Puissant

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puissant

  1. Literary. powerful; mighty; potent

Thick heat wove its way throughout the jungle, like an unseen predator stalking its prey. It beckoned us toward lethargy. Somehow each movement felt stiffer than the last, as if the weather could somehow atrophy our bodies.  But it was more than the heat that was our problem, it was the lack of water that made us uneasy.

The rainy season had been paltry on its best days, and now, after two crescent moons, it was hard to deny that the water supply hadn’t severely receded.

I blinked back the severe sunlight. Without water, even my eyes seemed dry and tough. My mind seemed to slowly follow what was happening around me.

“He’s going to lead us to a better place, Evory…” Kam, my childhood friend, sounded almost wistful as she whispered to me in hushed tones, as if releasing a sacred truth. “It will be a place with all the water we could ever want.”

Smatterings of murmuring passed throughout the group like a contagion. I could tell the puissant speech was meeting the desperate thirst of uncertainty and unmet questions, but the willingness to trust anyone who hadn’t lived in our midst or grown up among us seemed absurd.

“Kam, we don’t even know him.”

Her glare surprised me. It was as if I had insulted her dearest relative. The heat of her anger rivaled the sun.

“Evory do you want our families to live or are you content to see us all die,” she said. Her tone was hard now, but she kept her voice low, as if she didn’t want to expose me as a traitor, but only because of our friendship.

I was surprised at how taken she was with the idea to leave our home and follow Amman. He had only arrived two days before, strutting confidently into our midst, suggesting that he knew the answer to why the water was low and where we could find plentiful pools to sustain our families. I could feel latent springs of anger stir within me.

As Amman calmly cleansed the fur on his paw, it was hard to ignore how taken Kam was with his unceasing display of certainty and strength. My instincts told me not to trust Amman, but one thing was sure, even if he was the least bit trustworthy, the jealousy bubbling within me wouldn’t ever allow me to believe it.

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