Transcendence, p.5
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       Transcendence, p.5

           Shay Savage
Page 5

  Thankfully, the trek is uneventful. Beh looks around the forest as we pass through, and I am glad of it. I hope she spots some plants she can start gathering for food stores. I don’t know what plants can be eaten except for the few I recognize. Once I found a bush with berries that I thought would be all right to eat, but they made me sick instead. Since then, I had stayed away from any plants unfamiliar to me, and that left only the few that I know. There are sometimes raspberries and pine nuts, which I have collected in the past, but it is still too soon in the spring. I also know the grains that grow on the top of the grasses can be eaten, but it takes forever just to collect a handful of them! When I cook them, they are chewy and not at all tasty like my mother had made for me when I was young.

  I look at Beh as she looks closely at everything we pass, and I am glad I have a woman to collect food for me again. Maybe this winter I won’t be so hungry all of the time. I will bring her meat and protect her, and she can do the other things we need, like gathering food and cooking. She can also use woven reeds to make the same kind of dishes my mother always made. I’ve tried, but I can’t seem to make them tight enough, and they always leak.

  I’m sure my mate will be able to do it though.

  I squeeze her hand gently as we head up the slight incline, through the rushes, and down the hill on the other side. The lake comes into view as we come around a clump of trees, and I can tell by my mate’s expression she is surprised.

  It’s a large lake with lots of different fish. A stream to the north feeds it, and I have found trout swimming near its large rocks. The shoreline is covered in round stones that lead to the rushes near the woods.

  Releasing her hand, I walk to the water’s edge where I can stand on the rocks and wait for fish to come close enough to catch. Sometimes I have stabbed them with a spear, but it’s not too hard to catch them with my hand once I figured out how. There is a small group of fish near the bank, and it is not long before I have caught one.

  I turn and hold it up for my mate, and I feel my heart begin to pound faster in my chest as she breaks out in the first, genuine smile I have seen from her. I have no choice but to return the grin because I have finally, finally done something right, and her expression confirms it. Though it has taken me most of the day to find some way to impress her, the look on her face is definitely worth whatever effort it takes in the future to see that smile as often as possible.

  She is so, so beautiful to me, and I know now that Beh will be happy with me.

  I catch two more fish for my mate and lay them out on the rocks for us to take back to the cave. The sun is warm in the sky, and the light sparkles on the water as I head to the edge to wash off. I still have blood on me from killing the antelope, and I don’t like the smell.

  I remove the leather straps around my shoulders that hold my two water skins and lay them on top of a rock along with the fur covering around my shoulders. I remove the fur wrap from my waist as well, leaving it on top of everything to keep it dry.

  Beh makes a strange sound, and when I look over at her, she has turned around to face away from me. I look off into the distance to see if there is something out there that has alarmed her, but I see nothing. I move a little closer to her, but she won’t turn around. Even as I move around her, she keeps spinning away from me. She doesn’t seem upset but simply won’t look at me.

  I don’t understand her.

  I dip my hands in the water. The sun hasn’t yet warmed the water much this early in the spring, and it’s very cold. I don’t like the cold, so I only use a bit of water to wipe some of the blood off of my arms before I shake them to remove drops of water.

  Glancing at Beh, I see she is still sitting on the rocks and not looking at me. She has the end of her tunic wrapped around one of her fingers, and she seems to be using it to rub her teeth though I don’t know why she would do that.


  She glances at me, pulls her clothing back to her middle, and quickly ducks her head and looks away again as I walk away from the lake toward her. As I get close, she looks over to me with wide eyes, gasps, and then quickly ducks her head into her hands. I come up behind her and reach out to touch her shoulder.

  She jumps up off the rock and takes a few steps forward, her hands still over her eyes. I don’t understand what she is doing at all. Why is she hiding her face and eyes? I look around again, wondering if there is something frightening or dangerous that I had not noticed, but there is nothing there.

