|Evil Iron. (standard:fantasy, 1441 words)|
|Author: Oscar A Rat||Added: Jul 19 2020||Views/Reads: 150/78||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|Many thousands of years ago, long before the dawn of human history, on a dark night a long streak of flame surged across the heavens.|
Many thousands of years ago, long before the dawn of human history, on a dark night a long streak of flame surged across the heavens. It left a contrail miles long as it sped through Earth's atmosphere. By the time the object impacted in what was then a small lake, it was reduced in size to a charred piece of iron weighing about four pounds. The object sizzled and steamed as it settled at the muddy bottom of the primeval lake. There it rested while muddy water eventually became alive with protozoa which later evolved into more complex life forms. In time, even more complex life was produced and grew, most happily thriving in water though some eventually took to the land. There was nothing with enough intelligence to notice that all living matter that touched the meteorite died. Lifeforms exploring dry land were lucky to do so, as the lake lost its source and evaporated – first into swamp, then dry land hosting a forest of ferns. Land life evolved into various forms, each more complex than the last. Over the span of time, the ferns gave way to trees. Over more time, sediment from the lake became mixed with rotting lifeforms as the land became drier. For all that time, the chunk of space-iron lay quietly, having acquired a thick coating of crud which, through increasing pressure, turned to rock. *** Oog, an early man, crept silently through dense forest while keeping an anxious eye on his prey. The wild pig grunted contentedly, trying to uproot a berry-bush to get at the tasty roots. Occasionally it would jerk its head up to look around. Oog, being downwind and silent, was invisible to the creature as he slowly crept within spear range. Sensing he was as close as he could safely get to his prey, Oog rose to his feet and, in one motion, hefted a crude spear and let it fly. The boar, hearing the spear coming, looked around – too late. The missile entered through its upper neck and, thrusting through flesh, sank inches into the ground. It was stopped by the piece of iron in its own shell of hardened sediment, the wooden spear-point wedging into a crack in the rock-like surface. The impaled animal struggled to escape, blood spurting from a severed artery. It might have made it, except for the heavy rock which, at first, held the spear in the ground and then, when the pig was low on life sustaining fluid, pulled from the ground but helped hold the animal down by its weight. An experienced hunter, Oog waited for the animal to expire. He knew from bitter experience not to approach a wounded boar. Even while dying, its tusks could kill. Or, even worse, it could cripple him like old Uhha. Last cold season, Uhha had to be left behind to die. He couldn't keep up with the family. They might have all died if they had stayed with him or tried to carry him. When they had arrived at the Cold Hunting Grounds, they had waited, but Uhha had never shown up. Yes. It would be better to die right away than alone in the cold – so he waited. A hunter had to learn patience. When the animal had not moved for a long while, Oog cautiously approached. He put one foot on the animal's shoulder and tried to pull the spear out. With the large rock attached, the device wouldn't come all the way through. Not wanting to lose his favorite spear, Oog looked around and found an orange-colored rock. Using it, he beat on the other, the one on the end of his spear. The rock he was pounding split, exposing the piece of space iron. Curious, Oog kept pounding until the iron came loose from its enclosing sediment. He hefted the iron. It felt comfortable and warm in his hand, easy to grasp. Oog used the piece of raw metal to strike the orange rock, which shattered. One of the pieces looked like it would be a good meat scrapper. Oog picked up the shards of rock and shoved them into a skin bag he wore. Good scrappers were hard to find. As an afterthought, he kept the piece of iron. Click here to read the rest of this story (84 more lines)
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