THE NEXT DAYS HUNT
The group left the caves and walked in the direction away from the rising sun. They entered a large wood and noticed how much quieter it was beneath the trees. The branches almost touched over their heads and the sun could not find a way in. It was dark in the wood. The wind could not get in either and that made the wood a very still and peaceful place to be. The smell of the trees around them and the damp earth beneath their feet filled the air.
The only sound that broke the quiet morning air was that of a small stream that flowed through the trees. The people made their way to the streambank and took a long drink of the cool, clear water. The water they had found in the caves the night before had been brown and tasted earthy. The stream water was much nicer to drink.
In the soft mud beside the stream one of the men spotted a footprint, then another, and another. They were the marks left by the hooves of a deer. The man showed the rest of the group and pointed in the direction in which the animal had gone. They would follow the trail to see if they might find the deer and kill it for the evening meal. The trail led them out of the wood into a grassy valley. The meadow was full of brightly coloured flowers. The air was full of their scent, although the wind was stronger out in the open and the smells came and went on the breeze. One of the younger children picked a large blue flower and held it to her nose. At once she screamed and dropped the flower. An insect had been hidden amongst the petals of the flower, and as the little girl had smelt it the insect had stung her. The girls' mother picked a handful of leaves and rubbed her daughters' cheek. Soon the pain went away and the little girl was able to follow the others on the trail of the deer.
As the groups crossed the wide open- plain they saw in the distance three or four huge grey shapes coming towards them. As the shapes got nearer the people could count seven different animals close together. The animals had long hairy coats that swayed in the breeze. Their noses were very long, as if they had been stretched out from the centre of the animals' faces. Each of the five larger ones had two great big white, curved, pointed teeth coming out of their mouths, one each side of their nose. The animals walked very slowly, but with their very long legs they moved towards the people quite quickly. When the Woolly Mammoths, for that is what they were called, heard the people in front of them they stopped. They flapped their large ears, one or two raised their long noses, their trunks, and sniffed the air. Quietly and without panic they turned aside and carried on their way, leaving the people to continue on their way following the trail of the deer.
Suddenly the people heard a great noise that was being carried on the wind. They slowly crept further up the side of the hill that they had started to climb after seeing the mammoths. When they reached the top they carefully looked over the top. In the next valley they saw a pack of hyenas attacking a deer. It was probably the deer that they had been following all day. The hyenas were so big and powerful that the deer did not have a chance to escape. After killing it the hyenas started to eat it.
The people were very sad as this meant that they would have no meat to eat that night. They sat on top of the hill wondering what to do next. They were very frightened of the hyenas, but they were also very hungry. They decided to try to steal the dead deer from the hyenas. They ran down into the valley towards the wild hunters and their freshly killed prey. They screamed and shouted. They threw stones that they had picked up on the hilltop. They waved their sticks and spears above their heads. It was a very brave and a very dangerous thing to do. But it worked. The hyenas ran off and left the deer behind. The group looked a little more closely at their next meal.
The pale brown skin of the deer was covered in red spots of blood, which had also made everything very sticky when the people touched it. The body of the animal was still warm as it had only been dead for a little while. Where the hyenas had been eating the meat the white of the bones showed through. The hyenas had bitten some of the bones and broken them, leaving sharp edges and splinters amongst the meat. Carefully the people pulled off, or cut with their flint tools, the pieces of the deer they could eat. One of the men broke off the antlers. He would use them to carve needles and harpoons for the group in the nights to come sat around the campfire.
It was beginning to get colder. The sun was setting and it was also getting darker. They had travelled many miles since leaving the caves that morning. They were too tired to return to the safety of the underground shelter, so they decided to go back to the stillness and protection of the wood they had come through earlier and make camp beside the stream for the night.