Desiree followed Nahum and the mysterious girl through the forest, careful not to make a sound.
What was Nahum thinking, taking some girl to meet Seth? Was this some sort of joke? Would he also leave the Island? Not that it was any of her business....Nahum could do whatever he liked. She hadn't really spoken to him since they had come of age, it was no surprise he was doing things she didn't know about.
"You're late." A deep male voice intoned, clearly unimpressed.
"We had a bit of trouble getting away from the party." Nahum replied smoothly.
Even if his voice was smooth, Desiree knew that Nahum was frightened. No one could face Seth without fear.
"Let's just get this over with." The girl tapped her foot, impatient. Desiree squinted, through the trees, but could only see the outlines of the three figures. On the left she could see the form of a very large man, almost a giant. This was Seth. To to right she could see the girl who had just spoken, who was tiny, and the just-above-average height of Nahum. There was barely any light out, but she could still see the girl's head turn towards him. "Can he do it, or not?"
Nahum seemed exasperated as he chided her. "Mind your manners, and he probably will."
"So you're the only two?" Seth's deep voice was akin to a growl.
"No, there is one more person who could not make it tonight. However, Dimitra was more that willing to beg you to give him a place."
So her name was Dimitra. Why did she want to get off of the Island so badly?
"There's room." was all Seth could say. He pointed directlyat Desiree as he added, "There's even room for a fourth, if your friend over there wishes to join in."
Desiree froze, holding her breath as Seth walked through the trees. She silently prayed that he was wrong and hadn't seen her, but as a gargantuan hand pulled her up by the arm, she knew that she was caught. How had he seen her? She hadn't made a sound.
"Since you're here, you might as well join our party." Seth's voice grated in her ear uncomfortably. He carried her over to Nahum and Dimitra. "Does this belong to one of you?"
Nahum chuckled. "She belongs to no one. But she is welcome to join."
With Nahum's assent, Desiree was released from Seth's grip. She barely managed to stay on her feet.
"We meet at the harbor in two days. That should give me time before the next trip to the mainland.
Desiree turned to look up at Seth. "I thought that mainland trips took at least four weeks to complete."
"That includes time to see the mainland. The trip itself is short." Seth informed her arrogantly. "You should at least understand that if you want to go."
Desiree turned away from Seth. Of course she didn't want to go!
"Two days time, in the harbor. Be there by the time the sun comes up or you'll lose your ride." Seth glared at them one final time before turning and walking away, his massive form soon lost in the darkness.
The three remaining were silent for a moment before Dimitra spoke:
"What made you think you could follow us and evesdrop like that?" she snapped.
"I have no obligation to explain myself to someone as yourself." Desiree retorted.
"Is she from your generation, Nahum?" Dimitra asked.
Nahum nodded. "We were born on the same day."
Dimitra seemed to regard Desiree with mild interest. "So you two are the weird rarity? Interesting that you're both going to run away."
"Be concerned with yourself." Desiree replied. "Why don't you just take next month's ferry?"
That could only mean that this girl was too young to take the ferry.
"What is your generation?" Desiree was curious.
"Seventh. I'm thirty-six." Dimitra answered. "They say I don't have enough experience to see the outside world yet."
People on the Island came of age and began learning their trade at twenty-five, but were not allowed to venture from the Island until they were at least a hundred years old. All the members of Dimitra's generation were too young to leave the Island, while Desiree and Nahum, of the sixth generation, barely made the cut for travelling off the Island.
As the three of them began to walk back to the party, Dimitra bombarded Desiree with questions.
"You're a hundred and twenty-five, right? How come you haven't left the Island yet?"
"I have no need to leave the Island."
"What made you follow us?"
"I heard Nahum scold you and wanted to know why he was meeting Seth."
"Are you going to come on the journey with us, then?"
"That remains to be seen." Desiree looked at Nahum as she added. "The journey itself could be interesting, but I would much rather stay here unless forced to go. People should think of their positions in life before they do things like this."
Nahum was the only member of their generation who had chosen to learn culinary skills, and was valued enough that he could keep his position as a cook for as long as he wished to. What made him want to leave the Island in secret?
Strangely, Nahum didn't avert his eyes when Desiree looked at him. Did he not feel a little bit of guilt over this? Desiree hardened her eyes into a glare before turning her attention back to walking.
From there, Dimitra must have read the mood, because the questions stopped coming.
"Dimitra, go back to the party." Nahum finally spoke when they reached the path.
"You're not coming?" Dimtra looked at Nahum, then at Desiree.
"I'll be walking with her." Nahum replied. "Desiree needs to know more about the journey."
Dimitra shrugged her shoulders before turning on her heel and making her way down to the meeting place.
"Desiree." Nahum gestured in the direction of her hut. "Shall we?"