Chapter 2: Just Another World
Kaya giggled softly and admired her son slashing at the invisible foes in front of him, grunting and diving into the bushes for cover. "Oh my son, what could you possibly be threatened by out in this peaceful landscape?" Stakaya flinched and came back to reality to answer, "The snow cats of the mountains." His little hand turned to a pointing finger, which was to the direction of the mountains, which were in fact snow capped. Kaya was astounded how her son instinctively knew the climate in such a far away landscape.
Kaya and her son continued along the perimeter of the plains, where the tall grass converted into bush and treeline. The day was warm, but fortunately there was the cool wind that would come and go. Stakaya had started this adventure with great enthusiasm, but that had slowly diminished into the slow dragging of his feet, struggling to keep up with his mother's conditioned pace. Kaya was holding her son's hand not to be comforting or sympathetic to Stakaya's depleted energy, but realistically it was for his protection. She had lived in these parts for a long time. She knew when too much peace was a sign of a predator on the hunt, and her son was the prey. Kaya had her club gripped in her right hand just in case they were not alone on this trail.
The last bend of the trail was now in their sights. The sun had begun its descend in the skyline, yet the warmth of it's power was shrouded over Kaya and Stakaya. Some of the tree branches hung a perfect ark over them as they continued along the path. Stakaya looked up to his mother to finally break down in fatigue, but he was startled to notice in the canopy of the tree a wild bobcat glaring down at his mother's turned back. Before he could make a peep, Kaya noticed the beastly figure in her son's burning eyes. She quickly pivoted around and freed her club from its resting position by her waist. Within a stunned nudge and blink of his eye, Stakaya's mother had pushed him to the bush line and had struck the animal in mid air. The bobcat went fumbling towards the left of Kaya, presumably dead.
It went silent. more silent then the very second before this encounter. Kaya was inhaling and exhaling heavily, like she had just hiked for miles. Finally, turned to make sure her son was okay. Her eyes had an emotion that burned as bright as Stakaya's. Stakaya had a scared frown on his face. His mother just turned from teacher to warrior within a blink of an eye. He simultaneously watched his life flash before his eyes as well as his mother break the ribs of an beast bigger then himself. It was convoluted to the young boy.
"What just happened?" Stakaya muttered, knowing exactly what just happened but needing Kaya's explanation. It wouldn't make his fried nerves feel better, nor would it allow that horrible sight to ever leave his mind. As a young boy he had never experienced something like this before. This was real. Imaginary games are fun because Stakaya is never in any real danger. When he built a scenario where a wild snow cat came out of the brush and challenged him, he was going to win. There wasn't any questioning it.
Kaya went and stood over the beast. It was groaning and whimpering. Without hesitation she raised her club to the sky. Stakaya watched the end of that club drop to the head of the bob cat. A snap of it's skull was so loud it made Stakaya flinch once again. His face went pale, and he turned over to release the vomit that suddenly filled his mouth. The growing and shrinking of the animal's stomach was no longer. Kaya sighed once more, then snapped back to being the mother of her child. She ran over to her son as he began to cry.
"Everything is okay now, Stakaya, there is no need to be scared now." Kaya was using the softest voice she could conjure, but to no avail. Stakaya was curled in the fetal position, with his face in his lap. Kaya saw his tears dripping onto the dirt under him. "I am so sorry Stakaya..." Kaya whispered.
"I need you to be strong again. you must continue home, you know where the fork is on the path." Kaya was speaking in a normal octave and with a sternness to snap Stakaya back into survival mode.
It worked. Stakaya stumbled to his feet and began jogging down the path.
As Stakaya journeyed on, Kaya waited until he was out of her sight from the path. That's when she took out her saber tooth, and turned back to the beast for it's hide and meats.
Stakaya continued along the path that he had traveled so many times before, but now seemed foreign, like nothing was the same. He was exhausted from the adventure before that beastly encounter, but afterwards, he was ready to drop dead. He stopped and dropped to his knees hyperventilating. Within that vivid moment, Stakaya changed forever. He took a minute, then got back up and continued. "That was terrifying." He said to himself, looking up at all the trees he was passing and going under. "I almost died. Mother almost died." His eyes widened at the thought. He had never seen his mother swing her club, let alone kill a wild animal. "Why was that bobcat in that tree?" Stakaya had thoughts flooding his mind. There was never any predators on that trail, that is why Stakaya was aloud to adventure on it in the first place. He made his way down the trail.
By this time, he was at the fork in the trail, his legs were in so much pain that for a second he thought they were going to give out on him. Normally, Kaya and Stakaya would take turns throwing rocks at the stoner tree which grew in between the path towards home, and the path that he had never gone down. Stakaya didn't hesitate to grab a rock mid jog and give it a toss at the tree. He didn't stop to wind up his throw, or see if he hit the inner circle that was carved into the trunk, he just turned his head back to the path and continued jogging. Stakaya was halfway up the hill towards home when he turned around and started jogging backwards. The sunset was spectacular. A group of warriors had met up with Kaya and they had started their journey towards home. They looked so small to Stakaya, but he could still make out the furs lumped over Kaya's shoulders. It didn't effect him.
Nothing could effect him during a beautiful sunset. It matched his vibrant eyes as if they were one of the same in another life. To Stakaya, the sun setting on the horizon was a He closed his eyes and felt it's last bit of warmth before it grew dark. "This is what our people should always feel..."
TO BE CONTINUED....