I Was a Modern Caveman
Caution: This Science Fiction Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, Fa/Fa, Consensual, Rape, Time Travel, Spanking, Oral Sex, Anal Sex, Slow,
Desc: Science Fiction Sex Story: Chapter 1 - Josh Whitney dies one day on a mountainside road in California. He wakes up later trying to survive in 40,000 BC. Will he survive? Will he find love and happiness? Can he find his ass with both hands and a map? P.S. - The 'rape' is offscreen (This is a rewrite)
My name is Josh Whitney. When and where I am writing this 'story' for your amusement and edification aren't actually all that important at the moment, as you'll learn those details in a bit. At that point, you'll either put this memoir down in disgust, keep reading it as a silly fiction, or maybe, just maybe you'll get more interested than that. If so, I have a few words for you at the end of my tale. More important is that this story begins just after New Years in 2010.
By profession I am a computer programmer, systems analyst, and network designer. At the time that this story of mine starts, I was fifty three years of age. I'm a five foot eleven, pale skinned, a fairly typical 'Silicon Valley' engineer. I weighed about two hundred and forty pounds, and I was pretty darned out of shape.
I'd been doing consulting for an outfit called Tempe, a contract-hire firm that specialized in higher-priced and older systems guys. Given that I was a long term veteran of start-ups and shut-downs in the valley, I'd picked contracting as a decent compromise versus getting hired and fired out of yet another set of companies every couple of years.
I'd been doing this for a while, so I had a bit of money put away, I had a house in a local bay-area commuter bedroom community named Fremont and an ex-wife named Gloria. Gloria and I weren't on the best of terms, given that I'd cheated on her with a co-worker, and I'd had the bad taste to admit it and ask for the divorce. We'd been married for something approaching thirteen years, and while I loved her, I'd not been 'in love' with her for years, and our sex life had left a lot to be desired.
So, there I was on a very wet and rainy January Monday morning, on my way to a new contracting gig. I'd completed the last contract a couple of weeks before, had taken a few days off, and went in to get a new slot last Friday when Tempe's recruiter called me. The job was out at a small place off of highway 17, a start up, and they needed a few weeks of my time to build a network, deploy a web server farm, and set up a nightly build server (those are the machines that compile code into alpha and beta test versions for the quality assurance or test procedure folks to test against).
The location was up a newly paved hill road in the Santa Cruz hills. The road was rain slicked, as I said, so I was driving slowly in my newly purchased Toyota FJ when something odd happened. First, as I came around a sharp turn that was damn near a blind corner, I had a massive heart attack. A whole lot of years of bad food, lots of fat, and being lazy came crashing in on me all at once. My left side felt like someone had hit me with a fifteen pound maul, and I couldn't breathe. So, I did what a lot of people in that situation might have done. I lost control of the FJ. The car then proceeded to smash into the side of the hill. This set off a small mud slide. My driver side window and front windshield caved in, and buried me and the front of the truck in multiple tons of fresh mud.
I scrambled to get my phone out of its hands-free cradle and call 911, but there was too much mud in the passenger compartment, I couldn't move well because of the pain, and I couldn't get to it. I'll spare you the blow by blow details, but the hillside gave way on top of my car, the compartment filled completely with mud, and I slowly drowned in mud, trapped in the driver's seat. Luckily, I'm pretty sure that the heart attack knocked me out before the worst of the drowning kicked in. I remain glad for small mercies. I remember wondering, quite oddly, how long it would take to dig my buried truck out of the mud, and what would become of my body. Then things went dark.
I woke up naked in an all white room.
