Fantasy Fiction posted September 7, 2014 Chapters: 1 2 -3- 4... 

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The hunt for the woolly mammoth

A chapter in the book Vision and Sound: Their Stories

An Ancient Embrace: Part Two

by michaelcahill

The story of two souls as they encounter each other on Earth over and over. They are unaware of their connection as humans.

Previously, preperations to hunt the woolly mammoth were made. The idea for the hunt came from Narina, but the women wisely let Farth take credit for the idea. We continue now as they tribe is about to set forth on the hunt.

The morning arrived covered in fog. Many in the tribe took it as a sign from the Gods that the hunt was ill-fated and should be called off. None voiced their opinion out of fear for what Farth might bring down upon them for their impertinence.
They came upon a herd of mammoths grazing on a hillside. What sounded good by a campfire didn't seem quite the easy task at the moment. The tribe moved towards the mammoths. They appeared uninterested in the puny humans. Looks can be deceiving. They have had plenty of experience with humans, having been hunted many times by many tribes. They were well aware of the human's presence.
Narina had an odd sensation as they approached the herd. She felt a familiarity with the situation as though she had experienced it before.
Latar spoke to her. "This is so odd. It seems like I've been in this very spot doing this very thing before. Yet, I know that I never have."
Narina looked to hear if anyone listened. "Yes, I have that feeling too. I think it is just the Gods filling us with anticipation."
Latar nodded her head in agreement. Hmm. That must be it. I've never been this close to one of these before. Yet, their smell and their movement... I could swear that I have experienced this before. I could swear it. Father looks anxious. "Are you ready, Father?"
Farth, unbeknownst to anyone there, had the same feeling that Latar and his daughter had. He had a rush of glorious victory surging through him as though the deed were done. It gave him great confidence. Yet, it felt strange and foreboding at the same time. He looked to his daughter who had called out to him and smiled. "Yes, I am ready."
The females and young males rushed behind one of the mammoths that stood separated from the herd and began to make a racket. The beast turned to investigate. With the creature distracted, Farth led a charge with the remaining men straight at the front of it. In the blink of an eye, the mammoth turned with its massive tusks and brushed several of the men to the side. Farth was one of them and he was mortally wounded.
The sight of Farth on the ground unmoving was disheartening to the rest of the men. They regrouped to charge again. In the meantime, other members of the herd responded to the loud cries of the mammoth under siege and came to his aid. The remaining men were trampled and tossed aside by the giant mammoths. The beasts then set their sights on the women and children that were there only as decoys.
Latar screamed out, "Run!"
Some of them ran while others remained frozen in their tracks. Latar saw that her father still moved on the ground and began to move towards him. An arm reached and stopped her from progressing. It was Narina.
Narina said, "You cannot help him. His wounds will kill him. You must save yourself. Come with me."
They both watched as a mammoth used his tusk to upend Farth and send him flying across the hillside. Narina ran to scoop a child up from the ground as a mammoth charged it. She joined Latar in shouting, "Run!"
Six of the twenty-three made it back to camp, three women and three children. Narina and Latar were joined by an elderly woman named Berlis. She was the wife of one of the warriors that had just been slain. There were two young female children, seven or eight years old and one male child barely three.
Latar couldn't help but be despondent. One thing stuck in her mind though. "Why did you stay for me? You could have been killed doing that?"
Narina paused for a moment. She had been making up beds in the cave. "You are my friend. The Gods spoke to my heart and told me to help you. I don't know. It was within me to do so."
Latar reached out, touched Narina's shoulder, and squeezed it. She spoke no words. Narina reached up, covered her hand, and tilted her head towards the two hands.
They both understood the situation clearly. The hunters and others that had just died under the wrath of the mammoths may have suffered the kinder fate. They were without food and the cold would soon arrive. Death would be certain and it would be cruel. No other tribe would take them in, all of them anyway. Narina and Latar perhaps stood some chance of finding a spot within a tribe. They had skills to offer. The old lady and the children were nothing more than mouths to feed. The risk was not worth it. That was reality.
The old lady went first. It seemed an act of resignation on her part.
"There is nothing here for me", she had said. "My mate has gone, my children, my family... only the promises of the God's remain."
Latar awakened a couple of days later and found her dead. "She sleeps the long sleep, Narina. She is with the Gods. How long before we join her?"
"I am not in quite the hurry, Latar. It is still tolerable outside. There might be game. We can only try. Perhaps some fish are trapped in the stream."
Latar didn't have the outlook of Narina, but she was inspired enough to make an effort. "You two, watch our home and the baby. We go to hunt. Wish us luck."
The children could manage no more than a weak nod of acknowledgement.
When they returned, the children were gone. They would never know where they went. They couldn't muster the energy to speculate. Their hunting trip proved fruitless. With Winter already arrived, there was no game or fish. There baskets remained empty as branches were bare as well.
Two women huddled together in a cave. They would certainly die there together. They shared the anticipation of the inevitable and they shared hunger. They were grateful for the sharing.

They had no knowledge of the irony of the situation. The feeling of having been to the hunt before was an accurate one. We all recall the successful hunt of a wooly mammoth centuries earlier with a child in a tree making noise while hunters impaled the distracted beast. This hunt didn't turn out that way. Another lesson learned. For Farth, it was also a lesson learned. He was there too at the first hunt centuries earlier and reveled in the easy kill. This time it was he that fell with ease.
Vi and Sam returned here to the other side and once again joined the all of it. There continued to be an acknowledgement of each other, but without the intensity of circumstance it smoldered in the recesses. Discussion and debate returned to the forefront of their priorities as time lost meaning.
One would leave to a life on Earth and return with a tale to tell. Then the other would do likewise. Many thousands of years would pass before they would encounter each other in human form again.

Next: Born Enemies



The stories will be moving into more conventional modes now that much of the introductory explanations and caveman segments are finished. Keep the feedback coming please! I realize this is an unusual story. The individual stories of their encounters on Earth will be longer and more detailed from here on out and should make this easier to follow.

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