  I do see her arm and hands also have blood on them from where she fell in the trap. She probably wants to get it off of her before it starts to smell too bad. Deciding there is no way I’m going to figure out what is wrong with her now, I grab onto her arm and pull her toward the water line. She comes with me though her hands stay over her face, which causes her to trip over her strange foot coverings again. Tired of the things harming her, I crouch down in front of her and try to figure out how to get them off.

  There are little ties laced through them, and when I examine the knot, I realize it isn’t a complicated one and determine how to untie it fairly quickly. Whatever the ties are made of, they are much easier to unknot than leather or sinew. Beh starts making sounds again, but I don’t pay any attention until I hear my name-sound.


  I look up at her and see she has at least uncovered her face and is looking down at me. She takes a step back, making more sounds with her mouth as she does. I glance up at the sky, knowing it is starting to get late, and we will need to leave the lake soon. Whatever is wrong with her, we don’t have time for it. As her mate, I must take care of her, which includes making sure the blood is off her skin. I also need to keep her warm, so I have to get the strange clothing off of her so it will stay dry. Next time we come to the lake, we will bring extra clothing so we can wash the ones we’re wearing.

  I examine the unusual clothes on my mate, trying to find the ties that hold them together, but I can’t determine how to take them off. The leggings have strange loops all around her waist, but I don’t think they will help get the clothing off of her. The loops would be useful if she tied carrying pouches to them, and I wonder if that is their purpose. There is also a round bit in the center near her stomach right above where the odd cloth folds over itself, but I don’t know what to make of it. When I press my finger against it, it’s cold and hard like a stone but doesn’t feel like any stones I have encountered before.

  Beh pushes my hand away, so I look to the other garment around the top half of her body.

  The tunic seems to be all one piece and not even wrapped around her with a tie at all. While Beh makes more noise, I walk slowly around her and try to understand how to get it off. I finally decide it just has to go up and over her head, which I do not like at all. To remove it or put it on, her eyes would be covered, leaving her blind for a second. That is definitely not safe for my mate.

  She will have to use some of the furs in the cave to make herself some proper clothing.

  I reach out and wrap my fingers around the edge of the tunic at her waist. Beh makes another sound and pushes my hand away. I wait for her to remove it herself, but when she doesn’t, I grab at it again, and again she pushes my hand away and makes a lot more noise. I growl at her and grab the material tighter as I try to pull it up over her torso.

  Now she is really yelling and not only pushes me away but takes a few steps backwards and shakes her finger at me. More sounds come from her mouth, and there is no doubt she is angry, but I am becoming angry as well. One thing I notice with her sounds now is the inclusion of my name-sound amongst the noise. I reach out, growling, and grab at her arm, pulling her toward me. She shrieks and hits me in the chest.

  I try to grab onto her arms, but she is very, very wiggly! I only want to take care of her, help her clean off the blood from the antelope, and show her I can be a good mate for her, but she won’t let me!

  I growl again and
manage to catch her wrists in my hands. I hold them down at her sides until she stops struggling and glares at me. Her chest rises and falls as she slowly relaxes her muscles. When she eventually seems to calm down, I release her and start to pull at her strange clothing again, but she yells at me.

  “Ehd, NO!” Beh raises her hand and smacks me on the nose.

  I step back in shock.

  Finally, after a moment’s hesitation, I realize how wrong I have been about her. Deciding not to take the slightest chance, I slip out from under the furs, add two pieces of wood to the fire, and peek outside the cave’s opening to make sure all is as it should be. The moon is round and bright in the cool night sky, and the grasslands surrounding the cave seem quiet and peaceful. After relieving myself over the edge of the rocks, I shiver and return to the furs.

  Thankfully, my mate does not wake up as I crawl back into the furs beside her. I know she needs to rest. I take a moment to look at her in the flickering firelight. Her eyes are closed, but the blotchy remnants of her sorrow are still evident on her cheeks.

  I want to touch her skin, but I don’t want to wake her. Unable to control the urge completely, I touch the skin of her face carefully. I reach down to her strange clothing again, and my fingers brush from her shoulder, over her breast, and down to her waist as I enjoy the feel of the cloth compared to the rough skin of my hand.

