Inspired by a friend's post, and with a prehistoric nod to the royal baby due soon...
+/- 2,000,000 years ago, African river valley
It was wet. Dripping soaking wet. The grasses were soaked, making walking difficult, cold. The ground under the grasses was thick with mud. And still the waters fell from up. This was not common. They were headed for a dry rocky overhang in the hills across a stream.
Tey searched the group of just over a hand of fingers struggling through the wet day. Tey saw his aging mother, then his sister, Grah who was big with a coming baby. Walking slightly ahead, was his sister’s mate, Ahrr, who was older than Tey and the biggest of the group. Running and playing were two young ones who fed themselves, but still needed help often.Old Er, who had only three teeth left, came up behind. Tey stayed near his mother out of habit. Long since weaned, he still saw the look on his mothers face when he had romped around as he learned to walk and call her.
The water continued and soon they came to the muddy sides of the stream they had wanted to cross. It was much bigger than before, brown and running fast. Arhh crouched down in the mud. They all crouched down around him, sniffing the air for danger. It was almost impossible to hear anything coming, with the roaring and gurgling of the water.
Arhh stood up, looked around once more, and then headed across the water. One of the younger ones, being adventurous, escaped the hold of Grah and chased after Arhh. His cry of delight in the water soon turned to a scream of pain as the water knocked him down onto rocks. Helplessly, he was tossed down the rushing, angry stream. Arhh, hearing this, tried to catch the youngster. In doing so, he tripped and fell into the water. After a terrible short scream, he floated away limply; face down in the dirty torrent.
Grah called helplessly after him and would have gone to him, but Tey grabbed her and threw her on the ground. She was carrying a baby and they had just lost one. Still screaming, Tey held her down. His mother came over and started rubbing the big baby bump, crooning “Bah bah bah…bah bah bah”
As Grah quieted down, Tey stood up and looked around. He sniffed the air. The water from upwards was stopping. The stream continued to be strong and fierce. Tey grabbed a long branch that had floated down. He tested it against the flowing stream. It gave some support and was not too big to hold. He grabbed the other youngster who was quietly mourning the loss of his sibling, and put him on his hip. The youngster was heavy, but Tey was strong. Using the branch, he carefully felt his way across. The rocks were slippery and big. Finally getting across, he dropped the youngster.
Turning around he saw that his mother and Grah were doing the same thing. Old Er stood patiently, making no move to cross over. Tey started back. His mother and sister were going slow but seemed safe. Tey reached the muddy bank again and extended his hand to Er, who took it slowly. They made their way across, carefully. Grah and his mother were almost to the far bank. Tey was getting very tired now, and slipped a little. Er held steady.
Suddenly there was a painful cry. Grah was on the bank, holding mother. His mother was trying to climb up, but one foot was not coming out of the stream. When Grah pulled, she screamed. Tey and Er did their best to get there faster, both slipping several times on the large boulders they could not see. Tey came along side his mother. He still held the branch and Er. Looking at his mother’s eyes, seeing the pain, he wanted to help stop that pain. He saw in his head that he was now the leader, with Arhh being gone. And Grah would need help with the baby. Mother could help. He let go of Er and grabbed his mother. Er grabbed once for the branch, then slipped. He too, went down the wild ride of the surging brook. Tey could not be sure, but he thought he heard Er cry out, “Bah bah bah…” as he disappeared from view.
Feeling with his foot, Tey could sense that his mother’s foot was caught between two rocks. He kicked at one of them, crying out as he broke his toes. His kick loosed the rock and as he and Grah pulled, his mother climbed onto the shore and collapsed on the wet rock. Grah stood, holding the hand of the young one. Tey limped painfully to mother and helped her up. Her foot was bleeding, but it did not look too bad. Together, the small band of one hand of fingers scrambled up to the rocky over hang.