It was sterile, hospital white. I was lying on a very lightly padded table, a couple of feet off the floor. The pad was white, the table was white. The ceiling overhead was a uniform glowing soft white providing illumination. In this room around me were a white desk, a white chair, and some stuff on the desk. That was all - no door or anything else, just lots and lots of stark white. I turned and sat up. What I immediately noticed was that I wasn't dead, I wasn't trapped in a truck, and I wasn't having a heart attack. In fact, I felt pretty good. After a long moment or two I stood up. The moment I did so, the ceiling in the room rose like magic several feet higher and the padded table I'd been laying on slid down into the floor and vanished. The ceiling and the table both moved like movie special effects, seamlessly and almost like a fluid. It was more than a little odd looking. My knees didn't hurt very much, my back wasn't all that sore, unlike most mornings. Given the oddness of my situation, I was pretty damned calm. Looking back on it, I was almost certainly somehow being kept artificially calm. The top of the table was illuminated from within, like a very high quality flat screen monitor, and as I looked at it, words formed. There was also what looked like a generic but stark white laptop rising seamlessly out of the table top. Here's what the words on the table monitor said to the best of my ability to recall:
Greetings and congratulations, you have been selected to participate in a long term experiment. This experiment will occupy the remainder of your life. As a subject in such an experiment, it is important that you remain unaware of the purpose of the experiment itself. Where you find yourself at this moment, how you got here, why you are functioning, and other similar questions will not be answered, and are not important to the experiment. Here is what you need to know. First, if you do not cooperate in initial planning stages of the experiment, your life will be terminated here. You may choose to indicate your desire not to participate by placing your head in the blue ring you now see glowing on the far wall.
( At that moment, a section of the far wall across from me lit up with a baby blue ring, about fifteen inches or so across. )
Upon placing your head against the wall in the ring, your life functions will be painlessly terminated. If you do not participate in the experiment, and also refuse to voluntarily terminate your life functions, at an unspecified point in time in the future, your life functions will be terminated for you. Should you choose to participate in the experiment, please use the computing device constructed for you to create a list of supplies that you will choose to have with you during the experiment. Until such time as you create the list of supplies required for the experiment, you will not be provided with food or water. Should you decide to participate in the experiment, you will be provided with minimal sustenance. You may indicate your choice to participate in the experiment by placing your head in the green ring you now see glowing on the far wall. ( Again, just at that moment, a green glowing ring lit up on the wall ) Here are some details of the experiment that are germane to your choice of supplies. You will be relocated to a primitive environment, roughly equivalent in historical context to a period approximately 40,000 years before your common era. The location you will be relocated to will be relatively near areas suitable for hunting and cultivation. You have only one opportunity to select the supplies that will be provided for you. You may select any type of supply or material that you find available in the computing device. You can design special materials using the facilities on the device in the table. You are permitted to select or design a total volume of supplies not to exceed six meters by four meters by four meters. You are not permitted to select supplies that utilize sterling cycle, otto cycle, internal combustion or similar engines. You may not select supplies that directly generate electricity. Once you have completed the selection of supplies, indicate this status by placing your head in the white ring you now see glowing on the far wall. ( A glowing white ring lit up in the far wall )
At this point in my story, I'm going to jump over a lot of yelling at the walls, and doing other odd stuff to be able to talk to someone. No one ever responded to anything I did; nothing I did generated any kind of response at all. Since you're reading this, you can guess that at a certain point I walked over and, after reading the message a couple of times to make sure I had the colors right, stuck my head up against the wall inside the green ring. Once I did that, the blue ring disappeared, and the laptop came on. Where my sleeping pad had been, the wall opened up and the pad folded down from it. Across the room from the sleeping pad, a very generic looking white porcelain water spigot appeared. The water ran continuously out of the spigot in a small fountain and disappeared again through a tiny white grate. Next to the water fountain a stark white bowl stuck out of the wall, full of warm unsalted oatmeal with a soft white plastic spoon in it. That was all I got to eat during my stay, warm and unsalted oatmeal. When I ate, I had to bend down and eat out of the bowl with the spoon, as it sure wasn't moving.
Next to the food tray and the water fountain, a perfectly normal white porcelain flush toilet appeared out of the floor. And that was it.
After my bout of yelling and sticking my head in the ring, I played with the laptop. It looked and acted for all I could tell like a perfectly normal laptop, except for being very fast. There was no power cord. On the laptop was a browser, a couple of CAD design programs, and many, many web based catalogs. Every single year of the Sears and Roebuck catalog from 1893 onwards, lots of old English agriculture catalogs, you name it. Interestingly enough, there were also a lot of firearms catalogs including some military arms.
Now, I was no expert in survival. I didn't know karate, I wasn't a good marksman. I couldn't have told you one end of a plow from another, and I'd never spent much time around animals. I've never been a cowboy either. What I did have going for me was that I have read a lot. I've read all kinds of stuff, and I'm handy with tools. My dad was a plumber, and one thing he left me with is an understanding that you can do pretty much anything you need to if you slow down, read the manual, and use the tools right. That got me through rebuilding lots of my old house, and fueled my curiosity to mess around with tools and building stuff all my life. It would have to do.
