Red, the color of blood and therefore the ultimate contradiction, thought Brad Morton. Blood was the red liquid without of which no living creature could exist; therefore, it stood for life.
His glassy eyed stare followed the red spattered trail on the ground, where the grey manine (A merge-mutation of man and cat) known as Teyata, leaned back against a tree.
It was then that he realized the irony; the spreading red pool from beneath her hands indicated that she was dying.
He reached for the afflicted areas, hoping that he could stem the flow, but he feared that he’d only make her worse and therefore, his fingers hovered above her wounds in indecision. They had only known each other for two years, yet Brad had invested so much of his life in Teyata.
She had taught him to survive the world in its devastated state, since the hail of missiles in the war of 2138. He was taught to hunt, to track and to fight. The only thing she asked in return was that he teach her to read the books of the old world. She began with the Bible, soon becoming a Christian, bonding them even closer together, now she lay dying after protecting him.
Teyata forced a weak smile.
“No man has greater love than this, that he lay down his life for his friends,” she quoted.
A tear threatened to fall from Brad’s cheek.
With a single extended claw, the manine tenderly wiped it free.
“Is that for me?” she asked with labored breath. “It must mean that you love me, Brad Morton.”
His hands shot to hers; gasping in horror that he had touched the red lesions.
“I do; I do love you, Teyata,” he quaked, threatening to break his composure.
“Enough of that,” she berated softly, her breathing becoming more ragged. “It hurts when I breathe now. Will you pray for me, Brad?” she asked with shallow pants.
“Of course I will,” he croaked, pressing his forehead against her hand, suddenly reminding him of the moisture from her wounds pressing against him.
Closing his eyes tightly, he ignored what he knew was a red smear on his face and hurriedly spoke words to The Lord. He hoped that God would choose to preserve Teyata’s life, knowing that it would take nothing short of a miracle to heal the red covered manine. When he lifted his head from his prayer, Teyata spoke again.
“I’m scared, Brad,” she croaked. “Do you think that I have a soul?”
Brad closed his eyes to avoid the question; he knew that Jesus died for all men, but Teyata wasn’t fully human. When he opened them, he saw her staring ahead. He gently set his fingers to her eyelids, closing them for the final time.
“I don’t know, Teyata,” he whispered, staring beyond her, “I hope so.”
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