The Young Sasquatch slid quickly from shadow to shadow in the dark forest, copying the movements of the larger one in front.
As always, he struggled to contain his excitement as he followed his elder brother’s enormous, broad back, the long, shaggy hair on the shoulders glinting when the light of the waning moon caught them through the bald winter branches of the forest.
Just behind was his mother, keeping a close eye on her youngest child. Further back somewhere was his father, always watching the back-trail, while much further ahead was his father’s father, scouting for deer on this cold winter night.
They were shadowing a game trail uphill that led down to the river behind them. Despite being only four winters old the Young Sasquatch knew it well for the troop had used more than one ambush point along the trail, rarely failing to get a deer making its way down for a drink. But this night was different… there were no deer?
Suddenly he became aware his brother had stopped in the shadow of a large tree, his black hair blending him so perfectly to the darkness even the Young Sasquatch’s excellent night eyes could barely make him out. Curious as to why he had stopped, he approached his elder sibling.
Even though not a handful of years separated them, his brother was much taller than he, his powerful muscles already filling out his enormous frame. He was almost as tall as his grandfather, who the Young Sasquatch now realised was standing there too.
How did he do that? Always, despite the grey hair, which was almost shiny when in the moonlight, the old one somehow always managed to disappear and reappear at will from whatever the background was.
Suddenly, his father was there too, questioning the hesitation of their journey.
The Old one described something very strange indeed.
Ahead, blocking the game trail where it crossed a wider trail was apparently a beast of the Hairless Ones.
The Young Sasquatch had seen and heard these beasts before, but only at a distance. His excitement grew with his curiosity. He knew Hairless Ones rode INSIDE these strange, shiny beasts, and apparently there were two of these animals sitting in this one.
He had never seen Hairless Ones before himself but had heard many tales from his father and grandfather… tales of mystery and danger. The tales had always ended with a warning, NEVER let a Hairless One see you and avoid them at all costs.
Now there were two, sitting in one of their strange beasts just up ahead, blocking the deer from the trail.
His wide, excited eyes looked up at his father, who was staring down at him intently, judging his ability to deal with this situation… for they were not going to retreat as expected.
They needed to hunt and the night was getting on.
His mother suggested they forget the Hairless Ones and go back down to the river to hunt for fish instead.
But his brother snorted in dismissal, he wanted red meat and who were the Hairless Ones to deprive him of it?
Still staring deep into the Young Sasquatch’s eyes, his father made the decision. They would make them move… scare them away. It had been done before, often. He himself had several times scared a Hairless hunter away from its kill… and it was time the young one learnt how to do it.
Despite her misgivings, Hairless Ones rarely came unarmed into these mountains, the Young Sasquatch’s mother capitulated. A broad smile on his grandfather’s face indicated he enjoyed the thought of chasing away some Hairless Ones. Even with his white hair he somehow almost immediately disappeared again as he ducked away upslope to the right.
His father followed his grandfather, moving to get upslope and behind the beast. While he and his mother moved across the slope to the left, his brother continued up beside the game trail, heading directly towards where the Hairless Ones sat in their beast.
Quickly mother found a good tree to station the Young Sasquatch in. He was to watch the action from high up in its branches and be alert for any more Hairless beasts that may come down the road.
Leaving him, she dropped low and quietly moved towards the beast he could now see through the trees. He climbed higher where he could get an unobstructed view and gazed in wonder at what he was looking at.
It was large and sat low on stubby round feet, and had shiny skin that reflected the moon and starlight like it was still water. Through holes high on its side he could see the Hairless Ones themselves, their voices carrying clearly to his position in the tree.
Glancing down he saw his mother, now on her belly, slowly crawling closer and closer along the edge of the road. Across the road and well inside the tree line he could just make out the incredible mass of his father, slowly approaching from uphill.
Looking back towards the game-trail he caught the odd glimpse of moonlight catching his brother’s oily black hair. Grandfather, as usual, was nowhere to be seen, but the Young Sasquatch knew he had to be there somewhere on the far side of the trail, likewise stealthily approaching the strange beast and its even stranger occupants. They were pale and small skulled, with very short hair only on their chins. Not even the tops of their heads bore any hair. Their eyes were likewise pale with far too much white around them. Their voices slow but high pitched, at least compared to his father’s.
The Young Sasquatch suddenly noticed both Hairless Ones had stopped talking and were looking all about, as if they sensed the approaching danger.
From his father’s direction came heavy footsteps, ominously crunching on the dry leaves and twigs of the forest floor. Instantly the Hairless Ones started talking again, but quietly. As soon as they did his father stopped, waiting for them to go quiet again before making more stomping sounds. One even opened up some kind of panel and rose out of the beast to look around.
The one still in the beast said something loudly, making its fellow quickly get back in. But they did not depart. Instead, they just sat there, quietly chattering to each other in sporadic bursts that timed with his father’s heavy footsteps. Each time they spoke, he would stop and wait for quiet before proceeding again. Although the Young Sasquatch could plainly see his sire’s immense bulk in the shadows of the trees, it seemed from their ducking and weaving heads the Hairless Ones could not.
They once again went quiet but this time his father did not come any closer. the silence stretched out the seconds and was only broken when his brother made his presence known with likewise heavy footfalls just downslope of the beast. The heads of both Hairless Ones instantly swivelled to peer into the darkness, trying to make out the source of the sounds.
