Sometime in the Night

Grok lay fast asleep on the high peak of that hill. Far away, but still visible from his position, there was turmoil in and above the earth. A volcano that had long been dormant was being aroused once again. The tribe knew stories of the so-called volcanic eruptions, but even the oldest living members had never encountered one firsthand.

For the time being, Grok was peacefully unaware of the volcano's unrest. In his mind, he was relaxing cheerfully amongst the Tra eggs in their nest. A chill wafted over him, and he became enveloped in shade as the Mama Tra appeared overhead. She nestled softly beside Grok, folded her wings over him, and gazed into his eyes. She was Chaka.

Chaka picked up a large Tra egg and held it firmly with both hands. Suddenly, with violent force she pushed her hands together, crushing the shell and splattering egg all over the nest. She began licking the egginess off her fingers, one by one. With an innocent smile she offered a finger to Grok, who accepted it most readily. Together they licked and sucked the egg from her hands, until Grok became overwhelmed by a frantic desire that he was powerless to resist.

He clenched his hand into a fist and whacked Chaka on the side of her head as hard as he could. She yelped, and then clasped both of her sticky, eggy hands around his neck. He couldn't breathe, but somehow he forced out some grumbled words at her: "Will you... be my.... female?" She tightened her grip, and he could think no more.

Grok was forced awake, still unable to breathe, gasping and getting lungfuls of a dense, black ash. His immediate reaction was to grab clumps of his long, thick beard and stuff as much of it as he could inside his mouth. He had done this before while sitting around the fire, and it had made breathing the smoke slightly easier for him. This time was different. The whole sky seemed to be one big furnace.

He was very light-headed now, and his vision was getting blurrier by the minute. He could see the volcano... He recognized it as the source of this hot smoky blizzard... But what could he do? How could he escape? He was so groggy, and thinking was an increasingly difficult task.

He tried to breathe as slowly as he could, hoping that his mouthful of grizzly beard was catching most of the ash... In......................... Out............................. I must not panic, he told himself over and over, trying to calm down.

When he had gotten the hang of the slow breathing technique, he found a tiny bit of room in his head for conscious thought. If the legends are true, soon a vast fiery ocean will erupt from that mountain. He looked in the direction opposite the volcano. He saw one gigantic mountain that would surely be safe from the lava. But it was far, far away; and Grok didn't know how much time he would have to run...

There was another mountain, smaller than the one way in the distance, but much nearer to Grok and easier for him to reach. But of course that also made it a great deal closer to the volcano itself, and therefore in more danger from it. He didn't know which mountain he would climb, but he did know that he had to get moving, now.

The End

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