I will be posting the first ten chapters of Wyld over the next ten weeks. I hope it will inspire and engage you all. Please share with your friends:)
There was a moment of silence, as if all creatures present were sizing up the situation. Wyld slowly reached behind him. All the while he maintained eye-contact with the sabre-tooth tiger. It had an overly developed chest and small hind quarters. There was one particular feature which stood out: the tiger had massive white fangs attached to a pair of hefty jaws. It could shred him in a second.
Grumbling and panting came from the baby mammoth. The pair were connected like two victims about to be slaughtered. Both wanted to live, both wanted to survive and both were praying the other had a plan. Wyld gripped his catapult as he set it up and glanced below him. There were a few flint-like stones but nothing amazing. Could he distract the tiger while the pair made an escape? The stones were too small. It would be like shooting dried peas at a tank. Still he crouched down slowly and maintained eye-contact while he filled the front pocket of his hoody with stones. All the while he watched the sabre tooth for any sudden muscle movements.
The pre-historic beast studied its prey curiously. Where was the fear? The huge creature’s rumbling growl of irritation filled the air. The human flinched but maintained a determined eye-contact. The predator shifted uneasily, mesmerised by it. It appeared as though its potential snack’s movements were threatening.
With a gentle motion back to standing, Wyld fought his trembling and focused. His heartbeat increased, his adrenaline pumped and he felt sick to the stomach. He had to breathe through his nose as he intended to conceal any aroma of fear. He knew from his father’s lectures that wild animals were deterred by confidence in their prey. At that moment the prey showed no visual signs of fear and that made him unpredictable.
In that elongated silence, neither could anticipate what the other was thinking. Wyld noticed the sabre tooth crept forwards and was now within pouncing distance. The mammoth made a high-pitched squeal behind him. Wyld slapped the fury mass and mentally churned all the worst case scenarios at speed. In one he was shredded, another he was clawed, another he was chased and now he just stood waiting for the inevitable.
Silently Wyld lifted his catapult. He might not have power but he had precision. If he was purposeful and focused then he could use his ammunition to its best affect. With a sense of determination he set up his sight. The sabre-tooth growled and watched the boy curiously. It then did something unexpected, it turned away, as if it was about to leave. Wyld hesitated, relaxed his arm and spun the flints in hand. It didn’t make sense. The sabre tooth lurched, turned and bounded towards them. Instinctively Wyld aimed and fired. The first flint made impact and cut the creature. He grabbed a handful of flints from his pocket and shot them straight at the tiger. The other flints sliced the bulky creature in other places too. He urgently grabbed a third handful of stones. The tiger raced through the air. He aimed and boom! Boom! Boom! Rapidly fire. With that last batch, Wyld had one of those ‘knowing’ feelings. The flints blasted through the air and pelted the tiger’s head and face. The last of the cluster smashed into the tiger’s temple and eyes. He watched the tiger lose consciousness mid-pounce and the colossal creature crashed to the ground in front of him with its claws outstretched. Thud! There was a heavy silence. When Wyld glanced back the baby mammoth was motionless with its eyes closed. It waited fearfully anticipating the worst. One moment the ball of fluff was trapped, the next it was being attacked by a sabre-tooth tiger. They were only a matter of a meter away from something that could devour them. When all the realisations finally hit and he saw the size of the outstretched claws, he understood they were not out of danger. He glanced at the twine on the ground and bound the predator’s huge claws as fast as he could. Once he had completed both set of paws, Wyld stood back and studied the trembling ball of fur beside him.
‘We need to move,’ he whispered. He then noticed one of the mammoth’s other feet still had twine wrapped around it. Suddenly it all made sense – the mass of fluff did not run away because it could not escape.
With one eye firmly fixed on the tiger, Wyld crouched down and slashed the remaining bindings. Urgently he and pushed the baby mammoth away. It was rigid. He shoved the fluff-ball again and tried to make it walk. The fluffy creature was all wobbly and bewildered. Wyld was wobbly too but he had to think survival first. Finally he made sure the mammoth moved by slapping its rear and shouldering it. The small lump of hairyness plodded deeper into the forest. Wyld instinctively followed knowing the pair had to clear the area before the tiger woke up and broke free. The mammoth seemed to be stalled, as if looking for guidance. Wyld searched the vicinity, there was a clearing in the distance. If he could get to the clearing then maybe he could be work out his bearings and what he should do with the bewildered creature.
After a short while, Wyld paused. What was he thinking? How had a simple look around become so complicated? Why was he suddenly involved in a baby mammoth’s life? Wyld decided he should go back to the cave complex. How could he? When he would be in huge trouble. With a thoughtful chew of his lip, he decided he had to sort out the mammoth and make sure it was safe. After that he was going to have to come up with a really good excuse.
The baby mammoth trudged lethargically. It was clearly exhausted. Once it spotted the clearing it tiredly plodded towards a number of fallen trees. It was probably where the herd of mammoth had grazed, that was before the baby had wondered off exploring and got stuck. Wyld had done exactly the same thing. The pair of them had been naughty and now they were both paying for it. Wyld glanced around, he had wondered from his own herd and now he was lost too.