Night Before The Hunt
As I dipped my fingers into the paint I thought of the coming day. I extend my hand and press it upon the rock, sheathing my family with the paint in my fingers. Protecting them from the walking mountain, a beast so great and powerful it would take our whole group to bring it down. A beast so big every step would shake the ground and sway any tree. A beast so powerful that its presence would silence the forest. Two tusk sharp enough to puncture the skin of any man brave enough to face it. If brought down, we would be rewarded with surviving the coming winter.
The chapter in our lives where we would be judged, judged by our ancestors. Where their teachings would be the only thing that protected us from the winter. Those who failed to heed their teachings were abandoned, left alone to fend for themselves. Surviving the winter is an action of trust. Proving to everyone that you have a purpose in our group, worthy enough to reap the rewards of a hunt. Worthy enough to enjoy the warmth of the fire. Worthy enough to learn the teachings of their ancestors. Worthy enough to live on forever.
Day of the hunt
The day had begun and my trust in it had only diminished. Grey clouds raced through the sky like a river through an open valley. The wind was angry and violent, screaming as it scraped the trees. No matter, the hunt should be the only thing in mind. I grabbed a spear, tightened the fiber connecting the stone and stick, making sure it wouldn’t break on impact. I walked over to brother and put my hand on his shoulder.
Don’t hesitate, stay calm.
Brother had hunted before, but never a mammoth. Rabbits and deer were difficult as they required precision and speed, which brother had, but a mammoth was more than that. A mammoth required strength, coordination, and bravery, something brother didn’t have. No matter his strengths we needed every spear, every arrow, every man to take down the beast of an animal, the mammoth. As we began to leave the comfort of our home, we prepared to meet our destiny. Only fate could protect us now.
As our bare feet met the grass we knew we were getting closer. The vibration of the ground would pass through our bodies like an open breeze. Crouching, as we avoided the mammoths gaze and moved as a part of the forest. The wind carried our feet and the trees concealed our bodies. It began to rain, and with it came a grey fog which creeped up beneath our feet. As the fog spread so did the trees, slowly engulfing the forest in its path. The rain grew louder and louder as we got closer. I raised my hand signaling everyone to stop. Brother looked over to me, trying to avert my eyes away from the mammoth. Frustrated as he was distracting the group from the hunt, I looked over to see a pack of wolves. Before anyone could take action, dozens of wolves sprung up from the ground floor which had been concealed from the fog.
As we ran from the wolves, we weaved through the trees and over the many things covering the ground, rocks, bushes, fallen trees. I hear the voice of a man scream out from behind. I look back and find brother encircled, trapped as the wolves had cornered him out. With the tip of his spear pointed towards the wolves, he thrust piercing the skin of the first wolf who leaps over him. He is quickly losing ground as the wolves move closer. As my spear soars through the air, a wolf manages to bite through his leg bringing him to his knees. The spear punctures the wolf as it passes through him, killing it in an instant. The rest scatter, disappearing into the fog.
A Decision Made By One
Our cave, lit by the torches with fire, was now a pot of decisions. The hardest night to overcome has arrived, and I must decide the fate of one of my own, brother.
Wounded, let him go.
Cried one ancestor, sad at brothers failure.
No use for us.
Scuffed one of our hunters who knew he would fail at the sight of danger.
Arguing filled the night as it went by. My mind had been so focused on the arguing, that I hadn’t truly realized the injuries of brother. His leg was numb, and he no longer could walk.
Failed, leave me.
He was one of my own, brother. But the group is more important, it’s the only way we will survive, is it. Winter had yet to strike but with no doubt it was inevitable.
Don’t hesitate, stay calm.
Said brother as he looked into my soul, knowing the right decision to make was to leave him. No one was wrong in leaving brother, he failed to defend himself and was wounded as a product of his failure. Aside from what anyone thought he was part of our group too, but it seemed as if everyone only saw him as a heavy load which must be let go of. The arguing continued, and there was no end in sight unless I gave them a final decision.
Weeks had gone by and my guilt was only getting worse. Like a wounded animal I left him there to die, the only thing I didn’t know was how. Brother was my own, and to everyone, no one. The first day of winter had struck and without the mammoth came no rewards. All we were left with was berries and scraps we found on the way to a better place to stay. A mountain was up ahead, still quite the distance away but no doubt we would reach it in a couple days. Each day was difficult; the snow was tall enough to reach our waist, the cold would pierce our skin as if it were a knife cutting deep into our soul, but nothing could compare to the night. As beautiful as the nights could be, they were treacherous and devious. When night struck, memories of brother were as clear as day, as vivid as (idk what to put here). I would be brought back to the day when he was born. Unwanted from the start, but I took him under my wing, and decided that I will be the one to raise him. He never really stood out, no one could see him as a leader. Never the fastest nor strongest, not even brightest. But besides all his faults I looked at him as one of my one, someone to be loved and cherished, the group thought otherwise.
We had reached the foot of the mountain. Each path seemed unforgiving, but we had to find a new home. The mountain was covered in ice and snow, every step must be taken with caution. We tried moving up the mountain didn’t allow us, snow began to collapse with every step. We had to go around or we could have awakened an avalanche. As we walked around finding a better path up the mountain night had already struck. Nights are filled with noises of all kind, but this night it was silent. The beating of my heart seemed as if it were up against my ears, beating faster and faster as the night went on. We had reach a dead end, the only way up was by climbing. The night’s silence was broken with the growling of a pack of wolves. They had surrounded us moving closer with every breath. The group looked at me for guidance, but memories of brother had come back once again.
They betrayed me, leaving brother behind. Anger took over me and as I climbed up I was leaving them behind. They had left brother so I would leave them. My faith in them was as empty as their faith in brother. If only we could’ve tried to save him, or give him a chance at survival, he might still be here today. As I walked away the howling of the wolves filled the night once more.