The beam of sunshine awoke Lucy. It’s bright light separating into distinct rays that seemed to be reaching in like a hand to the life in the jungle.
Lucy sensed a different quality emanating from inside her. It was her mind. It seemed as if it had been opened, like an egg, and she almost felt like a chick ready to expand her wings.
Wait! She must not forget her vigilance!
This new fancy of hers, these conversations with herself, were perilous. The giant creatures were about! Birdlike lizards that could come crashing through the tree lines.
She must find safety!
Wait! There was movement off in the distance.
She could barely discern the outlines of the invaders from the other side. They who kept the wolves with them to aid in the hunt.
She must be very still now. Any movement would give her away.
The bright orange sun reflecting off the snow kept her vigilant as she knew her crimson blood could be the next to blot the landscape. Were they coming her way? She could not know?
She could hear the whining of the wolves as their masters voices were drowned out by the unsettling eagerness that energized their hungry howls.
Their was a maniacal quality to their cries that heightened the essence of the forest.
Fear caused her to look out past the small tree which safeguarded her innocence. Her heartbeat raced and her hair started to raise on her arms. Her head felt ready to explode.
She saw that there were four of the short, squat, and stocky powerful men of the killing tribe. They carried spears. They had the square looking foreheads and wore blank expressions. The same kind she had seen them murder before with.
The wolves were running in front of them. They were running fast. They were running straight towards her. They were about a mile away. She couldn’t run. There was nowhere to hide. Besides the wolves would spot any movement. She pulled back behind the tree. And stilled.
Visions of her grandparents flashed in her brain, the memories diluting the blinding fear for but a moment.
“Lucy, my precious child you shall live a long life,” she let her Grandma’s words coarse through her body.
The thought made her tremble. She opened her eyes again. She could wait here no longer!
She had to do something or else she would surely die.
She glanced out again from the tree when suddenly she heard a scream. The wolves stopped their charge and looked towards the direction of the scream. Lucy saw a man take off running.
He was just off to the left. The wolves were upon him in no time. Followed by their masters who were further behind and yelling out strange primal noises.
The man cried out in agony. His voice left bare the realization of his predicament.
The wolves commenced the killing in a frenzy.
This was her chance and she did not hesitate. She took off running through the woods as fast as she had ever ran. The trees and branches were like a blur passing by her.
Run! Run! Her mind exhorting her!
Get as far away as you can! You must live! Whoosh!
Her body seemed to move with a spirit of fear that pushed her faster than her senses. Before she realized that she was falling she was on her way to the ground.
She got up with a faint realization that she was bleeding. She felt a blunt pain on her forehead. She kept running through the woods. Transformed with abnormal energy by the pain and the panic. She must keep going. She must survive!
Lucy ran as far away as she could.
Until the sound of the wolves became fainter and fainter, finally disappearing.
She took a break, exhausted, after what seemed like hours of running. She was lost. Why had she went outside?
She should have stayed in the cave with the others. She was warned about going outside during the killing time.
She had heard stories of the Het. Seen them kill; from inside her hidden cave where she lived with her tribe. From the small viewing space in between the rocks.
With their blank expression they seemed devoid of any feelings. She had seen the bodies of those unfortunate enough to have been captured by them. What was left of them.
Although short in stature, their strength was said to be enormous.
She had listened with Gude as the elders talked of unbelievable horrors inflicted by the Het. How they cooked and ate their captors. She was even more scared of them than the giant people. She had never seen one of the Nephil but had heard stories of their tremendous size. They were said to not be as as cunning as the Het.
Indeed it was the Het who ruled these lands.
She must stay vigilant and find her way back. She was lost now. The panic had disoriented her. She did not recognize any of this terrain. She had made a terrible mistake. How quickly her life had fell into mortal danger?
She was lucky to be alive. She had snuck out during the time of the sun many times before. Always managing to make it back. Gude had warned her. Sweet Gude, how she longed to see his face again.
She had kept her feelings inside for him for so long now but they were bubbling up again. She must tell him if she survived. She crawled inside a bush that was on top of the hill and let her look down amongst the forest. There was enough room inside the thicket to lay down with her head against a tree. She longed for the comfort of the fire. She longed to see the others. But more than this, she longed for Gude.
She was shivering.
The sun was just rising on the hill in front of her. It’s rays shining more radiantly than she had ever felt before. She ached for it to wash over her and warm her whole being.
She felt giddy, like she wanted to run right up the hill and meet the sun and praise it and bask in its golden rays.
At once there came a deer.
It appeared upon the hill, in between two bushes, with the dark clouds of night hovering over it menacingly juxtaposed with the rising of the sun below.
Although shadowed, the deer’s sinewy frame was quite clear.
It had a majestic beauty.
It stopped and seemed to gaze right upon her.
Like a tree’s branches, the deer’s antlers set upon his head like a crown of inheritance.
Just then a bear came crashing onto the deer.
The deer had hesitated, froze just for a moment, upon the sight of this huge bear.
The bear did not hesitate.
He grabbed the buck with his powerful claws and proceeded to jump upon his back. The deer’s attempt at escape was nullified by the weight and ferocity of the bear’s attack.
Upon the bear grabbing and slashing his way up to the head of the now defenseless deer, he clasped his powerful jaws upon his neck.
Slowly, the life drained from the deer.
The bear now let out a fierce and terrible roar.
Lucy was both horrified and mesmerized.
The sun broke out in all of it’s radiant glory above the hill; showering it’s rays upon the triumphant bear, his kill lodged firmly in it’s jaws.
Lucy waited and watched from inside the bushes as the bear gorged.
Finally, after having it’s fill, it dragged the carcass towards the bushes and laid it there.
Lucy marveled at it’s powerful jaws pulling the huge deer along as if it were mere firewood.
The antlers scraping up voluminous dust clouds that seemed like messages to the forest to forewarn of the deer’s plight.
Despite her fear, Lucy smiled at the folly of the bear’s hiding place.
The bear nestled on his handiwork and settled in to a snoring slumber.
Lucy patiently worked her way out from the bushes. She moved slowly with her eyes transfixed for any movement by the bear. Upon losing sight of it she took off running. It had been a full day now that she had put herself in danger.
How foolish she was to venture out on her own?
She had been warned about going on long forays outside into the hinterlands.
She must make it back to her cave.
The treacherous boredom combined with the dreary work seemed not so unbearable now.
After all she had gone through. Which way should she go?
The wrong way could cost her everything!
She stopped and picked up a pointed rock. It fit in her hand quite nicely. She would surely use it if she must.
She looked all around as she ran. Even behind her. Where was her cave? Her people?
This must be the way. She pleaded to the sun to guide her. The elders had spoke of it’s magical powers. It looked down upon her with no message but warmth.
It was as if it was conveying something to her through the haze. You are all on your own now. Your survival depends on you.
The Het could be anywhere.