He awakens before the light. . .


The morning is cold. He rubs his hands and watches his breath as he tests the weight of the new larger spear, balancing it in his hand and then throwing it the several feet into the tree stump before him. It is heavy, but he likes how it moves and decides he can use it without error and then straps the old one to his back and slides out of the dwelling.

The ferns tickle his shoulders as he pulls beneath them, grabbing locks of moss and pulling his body out into the morning dark to the edge of the falls where he looks at the pool. There is nothing there, and so he waits for his eyes to focus better in the light. When they do he thinks he sees men’s shapes at the edge of the water below. They are sleeping – a hunting pair. Pyramie stands now and examines the rest of the area. Finding nothing of interest he walks along the edge by where the water falls. Then he strides into the forest to the place where the ground slopes down and comes out by the side of the pool in the morning mist.

            There he sees that their spears are lying off against a tree and he sneaks and takes them. He is quiet and moves with the weapons in his callused hands, slipping the spears into the water and watching them slip down the rock into the deep; the wood they use does not float like other wood. He would like to know where it grows and thinks he will ask Ashirah. Then he climbs up onto a rock above the Hunters and waits for the light while watching them sleep. As it starts to brighten, he distinguishes that one of the Hunters is very young. He is curled up like a child as he sleeps. Pyramie does not remember seeing such a young Hunter before.

            Just as the morning is becoming full, the older Hunter begins moving. He rises. When he notices that the spears are missing, he kicks the younger Hunter awake. Pyramie cannot see the young one’s face, but they look and talk to each other, fast and angry. Then the old one notices Pyramie standing above him.

He freezes.

            “Is it hard to kill old women?” Pyramie shouts.

            The older one turns to face him. He is hateful. His breaths come hard and fast but he has no weapon and looks around.

            “Swim for them,” Pyramie says, and motions to the pool.

            The Hunter looks into the water. Pyramie remains still, holding the obsidian spear with the butt end in the ground and the blade facing the sky and the sun behind him. The older Hunter glares at him. “You will die,” he says, and picks up a round river rock from the edge of the out-flowing stream and throws it at Pyramie. The rock vibrates toward him. He dodges to the side, and the Hunter picks up another stone and throws it while the young one runs off into the woods to hide.

            Around his feet, Pyramie sees stones and takes one in hand. Dogo barks wildly behind him.

            “I will not miss,” Pyramie says.

            “I am not running,” the older Hunter says.


            Pyramie then throws the stone in a straight line into the Hunter’s eye. At the last moment the Hunter tries to duck, but is too slow and the stone catches him full. It makes a sick thump when it strikes and the Hunter falls facedown into the pool. When he falls the young Hunter peeks out of the forest. Pyramie sees his face for the first time.

            “Nonna!” Pyramie says.

            “Are you going to let him drown?” Nonna asks.

            “Get him then!”

            Nonna dives into the pool and pulls the Hunter onto the stone sides. He drags him up and rolls him onto his back in the moss, but he is dead. When he sees this, Nonna pulls away and looks at Pyramie. “You killed him.”

            Pyramie nods. “What would you have done to me?”

            Nonna does not answer the question, but looks around frantically, while Pyramie aims the spear at him feeling anger in his blood.

            “Kill me then!” Nonna says.

            “Why did you kill her?”

            “She was wild.”

            “What are you?”

            “Are you going to kill me?” Nonna asks.

            “Why did Terreo not come?”

            “Terreo is dead. Meckle killed him. He sent me so I can be a Warrior. You will kill me or I cannot go back.”

            “I do not think I will kill you.”



            “Can I stay with you and be a Warrior?”

            “No,” Pyramie says.

            “But they will slaughter me.”

            Pyramie walks into the forest. When he reaches the edge he hears Nonna say, “But they will kill me either way.”

            “I will kill you.” Pyramie says and does not turn back. He does not like that Nonna killed the woman, or that because she was wild he thought she was allowed to be killed. If Nonna were a regular Hunter, he would kill him for the practice of throwing the obsidian spear. He wants to see what it does to human flesh. It might break bones. But he does not want to kill Nonna, and so he leaves him.