So, what did I select to go with me? Well, the very first thing I did was spend a long time using the cad program to design a 5.998 meter by 3.998 meter by 3.998 meter mild steel cube. This cube included nifty little additions like front and side doors with gun slits, removable hinge panels, and firing ports. I knew that the thing I wanted most was a place to be safe. If I was going to be living in 40,000BC, there were going to be a lot of hungry predators around. Parts of the cube I designed in titanium, and other parts in mild steel, because I planned on being able to weld the steel or cut it. Titanium working was going to be beyond me pretty much, I knew. How big is that? It's roughly eighteen feet by twelve feet by twelve feet. That's pretty close to the size of a small one car garage, or if you've used one of those big portable storage pod delivery services, it's about the size of two of the big ones.
Once I got my panic room designed, I started to fill it up, using a nifty little space planning program on the laptop. I selected saws, hammers, shovels, rakes, hoes, scythes, a couple of small anvils, French irons, lots and lots of barbed wire and 12 gauge copper wire in stranded and solid. I added old fashioned gasoline welding torches and a couple of 500 gallon gas tanks and 'vaporless' hand pumps. Post hole diggers, two man lumber saws, a pair of massive 1910 multi-mills based on rotating bands and not electricity, a lathe from the same period, and other wood working tools all rounded out the lumber and steel stuff. I tossed in a couple of water pump wind mills, and just to see if I could get away with it, I added in several hundred Neodymium magnets and fifty gallons of epoxy resins and glassing.
I added some iron and steel pipe, but not a whole lot, as it took up a lot of space in the box. What piping I did add, I made nesting. Each section's outside diameter just a tiny bit smaller than the bigger one's inside diameter. Then I added a bunch of screw down rubber pressure couplings and flex fittings.
Horse collars, saddles, hobbles, a plow with a replaceable steel blade, and a bunch of other horse drawn stuff I didn't have any idea how to use went into the list. I added a couple of specialty books on braiding, working horses, and how to domesticate animals. Just for grins, I added a couple of small grain mills run by hand.
A hundred days of military MREs, a large stainless cook set, bags of flour, rice, and other staples went into their own titanium boxes with locking doors. I added spices and salt, and a lot of it, but not too much dried meat. I added books too, an old agricultural and farm encyclopedia from 1910, and a whole lot of how to books.
Next was medicine. This was important to get right, and I knew it. Most important of all was going to be the antibiotics and pain killers. It turns out that most of what I was looking for came in pill form, or in powders, and could be ordered in long-term sealed packets designed for use in the 'third world'. Between the antibiotics, anti-fungals, pain meds, and other basics, I added almost five hundred pounds in medical kits and supplies. I designed a super-insulated freezer box several feet square that was lined with six inches of Aerogel insulation. It ran on tiny sips of propane, and I put the perishable meds in there. I also designed a few micro refrigerant solid-state couplers into the walls of the box, just in case electricity ever became available. It turns out that I could run that chest freezer for about 25 watt hours a day as long as I kept it mostly closed and only used it at fridge temps, not as a freezer. Cold air descends, so it stays in place in a chest freezer. Just to give you a sense of how efficient that is, 25 watt hours a day is just slightly over a steady draw of one watt. That's about the amount of electricity used to power one dim 'reminder' light on your typical DVD player in standby mode. The burner would only have to run for about five minutes a day to keep the interior at zero degrees Centigrade.
I got all that mostly finished off, and then added in clothes, a lot of camouflage stuff, long johns, and polypropylene and other materials to keep me warm when I was wet. I added a few sewing kits, a bunch of thread and needles, and a farm wife's dream, a set of pedal powered sewing machines that folded down into a box. I was real happy to find those. Lots of boots, sleeping bags, backpacks, a couple of tents, and other stuff went into the boxes too.
Finally I got around to the survival stuff. I picked a few guns I knew about, basically a mess of Browning .300-Win rifles, and Ruger KP944 model .40 cal pistols. I got a lot of both, and I put in thousands of rounds of ammo for both types. I added several reloading kits, lots of primers, and lots of modern powder. I didn't know how to reload, but I could learn. I added lots of small high grade knives, and a few dozen combat style big knives. I scared myself a little, thinking about trying to fight with a knife. I resolved not to have to. I added in a few dozen hunting bows and lots of arrows of various types. I also added in a few sets of 'ghillie' suits. I'll write more on that last item later. For about half the rifles I added in some decent Pentax scopes. Because I scared myself, I added in some industrial chainmail, and man, am I glad I did that. Industrial chainmail is the stuff that meat cutters and shark-suit divers wear. It's a mesh fabric made of incredibly strong micro-rings all woven together into the modern version of a medieval footman's armor.
