Tuesday, March 03, 2015

The Law of the Plains, chapter 16 (and last chapter!)

(This is chapter 16 of the Law of the plains. In the previous chapter, Kanaretah, the War Chief of the Tribe fell before the horde. The whole tribe has perished. Is it over?)

Tabbananica and Bowahquasuh had to really work to loose the razorcats. They had distanced the youngest ones easily, but the older males were almost as fast as the braves' horses. In the end, it was just a stamina contest. The horses could maintain a brisk pace longer, so after a few hours of a deadly race, the predators finally gave up. Wisely, the hunters still pressed on for a little while before stopping and changing mounts. It was time to return to the tribe and Tabbananica, using his gift, started to look for signs of the convoy.

He finally caught sight of the cloud of dust that hinted at the presence of horses, focused his Eagle Eyes… And blanked for a second. He took another look, unable to comprehend what he saw, and another one, all color draining from his face. Then he realized, he was not dreaming, it was all real. He screamed in despair, a long scream that spooked the horses and hurt his throat and ears, a scream that was as hideous as the spectacle that laid before him. He clawed his face with his nails, he wanted to pluck his remaining eye out, he would have done anything to stop the nightmarish vision, but he could not look away. It was his tribe, his people, his family…

"What is going on?" asked Bowahquasuh. He asked the question but he already knew the answer. Nothing else could have horrified his friend, nothing but...
"Morlocks. They are all dead".

In silence, they waited for the horde to leave the scene of its atrocious crime. They did not speak, there was nothing to say. Then finally, the horde disappeared. It was strange, for a long time it was there and just like that it was gone. Tabbananica surmised he must have had dozed off, which very well could be considering the hellish day they had gone through.

In silence still, they rode to the massacre's location. The plain was silent as a tomb. Just the muffled sound of the hooves of their horses on the soft grass and the soft sound of the wind. The wind . It kept blowing, the wind was always there and did not care of the lives of morlocks or humans. it just blew as it always did. It felt unreal, the life of the plain went on, but all around, all they could see was death. The two survivors wept as they saw the bodies of their friends horribly mangled, but it wasn't the worst part. Some people rose from the dead and turned into morlocks themselves after dying, so it was a survivor's task to ensure  eternal peace to their loved ones by stabbing them all in the skull, destroying the brain.

On they went, doing their disgusting task, body after body, corpse after corpse, stabbing the members of the tribe one by one at the base of the cranium. Bowahquasuh fell to her knees when she saw her father's remains. She did not even cry, she was beyond crying. She just knelt there, staring  at her father, as if she could bring him back by staring at him hard enough. Tabbananica got her up and made her turn away then covered the disfigured face of his friend's father.

That day, they had to drive their knives into friends, parents, loved ones, horses even. When they were done, they were mad with grief and burning with hatred and with a need for revenge. Finally they turned to the corpse of Kanaretah. She was covered with the carcass of Neraquassi. The poor horse was half-eaten but she was surprisingly spared from that fate. Maybe the morlocks finally had had enough and had moved on.

Bowahquasuh struggled to lift Neraquassi's collar in order to retrieve her Chief's body. She was panting with the effort, the horse weighed a ton and she could not move him. She almost yelled her frustration, she was on the verge of breaking down. After all the horror  of the day, even granting peace to her beloved Kanaretah was denied to her. She was about to crumble under the weight of her despair when a movement startled her. She almost fell on her butt when something moved from under Kanaretah's body.

"Quanah!" she yelled. "Tabbananica, young Quanah is alive!!".

The hunter rushed to her side to help her. Moments later, Bowahquasuh was weeping with joy as she held the young kid against her breast.

It was a miracle.

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