Short Stories, Writing

Ewok Bloodlust: Part II

If you missed it, check out Ewok Bloodlust: Part I here to get caught up on Yub Yub’s adventure so far.

Yub Yub opened his eyes. The sun was still drowsy, so he turned back over. He loved sleep. He dreamed about swinging from vine to vine from one village to another, high in the treetops. He landed on raftlike passageways connecting groups of buildings held together by ropes and vines and supported by sturdy tree limbs. Whenever he stopped, the cubs and females rushed him. The hunters blew their horns, and everyone played celebration drums. Libna danced for him dreamily, and only the sound of a monster below disrupted his happiness.

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But the monster grew louder. The village scattered, and soon Yub Yub was alone to fight a big forest monster– a monster he could not see.

Yub Yub’s stomach growled again. He remembered everything anew, and his stomach was sick of mushrooms. Fish or mice would be so nice. Three days of mushrooms. Mushrooms gave him funny dreams. The old chiefs told stories about hunters lost in the woods living off of mushrooms for too long. Yub Yub did not want to be like them. They started eating tree bark and mud. He was hungry, but not that hungry… yet.

He rolled on to his feets and stood up shakily. His legs were so tired. Yub Yub was no hunter. The hunters went out for a week or more sometimes. But Yub Yub’s legs got tired. His legs were so tired he knew he couldn’t turn back now. He walked for several days away from the village. And they had probably finished their hunting trip and gone back to the treehouse village above. That was even further than the hunting village. Yub Yub hardly had knees, but they buckled all the same just thinking about the trip.

Maybe another tribe would find him and take him? There were lots of tribes. Some other tribe might not laugh at him. Some tribes took the gods more seriously. Yub Yub had good eyes. Maybe they would believe that he saw a star fall. He had heard stories about tribes accepting newcomers.

He had also heard stories of mean tribes that tossed roaming strangers off of the village canopy way, way down to the floor below. Some hunters bragged that they found the bones and half-eaten bodies hidden in the ferns below rival village camps.

Yub Yub’s stomach growled again, and he felt like it was trying to eat his insides. It’d be mushrooms again, until he could figure something else out. There was a mushroom patch with big, meaty mushroom caps nearby. They used to be his favorite kind. But now, he’d trade all the mushrooms in the world for a mouse. Better than nothing though.

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He wandered back to the mossy, shady alcove under a big boulder, where he had discovered the mushrooms the day before. They looked like little huts. Miniature huts. He could be King of these huts. He could crush them in one fell swoop. He could smush all of them. He thought he saw tiny hunters running around among the mushroom village. They were Yub Yub’s hunters. He was their god. He imagined them running around the nearby woods with tiny twig spears looking for mice-like bugs. They couldn’t find any, so they played their hunting flutes to ask him, their god, for help. He led them around into a groove in the stone, where there were bugs. The hunters caught them and played the drums in celebration. When they got back to the village, the cubs and females danced. Everyone played flutes to thank him.

One of the tribe didn’t play the flutes or dance. He sat by himself. Soon, the others teased the outcast and poked him and threw stones at him.

Yub Yub growled angrily. How dare his hunters do that? The hunters chirped and yodeled with their twig spears in the air. Yub Yub would not allow this in his kingdom. He jumped up and down, crushing the tiny huts. He stomped on all of them until there were no huts left. That would teach the hunters. No huts. No village. No one left to hunt for.

Yub Yub looked around at the village smush at his feet and felt like a speared mouse. His mushrooms were all smush. They looked just like the smush he was going to give to Libna. He couldn’t eat them now. His stomach growled. What was he thinking? Was he dreaming while awake? Was this the start of the mushroom sickness?

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His stomach growled louder. What was he going to do? He was so hungry his arms were shaking, and he didn’t feel like he could stand up anymore. He fell back onto a bed of tree saplings and thought of becoming one with the forest. The wind rustled the leaves above. The cool forest air seeped through his fur. Scurrying feet in the bushes nearby–

A mouse! The flavor of mouse filet spread over his tastebuds. He could almost taste it. Yub Yub was no hunter. But maybe Yub Yub could be a hunter. In the canopy leaves above, he saw the face of his papub. Papub, who always believed in Yub Yub, and told him he could do anything. He missed Papub. Did he shame him? What would Papub think knowing his cub turned out as a gatherer, and a sky watcher no one heeded.

“You can do anything,” the leafy Papub said above. Was this real? Or were these words from his memory. “The mouse is stupid. The Yub Yub can catch the mouse.”

“No spear,” Yub Yub croaked.

“Yub Yub can catch the mouse.”

Yub Yub had eaten too many mushrooms. He was seeing Papub in the leaves, and Papub was dead. The hungry sickness and the mushroom sickness played tricks on him. So, maybe, Papub was right. Maybe he could catch the mouse.

He reached for his stone knife before remembering his attempt to stab Snub Chuk days before. They took his knife. They took everything–but not this mouse. He found a sharp rock, small enough to throw. If he could find the mouse sleeping, or eating, he’d get a chance to hit it. And he would eat mouse.

Quiet as his prey, Yub Yub inched toward the sweeping bushes where he had scurrying, holding his breath. As he pulled closer, the bush rustled and the scurrying distanced itself, retreating to another bush.

“Yub Yub is hunter,” he thought.

Using the softest part of his paws, he inched forward silently, hoisting the rock above his head. The scurrying retreated further, heading up toward a small crest above him. The top of the little hill had a large thick shrub. Yub Yub’s tribe called these shrubs trap plants because of how thick their limbs grew. If the mouse got there, he might never find it. He quickened his pace.

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This mouse was evil. It played with him. As soon as he thought he might throw his rock, or caught a glimpse of the mouse’s shiny eye, it scurried just a little bit further. Soon it would be up the hill and safely in his den under the shrub. Yub Yub started to panic and sacrificed stealth for speed. The scurrying quickened–the chase was on. He ran forward, rock lifted high, and–

Yub Yub listened. Nothing. No scurries. No squeaks. He searched the brush violently, with wide sweeps of his arms, but he couldn’t find anything. The mouse had escaped.

Yub Yub let out a crackly, wounded groan. He would starve. Yub Yub was no hunter. Snub Chuk was right. Papub was wrong. He felt so stupid, and sick from the mushrooms and the exertion. How could he dare think he was more than just a Yub Yub? A stupid Yub Yub. A worthless member of the tribe. Mushroom smush. Not even fit to scoop up and eat.  

He threw his rock over the hill as hard as he could. He was so stupid to think he could kill a mouse with a rock. Then he heard a CLUNK!

The strange, alien noise made his fur stand on end. Instincts seized him, and he hid quietly beneath the brush and waited. But after several minutes, he heard nothing more and his curiosity consumed him. Forgetting his hunger, he inched toward the crest of the hill. There, on the other side, in a clearing made of broken trees, lay the fallen star.

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