Predators

Predators

If you are being hunted, you need both speed and guile

Sarah and her tribe were being pursued through the dark forest. They had run into the woods from the open grasslands where they been too visible, and the change of light had made them stumble a little at first. But they could not afford any mistakes: one wrong step, one exposure in a sudden shaft of sunlight, might result in the sharp arrow, the heavy blow, the singing bullet. They could hear the hunters crashing in the undergrowth, and they could smell their hunger.

So on and on the tribe ran, outpacing the predators. Their flanks, their throats pulsated with fear and fatigue. Sarah and her kin paused to think. Guile and concealment: that was what was needed. They knew where there was a large pit close by, and they covered it with branches. They all hid, except one of them: she stood by the pit. She took off her clothes and stood naked in the open air. The hunters would not be able to resist her: the little breasts swinging gently, the sheen of sweat glistening on her young skin, the moist undertow full of promise. On the hunters came.

It was fortunate that the hunters were running in a group. With almost comic speed, they all fell into the pit together, cursing and struggling. The tribe encircled them from above, and without any hesitation or any mercy, they speared them, every one. After all, the hunters themselves would have had no compunction: they would have raped and killed the tribe, maybe kept a few alive as slaves or trophies. “Good job our spears are sharp” said Sarah, “no need to make the hunters suffer unnecessarily.”

They made an enormous fire and roasted the meat, since they had not eaten for days. Sarah said, with her mouth full, that at least they knew what they were eating: often people did not know what was in the pie that they had bought, in the old days. This was what was known as ethical provenance. The tribe hated waste: and once they had eaten their fill of the meat, they gave the rest to their dogs, and began the hard task of stripping the skin from the bones. They would pluck the hair and the dangling bits off, soak the carapace in urine for days to make it soft, rub fat into it, and afterwards wash it in the river. Then it was soft enough to fashion. Several of the tribe preferred to wear fabric, woven from the hemp in the fields: but the more vengeful among them would rather wear this skin, and indeed took pride in it. As Sarah said: “I only wear hunters.”