I woke up in fear. A bell was ringing loud at the door of my habitation. I stepped outside: panic invested my village. Mothers and children ran towards the common living space that held a tunnel that will keep them safe. Some of men went with them, giving them an extra-protection in case of an attack. The other men came in and out of every home to collect each family their most valued properties. It was a clean organisation. Everyone knew where to be and what to do. Everyone, except me. It wasn’t the first time we experienced this situation: sandstorms were our daily. Yet, i was still not used to it. ‘Hé!!’ I stopped stopping and ran under the dome. I found myself a place and sat with the rest of my people. I wanted to help in any way possible but my training would start only in ten solar cycle. The underground got crowded: on one side, all belongings, on the other, us. It was quiet. All we could here was the wind blowing strongly and sand hitting our roofs. Although, everyone seemed calm, a point of fear floated in the air. Mothers kept their progenitures close. And kids didn’t let go of their creators’ hands. Men felt fear as well but were better at hiding it. One man stood out.
He was the last to arrive, heavy bags on his shoulders. He sat his back against the door, a piece of wood on his thighs. While everybody looked down, his head was up, surveilling everyone. His eyes stopped at mine. For a moment, we stared at each other, then he kept on going.
2604. We are hundreds of years after Mother Nature reached a breaking point. Disaster after disaster, the human race was forced to retreat in the most hostiles environments: forests, isolated islands, deserts, etc, and divided in clans. Mine was a nomadic clan. We barely stayed put for a full moon circle. Next to where my clan settled the longest, there was a large forest, ruled by animals with claws as big as my arm, surrounded by mountains of sand, infested by odd creatures thirsty for…anything. In between all of that, there we were, armed with sharp arrows and poisonous wooden lances. There were rules installed before i was born. Two of them were very important:
- Do not enter in contact with any other clan.
- Do not disrespect animals. No matter how small or big they are.
The first rule was easy to follow: the nearest clan was three sun circles of walk away. The second rules was respected to the extant of necessity: we killed some of them in order to survive. On a shiny day, Clay, a kid at the cusp of becoming a man, was sent in the forest to prove himself to the village. I was told of his story. He spend several moon under a fallen tree, hunted snakes, ate worms and drank the water from the sky. On the last day of his trial, he noticed unknown footprints that he followed with ease until the traces were washed by a river. He crossed it and found on the other side a small fury animal, sleeping. Out of reflection, he went around it without waking him up. When he was far enough, the mother came out of the bushes. I was told that Clay froze a moment before the fight began. Both Clay and the mother bear engaged at the same time. Claws and lance clashed in rhythm. It didn’t last long, but human’s stamina was lower that the beast’s. Although, in his last strength, he managed to jab his weapon into the bear’s throat. The latter fell instantly, leaving the human alone and weak. As proof of his value, Clay dragged the mother across the forest, and carried the baby bear on his shoulder. Facing this image, the entire clan remained silent. The chief of our clan stepped forward and stared at the young Clay. He, then, took his lance and gave it to him. For my people, that was a sign of respect. Since that portion of his life, Clay was trained harder that any other, to become our leader. Strong and fearless.
The storm has passed. Clay stood up first and checked the safety of the overground. Once he came back, everyone stood up then froze. Our leader had blood on him. His soldiers rushed outside. It seemed that some people from another clan had found refuge in one of our home. No contact with another clan. Our chief reassured us and led us out of the tunnel. We were found. That meant that we needed to move to another location. We left our installations behind and walked through the desert. I didn’t know where we would plant our houses again nor when. None of us did. All we could do was trust our command. After all, he’s my brother.