Glade and Ivory
Copyright © 2013 by Bradley Stoke
Ivory tugged aside the curtain of mammoth hide that was all there was to secure the relative warmth inside the tepee from the chill wind. She crawled outside and stood upright in the bulky furs that muffled her body from hooded top to swaddled toe. She needed reprieve from the dark distress that was overwhelming her during her bedside vigil. Inside the tepee lay prone the fur-covered body of her mother who was exhaling her last few painful dying breaths.
There had been no warning, of course. No one had noticed the cave lion before it pounced. Despite the villagers’ courageous onslaught on the predator, the only remaining consolation was that Ivory’s mother had now lived long enough to die in her own bed. Ivory was fully aware that her mother could never survive such a mauling. Even the shaman’s considerable medical skills were no match for the savagery of a lion’s teeth and claws. The sudden loss would be especially distressing now that Ivory was her mother’s only surviving child. There had been other brothers and sisters, but they were now all dead and most not even surviving childbirth. Ivory’s father was also dead. He’d been gored to death by an aurochs during a disastrous hunting expedition two winters ago.