Forgotten Words – Part 2

The Hunt

The five male Neanderthals had been walking for nearly twenty five minutes. Each member continuously scanned the forest as they walked side by side. It was if their senses were on high alert and they were keeping constant vigil of their surroundings for any potential threats. Other than an occasional grumble, the group was silent as they kept their focus on the forest’s sights and sounds. Trailing behind them was Walter, who was doing his best to keep up with them while making sure to stay about 100 meters behind them. If the Neanderthals spotted him, Walter wanted to make sure there was a safe distance between him and them in case he needed to make a quick escape. Although Walter kept himself in shape by running marathons regularly, and fossil records indicated that Neanderthals were sprinters, not long-distance runners, Walter no doubt knew that the men could probably overtake him quickly. But even more so, the Neanderthals were much more adapted to this environment.

Walter wondered to himself where the males were going. The forest was becoming less and less dense, allowing more sunlight to penetrate the canopy. With fewer trees to hide behind, the chances of Walter being spotted increased. Suddenly, the chatter between the Neanderthals intensified as they approached a large opening in the forest. The men stopped right before the opening and got into a crouching position. Straight in front of them was a large lake, which looked like a shade of blue that Walter had never seen in his life. The sunlight glistened off the lake’s surface, intensifying its beauty even more so. Surrounding the lake was a large herd of deer. Some of the deer were drinking water while others gnawed away at the surrounding vegetation. Walter wasn’t sure about the species of deer, but he read somewhere that fallow deer were among the animals that Neanderthals were thought to have hunted. With his recording device already in hand, Walter positioned himself from a safe distance and started recording the Neanderthals.

The Neanderthals spoke to each other in a hushed tone for several minutes while pointing in the direction of the herd. If Walter had to take a guess, it seemed almost as if they were carefully planning their attack on the deer. Neanderthals had been given a reputation of being idiotic, but it turned out they were much more intelligent. Suddenly, the Neanderthals stopped talking, then two men each went into separate directions of the forest. Using the forest as cover, they traversed the lake quietly until both sets of males flanked the herd. With the lake as a barrier, the only escape route for the deer was the large opening where the lone male was waiting for them. As soon as the men established their position, they all charged with lightning quick speed towards the deer. They ran so fast and quietly that they were almost on top of the herd before any of the deer realized what was happening.

The deer spotted the men when they were about five meters away and dispersed with almost as much speed as the Neanderthals. Just as Walter thought, the Neanderthals approached the deer in a way that forced them to run towards the lone awaiting male. As the deer approached the forest’s opening, the lone male ran towards one of the larger deer and flung his spear with so much force that it pierced the deer’s body easily and caused it to collapse to the ground in a split second. The man ran up to the fallen deer and pulled the spear from its body just as the other deer ran past him with the other four males in tow. Walter was so lost in the excitement of capturing the hunt that he didn’t realize he moved out into an open space to get a better shot of the hunt. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing and capturing on his recording device. He was so focused on all the activity, but then he realized something quickly. The escaping deer were galloping towards him with the five men chasing them. One deer wasn’t going to cut it. The men needed more deer meat to feed their large group.

With no time to think, Walter stopped his recording and started running as fast as he could towards a tree so he could hide behind it and prevent himself from being trampled to death. As Walter ran, he glanced quickly over his shoulder to see how far behind him the deer were. However, just as soon as he did that, he tripped over a large branch and landed hard on his right side. Momentarily fazed and laying on the ground, he could hear the sound of hooves growing louder. He turned onto his stomach and covered his head just as the deer jumped over him. Miraculously, none of the deer made contact with him. After what seemed like an eternity, the sound of the hooves quickly grew quiet. Walter picked himself up immediately, dusted himself off and grabbed his recording device, which had landed a meter from him. 

Suddenly, he heard faint voices in the background. Walter turned around and saw the five men standing around two more deer they had killed. They were acting very excited, probably from the kill, but then one of them noticed Walter. He said something to the others, who turned around and looked at him. Quickly, they drew their spears and started to walk cautiously towards him. Clearly, they saw him as a threat and wanted to eliminate him. Walter knew his time was up. He quickly put his recording device in his backpack, then he pressed a green button on the left wrist time bracelet to activate the time jump back to his lab. Nothing happened though. Walter muttered to himself, “What the hell?” He pressed the button again several times in a panic, but nothing happened each time. At that point, he knew he was in trouble.

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