300 words. Prompt: note, arrow, night
|The arrow shot through Chern's arm.
"Are you done yet?"
He controlled the urge to tear it out, stifled a groan, stared back at Rafa, then turned around and stepped into the night.
Wary, Rafa refused to follow, saw no need. Poison would do its duty. He only had to ignore the screams.
Chern washed himself in a stream. He clipped the arrow, careful not to touch the tip, applied some cream he always carried, wrapped his throbbing arm in a poultice of fresh leaves, headed to Arika's hut.
"Cut it off."
She told him to look away. One chop with her butcher's knife and the severed arm fell to the floor. She shooed away her curious dog.
"We all die," Chern said softly as she wrapped the wound.
"Not tonight. Drink this."
There was no need for further words. She threw a blanket over him as he fell asleep.
She buried his arm beneath the cooking pit's ashes and curled up with her dog until dawn.
"Come in, Rafa."
Rafa took one look at Chern in the corner.
"I'm a healer. Have some tea." The dog licked Rafa's hand.
"If you won't let me kill him I have no reason to stay."
"Then go," Arika whispered.
The sky was angry; clouds gathered for a storm. She tended to her roses, mixing in last night's ashes, scattered some around her hut. "Grass doesn't care."
When Chern woke up she prepared a fresh pot of tea.
"Rafa was here."
"What did he want?"
"Nothing I could give him. Drink."
Two days later there was a note, "Stay until you heal". Arika and her dog were gone.
Chern-One-Arm left the next week when the sun came out. The roses were rejoicing and the grass was a brilliant shade of green.