We were four hands of fingers by the time we saw the others in the spring when the animals were active again and the birds and biting insects hatched from their nests. Well, you could say four hands or some prefer two hands and two feet of toes, if it’s warm and you have your toes out. I know because at that time I compared each digit with a body and we moved together, sometimes fast, after a group of hoofed animals, or sometimes we stopped in one place for a time if there were fish in the water and seeds and crisp fruit on the bushes and trees. It was the spring I still had 14 teeth. It was the best spring there ever was.

I despise the cold and it’s hunger, so when the rains stopped and the sun finally felt warm on my face and arms I was glad to stop by a river and find fish to spear with sticks and buds on the plants that tasted sweet, and we were full and happy and found shelter in the ledge of a hill, and we posted lookouts and then made fire.

One of Roth’s growing males, with just recent second hair, ran swiftly even when carrying bundles of wood or a dead animal. Even when there was no food that boy was full of energy and liked to roam. 

That famous day, I was with almost two hands of us, mostly female, carefully cutting fish into strips to dry on rocks near the fire. Frankly, I was no longer interested in running about, as it made me hurt badly, but not so much now that it was warmer. I could outrun the animals that hunted us, it’s just I preferred to sit and think. I mean, I still could run, of course, and pretty well.  Otherwise I would have died.

The fast boy of Roth’s came back to us that day from his roaming about, chattering and pointing. “Humans,” he cried, almost sobbing. We got up fast, and despite the sacrifice, I kicked out the fire, and threw dirt on the smoke to kill it. All of us gathered and found our remainder, who were looking for things to eat up on the hillside. 

I felt my pains, but my hard beating heart made me strong; it ran so fast. We were all excited, especially the males. What kind of humans would they be?  Would they look like us?  Were they now searching for us, with our boasting smoke in the bright day air as a marker to the nose and eyes?  It had been so long; perhaps I had been too careless.

Moving silent and quick, we followed Roth’s fast son and he remembered the way easily, being clever and already familiar with the paths. We moved a long way along the river in the same direction that the water ran. 

And there, in a clearing on the other side of the river, was a group of humans, fishing with spears and scavenging in the brush and fucking in the grass, yelping and farting. I guessed two hands of them were there, but the grass was high so it was hard to see. We could see children and female’s breasts flashing in the sun.  We were very excited.

Roth’s child whispered that he knew a shallow place upriver. We crouched in the thicket and studied the other humans while we anxiously waited for darkness to come as it always does. They gathered on the bank and ate many fish, happily picking at the pink flesh, and then grew quiet, moving together in dark groups of bodies, then resting in the warm grass.

 When the darkening eventually began, we silently crept to the place where the river was shallow enough to move across without our shoulders going under the water. That was lucky because we could keep our clubs and tools in our hands and not gasp or even drown in the water. We crossed and waited until the sun went into a mountain in the distance, and we were mostly dry and no longer shivering.

Roth’s child led us down the river to the place where the humans were. We moved left into the foliage so that they were between us and the river.  As the last light of the sun’s orb disappeared into the mountain in the distance, I took a big breath of air, pointed my eyes at the humans in the grass and made a click-click signal with my tongue. We ran forward screaming. 

The humans were surprised and tried to run, but had no where to go. The river was deep there, and we were close, our arms already raised, We hit them very hard, trying to hit males directly on the head with our clubs and axes.

There was a lot of blood, and it tasted just like the blood of the hoofed animals, and it was dark red, very warm and sticky. We did fast work of it. Two of our woman went after the children and one was dead and two others flat with our women sitting on them, looking them over, laughing. We knew the dead one would taste good for sure. We killed all the men and one woman, who we thought was a man, being so big boned and dirty we couldn’t tell that she had breasts.

So we lost that one female immediately, but we fell on the others, and oh, how they screamed and kicked and bit. We took our good time, and some of us had to hold them down until it was our turn.  We slapped Roth’s boy on the ass and shoulders and made him fuck all of them. He was so proud! He became so worn out he could no longer stay hard or shoot, and we laughed so, because indeed he had done a very good job of it! 

Some tried to run after we were finished into the dark so we had good sport running after them and clubbing them till they stopped. We lost another female that way but we ate her later so not all was lost. All in all we laughed and laughed so hard. And, oh, so much meat! And we found that after we scalped the dead and rinsed the blood off in the river the hair was a gold color, and we made amazing ornaments of it to wear on our wrists.

This would be the best spring ever. Finally, fresh children to train, and four new females to make new humans and fresh hot milk. Clever things, they could talk in our speech before very long, to our dismay! We had to bind and hit them often for quite some time to keep them from running off. And then, this:  right after the mêlée I found a strange item, wrapped in a hide in the dead men’s things. It was a long springy length of wood, shaped carefully with sharp tools, and between the two ends a piece of dried gut when strung pulled the two ends into a shape like this: D There was also a hand’s worth of sharp flints woven onto sticks with thin gut and feathers of birds on the opposite end formed like little wings. After some practice, as I figured out where to place the sticks on the gut, and how to hold and pull the things, I could make the sticks fly in the air in a straight line, further and further. I wanted to keep it but the others broke and burned it and all the feathered sticks, as it was not natural to see something not alive fly in the air all by itself like that. I didn’t really worry about it, as it wasn’t worth an argument. I was happy when two babies were made in the spring, that spring when I had 12 teeth, having lost another two from gnawing all that smoke dried meat.