisdom from your godman."

She blinked a few times. Surely, he couldn’t mean what it sounded like. There were several flat faced females in the cave, surely one of them would accommodate Gil if he had need. She could not imagine even at his most desperate he would turn to her for his needs.

It was known in her realm that sometimes flat faced males would capture females of her tribe, they would never be the same again after they were released. Some even grew round in the belly, heavy with child, but none survived the birth and the children, even if taken from the belly were deformed, not viable.

Godman or no she had no desire to share that fate. And while females in her tribe were trained to accommodate the needs of any male; she just couldn’t. If she had been a dutiful she would have risen from her skins and assumed the position, but she stayed where she was.

And to her relief he did not approach her or press the issue. He merely stared at her fire, silent, pensive. Maybe someone here did know what it was like to be utterly alone while surrounded by others.

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