Hunted

My name is Ka’ul Nn’sak from the planet Xerbos. The name itself means “One who soars with serenity”. I have been walking this terrestrial planet for 25 of your Earth years and 13 of ours. We were a people with sky blue skin, two arms on each side and extremely sturdy bodies. During my time on Xerbos, I had learned of what holds our country and people together. I was of the Nn’sak tribe, the third most powerful tribe in the country. We overlooked many trades and possessed the most peaceful tribesmen. However, among our race were people who were jealous. They wished upon us harm and hungered power like starving wolves. Such people were known as the Nn’xulash tribe. They were what you would call the warriors of the community and were rather savage in nature. Our tribes, the ones above us, and theirs all maintained a delicate boundary between our settlement and their village. They provided security and protected us from warring states opposite to ours while we traded them food and resources, resources that we abundantly procured on our own lands. After all, our lands were the most luscious and plentiful in the country.

In my personal family, I had two siblings. They were both younger than I by several Earth years and a year of mine. My father was the leader of the tribe and I was second-in-command. My mother’s death, The One Over All rest her after-presence, left the care of my brothers solely to me. My father was unable to consistently raise us due to his demanding duties. Despite this, he remained a peaceful yet stern man when dealing with us, especially when teaching my youngest sibling, my sister, about the nature of the world. She was a graceful young woman, taking up both the maternal role in the family and the light of the household. Even beyond that, she was the light of my world as she shone brighter than any stars in the night sky. Her smile reminded us of mother’s and her entire mannerisms reflected hers as well.

I returned to the village and entered my house, giving my father the warm customary greeting commonly seen in our tribe. He, however, looked very grave as he held a document in his hand.

Father,” I addressed, “Is something the matter?”

Ka’ul, please, sit before me…” My father’s voice was soft-spoken and monotone as if he was holding something back.

What’s wrong?” I asked him slowly as I sat down.

Your brother… was killed this afternoon.”

What?! How?!” I exclaimed, rising up from my seat with my eyes wide as saucers.

Two of the Nn’xulash attacked him at once. He never stood a chance.”

I don’t understand… Why? Why?! We have an agreement with them, we trade with them! Why would they do this, Father, why?!”

I don’t know, my son!” my father exclaimed, equally distressed as I. “I don’t know… The only thing I can think of is that they are fed up with this agreement and seek to enslave us.”

No… no…”

I was shocked and my face clearly expressed it. I may have well been a body of water. I plopped back down on the floor as memories of my dear brother flashed through my mind unbidden. Memories of his mischievousness, of his kind heart, of his protective loyalty to the village and, at that time, I caught myself wishing I had told him I loved him one last time.

Listen to me,” My father reached out and grabbed my hand. He had a firm look in his eye. “I don’t know what will happen, what these events mean but I swear to TOOA, I will protect my remaining two children, even if I have to sacrifice my arms and legs. However, I do not know how long our tribe has if the treacherous tribe truly intend to forcefully usurp us of our power. If that is so, I need you to leave. Take your sister and leave!”

I can’t do that, Father. I won’t! I won’t leave you and our people to face these savages alone!”

We don’t understand the way of warfare the way they do. I have to announce to the people that we are to flee but I want my children to leave first. Understand me, Ka’ul!”

Reluctantly, I bowed my head in acceptance. “Yes, Father…”

My father softly kissed me on the forehead. “Thank you, my son.” He stood up and walked out of the door while I made way to the back of the house and began preparing some things for travel. I had barely gotten started when I heard loud shouts outside of my house. I rushed to the front and peered out the window.

My father stood before three of the Nn’xulash, warriors who wielded spears and torches. One even held a Zerke; a long-fanged hunting dog with purple fur and beady orange eyes.

I have heard that one of your own has killed off my mine! Why is this so?”

Don’t misunderstand, Tribe Leader. We have appreciated your willingness to trade and your compassion in doing so but we have grown tired of receiving sloppy seconds. We want it all – the prestige, power, resources and we will have it.”

The only thing your tribe will garner is harsh shame and destruction from the tribes who are superior to ours! Stop this foolishness and allow us to resolve this matter in peace.”

