A wave of spasms runs through Nephraim’s body. His navel is the epicenter of the convulsion. Vibrations race across his skin, tearing gouges into the yellow war paint on his black chest. He looks like a human wasp.
He stands knee-deep in the brackish swamp water, watching the figures on the opposite bank. There are thirty steps between him and the nine creatures waiting for him. Eight motionless Leperos are standing there: five men, a woman and two children, all of them naked, their hair tangled. They are armed with spears that feature crooked tips like the stinger of an insect. The Frankan stigma glows on their chests. Drones.