I've left a lot of stuff off this list. 3400 cubic feet may seem like a lot of room for supplies, but it filled up super fast. I'll tell you one thing. I am damned glad I played a lot of 'California Trail' style computer games years back. It saved my ass.
When I was all done, I took a really deep breath and put my forehead up against the white circle. Everything turned a brilliant white and I lost consciousness...
I woke up naked again on top of my big storage box. From the beads of dew on the storage box it appeared to be early morning. The air smelled clean, really clean. It smelled like forest. I stood up and looked around.
My box and I had been set up in a small clearing in some kind of massive and dense oak wood. There wasn't much to see from the clearing. Standing on the box put my line of sight up at about eighteen feet, and all the trees around me were taller than that. My knees went weak and I had to sit down pretty fast. I was breathing hard, and I could feel my heart hammering in my chest.
Somewhere off in the distance I could hear the cry of a large cat. My very overactive mind reminded me that it was probably a Smilodon, a sabre-toothed tiger ambushing prey out there in the deep woods. Looking around the edges of the box for signs of wild life first, and seeing none I crawled over the edge and dropped off after hanging by my fingers for a moment. It was still a slightly jarring drop, and I rolled to my feet as quick as I could.
As I fumbled with the combination lock on the front of my supply box, it felt like a million pairs of hostile eyes were boring holes in my back. I didn't stop sweating until I'd gotten the door thrown open and grabbed the backpack, pistols, and long rifle I'd put in the front. I turned and faced the clearing as I got my clothes out of the backpack and dressed. Strapping on the pistols, one in a shoulder draw and the other in a belt draw made me feel a lot better. I checked to make sure they were loaded, and then sat down on my heels for a moment to just breathe. I had noticed that everything in the supply box was new. There were stickers on everything, from Wal-Mart and a few places I'd never heard of. Some stuff looked like it was still in the shipping crates. Guess I couldn't complain about my gear being used.
The reality of my situation began to slam down on me. Up until now it had all been an academic exercise, just like playing California Trail, but a lot more detailed. Now, squatting in a forest clearing, listening to the sounds of the world around me, I had time to be afraid.
I don't know if you've ever really looked at trees or a forest. I know that prior to this event in my life I'd done plenty of hiking, but I'd taken a lot of things for granted. For example, when I went out hiking, I was 'getting back to nature'. I had never understood that no where I'd ever been in my life was 'natural'. Anywhere you go, most likely anywhere at all ... the trees you see have all been harvested for lumber, probably multiple times. If you've been to Europe, unless you go to Siberia, you're looking at third, fourth, tenth, twentieth growth trees. Trees that have been harvested by man again and again. This place wasn't like that. The trees around me were massive and old. These trees had never been cut, had never seen the blows of a woodsman's axe or a chainsaw. When they aged, they fell where they stood, or they burned from fire. These oaks and hardwoods stood giant and tall, many stretching upwards well over a hundred feet, and the canopy covering maybe a hundred and fifty feet across. Underneath the dense and dark canopy were lesser shrubs that could grow in the twilight provided. It wasn't a cleared out forest, but instead the remnants of fallen tress lay across others in a tangle of limbs and mossy brackens. From everywhere were the sounds of dense forest life. This was the kind of black, dark, and impenetrable forest that the Romans had talked about when they stopped following the Germans out of their fear of the vast, trackless primeval woods. Animals were one thing. Bears can chase you, get kinda stuck on getting to you. Lions and cats could decide to hunt you, but mostly animals steer clear of what they don't know. Humans though, humans are very cunning, and if I pissed off some hunter, he could probably just sneak up on me and stick a spear in me as I blundered around being loud and stupid. That's what I was really afraid of. Nature had gifted the people of this time with tens of thousands of years of inherited hunting and fighting skills. I had none. Without friends it would only be a matter of time until someone or something got to me.