  She stirs slightly, so I still my movements, deciding to be satisfied with leaving one arm wrapped around her. I stretch out next to her and pull the furs up to make sure she is warm enough. Her mouth opens slightly, and she makes more strange noises in her sleep. The sounds are very soft and deep in tone. Her face scrunches up a bit, and her breathing becomes more rapid. I hold her closer to me until she relaxes back into deeper sleep.

  I know I must be right, and she has recently lost her people. I wonder what happened to them and if I will ever know for sure. It doesn’t matter now, anyway—I will be her mate, and I will take care of her from now on. I just need to figure out a way to stop her from being frightened of me. There are so many things I will need from her as well: she will need to gather food for the winter, cook the meat I bring back for her, and accept me into her body so I can give her children.

  The thought of that brings another smile to my face and a tingling feeling between my legs.

  However, she seems so frightened of me now, I don’t think she would readily position herself on her hands and knees so I can fill her. Still, I am much stronger, and if I want inside of her, I can just hold her while I enter her body. Joining with her in such a way would still feel very good, I imagine, but I don’t like it when she yells and cries, and I think she would probably do that if I have to hold her down to mate with her.

  These thoughts are making my penis lengthen and become stiff. I consider stroking myself, but I am afraid it will wake her. I sigh as I look down on her sleeping face and wonder how long it will be before I can properly mate with her. I touch her cheek softly again, and I know when I decide to lie with her, I want her to enjoy it. So how do I get that to happen?

  Finally, after thinking about it a long time, I decide I need to make her like me.


  The second time I wake in the night, my mate is crying out in her sleep again. At first I think she has woken up as well, possibly disoriented to find herself in a different home and without her tribe. However, her eyes are closed while her mouth makes those sounds, and her muscles tighten in distress. Again, I hold her to me, hoping to offer her comfort even if I can’t fix whatever is wrong with her. After a minute she calms, turns toward me, and lies in my arms.

  As I begin to fall back into slumber myself, it occurs to me that my mate is going to need a lot of care. If I want her to like me, I’m going to have to show her that I can take the place of her tribe. I’m sure I can be enough for her if I make sure she has shelter, provide enough meat for her to cook, and of course, put a baby in her. A list of things to show her starts forming in my mind and continues into my dreams.

  The next time my eyes open, there is faint light coming through the opening of the cave. I raise myself up on one arm and look down at my mate as she continues to sleep, wrapped up in my furs. Her eyes are closed, and she looks so peaceful as she lies there that I don’t wake her even though it’s getting late in the morning, and there are many things I needed to point out to her.

  For a while, I also stay in the furs and just watch her sleep, memorizing the shape of her jaw and the shade of pink that covers her lips. As sunlight peers through the rocks, her hair shines around her face, and I can’t help but touch it and revel in its softness again. First, I push it off of her forehead, and then I smooth it over her shoulders. It seems to have tangled somewhat in the night, but it’s still just as soft as before. I tuck it gently behind her ears, and her eyes finally open.

  My mate blinks a few times as her eyes focus on me. I smile just a little—careful not to show my teeth—but her eyes still get wide as they dart around the small cave. I can see the tears start to well up again, and I know I will have to show her everything as quickly as possible. She is obviously not impressed with what I have, and I can’t blame her. I have only barely provided for myself over the seasons and haven’t even thought about acquiring the things I would need to support a mate.

  I am going to change that now.

  I whimper low and brush at the corner of her eye, wiping the tears away. As gently as I can, I lean in close to her and touch my nose to hers. She startles a little, but at least she stops crying. I pull my legs underneath me and jump over her to the edge of the sleeping furs and hold my hand out.

  She only looks at it, and her eyes widen again. She looks away from me quickly, takes a few deep breaths, and then glances back to my eyes. I reach forward and touch her hand with mine. When she does not pull back, I intertwine our fingers and tug at them until she sits up. I can’t help but feel some excitement as she responds to me. She has not yet screamed or made any other strange sounds, and she doesn’t seem as frightened as she was yesterday. Maybe she will accept my cave after all.
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