As you'll recall, in last week's Trapped in Time, Myron was able to control his magic and make fire - without harm to anyone! Are he and Doll finally shedding their enmity? See what's up in this week's episode! Warning: I shall probably pull the story soon so that I can sub it to a publishing house. I'll keep you apprised. I'd love any and all comments and suggestions! Don't forget to see what the other Briefers are up to, their links follow my story!
Trapped in Time #19
We seem to be falling into a routine. Walk, eat, rest, then walk the trail again. The one that will lead us to the Professor. What will come after that, I do not know.
We are fortunate to be on this side of the canyon, in that the rocky terrain provides us with better shelter when we stop for the night. Charlie finds us another cozy cave. Myron makes another fire, and I am able to cook again, although no animal flesh, I am sad to report. After we eat, we leave the fire burning low, and the warmth that it imparts feels divine as I snuggle against my Vittorio and he and I whisper far into the night, before sleep claims us.
I dream I am a young boy again, in my father’s workshop. I always liked to spend time with mein Vati, especially in the shop he built for himself in our back yard. It was a magic place, always filled with the most amazing devices, ones that he loved to tinker with for hours, whenever he was not working. He was very patient. He never yelled at me for touching anything, which I invariably did. There were mysterious flying machines with spinning propellers; elaborate clocks with moving figurines that danced and whirled; other devices I could not begin to imagine what they might be used for, but which held my rapt young attention. After I met Vittorio, I would bring him there as well and Vati welcomed him like another son.
I wake to find myself unexpected sobbing against Vittorio’s chest. He cradles me in his arms and murmurs soothing words until I calm down once more.
“You dreamed of Rolf again, didn’t you?”
I nod as he tilts my face up to him, kissing away my tears…
Our tender interlude is interrupted suddenly by a terrible scream; it resonates throughout the cave, echoing from the walls, although it does not originate there, rather from somewhere outside, in the jungle. We look at one another in what little light enters the cave, for the sun is barely up. Mary is screeching excitedly. She tugs at Charlie’s arm, and they rush from the cave, with us hot on their heels.
We anxiously follow the terrible sounds. The screams are now interspersed with growls. I can’t help but wonder what we shall find this time. The noises escalate, and then a sudden silence ensues, as if the whole jungle is catching its collective breath.
“This way,” Charlie points, and we follow him, trusting in his confidence, and his superior sense of direction.
We come into a small clearing, and our eyes are met with a most horrific sight. A large black bird that looks like a cross between an enormous crow and a vulture, likes on the ground, blood and torn and very dead. Nearby a large animal lies, also bloody, and barely alive. With the help of the rising sun, I make out a tawny orange coat, punctuated with black and brown stripes. And very large teeth, that overlap its mouth.
“A saber tooth tiger,” Vittorio says raptly, and we both gaze in awe at the beautiful creature, keeping a healthy distance from it. It raises its head and gazes at us, before releasing a weak cry, falling back.
“She’s hurt!” Vittorio starts toward it, and I cling to his arm.
“No! She’ll kill you.”
“Doll, she is hurt, I must look after her.” He turns anguished eyes to me, and I swallow my fears and nod.
“Be careful,” I whisper, but I don’t let go as he approaches the animal, kneeling beside her. She is bleeding from a number of wounds, and she makes no move to harm us. Vittorio gently strokes the large cat behind her head, and a rumbling purr reverberates through her body as she looks toward him, raising her head, rubbing against his hand. Her beautiful green eyes become cloudy, then glassy, and she collapses onto the ground once more, and stills.
Charlie and Myron and Mary approach, taking up positions around the dead animal. Charlie wears an expression of intense sorrow, mirrored in Myron’s mien. I take Vittorio’s hand in mind and clutch it securely.
“Why do you think they were battling?” I wonder aloud. “Are they perhaps natural enemies?”
“No, I do not think so.” Vittorio furrows his brow in thought. “Charlie, what do you think?”
“I think she could have gotten away from him, easily, but she fought him to the death,” he commented. “But why?”
A tiny mewl fills the air just then and we gaze at one another with wonder.
“What was that?” Myron asks apprehensively.
We look around us for the source of the noise, and we hear it again. A plaintive sound, almost demanding.
It is Mary who solves the riddle. She starts screeching at us, excitedly pointed to a patch of high grass, not far from the tiger. I can’t help but remember the last time she found something and we came far too close to dying for my comfort.
We quickly run to her side, and Vittorio draws aside the thick blades of grass while I clutch him apprehensively, fearful for his safety—only to discover a smaller version of the late animal there. The baby’s coat is not as distinctive as it’s mothers, and its teeth not nearly as long. It yowls at us plaintively, no doubt calling for its mother.
Poor baby. She cannot hear him now.
Vittorio reaches for the small creature and I make no move to stop him, understanding his intent, although I watch him carefully nonetheless. He takes the kitten into both hands and cradles it against his body, cooing to it in Italian.
I think we’ve just become parents.
to be continued
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Until next time, take care!