Her father's voice sounded in her head, always angry. The fresh lashes on her back began to throb in time with her pulse as she moved, and Kala allowed her own anger to bubble up from within her. She curled up her hands into fists, punching at the restraints built up around her life.
A rustling of cloth alerted her to movement, so close to her that Kala held her breath. She would be beaten if found this far from the village, and probably killed.
"Kala?" Her mother whispered softly, and Kala nearly cried. Tentatively she reached out in the darkness, finding her mother's shoulder, and was instantly pulled into an embrace. Her mother spoke softly in Kala's ear.
"It is ready. You must go now before your father wakes."
Kala's mother pulled her around the last dune, furthest away from the village. In the last moonlight, she could make out the shape of her mother's secret canoe, and smell the tar used to make it seaworthy. Tears pouring down her face, Kala turned to her mother, who placed a hand on her daughter's lips.
"This is my gift to you," she whispered. "I have filled it with food, water. Take it and row until you cannot see the land, and then let the current take you where it may. And I pray that you find that which you seek, my daughter."
Kala silently kissed the only hand that had cared for her, then began pushing the boat, the rising tide rushing to erase her footprints and send her on her way. Her life lay beyond the water's edge now.
If you must speak ill of another, do not speak it, write it in the sand near the water’s edge.