The Corpulent Cavewoman
There once was a time, many eons ago, when human beings were far from being the dominant species of the planet. In this long gone era, mankind was merely one of several species of mammals struggling to stay alive in this harsh and unforgiving world. Lacking the size, strength, and speed of most of their fellow beasts, our earliest ancestors relied solely on their intelligence and smarts to stay alive. However, even with their vastly superior intellects, for many early humans survival was a daily struggle. With farming still many years in mankind’s future, the small tribes scattered throughout the land depended almost completely on the meat from wild animals. However, hunting such powerful beasts was difficult and often dangerous work, and many tribes had grown accustomed to a life of near constant hunger and malnourishment. For these people, the ideas of overeating and gaining weight were completely unfamiliar concepts. However, for one tribe, and one of their tribeswomen in particular, all that was about to change…
The great yellow light rose high into the sky, just as it did every morning, illuminating the mouth of a cave embedded in a craggy cliff face. At the mouth of this cave stood a hunched, wizened old man staring out at the landscape in front of him. As always, he was the first of his tribe to arise from slumber and face the new day; he felt it was his duty as the tribe’s leader, or “Brak”. The old man idly tugged at his unkempt gray beard, briefly trying to remember what he had been called before he became his people’s Brak. He knew he had a name before that, but he been called Brak by his people for so long he could no longer recall it. He quickly dismissed such foolish ramblings from his head and turned his thoughts to more serious matters. His people were in serious danger from starvation. Ever since the Cold White Rain had fallen to the ground several seasons ago, the herds of deer and boar that were the bulk of his people’s food supply had either died off or moved away. This lack of food, combined with the brutal cold that came with the White Rain, had resulted in the deaths of over half the people in the tribe. To make things worse, the tribe had recently been attacked by the evil spear-toothed cat, killing several of his best hunters and warriors. Now, he only had three hunters left, and about two dozen children and old ones. With a sudden grunt, Brak shook himself from his musings, and painfully hobbled back to the cave.
Brak walked over to a corner of the cave where his three hunters were huddled together sleeping. The oldest and most experienced of them was K’Tal, a very tall and muscular woman whose strength and courage were unrivalled by any man. She was the only member of her tribe who had killed one of the spear-toothed cats, and she proudly clothed herself in the creature’s fur and wore one of its teeth in her jet black hair. Lying next to K’Tal was her younger brother Chul. Little more than a boy, he did not possess his sister’s great height or strength, but he had already proven himself to be a tenacious and capable hunter, as the boar tusk he wore in a necklace around his neck attested. The last of the three hunters was a woman called Kez. Her features were far more delicate and her physique much more slim and lithe than most of the other women of the tribe, but the relative slightness of her build did not inhibit her when she was on the hunt. She clothed herself in the furs of a giant sloth she had once killed, the dull brown coat of the animal contrasting sharply with her flaming red hair that hung down just past her shoulders.
With a loud barking noise, Brak woke the three hunters from their sleep. Once awake, they wasted very little time. After a hurried breakfast, they quickly gathered up their spears and slings and other hunting supplies, with Brak hovering over them the whole time like an anxious parent. Once they had gathered their supplies, the hunting party set off on their journey without saying a word. Brak followed them to the mouth of the cave, stopping them with a guttural command. The old man stared into the eyes of all three of his hunters, knowing as well as they did that they represented the last hope for his people’s survival. “You must bring back food. Or we all die” he said to them simply. The three nodded solemnly, and without another word, turned around and set off on their quest to bring back food for their desperate people.
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