What I needed was friends, and a long term shelter. With that in mind, I stood up and closed the door to the box. I locked it again. Looking around from the top of my box in the clearing, I could see a hill nearby, and my compass told me it was nearly due north. I walked around the clearing and gathered some loose deadfall and piled it up for a fire. I made some tinder from leaf detritus and lit it from my Zippo. Once the fire was well caught, I added some wood to it and headed out north toward the hills. Why did I light an unattended fire and walk away? Because I was scared to death that I'd never find my way back without being able to see or smell smoke.
I walked slowly, and softly. The combat style boots felt like a good fit, and I had supplies enough to be away from the supply box for a day or even two. The woods were quiet mostly, but around me in the distance I could hear animal noises. Some of them I could easily place as birds, squirrels, and other small creatures. Other sounds were harder to define. I resolved to go slower than I thought I needed to, and to listen more. It made for slow and nervous progress.
The woods were heavy, ancient primeval oaks, aspens, walnut, maple and birch, with the big oaks being predominant. I could smell and taste the humidity in the air, but the temperature was low enough that it was not oppressive. As I walked, I felt exposed and foolish. Clothes, some food, a small tent, and a survival guide were all I had left of civilization. No GPS tracking, no helicopter to airlift me out ... nothing. It sucked. After a while I began to feel kind of angry at whoever had put me here, but that was tempered with a knowledge that I had died on that mountain road ... and that this, for however long it lasted, was a second chance. But I also knew it was a second chance that could end in an untreated fever or from an infected cut.
I walked slowly for less than an hour, and the woods opened up facing the hills I had been walking towards. In front of me was a large open plain, perhaps 1000 yards across, and the hills rose up from there. I could see deer grazing on the plain. That gave me a slight pause, as I fully expected that wherever there were deer, there would be things that eat deer. I didn't need the meat just yet, and it would be a long haul to drag the deer to the box, so I stayed well clear of them as I walked the last half mile to the hills.
As I approached, I could see something that made me very happy. Set back in the mouth of the hill was what appeared to be a large cave under a rock overhang. I could see a dim trail of smoke rising from it. Scanning the plain about me for threats, and seeing none, I raised my binoculars and looked at the mouth of the cave. In it, I could see what looked like a large family group of people. I had to guess that that range, but it looked like probably five or six adult men and about the same number of women. A couple of kids were with them.
I watched them for a few long minutes, then turned on my heels and trotted back to the woods. Once I was back in the cover of the trees, I slowed back down and made my careful way back to the box. I'd been very concerned on my way out not to get lost, so I had used a knife to blaze a few trees. It didn't prove to be useful. First off, I never did see any of the trees I had marked until I was darned close to the clearing, and anyway, the smoke from my fire led me right there. From that day onward, I marked trees with a can of spray paint, in bright orange.
Once back in the clearing, I grabbed some of the titanium supply crates and dragged them out of the supply box and stacked them off to the south. I made a rough perimeter around the supply box, and by hammering a few lengths of pipe into the ground around the perimeter, I was able to string some wire and hang a few cow bells on the wire. That was my best shot at an early warning system.
Once I'd cleared enough stuff out of the box, I made a sleeping space for myself inside. But, I didn't intend to sleep there. That was just in case. I propped a ladder up one side, and put some supplies and a tent up top. I pitched the tent, and inflated an air mattress. The box top was a smooth broad steel surface, and I sat for a long moment thinking about being hit by lightning. The sky looked very clear though, so I limited my paranoia by taking the tent down and then rolling out one of my big rubber ground sheets. Then I put the tent back up again. I was fairly certain that if lightning did strike the box I was toast, but the rubber sheet made me feel a little better anyway.
Really though, what I did that morning and afternoon was make a plan. I knew I needed to have an in with the cave people I'd seen, and I only saw two routes to get there. One was way more brutal and dangerous than I was prepared to think about, and the other was risky but seemed like it could be far safer.
As I sorted through supplies, I worked the plans over in my mind, but I couldn't really come up with much new in the way of brilliant ideas. Later, I ate an MRE and tried to sleep. I slept really badly that night, waking every few minutes or so, and to every new sound.
The next morning dawned clear, crisp and bright. I got some distilled water out of the supply box and washed my face and hands with a tiny amount. Then I ate a cold MRE breakfast and drank the 'juice drink' I mixed up. Feeling a little better, though I was very tired, I spent some time working my way to some supplies in the middle of the box. By mid-morning I had a fair stack of the titanium boxes out of the crate and set up around the perimeter.
