Before Kepa could protest, Maite stood and walked onto the beach. She tried to appear weak and wobbly, but her stumbling was less of an act that she wanted to admit. The long run and the gash on her arm had drained her more than she had expected.
She let out a soft cry to get the attention of the soldiers as she pretended to trip and fall to the ground.
“What?” she heard called out. Though her French was broken, she could understand just enough. “Who is there?”
“Help,” she almost whispered in Spanish.
One of the soldiers came up to her as the others stood back, guns at the ready. “Dammit,” she thought to herself. “It would be a lot easier if they all came at once.”
The soldier, younger than her by a few years, approached. His smooth face suggested he was barely old enough to shave. He was trembling more than she was as he came to her.
“Who are you?” he asked in broken Spanish tinged with a French accent. “How did you get here?”
“My fiance…” she began. “We wanted to escape the city. We came here to spend the day.” Maite started sobbing, tears streaming down her cheeks. She could see Kepa circling around the distracted soldiers. He was almost between them and the boat. “The British…”
“Quoi?” exclaimed the soldier. “L’anglais!” He turned back to his comrades. “She says…” he began before seeing Kepa standing between them and the shore. “Là!” he yelled, pointing to Kepa.
As the two soldiers turned, Kepa raised his palms. Maite covered her eyes as a bright light broke the darkness. The two soldiers closest to Kepa screamed as they dropped their guns. The other had turned back to Maite, raising his gun.
Maite had already sprung to her feet. “I’m sorry,” she said as she placed her palm on his face and let out her own blast of light. Like his fellow soldiers, he dropped his gun as he fell to his knees, his hands covering his eyes.
“Bizkortu!” cried Kepa as he waved Maite over. They dashed to the boat and were paddling furiously before the soldiers recovered. Shots rang out in the night as bullets pierced the calm water around them.
“I’m glad they still can’t really see,” said Kepa with relief.
Maite simply nodded. Her body ached all over. Inwardly, she cursed the zatia. She cursed Marina. She was about to curse Kepa before she shook her head. No, she thought. This wasn’t his fault. She had agreed to everything, to helping Marina. To find the zatia. She just wanted to sleep.
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