Old fool.” The warrior raised his spear and impaled my father in the gut, purple blood dripping to the ground below. My father desperately grabbed the spear but was too weak to do anything about the weapon and, eventually, he slumped on the pointed staff, dead. The warrior scoffed and tossed my father’s body aside like trash while the villagers all watched with wide-eyed shock. No one moved nor said a thing.

AAHH!!”

Then, as if the action needed to be taken had suddenly become clear, they all scrambled away from the Nn’xulash as fast as they could, tripping and falling over each other as they tried to escape like mice away from felines. I turned away from the door, sick to my stomach, and began stumbling to the back of the house in an almost drunken fashion. My sister, sweet and beautiful, was lying on her mat in peaceful slumber.

Ku’shri, Ku’shri! Wake up! Wake up, now, please! We need to go!” I urged in a hushed tone.

My sister slowly roused from her sleep, opening her narrow eyes slowly. “Brother? What is the matter?” she asked drowsily.

I have no time to explain! Come!”

Bewildered, no doubt from my frantic expression, my sister sprang up and, now alert, followed me to the back of the house, where we made our way to the boundaries of our village.

There! Two villagers are escaping! Chase them!” I heard this behind us but I didn’t turn to look. My sister did and she most likely regretted the action as the man who held the Zerke was chasing us down the pathway. She and I made it past the village entrance and scurried into the jungle, hand-in-hand. We heard the loud growls and roars of the beast behind us. The more growls we heard, the faster we ran. We could tell that, after awhile, we were putting distance between us and them based on how far the sounds were.

We didn’t stop running until I was sure we were far enough that we could stop and rest by a rock near a cave. Panting with perspiration from our legs, we stopped and rested.

I think we managed to lose them for now…”

Ka’ul, what in TOOA’s name is going on?! Was that the Nn’xulash tribe?! Why were they-“

They killed Father. They killed Ka’sora and even now, they are killing our people! We have to run. I’m sorry…”

What?” I watched my sister shrink back, almost going into a ball as her face contorted in one of despair. “W-why? Why is this happening…? Wha-Why?”

I don’t know but we can’t question it. Not here, not now. We need to keep moving. I promised Father I would protect you and that means we can’t be caught. Do you understand?”

My sister nodded slowly, looking up at me with a sad mixture of grief and determination. “Yes, I understand… I’m alright. Let’s go.”

We continued running through the brush, pushing past the wildlife. On an average day, I would be admiring this scenery. On an average day, my family wouldn’t be dead.

It was not long before we found some shelter in a nearby, desolate cave. My sister and I were able to create a small fire to keep us warm as the night was particular chilling and we shivered without showing it. It wasn’t long before my sister fell asleep from exhaustion. She wasn’t able to ask me anything about the village or the situation. She didn’t have the strength. I think she knew that, deep down, that this was the reality she would have to accept; that we were refugees now. My sister, asleep on my lap, breathed so peacefully that I almost wanted to believe that we were dreaming. However, I knew this was no dream and the thought alone brought a sole tear from eye before I, too, fell asleep.

Before long, however, a rustle near us awakened me. When I opened my eyes, I saw my sister being dragged away and a man about to impale me with his spear. I didn’t think for a second when I jumped up and kicked the man into the small fire that was fading away. I heard his screams in the back of my mind and I can hazily recall seeing him roll around on fire but all that was on my mind, at that time was saving my dear young sister, the only light left in my dark world. The man, after seeing his friend burning, stopped dragging my sister which allowed me to grab the man by his neck and snap it with my four hands. Once he fell dead on the floor, I stepped back, breathing hard. My sister, bewildered, looked up at me. She saw me standing over their corpses and a look dawned on her face – a look of relief, not fear. I looked down at my own two hands but they were steady. That’s when I knew. There would be no more peace, no more loving nature, no more discussion. From that point on, I would have to defend my family, at all costs. I could not be considered wrong for this. I refused to. The realization of this fact had hit my body before my mind and once I had accepted it completely, I gathered our things and helped my sister to her feet.

Are you alright? Did they hurt you?” I asked.

No,” she replied. “What do we do now?”

We do what we have to do… We survive.”

They’ll continue to pursue us.”

I’ll kill any who attack us. No more peace, no more negotiations. Enough of my family have died. Any who attacks us will get attacked. All of them will be killed if need be. Every last one of them. Every last one of them.”

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