The story so far:
The sun had set, and night was nigh. The villagers finished cordoning Djehuti's papyrus field with traps made by Ottah. As darkness grew, the villagers trembled in fear. All knew that the monster would have to be flushed from the field, and all knew there was only one way. Torches were lit.
“My poor papyrus!” Djehuti groaned to Jendayi. “They'll be burned! I'll have no wares to sell. Jendayi this is my livelihood they're destroying, and it is all your fault!”
“My fault?” Jendayi was surprised by Djehuti's accusation. “How can you blame me for the monster in your papyrus field?”
He reasoned, “I was fine for weeks cultivating the papyri around the monster, but you walked out into the field, and you were the one to tell everyone that I had a monster in my field!”
“Djehuti, you are not thinking!” Jendayi shook her head in disappointment and a little anger. “If the monster have lived there for weeks why did he choose last night to kill, and if the monster in your papyrus field did kill Wafalon than be grateful that I did, otherwise you may be the one dead.”
“Well,” he said, “the fact the villagers are burning my field, and the monster inside didn't kill Wafalon doesn't excuse that you were the one who let the villagers know that there's a monster in my papyri!”
“I only told Brother Hushiren...”
Djehuti interrupted Jendayi with “...who told the villagers!”
“Then blame brother Hushiren!”
“How dare you?” Djehuti was aghast. “He is a man dedicated to the Gods!”
Bai trembled in fear. “Not again!” She thought. “Why is this happening to me?”
The darkening sky was broken by flames of light like hideous fireflies determined to destroy the little peace Bai had found in the world. This time she learned a tricked and had planned an escape. Feeling the environment around her, she willed herself to blend into the surroundings. The men, however, knew where to go, some prodded the field with spears; others found it easier to set the field a blaze, and the scent of smoke mixed into the night.
Only one idea seemed to offer her protection.
“No! No! No!” Djehuti whined. “Why are they lighting it on fire?”
“I'm sorry, Djehuti.” Jendayi felt sincere sympathy for the paper-maker.
They ran to his fields. “STOP!” He yelled, but the flames kept burning.
“Don't worry!” Nassor raised an arm against Djehuti. “The fire will fertilize the field for a new crop.”
“But that will be another year and half before anything can be harvested.” The paper-maker spoke from the experience of going hungry before.
“The fire has already been set,” Nassor said with some sympathy, “I don't want to see you get hurt by rushing in. You are welcome to eat with my family, I promise. You'll not starve to death, as long as my harvest is good this year.”
Djehuti slumped his head in defeat. “Please, make sure that the fire doesn't get to my home.”
“The papyri there is short.” Nassor placed a reassuring hand on Djehuti's shoulder. “There's no way it can.”
It smiled; it was a warped smile of a contorted human face with elongated snout and feline teeth; everything was going perfectly to it's plan, and now, it could hunt.
Djehuti and Jendayi opened the door to his rather simple home. He didn't require much: a place to sleep, a place to eat, and a place to dry his papyrus. There was a room for each.
“Everything will be okay, Djehuti.” She wrapped her arms around him in a simple hug, but understand the feeling inside his body that suddenly erupted was far from simple to the paper-maker. “I thought for sure that the monster was sent from the Gods to protect you.”
There was a sound similar to rustling leaves. The sound was sharp and sudden. It sounded like it came inside the house. “What was that?” Jendayi asked.
“It sounded like it came from the room drying my papyri.” Djehuti looked at the door then at her. For the first time in his life, he felt like he needed to be brave. “Stay here.”
He looked in to find only his papyrus drying the room. Some were hanging; others were stacked in a pile. “It's nothing.” He called back. “It must have been the wind.”
Jendayi came behind he and rested her hand on his shoulder that shot a familiarly awkward shiver through his body. She examined with interest the art of his profession. Just as sure as the was magic when she wrote her stories, there was a magic to create the paper she wrote them on. This she was sure of, yet something else caught her attention...
“I don't think so.” Her words surprised the paper-maker. “There's a depression on the pile of papyrus.”
“Jendayi...” Djehuti reached for her as she walked forward but she avoided his reach.
“I can feel her.” The brave yet foolish girl smiled back. “The monster is here.”
“Bai!” The creature with glossy red scales and sapphire eyes suddenly appeared. “My name is Bai. I'm not a monster.”
The was a sudden banging on the front door that lead to the fire outside. “Djehuti! Jendayi! Are you okay?” It was the voice of Osahar. “Ottah, the trap-maker, is dead!”