Makena’s head was craned back, eyes closed as she soaked in the day’s sunlight, her feet submerged under the steady stream of water flowing through her little garden. She was in paradise. Her nose pointed straight up to the sky; palms pressed behind her on the deck chair she sat on made her look graceful and ready to lift off and disappear from the world around her.

Makena’s moment of zen was disrupted when an older woman tapped her shoulder. The woman walked from village to village with a basket full of ripe and juicy mangoes. Makena didn’t feel like buying any; she politely declined and continued basking.

As Makena closed her eyes once again and pointed her head to the sky, she felt a slight prick followed by drowsiness that she couldn’t fight; she passed out. When she woke, she was in motion on her back. The noonday sun was now scorching her face. She was on a stretcher of some sort on something; it wasn’t a car or a van; its movement was unusual. She used her hands to feel around, her hands were bound to the stretcher, but she felt tough animal fur. The stretcher became very wobbly when she struggled to break free.

“It must be an animal”, Makena thought to herself.

After an hour or so, it came to a standstill, and she felt herself being unfastened; she closed her eyes and mouth tight to prevent herself from screaming. She was whisked down and thrust onto a shoulder. The shoulders wear broad and muscular, pressing against her tummy and causing discomfort. She didn’t want whoever these people were to know that she was awake. Makena wanted to see where they were taking her and listen in on what plans they had for her.

A skinny man pointed north of where they were; there was nothing but shrub land. And the muscular bulwark who carried Makena began to jog steadily toward an unknown destination. Makena’s tummy began to churn. It started with a bit of flatulence that had the man cough, and soon she began to throw up. Then, thud! The man dropped her to the ground after a few kilometres.

“Lady, I don’t know what ails you, but I can’t believe that a woman as beautiful as you could be so rotten on the inside. We’ll have to wait here for a while. I need to recover from the stench.” The man bent over, hands on knees, and began throwing up violently. Every heave released a spray of vomit, emitting a tear-jerking stench.

This was Makena’s chance to escape, but instead, she stared at the man with pity. She didn’t understand why, but she wanted to help him.