In the morning Pyramie wakes inside his dwelling and searches the sky. . .


He lies in the crisp air. When the sadness begins he gets up. “We can’t lie down anymore.”

            He climbs from the bramble and looks up the trail toward the high place. Dogo rolls in the grasses and draws Pyramie’s attention. “They will get you too!” he says, “You have to be more serious Dogo!” With these words, the dog twists his head and perks his ears and stands and carries a bone he had been chewing and drops it for Pyramie to throw.

            “I cannot play with you now. We have to be serious, Dogo. They are coming. We have to go see Ashirah, but she likes the painted canines.”

            He watches birds fly overhead.  “I can hit the Hunters,” he declares and raises his spear. Dogo barks, backing away from his bone looking at the spear and then at the sky and then at the spear. More birds fly overhead. Pyramie leans back, both eyes open wide. He thrusts the spear forward. A green bird flies into the point as it moves between trees. It flutters dead to the ground, spinning with the spear point bigger than it’s head.

Dogo brings them back with the bird running blood on its tip and the boy smiles. “See! The Hunters can’t even hit the birds. I will kill them.”

Then he goes to the bramble and eats, swims in the pool, and sleeps sitting up.

In the morning he grabs his spear and blade. He takes pouches full of berries and the cut meat he dried in the sun. These he smells. They are sweet and do not have the corpse odor. He then fills his skin with water and walks to the trail.

“She is ever-living they say.” Dogo looks confused and the boy shrugs and begins ascending the trail, heading away from the village. Dogo leads, sniffing the ground.

            After a time, they cross a wide stream that flows over the path. Here, Dogo drinks. There are animal sounds in the forest, and the dog’s nose is to the dirt. “It may be her,” he says. “She stands in the shadows.” The trees move in the wind and he watches. Then he begins running.

His naked feet slap the packed dirt and rocks. He runs until the sun climbs full overhead. “We are safe,” he says. “She would have gotten us by now if she could have.” He stops. Sitting on the trailside among the cool leaves, he portions out food.

They eat together, and he puts the water skin to the dog and he laps it up. Then Pyramie squirts water in his own mouth and worries about the Hunters following him. When he finishes, he rests for a time and watches some animal up high jump from branch to branch. Then he hoists the spear to throw and Dogo becomes excited and walks backward, doglegged. But Pyramie decides the jumping animal is beyond his reach and does not throw; he cannot lose the spear now.

            He grows restless and runs until they come to a place where the trail becomes rocky and the trees thin out. The trail then drops down low where the air is thick. A small ground bird runs across the path and Dogo catches it by the tailfeathers, but the feathers tear away and the creature runs shrieking and dropping blood in the dirt until Dogo catches it again by the head. Flailing it back and forth until its neck is broken he then eats the feathery creature with a dog smile and white feathers stuck to his face. When he finishes, Pyramie pours water into a curved puddle for him to drink. Dogo is happy.

They move on.

            Pyramie runs again and the dog keeps ahead of him. He has his nose to the ground while he runs with his hind legs out of line from the front ones. The sun is hanging lower in the sky and Pyramie picks up his speed and holds his spear out, waiting. It is still cool here. They continue on this way, over smooth dirt and slime-covered rocks. They hear water falling and Pyramie signals for Dogo to stop.

            It has grown dark beneath the canopy and is becoming difficult to see, so Pyramie walks off into the damp forest where berries grow, looking for a safe place to sleep. He moves down into a depression where a mist of water hangs in the air over squat cliffs and succulent trees. The water falls off a ledge into a dark pool at an overhang, filling the air with mist. The mist beads on Pyramie’s body as he moves down the flat rock to the edge of the pool. There, green mosses grow with leaf sprigs and shoots. At the edge he splashes his face with the water, but is afraid to jump in for fear the Hunters will attack him when his guard is down.

            Then in the distant forest something roars and he holds out his spear and takes the obsidian blade in his other hand, ready. The painted canine stands beside him. There is no safety here.

He begins looking around for somewhere to make a shelter before it becomes full dark and so he climbs up to the point where the water falls and finds another dark pool above. The forest is dense here and he cannot see far; all that he can hear is the buzzing of bugs thick in the air. Trees are fallen everywhere, covering the pool with a roof of green and soft rotting brown and ripe vegetation.

            He climbs back down to the lower pool with Dogo because he does not like it up higher and enters in under the flat rocks that hang over the ledge beside the pool. Here he feels damp stone at his feet and looks around for bedding. He then cuts the grasses at the edge of the pool and makes bundles that he spreads on the stone beneath the ledge. When he finishes, he stretches himself out.

            Soon the light is gone. There is a sound in the forest that Pyramie thinks is Ashirah. Dogo walks out of their dwelling and Pyramie has to go find him in the darkness. With every step he thinks She will carry him away.

The water is dripping. He thinks he hears Her moving in it. And when the dog brushes him in the blackness he grabs Dogo by the scruff and pulls him back under the protection of the rock. And when Dogo leaves again and Pyramie finds him, he ties him to his arm with a tether made of the grasses he lies upon. The dog cannot leave him now, and Pyramie tugs his neck whenever he makes the attempt.

            This night Pyramie sleeps pressed into the crevice with the solid rock above his head beside the open pool and waterfall, but all the while, and whenever he wakes, he searches the gloom for danger. The noises in the night make him ask if it is Her. She is the unknown creator – She made the Astarte – She bore the earth that would bear her before time.

Then he is asleep.