Edited by Monbade, Hal, Ronbry
Neena sat on the ledge watching to see where her pursuers went. The 'others' that had chased her, were part of a raiding party that had attacked her tribe during what was supposed to be the happiest day of her life, her mating day. And now her mate was gone as was her father. Sata, her mother and Deena, her sister had fled when the raiders first attacked along with her twin baby brothers, Broal and Proal and any other children they could grab.
Neena had seen her father, Fallar, and mate, Narin, turn to fight, giving the rest of the survivors more time to get away. Neena did as well and bravely stood between her father and her mate. Even the sad realization that the three were badly outnumbered it did not dampen their resolve to fight on.
Neena, fighting hard, watched as Fallar was hit with a spear. Narin's side stopped a knife. Then Neena barely dodged another spear.
Narin and Fallar looked at each other and with a silent agreement told Neena to run. She refused until both men ordered her to find and protect the rest of the family.
Neena knew that when she left the two most important men in her life would die. However she also knew if she stayed she too would die leaving no one to help her mother or the rest.
It was with a final kiss to her love then she fled the fight. Neena only looked back once as she reached the trees. Her father and mate were still fighting but she saw that some of the raiders had seen her.
That was why she was now on a ledge that was about three men high, hidden by the leaves of trees. The cliff and trees held and hid many caves and during trouble the people of her tribe would go to a set that was hard to find and easy to defend. However, with the four raiders following her, Neena could not go to where the rest had gone.
Instead she had headed for one of the small caves that she had used many times as a place of solitude and peace when her family, mainly her siblings were angering her. At the last moment she thought better of going into her cave and took to the lookout ledge with the hope the leaves would hide her well enough.
A light breeze moved the leaves allowing Neena to see the raiders. They were six wide trees away from the cliff, in a narrow opening between two different types of trees.
The killers were following her trail. As they were nearly to the trees below Neena, they turned and looked to the sky. That was also when Neena heard a strange noise.
Kevin Patches knew if he got out of the trouble he was in alive, that he was going to have a serious talk with the big man upstairs.
He was a pilot for hire that had contracted to fly a C-54 Skymaster full of supplies to an oil research and drilling field. He was about half way there when a group of small, mysterious planes attacked him and tried to force him down. The rumors that some of the small gorilla bands around his destination had world war two fighter planes and could attack him for his cargo ended up not being rumors as they started firing. Despite his heroic, evasive maneuvers, he could feel the large cargo plane shutter as his fuel tanks were finally hit.
He could tell he was losing fuel and maybe soon his life, when a very strange and powerful storm materialized. Massive, angry bolts of lightening repeatedly plummeted the single seat fighter craft until each lost their desperate attempts to escape and blew up.
Then as fast as the storm appeared, it disappeared. That would have been fine except that the tips of Kevin's wings, which were wet from the leaking fuel, were struck as well and now were on fire.
Then as fast as the storm came it blew out. Kevin saw the ground rushing at him. Not all his luck was used up, though. There was a way out? He saw it, didn't he? Was it? YES! There it was. Almost by magic, a long, narrow clearing appeared. Kevin valiantly pulled back hard on the stick to level the plane and align it for landing.
Kevin's years of training and experience surged through him. He forced himself to just fly and hope he was alive when the plane stopped.
As the plane came down into the clearing, Kevin knew it was too narrow for the plane to safely complete the landing. Two of the larges trees he had ever seen bracketed the plane and its burning wings, hit them, and tore them off, and threw the masses of burning fuel and metal to the sides of the landing path.
Kevin felt the landing gear touch the ground and stomped the breaks as hard as he could, hoping it was enough to stop what was left of the plane before the trees at the other end of the clearing stopped him.
Neena watch as the large shinny bird came screaming down where the raiders were. And before they could do more than scream they were hit by the fiery wings. Then the wings hit two trees and came off the firebird. The rest of the poor creature slide down the clearing and came to a stop.
Neena wasn't sure if she should get down or stay where she was, but soon her curiosity got the better of her. She climbed down the ledge and slowly approached the clearing.
The wings that had cut the raiders in half where partially imbedded in large trees. Both still smoked but there were no further flames.
Neena looked to the path the thing had taken and saw the ground torn up by the beast's strange claws as it tried to stop. Then she saw the big shiny thing. Smoke was still coming out of where the poor things wings had been ripped off as well as out of where its eyes must have been, though she could not see that part very well.
Kevin thought he just might get out of the nightmare alive but as the plane came to a full stop the control consol before him erupted in sparks, flames and copious amounts of think smoke.
He pulled himself from the seat, in an attempt to not be fuel for the fire and realized he couldn't just bail out. He didn't really know where he was and would most likely need all the supplies the plane held. With grim determination he quickly grabbed one of the fire extinguishers and started spraying the base of the flames that were erupting from the consol.
A few minutes later, he had the fire out except for a few sparks and a little smoke. To be on the safe side he opened several panels and used one of the other canisters to spray the inside. Kevin was just thankful he didn't have to really worry about the sheared wings' fuel tanks making the plane blow up.
A few minutes later Kevin was making sure everything was shut down to prevent further short circuits when he saw something that made him think he was hallucinating. The port window's small mirror startled him when he thought he saw a young person walking cautiously towards the plane.
Kevin's first thought was if it could be a trick or something. Or could it be someone with the people that tried to force him down in the first place. Well to him either could be bad so he went back in to his personal supplies and got out his pistols and his M-16 that he had for security.
A well armed Kevin now surveyed the area outside one of the windows but couldn't see his phantom there. He quickly grasped the side door and opened it.
Neena had moved closer but when the smoke from the creature's head changed color from the black to white she decided she should be less noticeable and moved into the trees. There she watched as the smoke all but stopped.
Neena suddenly remembered that the area wasn't all that safe, took stock of her environment and, to her horror, saw about ten of the raiders that had attacked her village. She was stuck between them and the poor creature, not knowing which she would rather face.
Then the choice was taken from her as one of the raiders apparently spotted her and directed several of the killers in her direction. Neena finally panicked and ran towards the creature.
Kevin stepped out of the plane, looked around, and then, again, saw something he wasn't sure he was seeing. There were about ten men with spears coming in his direction. Several started to angle off as if moving to the tree line. That was when the young person he had seen earlier jumped from the bushes and ran towards him.
Kevin wasn't 100% positive but he could see the face of what was certainly a girl, and she was scared.
With a quick check to make sure his safety was off and his selector switch was on single shot, he put his M-16 to his shoulder and fired at the men.
The sound of thunder and something flying past Neena's head made her drop to the ground for safety but not sure that was all that good either. When she looked back to see how close the raiders were she was surprised to see one on the ground and then the sound of thunder was heard again. She watched as the head of one of the raiders just disappear.
The rest of the raiders, not knowing what was happening, stopped. When a third one fell they all looked towards the strange thing on the ground and saw something. Then another sound of thunder bellowed as a fourth man dropped. That was enough for the group, and they took off running the way they came.
Neena wasn't sure what to do as she watched the raiders run but she wasn't sad to see it happen. Before she could do more than that a shadow passed over her.
Slowly Neena turned and looked up in to the sun framed face of ... She wasn't all too sure but her mind could only come up with one thing. Standing before her was a God, the God ZharPtitsa, the Firebird god.
She knelt putting her head to the ground.
Kevin ran to the girl. He knew he had missed her but he wanted to make sure. As he got closer he could see the girl was looking back at the retreating men.
.... There is more of this story ...