Children of the Coyote
On the seventh day Lizardfoot enters their
camp with a brace of rabbits in his left hand and the spear in his right. His wounds have
completely heeled leaving four long white scars running diagonally across his chest. He
wares the puma skin like a cape a bone sliver pins the cape together at his throat it
covers his shoulders and hangs down his back. His long black hair flows behind him as he
strolls along with a confident gate.
A drying rack, heavy with meat stands in the
smoke of the fire before their shelter.
Tagalong kneels near a staked out dried deer
hide off to one side. She is pounding it with a rounded stone to make it soft enough to
use as a cape for herself. The nights have been getting steadily colder and they will need
warm coverings to protect them from the approaching autumn chill.
Sky-eyes runs to meet Lizardfoot. He notices an
expression of anxiety on her face. When she reaches him she drops and roles on her back
exposing her belly in an attitude of submission, as is the customary greeting to the alpha
male of the pack.
Lizardfoot stops near the shelter, leans the
spear against the side and reaches down to pats Sky-eyes on the belly.
"I am so glad that you are back."
Sky-eyes says anxiously as she regains her feet. "There is something terribly
wrong," she whines.
"What could possibly be wrong in this
place of tranquillity?" Lizardfoot asks with a chuckle.
"I'm not sure," she replies. "I
just have a feeling that something bad is going to happen." By now Tagalong is
standing and she walks to meet Lizardfoot. Wordlessly they embrace for a long moment, both
of them reveling in the feel of the others body.
Presently Lizardfoot puts his hand on her
shoulders and backs up to look in her eyes
"What do you make of Sky-eyes'
fears," he asks seriously.
"I don't know," she replies.
"Sky-eyes has been fretful ever since you left this morning. She keeps insisting that
some calamity is coming but she doesn't know what it is."
At that moment Sky-eyes begins to howl
The two humans look at her and then at each
Suddenly Sky-eyes stops howling and turns to
"Listen!" She whispers loudly.
The two Fug-a-we cock there heads and listen
"I don't hear anything but the water
fall" Lizardfoot admits after a moment. "What about you Tag?"
"No," she answers.
"That's just it!" Sky-eyes barks.
"No bird calls no insect noises not even a breeze rustling the leaves on the trees.
Tagalong and Lizardfoot look around fearfully.
"Listen!" Sky-eyes whines again.
At first the humans hear only the silence. Then
slowly they begin to feel the sound more than hear it. A low rumbling deep in the earth
begins to vibrate their feet. The vibration quickly escalates. The earth beneath them
begins to heave in great waves knocking them to the ground. a deafening rumble drowns out
Tagalongs screams. The earth bucks and pitches tossing trees to the ground. A great fisher
opens in the earth along the bottom of the cliff and the stream drains into the crack.
Gouts of steam erupt into the air along the cliff's base. The wall begins to move upwards,
pushed up by the titanic forces beneath it. Great chunks of stone fall from the cliff as
cracks open all along its face. The cliff continues to grow taller as the earth shudders
from the strain.
Finally the quaking subsides and the rumbling
sound drifts away. All is silence once more.
Slowly the sounds of the birds and insects
Tagalong and Lizardfoot untangle themselves
from each other and begin to take stock of there surrounding. A great sadness descends
upon them as they survey the destruction wrought by the earthquake.
The Enchanted forest of South fork of the
Wa'ste River is no more. The beautiful ancient trees lay scattered on the ground, those
that were not uprooted by the quake have been broken off. Their shattered remains poking
into the air like the arms of a corpse beckoning from the grave. The stream has
disappeared. The thundering of the waterfall is silent. The Wa'ste river has changed its
course and will never flow in this channel again. The fish that weren't sucked underground
with the water, now lie flopping on the drying gravel bed or are trapped in small pools
that will soon dry up leaving piles of rotting flesh for the scavengers to gorge
themselves on for a short time.
Tagalong begins to sob uncontrollably.
"Gone, its all gone," she blubbers between sobs. "This beautiful enchanted
place, destroyed In only a few moments."
Lizardfoot holds her in his arms. Silently he
waits for her sobbing to subside. When she is back in control of herself he holds her at
arm's length and looks into her eyes.
"It is as Bringer of Fire foretold,"
he says softly. "Even the great forces of this world will attempt to hinder his
progress," were his words.
"Even so we survive and must adapt to
these new circumstances" Lizardfoot goes on. "We must salvage what we can from
our camp and continue the quest. We would have had to leave some time any way," he
says looking deep into her eyes.
"Yes, you are right," she replies
with a sigh. "I guess it was just a dream that we could stay for ever in the security
of this enchanted place but you are right we must continue the quest."
"Sky-eyes," Tagalong cries.
"Were is Sky-eyes?" she asks casting about for the young animal.
"Sky-eyes!" She calls. Where are you Sky-eyes! An edge of panic colors her
Soon they hear whining sounds coming from under
a pile of downed trees nearby. The two humans rush to the trees and begin moving branches
and rolling logs off one another. After a short time of intense labor they reach their
friend. Sky-eyes is not seriously injured but it takes some time to extricate her from the
cage of twisted branches that hold her captive. Finally she is free. The ecstatic little
canine can hardly control herself. She licks at the faces of her friends and wags her
entire body with joy.
"Oh thank you for freeing me," She
squeals. "I was so afraid that you would not find me and I would be left behind to
"We would never leave you behind,"
Tagalong assures her. "You are a member of our tribe, you are Fug-a-we."
Tagalong says as she storks her furry friend.
Lizardfoot begins rummaging through the
wreckage of their camp. The Shelter that Tagalong had erected lies crushed by two large
Aspens. Fortunately Tagalong and Lizardfoot were not in the shelter at the time of the
quake. He shakes his head; "I don't know how we survived this catastrophe" he
says seriously. "Trees are scattered every ware and we are left unscathed." He
shakes his head again. "Coyote must indeed be watching over us."
The rest of the day is spent salvaging their
equipment and collecting supplies for the next phase of the trek. They manage to retrieve
most of the dried meat, fruit and nuts that they had been collecting. They fill their
water skins at the puddles that are quickly disappearing as the full force of the sun
beats down on them. There are now three water skins the third Tagalong has taken from the
deer whose skin she was softening before the quake hit.
Each of them will carry one water bladder.
Tagalong has fashioned a small pack for Sky-eyes. It is a simple construction of cordage
and rabbit skins laced together to form a wide strap across the animals back with pockets
on each side that will contain some food and a water skin.
By evening their preparations are complete.
They will spend this last night in the desolation of their enchanted forest and in the
morning they will resume the quest.
To Chapter 28
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