As soon as I arrived into the center of our camp, I felt uneasy. People were quiet.
Usually, the meetings were about some important questions and I was more or less expecting to talk about what we need for winter, or what we need to stock up on for some celebration, that was planned. Yet, such pressure was often felt when the tribe was forced to migrate, and that didn't happen too often. Hostile tribes were pretty far away, and we lived in peace with creatures in our environment. No hard feelings about them hunting us or us hunting them. We avoided killing them, however, and they avoided killing us too.
The meeting started before everyone was there. It begun strange. One of village women was carrying her eleven, maybe twelve year old child, wrapped in white sheet. I first thought that the child was dead, but as she laid his body in the middle of the circle, the child moved.
She unwrapped him with fear in her face. The boy tried to stand up, and I was shocked to see his wrists tied together tight, so tight that he was bleeding. Dark, grayish blood. I even wondered if it was blood what I saw. People stopped whispering. His mother said that he was like that for half of the moon cycle, since she found him by the lake, where he played with other children.
The kids run home that day, as they stated to have had a visitor, a boy who asked them for food. They laughed with him or at him, and were running around. He was first friendly and laughed with them, always trying to catch them. They saw that as game. But then this boy came closer and he was grabbed by that strange boy. Other kids could not help him out of his grip. They run home to call for help, since the boy said he is going to "eat" their friend. But as his mother found him, together with two warriors, he was sitting alone at the lake and smiling, apparently calm and in good mood.
As he was asked what had happened, he was laughing, saying that the boy was kidding and then he run into the lake and left him alone. By the question if the boy was gone swimming over the lake, he remained quiet, smiling. Then said something like: "He went home, into the water." Then he said that he wants to go home, since he is very hungry.
Back home, his mother found a chunk of muscle missing on his arm. It was hidden under his top, and she saw it as she helped him to bed. But he said that he injured himself while climbing a tree and that it doesn't hurt. Mother said that she could not stand the stench, just like the dead boar they found once, which was decomposing for several days in the scorching sun.
Then, the boy became aggressive from time to time, and the poor woman did not know what to do but to tie his hands and try to feed him as good as she could. As she could not deal with it, she went to ask for help from the elders.
It seemed that they already talked about it and that the decision was made.
"We shall move and this soul is to be left alone here" said the speaker of the elders.
The voices became louder, nervous, and I was starring at the face of.. what once long ago was a boy.