"I heard your bird," Adei said. "I wanted to make sure you were okay."
Xavier sighed. "Yes, Adei, I'm fine. You can leave now."
"But Xavier, you have to come with me this time," the girl said. "Tribe Mother says you have to prepare for your Mate."
"Serie, protect me...," Xavier muttered under his breath, praying to the goddess of love. "I had forgotten fourteen was the coming of age," he told Adei. "I am nowhere near prepared."
"That's all right," Adei told him cheerfully. "That's why you're coming back!"
"All right, you can go," the boy told her. "I'm coming."
Adei skipped off, back the the Tribe's camps.
"Achi, Serie. Achi." He spoke in his own language, saying "help, Serie. Help."
He started walking in the direction Adei had taken, but then he heard a scream. I was loud, long, and sounded like his Tribe Sister, the very person he was just talking to.
"I'm coming, Adei!" he shouted, and began sprinting. He didn't get too far before he saw his Tribe Sister lying on the ground, with a bite mark on her arm. What stood over her was his real concern. It was a human, twisted and mutilated. Its teeth were cracked: it looked like it had been chewing on rocks.
"Feed...," it said, the word emitting horribly from its broken jaw and ripped tongue.
It began slowly stumbling towards Xavier, who was now scared for the first time in his life.
"Keep back," he warned it.
It continued walking.
"Xavier... run...," Adei said from on the ground. She had worse damage than a bite. She was bleeding internally.
"I'm not running. I will kill this thing and help you," he said.
The thing lunged, Xavier screamed, Adei closed her eyes, and then the forest was silent.