Extracts from “Stalking the Shadows” – 1

Dawn broke over the grey hills in a dazzling blossom of orange and pink, causing the sky to dance and the rocks to glisten. Down on the plain it was a place of water and mud, the firm ground washed away, leaving only ooze, indistinguishable from the marshland to the west. During the night the rains had drowned the land, the grassland all but gone, and the distant forest a swamp of green, a place of insect and amphibian.

In dawn’s dim and hopeful light, Dimek and his ten men stood at the foot of their tribal hills and surveyed the once fruitful land. With a sinking of their spirits they realised that the chief had made a mistake, a mistake that would affect the whole tribe. Dimek sighed deeply and looked at his men with a serious expression.

“I don’t expect you to follow me.” He said, “If you do you will be forever banished from these hills . I ask nothing of you accept your understanding. There is nothing here for the young, my father has made a mistake. I am leaving these hills, my people and my life. I am leaving to find better hunting and new gods. I am leaving to find a new land.”

The hunters, all veterans, all friends, stood motionless, open mouthed and shocked. They loved their leader like a brother, had hunted with him more times than they could count. They had shared danger, death and despair, had shared food and had saved one another’s lives on more than one occasion. “Stay with me or hunt the horse and return to the caves, it is your decision, your life.” Still they said nothing, until a man spoke:

“Where will you go?” the tall and strong man asked reasonably.

“I will follow the great river and search out old memories.”

“I have never followed the great river.” The hunter mused,

“Neither have I.” Dimek laughed. The other hunters mumbled their approbation. “They will send warriors when we do not return.” Dimek commented casually,

“Maybe some will come with us.” a hunter said.

“No, I cannot take them away from the tribe, they are needed, I cannot risk injury to my father and kin. No, we can fight. 

 
All text copyright BJ Edwards
 

 

 

 

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