Just about that time, I heard a snuffling noise, and a pretty damned big wild pig trotted out of the edge of the woods and into my clearing. It startled the crap out of me, and I darned near dropped the rifle off my back trying to get to it. As I fumbled around, the pig grunted a few times and pawed around, looking at me. I didn't wait to see if he was going to charge or not, I just shouldered the .300 and started shooting.
Now, see ... Here's a point where I could tell you about how I killed my first game and began my survival story as a big, powerful hunter. The problem is, that'd be complete crap. I banged away at the pig, nervous as all hell, not taking time to aim, and he spooked and charged me. I dropped the rifle and ran for the ladder. I made it up that ladder in record time, and just barely avoided him running me down.
I know it's not very romantic to picture me running like a fool, but that's exactly what I did. Once I was up top and safe, I listened to him rummage around in my supplies some while I caught my breath and calmed down. Once I got my breathing under control again, I sat for a long minute and then laughed at myself. It was either that or cry.
I sat myself at the edge of the box, legs dangling over and yelled at the pig. "Hey stupid!" I yelled. He looked around and snorted some, then came trotting back my way. When he was good and close to the edge of the box, I took out my .40 and shot the living crap out of him. Yeah, I know I'm supposed to tell you how I put him down with a good shot to the head, but that's bullshit. I emptied an entire magazine into that bastard, and I whooped when he went down.
I waited a bit until he was good and dead, then I climbed down and worked my nerve up to get closer and shot him again. I do admit I was a bit tetchy at that moment. After some digging in the supplies, I got a rope over a high limb of a nearby tree by throwing a tied up rock, and then used a come-along to drag that ugly pig up into the air with the rope around his hind quarters.
I knew I was supposed to bleed him out by cutting his throat, so I tried that, and got bled on for all my efforts. The pants cleaned up fast enough, but I'd hang them up that night in a satchel in the tree, as I didn't really want to smell like delicious pig blood myself. Once he was a good twenty feet up in the air, I tied the rope off and got back to work.
I'm going to cut out some long story — short details here, and tell you that what I did that afternoon was get myself dressed up in cleaner clothes, grab a couple of the gas welding torches, a pull-along two wheel wagon, and a big red battery powered electric reflector light. I dumped the pig down into the wagon and dragged it off toward the cave.
That was one long and tiring afternoon. That wagon rutted out and bounced into every possible hole, gully, and depression available. I'm pretty sure I cursed it the entire way. Anyway, I got that heavy bastard out to the plains. I turned on the red rotating reflector, strapped it to my camouflage cap, tied the wagon off to my belt, and began walking toward the cave. As I did so, I lit up the blow torch and pulled out my pistol.
When I figured that the people in the cave had probably begun to notice me, turned around in the traces so I could push the wagon, and turned it to face them. Then I fired off a couple of shots, "boom boom", and waited. Man, I must have been one hell of a sight. Here comes this monster yelling at them, with some kind of thunder announcing his arrival and flame and light coming off of him. Once I could clearly see them, I turned off the flame and light. I waited a moment and then dumped out the fat bastard pig on the ground where they could see me do it. I yelled some at them, something like. "Whoa, guys ... FREE PIG ... look at the Fire Man God Shaman! Don't kill me!"
The men lined up in front of the rest, holding heavy spears and a couple of stone axes. I was so scared my knees were shaking. Once the pig had dumped out, I began to very slowly back away from them. I was prepared to drop those wagon hooks off my belt and run like hell if I had to. Luckily, it didn't come to that. They looked as scared as I felt, and didn't move one inch toward me until I was well backed off from them.
I could see furious debate break out between them, but you know ... free pig is free pig. So, in the end the group of them that liked the idea of free pig seemed to win out over the group that wanted to dance around a fire wearing stranger skin as a hat. That worked for me. I walked back real slowly, watching my back as I went. I was damned near positive several times that they were invisible in the long grasses, sneaking up on my ass. Luckily though, I'd guess that the "Guy On Fire Magic Light Up Who Calls Thunder and Brings Free Pig" show seemed safer not to try and mess with. I could see their point of view. Whoever had kidnapped me or brought me back to life, or whatever, was just as 'don't mess with the magic dudes' as I was.
Once I was back at the edge of the plain, I watched them through my binoculars and counted them. None seemed to be missing from my count yesterday. I felt very relieved. I dragged the wagon home to the supply box. When I got to the supply box, I could see that scavengers had been around the tree I'd hung the pig from, and that the dirt near where I'd shot the pig had been disturbed.
