In public, Kita and Lyndon were loving spouses. In private, they remained dedicated to the human colonization of Sirat and devoted parents. Lyndon’s infatuation had faded, but not his human desires. Kenya was soon followed by sister Lindsey.
Lindsey and Kenya were playing with several other girls barely at the edge of Lyndon’s vision. He continued sharpening the spear he put together with information from a recovered file. The children stayed close as they were told, not understanding the adult concerns. This was very different from the hunting for food. This was hunting for the sake of safety.
The coyotes that his group had grown accustomed to had been believed to be the biggest of the breed. A few select cullings of the worst offenders taught the rest to stay away. There was only danger for unattended infants, and that had only happened once.
Until a few days before, that was. Now a grown man had been lost. Taka had preferred independence, but he knew enough to send for help. His band only had 30 people, including children. Lyndon had that many grown men. And with civilized help unable to deal with the problem, he called on help he knew could.
Taka’s band had moved further west, past the realm that had ever been inhabited by people. Lyndon had been moving his people in that direction as more clans asserted their hunting and gathering rights on the land above them.
At the edge of one of the glaciers, near a lake fed by natural hot springs, Terran-derived life had grown far from its ancestral nature. Rabbits as large a child, turkeys almost as large and 20 kilo cats had been seen. Apparently, canines had grown, too.
The “wolf” was at least a meter tall. No one was sure. All they knew were the sounds of canines hunting and the screams. The body found the next day was clear enough evidence of the threat. That threat would be eliminated. Any remaining packs in the area would be taught fear of humans.
Kenya and Lindsey were standing near him, close enough to try to get a good look at what he was doing but far enough to be out of reach if he got angry. “What is it?”
Kenya piped up, “What are you doing?”
“I’m going hunting.”
“For what?” Lindsey asked.
After a brief hesitation, he answered, “Wolf.”
“What’s that?” they asked in unison.
“I hope you never have to know.” He put a final layer of oil on the metal blade. “Go inside. Your mother must need help.” Lyndon watched the shadowed door they ran into. One hand sat on the spearhead. His other hand was resting on the antique pistol on his belt. His children … those were his children. Anything that hunted a man could easily eat them. His fingers ran across the metal of both weapons.
When Kita came to the door, her face wore that trained placid expression he had grown weary of. “Dinner’s ready.”
Lyndon’s hand swiped the spear handle one more time with so hard a grip that the edge of the wood cut into his flesh. “Hurry up or it will get cold.” As he laid the shaft against the door, Kita saw the blood. “Are you bleeding?”
Lyndon looked down at his hand dispassionately. “Yes, it is.”
“You need to take care of that before you sit down.”
“What about dinner?”
“It can wait.”
“It’ll get cold.”
Kita’s expression was unreadable. “And I don’t want that blood on the kitchen floor.” She turned around and walked back toward her bedroom, leaving him alone with his injury.
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