I forgot her face. Shortly after she was born, I touched her soft, smooth skin. I smelled the pungent flowers that her mother used to wear. But now I could not see her eyes or nose or mouth.
But I did hear that wretched noise from her throat. She made no other noise.
The Elder sat beside me, his face dimly lit by the fire. “She cannot come with us. We do not have enough,” he intoned, his words cutting like a claw through my chest.
I looked into his deep brown eyes. They were sympathetic. “I can take care of her. She will get better,” I said in a quiet voice.
That noise from her throat came again, an invisible enemy stalking throughout her tiny body. I held her close.
The Elder shook his head. He turned away from me and stared toward the fire. “The mother is lost.” He gestured his hand toward the infant in my arms. “She is sick.
"None of the matrons can take her.”
I stamped my foot down, making a soft noise on the ground below. “What helped me will help her!” I cried. The blank featureless face stared back at me.
A wrinkled hand fell on my shoulder. I felt the gentle but firm grip as the Elder looked into my eyes. “First Hunter. She will not make it through the night. You know what needs to be done.”
A long moment passed in silence, except for that inhuman noise ravaging my daughter. Finally, I nodded and laid her down on my lap. Where her mouth and nose should have been, I placed my hand.
And I pushed.