I didn't really know what kind of prints they were, but they didn't look like giant bear or lion or anything, just pretty small stuff. I spent an hour rearranging stuff again and then locked the box back up, and went back up top. When I slept that night, I slept like the dead. I heard snuffling noises a couple of times, but not anything to really wake me up.
The next day when I woke up, I was sore all over. Muscles I had forgotten even existed spent some quality time complaining. I downed a couple of Ibuprofen from my med pouch and surveyed my rather small kingdom. There were paw prints around my perimeter, but they all looked small, or smallish I guess, and the bells hadn't rung, so I didn't sweat it.
I pitched the ladder down the side again and climbed down. Today, I was going to need to find water, and I had to take another step with the family in the cave. I cleaned up a little bit again, with a few drops of water and a wet-nap and ate some breakfast. I refreshed my supplies and set out again. This time, I was going to walk in a spiral outward from my camp and see if I could locate some water.
I walked for a slow couple of hours, taking my time, being careful. Every once in a while I'd mark a tree with red paint to indicated I was north of my camp, or green for south. After a while, I was pretty certain I could hear the sound of running water. It was off to the Northwest, and turned out to be a small but deep stream that was running down some granite boulders and into a nice sized pool. The pool was roughly equidistant from both the cave I'd visited and my camp site. I approached it really slowly and quietly. From what I'd read, animals both predator and prey congregate at watering holes.
At the far edge of the watering hole on my side of the stream was a medium sized, brownish spotted animal with dull yellowish stripes down its sides that was digging at the edge of the water. Its fur looked like something that the tribe folks may like, so I decided to shoot it and see if I could skin it decently. I took up a good semi-reclining position, unlimbered my rifle and cocked it. I did all this carefully and quietly. When the gun went off, it was like thunder in the clearing. The animal was knocked off its feet, and I stood up to walk toward it. Just then, it popped back up on its feet, looked right the hell at me, it let out a kind of 'grr grr' noise and came after me.
I'd never been chased before. I grabbed my rifle and sprinted for the trees. Now, like I said, I'm older and kind of paunchy, so when you imagine me sprinting, don't imagine too hard. I made it to the tree line, but I could hear that little rat bastard right behind me. I jumped at a lower branch on the first tree I came to, and started trying to haul my fat ass up. I'm kicking at the trunk, trying to get purchase, and this bleeding, pissed off little monster is starting to try to climb up to get me.
I managed to get up on the limb and climb a little higher in the tree. Just about then I notice that junior is indeed climbing the tree after me. He's making that 'grr grr' noise the whole time, but he's kinda slowed down by the big hole in his side bleeding on the trunk. That's when I notice that his claws looked like giant damned scimitars. Mind you, I'm getting a pretty close up look by now.
I can't get the rifle off my shoulder and hang onto the branch at the same time, laying on my belly as I was, so I get out my pistol. As I'm struggling, junior makes it on to my branch and heads toward my face. I shoot him from right up close, and he sort of weaves around a little and falls off the branch. I watch the little bastard fall and hit the ground. I don't move.
Then, sure as hell, he starts moving around a little, and I begin to think I'm in some outdoor survival version of "Friday the 13th". But, thankfully, he just kind of peters out after a minute and dies. I don't think to this day I've seen that kind of mean up close.
I fill my water bag, a large jug, and I go to get junior. Mistake. Even in death, that bastard was mean. He stank like no one's business. So, I tied a line to his tail and dragged him home. Once I made it back to camp, I tossed him down and grabbed my wildlife guide. As I turn the pages, I get to darned near the back of the book and there he is, big as life. Junior had been a wolverine. The book says that they are determined predators ... damned skippy, this one climbed a tree gut shot and damned near bagged hisself a human.
Tribal types had to respect wolverines, right? Well, I thought to myself, what if I've gone and killed their sacred animal or something? Don't you have to say sacred words over them before you kill them? It seemed like a puzzle to me. If I didn't take him to the family in the cave, then where do I get rid of him?
Okay now, this is where I spare you some more details. I tried skinning junior. I used a sharp new knife, took my time, and only cut myself about ten freaking times. Junior's hide, such as it was kinda came out a mess, and I got blood and dead wolverine piss all over myself. It was really great. I cut off his claws and saved the skull. I went out past the edge of my camp and buried the remains and set a big rock on top. I washed up a little and grabbed the wagon and set back off for the cave. I became quite clear that day that I had no damned idea what I was doing with skins and knives. Didn't matter much, practice would suit.
