The mammoth was roasting, welcome drinks made, all the torches were lit. Ja was going to signal, and both Zta and Zte were helping Bleech get the buffet table ready. It looked amazing! Zte went and picked some berries and gathered some moss and Zta made this bountiful looking design.
I went outside to check the progress of the village square. All the paths were flattened, the stones arranged. Everyone was out and working hard.
“Gonna be a good one!” Que snuck up behind me. “One for the caves!”
I had to agree with him there. If Roon made it through, I could describe everything that happened and he could make an excellent cave drawing!
“How’s Pol and Lom?” I had to ask, the curiosity was killing me.
“Well, now their wives are involved.”
This was terrible news! Once the women got involved things were really going to get messy.
“Oh by the way, Ja died. See you in a few!” Que turned to go.
“Whoa, whoa whoa! What!?”
“Yeah, A little while ago. He’s already in the pit. Put him there myself. A real shame! Only 10! Would’ve made a great hunter.”
Nooooo!!!! My signaler! Had to prevent any further deaths at least until the feast was over!
“How did this happen!?”
“Well, I wasn’t there but I heard he tripped over a rock, not on one of my paths! He landed on his hands and one of them got bent the wrong way. He said he just twisted it and he started walking but he fell again!”
“Oh no!” I checked the paths for protruding rocks.
“This time he fell backwards. When got up, his foot slipped. He didn’t fall but he kept slipping and sliding. He kept saying he was fine, but, when he was headed toward the extras cave….
I tuned him out when I spotted Wen, Pol’s wife and La, Lom’s wife. This couldn’t be good. It looked like they were squaring off! Wen must’ve said something outrageous because La started laughing. I thought for sure Wen was going to lunge at her but she started laughing too! This was going to get ugly quick!
Nothing I could do so I turned my attention back to Que. “…. he fell right into the whole, the hunters hadn’t covered it yet.”
“The extras hole!?”
“Yeah, he fell in between the tusks.”
I waited for him to finish but typical Que, he wanted me to ask. “And he died?”
“No, when he tried to climb out, he slipped again and fell right into a tusk. Went straight through.”
“He was dead before that.”
We both gasped. We turned around and saw the old woman.
“I was following him but he was slipping and sliding away from me. The initial fall had actually killed him but it wasn’t quick. I saw him die when he got up.”
Que and I were terrified.
She looked right at Que! “You don’t remember me instructing you on how to get him out? The hunters were all crying? Literally just happened!”
Thankfully, she shook her head and hobbled away.
“Alright buddy! Gotta go! Almost time for the parade. See you at the feast!”
I left Que to tend to the paths and headed back to the banquet cave. Almost no time to find a signaler! I saw Zte watching the children gather their bundles of twigs for the fire. She wanted so much to be involved. If only there was something I could give her to do! She knew the business in and out. Her mom and I talked about it all the time.
I stopped in my tracks.