The juvenile Sasquatch leapt and ran through the dark forest, using his arms as much as his legs to propel himself through the trees at an exhilarating speed.
For almost four winters now he had been exploring this amazing world of woods, rivers and mountains he had been born into… eager to experience every last bit, his curiosity the constant concern of his young parents.
Tonight his mother was far ahead, occasionally giving a low whistle to keep him on track.
Somewhere behind was his father… well at least he thought his father was somewhere behind.
His sire was always suddenly there out of nowhere if his young, inexperienced hands lost their grip on a tree branch, or a rock ledge.
As he bounded along the young Sasquatch was even more excited than usual. He could sense the tension in his parents even though he did not know why it was there. All he knew was that tonight there was something new to learn, and he was excited.
Then he began to smell it… faint, biting fumes of something very strange. He wondered if it had anything to do with the small, bright lights he had seen the night before. They had been moving far off down in the valley and he had wondered at their source.
This night, after sleeping the day away next to a tiny bubbling stream, his troop had been steadily moving down the valley towards where he had seen those interesting lights. They, as always, had been following the waterways so he had not gained enough height above the trees to see any sign of the strange lights again.
Then he had heard a distant, grumbling roar that slowly grew before fading again. Whenever he stopped to listen his mother’s whistle always called him on.
Suddenly he saw something exceedingly strange through the trees. It was very wide and low, pale like sand under the starlight. Bounding up to it he could see it was a small, sloping cliff, rising to a point not far above his head, level with the lowest branches of the trees behind. To his right and left it stretched until it curved out of sight and its long, pale expanse was only broken by a perfectly round hole through which water trickled.
What was it?
He reached out and touched its surface, it felt sandy, but hard… much like the soft stone left by ancient beaches, but alien somehow. He sensed it did not belong. For some reason touching the unusual stone sent a chill through his bones and he looked up.
Had his mother gone over the top?
Or through the hole?
Although he could easily run through it on all fours, he doubted his mother’s hairy bulk would have fit.
Another whistle carried to his ears over the strange cliff. That answered that question. It was steep, but nothing to a Sasquatch, even one as young as he, and in short order he was standing on the edge above.
Immediately in front of him was another, even more alien obstacle.
It came to his waist and was shiny bright. In the moonless night even the stars reflected their distant glow along its length. The thing ran along the edge of the small cliff, disappearing over a low rise on his left and around a curve to his right. No matter, he could easily step over so he did. On the other side was a strange, flat rock, its long black expanse broken only by perfectly straight, white lines.
His head was spinning. What could this be?
He looked up and saw his mother in the trees on the other side of this bizarre obstacle. She was only a few bounds away, but his attention was focused on what he was standing on. He studied it again. Not a single blade of grass grew anywhere on the thing’s black length. On either side the forest stopped abruptly at its edges, as if the trees had been grazed by giant sheep.
Another whistle… more urgent this time.
He looked again at his mother, who had come out of the trees a little.
But before he could start across the strange rock towards her his attention was diverted again. This time by a low rumble, quickly growing, as if a large hornet was flying towards him through the forest.
He looked back to his left. The sound was growing louder and he could see a glow forming over the crest of the hill.
What could be causing that? In an instant the glow became two bright eyes, brighter than the noonday sun. His eyes widened in sudden terror and he tensed to bolt. But his body would not move.
The brightness was all-consuming, the rest of the world forgotten as it rushed towards him. The growling grumble becoming a roar that echoed off the trees and in his head.
Suddenly his father was there.
But rather than sweep him up in his great arms and go flying back into the forest, his sire scrunched down low over his son, protecting the youngster with enormous, hairy arms… providing instant relief for his eyes.
Time slowed as the roar became impossibly loud and the light even flooded into the cave of hair through the gaps between his father’s muscled arms.
The youngster began to panic and looked up to see his father’s firm eyes commanding him to be still.
Every Sasquatch from birth knew how important it was to be motionless if you wanted to live. One of the very first things his father had taught him was to tune into the earth and become as motionless as a tree or a rock, something he had always found hard to do.
Trying with all his might, the juvenile Sasquatch stopped his breath and attempted to be a boulder.
At first he could not find the earth beneath his feet, there was too much of the strange rock between him and it, so he tried to contact the earth through his ears. But the roar was too deafening as the monster approached. He could not stop the panic from rising and was about to try and run, despite his father's protective embrace... but then the beast passed by and that awful bright light was gone, followed by a reddish glow that quickly faded.
The roar faded too, and soon it was gone, leaving the acrid smell of its passing poisoning the cool night air.
He forced himself to remain as still as the earth, waiting for his father to assure him the danger had truly passed.
Abruptly his father straightened and pointed to where his mother was waiting under the trees on the other side of what he now sensed was a path somehow made for the loud, smelly, fume-belching monster that had passed. In a handful of quick bounds he was across it and into his mother’s welcoming arms. Together they faded into the shadowed embrace of the trees.
His father watched him go, standing still on the far edge of the road.
The youngster had to begin learning about the Hairless Ones soon. Born able to crawl almost immediately, Sasquatch young learnt very fast about the world around them if they wanted to survive, and the Hairless Ones were a part of that world.
But his son seemed incapable of learning the most important skill of the Sasquatch… how to be still. And staying motionless was essential if one wanted to be invisible to the Hairless Ones.
The huge Alpha male knew, or hoped at least, that to the occupants of the speeding car he and his son would have been nothing more than a bush flashing by in the night.
THIS IS THE FIRST CHAPTER FROM THE PREQUEL NOVEL FOR SASQUATCH SAGAS, CALLED 'A CURIOUS WORLD'.
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