“You had a reason for all your babbling?” Tawhiri teased.
Ooma sighed and muttered a string of nonsense under her breath before pushing her hair back from her face. “I do, and if you will just stop interrupting, I can get to it.”
Tawhiri waved to encourage her on and focused his attention on eating so she couldn’t see his frustration.
“After a short time, our warriors took up their spears and made war on the Malo. There had been several other women taken without the permission of the Elders or of their families, and the warriors had reached the end of their patience. “
“The Malo agreed to leave and they began to pack their boats and ready their outriggers for the journey. Oakia demanded that I follow him. But I was done with my new adventure and my dreams of voyaging were long past. I thought of the eaters of human flesh, and of the storms and the Mo’o and the Ilkai. I just wanted to go home.”
“Oakia was furious. He tried to catch me with the intention of tying me onto his outrigger. So I grabbed his ax…” She paused again and help up the ax head in her hand like she were ready to strike with it. “... and I struck him with it.”
She dropped the ax head into the sand. “I’m not sure if he lived or not. I hit him in his thigh, and while he screamed on the floor of his hut, I ran. I ran back through the trees and toward the village. I was sure that Malo warriors would catch me before I got far and beat me to death. I’d seen them do so to other woman before. But I didn’t get very far into the trees before I found out own people, standing guard to be sure the Malo didn’t attack in the night.”
“I hope you did kill him,” Tawhiri mumbled around a mouthful of soursop. He spit out a seed.
“I don’t.” Ooma’s eyes turned glassy and she stared off into the darkness. “When the Malo left, we went back and tore down all their huts. We turned their gardens and planted them with coconut and wild plants. And we threw any sign of them back into the sea. We were scared their ancestors spirits would think this was their home and haunt us.”
Ooma motioned at the ax. “I found this on the beach. I carried it back with me, but when I passed this place I threw it in. If I were to have any reminder of the man who had been my husband, I didn’t want it to be a weapon.”
Tawhiri frowned. “That must have been many years ago.”
Ooma’s eyebrows shot up. “You pesky little boy. Yes, it was.”
“For once I don’t mean to laugh at your old age.” Tawhiri stooped and retrieved the ax head from where it lay. “What I meant, is that the ocean should have swallowed this a long time ago. Why did I find it?”
“It does seem strange.” Ooma’s voice turned low and she stared through the orange light at the object in Tawhiri’s hand. “I do know one thing. These weapons were not of the Malo’s making. They took them from their fallen enemies as trophies. It had a handle once. Intricately carved with words and images like I’ve never seen.”
“It was laying right on top of the sand. As if it had only just settled.”
“Maybe the gods are trying to speak to you.”
“Because I’m Mo’o?”
Ooma shrugged. “If you really are a demigod, you will know what they are trying to say before long.”
Tawhiri shifted his weight uneasily. “What do you mean?”
“Do you think it is only the ocean that calls to a demigod? No.” Ooma stood and walked to the edge of the firelight. She tilted her chin, and pointed out over the swelling ocean waves.
“You do hear it, don’t you?”
Tawhiri scoffed and leaned back on his heels. “Hear, what? You are mad.”
Ooma didn’t answer. The darkness deepened outside the ring of light, and the stars burned brighter. Through the waves, an almost imperceptible hum rippled.
Tawhiri shook his head and it dissolved into the night. It was nothing.