Once I got back to the edge of the plains, I took out the binocs and looked about for deer. Lo and behold, there was indeed a small herd of deer not too far from me, about 100 yards away, and a nice big fat buck deer led them. Looking at him, I had to guess he was about a ten pointer. Mind you, I had no goddamned idea what a ten pointer was. Nevertheless, I decided that he was one. So, I shot him. Not too fair, really. I had a modern hunting rifle with a good scope, and big fast .300 win ammo. He took a couple of steps and dropped. It was a clean shot through the chest, from side on. The rest of his little herd scattered, and I walked slowly that way, wondering the whole time if some giant lion was going to fight me for the carcass.
But luckily no, there was no lion waiting for me, and using the come-along I dragged the deer into the tray of the wagon. I tried my best to get it centered, and by putting all my weight on the handles, I got the wagon righted up. Once again, I found myself dragging the wagon across to the cave folks.
It took forever, and I was sweating like a stuck pig. The weather was clear and hot, and I was fat and miserable, and scared. It was lovely. I'm sure you get the picture. When I got kinda close to the cave, the men were waiting for me, and one of them had his face all painted up in red. Like my red light. I turned the light on again and yelled some. "Yo, boys! Free Deer! Ungowa!" Yes, I yelled 'ungowa' at them.
I fired the gun in the air, they all cowered down, and I dumped the deer out of the wagon. I backed off pretty much as fast I could and still retain my decorum as the local god of red lights and loud noises. Once off the plains I basically ran back to camp where dumped the wagon and climbed back up and pulled the ladder with me.
I had another one of those 'not so much a hero' moments just about then. I lay up there and indulged in some self-pity and fear for a long while, wondering what the fuck I'd gotten myself into. I ate a warmed up MRE, drank some punch, and went to sleep. I was bone tired and really sore.
Next morning I woke up to the sounds of movement down below. I freaked out a bit, grabbed the rifle and was about to start blasting away, but low and behold, the cave family is gathered on the far side of my fire, and is busy decorating a bunch of flat rocks with flowers and ground up dirt of various shades.
Lying on the rocks, which I pretty much decided was an altar to "He Who Blinks Like Cop Car And Brings Free Food", was a damned tasty looking array of fish and jerked meat. They'd added a shiny rock or two.
As I stood up, they all kind of bent over a little, and the painted-red-face guy started in on a speech. He raised his hands up towards me, lowered his head, and made a whole bunch of chatter, most of it being rhythmic and slow. So, I lowered the ladder down over the front of my supply box and climbed down. Red-Face bowed again, and talked to me some more. He gestured toward the food and pretty rocks and backed up a little more. I bowed back and said. "Four score and seven years ago, our fore fathers set forth upon some continent a lot different than this one a new nation which you've never heard of, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the notion that all pockets should be plundered equally. E Pluribus Unum. Amen and pass the gravy, Huzzah!" As I ended, I fired the rifle up in the air, invoking the thunder, and screwed my courage all the way up to high. They were a cowering mess, so that helped.
I walked up to Red-Face slowly, and bending down a little, taking my pistol off safety in one hand, offered him my recently used skinning knife. He looked a little confused for a bit, and I had to juggle things so I could take it out of the sheath, cut a bit of the jerky with it, and hand it back. He took it with slightly shaky hands, and messed around with it until he managed to cut his thumb with it. Man, did his face light up when he did that.
I backed up a step or two while he showed his prize off to the family. I could tell that the knife just cemented his role as head honcho pretty much in stone. He waved it around a bit, and then they all passed it around and cut on themselves and others. Much fun was had by all.
I took a bite or two of the dried fish, which looked as unsanitary as all fuck, and tried the jerky, which was similarly appetizing. I smiled and rubbed my stomach and made a belching noise. They flinched a little, and then one of the kids, a boy from what I could see under the filth and fur, laughed. Then they all laughed. So, I laughed. We all spent a great old time laughing and backing slowly away from each other.
Once they backed into the tree line, they ran off pretty damned lickety-split, and they did so damned near as silent as all hell. In that moment, I was completely clear that any one of those fuckers could sneak up on me in a second. That gave me a lot of heartburn, frankly.
It was that or the fish. In either case, I spent a good hour throwing up.