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 loud rumble from Wyld’s stomach, he hadn’t eaten for a good few hours. The baby mammoth appeared weak as well. When the pair came to a standstill the ball of fluff plonked down on the floor in exhaustion. Wyld noticed the longer the pair waited, the more anxious the baby became. The fluff-ball was without its mother and that meant that the bundle was now Wyld’s responsibility. What was he going to do? He could follow the path of destruction through the forest and then hopefully stumble on a herd of mammoths, but then what? He would probably be trampled by the stampeding herd. It would be the same as when elephants in Africa attacked. His presence would make him a threat, which meant they would charge.
With a loud sigh, Wyld found a comfortable looking area and sat down. He could see his breath in the air and the clouds above them took on that strange glow that revealed snow was due. Even the weather in the valley was weird. In fact there was just nothing normal about the whole situation. With a big huff, Wyld watched his breath turn to steam and he affectionately stroked the fluff ball’s brow. The innocent creature looked so helpless and vulnerable. With a shiver Wyld rummaged in his rucksack and put on his thermal jacket. He then shuffled over and sat as close as he could to the baby mammoth. The comfort of contact made the creature relax and a pair of dark eyes studied him.
‘I couldn’t leave you to be eaten now could I?’ said Wyld in a whisper. He nestled comfortably into the cosy creature. ‘You know what?’ he said softly. ‘From now on I am going to call you Baby. I hope that is okay with you. I can’t be bothered to think of anything else and you are just a large fluffy baby after all. He leant back into Baby and stared at the sky. After a moment there was an almighty rumble and the baby made a huge burp. The sound made Wyld jump and giggle. Baby was hungry. Wyld scratched his face as he considered how he could feed the fluffy creature. Baby wasn’t a completely new-born, it must have been at least a few months old. He turned and peered into baby’s eye. ‘Imagine being only a few months old and not knowing what to do to survive,’ whispered Wyld. ‘We need to find your mum, but how are we going to do that?’
Thoughtfully, Wyld mentally scanned through what he had learned about mammoths. Baby mammoths were usually born in spring and summer. It was close to winter which meant that Baby must have been in the in-between food phase. It was in transition between milk and vegetation. It still needed its mother’s milk otherwise there was a possibility it could die. A feeling of helplessness washed through Wyld. If the baby mammoth died then what? He would be just a kid lost in the wilderness with a dead baby mammoth. What kid wanted to deal with that?
With a renewed sense of urgency, Wyld scanned the area. There were plenty of broken branches and some of the leaves on the trees were so large they still had water in them. Maybe he could make some kind of concoction, a hearty brew that would buy time. He needed a foody-fuel that enabled Baby to survive until it was reunited with its mum. He frowned as he glanced about, he needed to make something for himself too. Wyld gazed into the mammoth’s eyes. The fluff-ball seemed so sad and lost. Gently he stroked the mammoth’s trunk. ‘What are we going to do?’
The small mammoth bleated a response. Wyld studied the baby’s heavily lashed eyes and noticed amongst the brown there were green flecks, ‘are you tired or are you missing your mum?’
The mammoth’s stomach rumbled again, ‘ah….I get you-you’re hungry. Well I think you can just about eat anything here. If I could find out what your lot have been grazing on then we should be able to make you something. Maybe if I can identify some of the plants here then we might be able to make something for me too. The mammoth did nothing other than blink. The poor little creature looked like it wanted to sleep, a sleep that Baby would not wake up from.
After a few gulps of water from his filtering can, Wyld paused. Half of him wanted to conserve the filtered water but he decided to drink until the can was empty. He then examined one of the leaves and made sure there were no spores or anything to suggest the leaf was poisonous. He carefully tipped the water from the leaf into his water can, which contained a special filter. He then glanced about the tree, pulled out his survival guide and studied the leaves. That tree resembled a maple, the other trees nearby were ferns, cedars and yews. Just to double check he used his phone to scan the leaves and the App confirmed his findings. Wyld knew not to eat yew or cedar, but the maple gave him an idea. He selected a branch and bent it round so he could form a small well with the leaf and used his Swiss-army knife to cut a hole. He then attached another twig to keep the whole construction firmly in place. Slightly above the leaf-capturing device, he carved a ‘V’ shape into the maple tree’s bark. After a few moments the tree released some sticky sap. The gloopy substance bulged from the hole and down the side of the tree into the capturing device. When he was sure it was working Wyld grinned triumphantly and watched the slow trail of sap plop into the leaf-capturing device. While the leaf filled up he searched for tinder to set up a small fire. He needed dry branches.
His gaze circumnavigated the area. The mammoths must have visited that particular glade regularly because there was plenty of dead wood from where the mammoths had barged through. He decided that once he and Baby had eaten, if he set the ball of fluff on the path of the herd then maybe Baby would be able to sniff out the other mammoths. His parents had always explained about scents and how a mother used scent to recognise their child. It was the same way dogs sniffed the person or dog they met. Now if Baby was placed on the path of the mammoth herd then maybe its scent would be recognised. That meant all Wyld had to do was keep the fluff ball alive. Easier said than done, he thought. Wyld had a scent too, and that scent was now all over the mammoth. He stroked his chin thoughtfully, he couldn’t give the mammoth a bath, what if the herd rejected Baby because of the human smell? A feeling of unease bothered him, he needed Baby to keep warm. He looked back over his shoulder and noticed the small Baby eyes watching him curiously. It was already evening and he was going to have to prepare a fire.
