Saga of Bohok-Chapter 8

This is the eighth chapter of an online serial novel- to read the story from the beginning click here.

Chapter 8

Terrified, Bohok didn’t look back, he just ran.  The forest was home to two kinds of bears. Blacks and Browns. The blacks were smaller and usually left people alone. The browns were a different story. Kirso would have yelled and jumped around if it was a black bear and try to scare it off. There was no scaring off the browns.

Kirso was well ahead of him heading for a cluster of pine trees across the meadow. Bohok put his head down and sprinted after him. He focused on lifting his knees and driving his feet downward, running as hard as he could. He could hear the crashing of brush behind him he knew the bear was charging after him.

Bohok dodged around small trees and bushes as he ran. He gauged the bear’s distance by how long it took to hear the brush rattle or the trees snap as the bear charged through them. It was closing on him fast.

Kirso made the trees and to Bohok’s astonishment Kirso managed to run up the side of the pine tree and grab the lowest branch a good ten feet above the ground. Kirso pulled himself up onto the branch and scrambled up even higher into the tree.

“Run Bohok!” He shouted down from his perch urging Bohok on.

He could hear the bear grunting behind him as it ran. Each grunt was closer, until he felt the bear’s hot breath on his back. He wasn’t going to make it to the tree.

He braced himself for the attack. He knew the bear would overtake him any moment. He stared longingly at the tree, he would never reach it.

He thought he was prepared but when the paw hit his side Bohok screamed. The blow knocked him from his feet and sent him sprawling into the dirt. The impact knocked his breath away; he gasped for futility for air. Desperately he crawled forward on his knees and elbows; still trying to escape the bear. He could feel blood gushing out of the tears the bear’s claws had rent in his side.

Just as his lungs seemed to start working again Bohok felt a massive paw step down upon his back, pinning him to the ground. Five points like knife heads pricked the skin of his back. The bear didn’t press down hard, just hard enough to keep Bohok from moving.

The hot breath was there again. It came in gusts as the massive creature panted over him. First on his back, then he felt the breath move up his body, onto his neck, then each breath blew his hair around as it snuffled his head. The rancid meat stench of its breath was so strong, that it burned Bohok’s nose.

Bohok didn’t want to look back. He didn’t want to see it. He didn’t want to know when the killing bite came, as he knew it would.

Hot saliva dripped onto back and neck as the bear drooled on him. He could feel it pooling between his shoulder blades before it ran in warm rivers down both sides of his neck.  Bohok wanted to scream but his lungs couldn’t get enough air with the beast’s paw pressing down on him. He felt like he was drowning. His fingers were starting to bleed as he clawed in the dirt trying to get free.

Then, without warning, the bear bellowed a great roar and lifted its paw from Bohok’s back. His chest rose as he gulped in air.  He tried to get up but his body wouldn’t move. All he could do is breathe.

“Run you idiot!” He heard Kirso scream. It took Bohok a moment to realize what was wrong with the sound of Kirso’s voice. It was too low; it was from the ground.

He turned to see Kirso with a fist full of rocks and he was throwing them at the bear. The bear was starting to walk towards him. “Run!” He shouted before dropping his rocks and turning to climb his tree again.

Bohok sprung to his feet and started to run but something caught his eye as he spun around. Kirso couldn’t get back up into the tree. The branches were too high to get at without a running start. Bohok took two long strides in the opposite direction before stopping. Kirso didn’t have to climb out of that tree to help him. He could have stayed up there and let the bear eat him. Bohok couldn’t let the bear get Kirso; he couldn’t let Kirso best him in courage too.

Bohok scooped some rocks up off the ground and turned back towards Kirso and the bear; it was almost on him. Kirso scrambled desperately trying to reach the lowest branches on the tree.

Bohok hurled a rock and hit the bear in the back. It didn’t respond. Bohok screamed at it and threw another. The bear stopped and looked back at him, looked him in the eye. For a moment Bohok thought he could read its mind. The look seemed to say, “I gave you a chance and this is what you chose to do with it?”

The bear turned away from Kirso and stared at Bohok. Then the bear looked at Kirso, still scrambling to get up the tree. Bohok saw the confusion on the bear’s face, the indecision. Bohok threw another rock and hit it square between the eyes. That made up its mind.

The bear started running towards him. Bohok looked around. He was still far away from any trees that he thought he had any hope of climbing. What had he just done? He turned to run, but then he saw Kirso throwing rocks and screaming at the bear.

What was he doing? Bohok had just saved him and he was, he was… He was doing the exact same thing Bohok was doing.

The bear stopped again in a cloud of dust. He let out a roar in protest. He obviously had never had its food torment him in this manner. It stood up on its hind legs and bellowed another roar. On its hind legs the bear was easily twice Bohok’s height. The display made Bohok’s knees weak. There was no escaping this monster.

Just then a sound unlike Bohok had ever heard before came out of the woods. It was louder than a tree snapping in half but resonated like bowstring. There was a strange humming sound accompanying it.

Then the bear lurched forward and swayed in place. It looked around. It gave a confused grunt then went down on four legs again. Then, to Bohok’s amazement, the bear collapsed, flat on the ground.

Bohok was baffled. What had happened?  What was that noise? Why was the bear not moving?

“What was that?” Kirso shouted echoing Bohok’s thoughts.

Bohok only shrugged. The bear was still on the ground. “I think it’s dead.” He yelled back.

Both boys started edging toward the bear. They cautiously approached it from both sides. Bohok saw a pool of blood forming under its great body.

“Hold!” A strange voice called out from the woods. Bohok and Kirso spun towards it.

A man emerged from the forest. He was tall, taller than any man they had ever seen. He had furs wrapped around his body and leathers around his legs, like an Elk-Eater. A great beard swung from his neck, thicker than any beard Bohok had ever seen. The hair of the beard was as orange as a campfire, but that wasn’t the most shocking thing about him.

The most shocking thing was his skin. His skin was so pale that Bohok thought he must be sick; he had never seen anyone so pale unless they were deathly ill, or dead. But he didn’t move like a sick man he loped across the meadow with an easy gait.

“Hold.” He called out again, waving one arm. He pulled out a knife from his belt. The stone of the blade was as peculiar as everything else about this man. It shone like the side of a trout in the sun and it was longer than Bohok’s arm. “The first shot might not have killed it.”

The man closed on the bear. With a great thrust he shoved his long, strange knife through the side of the bear up to the handle. The bear did not move. The man freed his knife with a powerful yank. He flicked the blood from the blade and nodded, almost to himself.

He smiled a broad smile and put the tip of his knife into the ground.  It was so long that he easily rested his hands on top of the handle one crossed over the other. Bohok stared at the shiny knife. He wondered how someone could chip a knife so long and straight. He wondered why it didn’t break under its own weight; it was so thin.

Up close Bohok saw that the orange beard and his temples were streaked with grey. He was old; perhaps that was why he was so very pale. His face was weathered and his eyes hinted at secret wisdom, just like Chief Yoosin’s.

The man looked at the two astonished boys one at a time. “That was a very brave act. Both of you. I saw most of it. Impressive.” His words sounded strange, the inflections were all wrong, he had an accent like an Elk-Eater but even that was wrong.

Kirso spoke first. “Who are you?” He asked.

The man laughed, even his laugh sounded different, but it was long and deep and both Kirso and Bohok started giggling along with him. “I’m sorry boys, let me introduce myself.” He put a hand to his chest and bent his body in half in a bizarre fashion. When he straightened he said, “I am called Tymon.”

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Published in: on February 22, 2010 at 12:24 am  Comments Off on Saga of Bohok-Chapter 8  
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