Although it was freezing, Wyld, scurried about the area and picked up anything that would burn. He scanned the different wood textures on his phone to make sure the wood wouldn’t give off any poisonous gas. His father had once told him a story about a group of people in the Namibian desert who used a certain type of bush to build a fire. That bush gave off a poisonous smoke that killed them all within five minutes. There was no way he was going to let that happen! Wyld struggled with the fire wood bundle and dumped it on the ground. He then moved over to the mammoth, carefully knelt down and stroked the fluff-ball again. ‘We are nearly there. I am going to make you something to eat which will keep you going….’ The words seemed to soothe Baby who watched, its big brown eyes following his every move.
Carefully Wyld set up the tinder and constructed the fire. Once that was ready, he quickly moved back to the maple syrup leaf. It was now so full that it was almost over-flowing. He studied the gloop, took a small amount and tasted it. With a lick of his lips, he squinted. The concoction was incredibly sweet. As he shivered he took a deep breath and closed his eyes. The taste made him think of pancakes and home. The slow moving syrup plopped into his canister. Admittedly he didn’t want to taint the canister, but it was better to use the canister to warm the concoction. How else was he going to cook? Wyld crouched beside the fire pit and set up the tinder. He was close to trees and the last thing he wanted to do was set the area on fire. He made sure he arranged the fire in a hole, cleared an area and built up some stones. That way sparks wouldn’t turn the forest into an inferno.
When the tinder was ready he knelt close to the tinder stick and used his fire-stick to make a spark. A small flame flickered in the centre of the hole, he then added smaller twigs on top until they caught alight. After that he added medium twigs and then the branches in a pyramid. Baby seemed alarmed by the sight, but was too weak to do anything. Wyld noticed the mammoth’s eyes close. ‘Don’t you dare die!’ he cried.
Baby jolted and tiredly fluttered its eyelashes. Wyld hurriedly placed the canister in the fire to warm the water with the maple syrup. How would maple syrup affect a mammoth? Did mammoth eat sugar? It appeared as though the mammoth herd had already been grazing on the trees because there were tusk gauges. Was it better to feed a mammoth something like maple syrup or leave it to starve to death? He tipped some of the sticky mixture on his inner wrist, much like a mother testing the milk from a baby’s bottle. He then swigged some himself before he moved over to the mammoth. He stared at the fluff-ball’s mouth. Did he really want mammoth spit all over his drinking canister? No. Instead he grabbed one of the larger leaves and made it into a funnel. He moved closer and stroked Baby gently. Baby juddered and looked dazed. The fluff-ball was close to departing the world.
‘Please let this work!’ whispered Wyld. ‘Come on now open your mouth.’
Of course Baby didn’t do anything, instead it stared vacantly at him. He stroked the mammoth’s trunk then moved towards its mouth and tried to open it. It stayed firmly shut. Wyld sighed, ‘you’re a stubborn little thing aren’t you?’
He placed some of the sticky liquid in his hand and waved it in front of the mammoth’s trunk. The mammoth sniffed it dubiously. It then placed its little trunk in the liquid and put a bit in its mouth.
‘See,’ said Wyld. ‘I am not going to hurt you… Will you eat it?’
The mammoth’s little trunk went back to his hand and searched for more or the sweet concoction. He moved closer and tried to gently place the tube in the mammoth’s mouth. It didn’t work. Wyld frowned, ‘do you want to die? Is that it?’ His tone was filled with frustration and he stood up and paced about, ‘how does a mammoth eat?’ Wyld stared back at the mammoth, ‘okay I am a baby. I am going to my mother to eat… What do they do with orphaned elephants?’ Wyld stood up and paced back and forth… ‘The baby goes to the mother and… ah that’s it! The baby’s eyes are covered.’ Wyld smiled to himself, he pulled out a thermal from his rucksack and removed a glove. He carefully placed the thermal top over Baby’s eyes and took the glove, cut a hole in a finger and covered the canister. ‘I hope this works otherwise it is a waste of a good glove.’ He tipped the canister and guided the now sticky glove to baby’s mouth. He then watched Baby’s reaction as he poured some of the warm maple gloop in. The mammoth tasted a bit and swallowed slowly.
The sting of tears accompanied a sense of relief when little mammoth began to eat. Baby gulped, it was starving and in a matter of moments the canister was empty. Wyld pulled the canister away and waited to see if Baby was going to be okay. Baby kept its mouth open. ‘You want more?’ Wyld moved around all the trees and gathered as much water as he could. He carefully made concoction after concoction until the mammoth was full. When the mammoth was finally done he removed the thermal from its face, it was drool-infested. He studied Baby, he could have sworn it was smiling. Finally Wyld made himself some of the concoction and ate it. After one canister he felt sick. Baby was definitely greedy and had a sweet tusk.
Once he had cleaned the canister, Wyld sat back and stroked Baby. When he patted its back an almighty belch filled the air. It was as loud as a lion’s roar. Wyld leant back in amazement, ‘I can’t believe you just did that… For someone so little that was so loud!’ He shook his head and continued to watch Baby. The ball of fluff still seemed exhausted. In the next couple of hours he would find out whether his concoction had worked.
It was late evening and Wyld glanced up at the sky. Unfortunately he was going to have to sleep outside. What’s more, he only wore the one glove. The other glove was covered in mammoth spit and sticky gloop. He had sorted out Baby and now it was time to focus on his own survival. That night was going to be cold. The question was would he freeze to death?