Like his father, his brother stopped as soon as the Hairless Ones spoke, waited for quiet then stomped closer a few more paces. The Young Sasquatch could clearly see sweat forming on the strange, pale, bald heads of the Hairless Ones. But they still did not move.
Then Grandfather started on the opposite side of the game trail, instantly swivelling their heads in his direction.
The Young Sasquatch looked hard but could not see the old one at all, despite his grey hair. Now all three, his father, brother and grandfather began alternating their stomping, jerking the bald heads backwards and forwards as the Hairless Ones tried to see into the darkness with their useless daytime eyes.
His eyes widened when he saw they both now had strange, black things in their hands. For some reason he felt great trepidation at the sight. What were those things? Were they the weapons he had heard his father tell of? The things that could kill from a distance? But the troop did not stop, continuing to slowly advance on the shiny beast and its occupants.
Who still did not move!
She must have seen the weapons threaten her troop for his mother growled and began to loudly belly-crawl closer and closer through the dead leaves and dry grasses of the roadside. The Hairless Ones immediately focussed their attention on her. She growled again, her anger at the beast not moving showing clearly through its vibration.
Why was it not fleeing?
She was almost close enough to thump the beast with her hand when she growled yet again, deeper, louder, with even more anger.
But they still did not move! Using the distraction to their advantage the other troop members moved quickly in even closer. From where he sat, watching everything unfold from his perch in his tree, the Young Sasquatch felt his excitement and fear mix into a cocktail that flooded his veins… His father, in particular looked as if he was about to launch a rain of blows onto the beast to get it to move, he was that close.
His mother growled again, with such anger the Young Sasquatch even felt its vibration from his position in the tree a dozen paces away. Now his brother and grandfather were close enough to launch themselves onto this foreign, shiny beast to drive it from their mountain. Once more, his mother growled, the ferocity in its vibration visibly shaking the Hairless ones, whose faces went somehow whiter than ever before.
The closest one spoke to the other and the beast abruptly roared into life… the fumes and din shattering the crisp night air. Two bright suns lit up on the front of the monster and dowsed the forest in front of it with light so strong it hurt the Young Sasquatch’s eyes even from this distance.
But the beast did not speed off. Almost delicately it moved backwards and turned to face down the road towards where the Young Sasquatch was hidden, high in his tree, the lights turning the road into day. Then slowly it began to move off towards him… but it didn’t go far before abruptly stopping again in the middle of the road, right next to the tree the young Sasquatch was in. With no leaves on the tree for cover he felt suddenly very exposed and went to flee… but his training kicked in. Being still was being invisible so instead of leaping down through the branches, he froze in place, trying with all his might to be just another branch in the tree.
The Hairless Ones talked fast to each other, their voices shaking, and the bright lights went off again, returning the night to the peaceful dark once more.
Obviously badly shaken, the Hairless Ones sat staring down the road, but then one turned its head and looked around, stopping to face the Young Sasquatch directly! It was looking right at him! It spoke some sounds and the other tilted its head and looked right at him as well.
Involuntarily, he started swaying from one side of the trunk to the other, loading his muscles with oxygen and momentum to move as quickly as possible when an opportunity came to flee.
Across the road he saw his brother rush up in the tree line, but then stop, hesitating in his attack.
The Hairless Ones looked away at each other for a moment, and in an instant the Young Sasquatch was down the tree and safely behind another in one fluid movement.
Their brows furrowed as they looked for him in the tree to no avail. But then the heavy breathing of his brother caught their ears on the uphill side of the road. Although he did not growl, the Young Sasquatch could plainly hear a lot of anger in his brother’s breathing. Beside him his mother suddenly appeared, the rage in her eyes only more intense now her baby was threatened.
His giant father had run further down the road to block their escape. And somewhere was grandfather, the entire troop once again surrounding the Hairless beast and its occupants. But this time the troop seemed more interested in attacking the beast rather than scaring it off, perhaps because it now threatened their youngest troop member?
The anger in the air was palpable. The Young Sasquatch sensed that if the Hairless Ones did not leave soon they would die there. Then the rising moon lifted clear of the trees and lit up the entire scene for the first time. His brother chose the moment to deliberately move in front of some white trees, then back again, drawing more frightened chatter from inside the beast. It seemed the Hairless Ones finally decided to leave, one leaning forward like it had done earlier just before the beast had roared into life.
But before it could finish the movement, his enormous father suddenly showed himself in the full moonlight, slowly and deliberately striding down the road at an angle towards the beast. Several times he stopped and glared directly at it, challenging it, before eventually going behind a broken off tree.
The Hairless Ones remained frozen, shock and confusion at what they had just seen plain on their faces.
The Young Sasquatch watched as his giant father stepped out from behind the broken off tree to threaten the beast, trying to trigger it to attempt an escape but it simply would not move. He stepped back, then out again, trying to trigger a response, but the Hairless Ones simply sat, mouths hanging open, eyes wide. The longer they sat there the angrier the troop became.
The Young Sasquatch wondered at his father’s actions. No longer did it seem he wanted these Hairless Ones to escape for he was now effectively blocking their path. He looked at where his brother still stood, nostrils flaring with rage from behind a nearby tree. Was his father trying to trigger the Hairless Ones to run? To leave their beast in terror and flee right into a trap?
Then grandfather appeared, launching himself in a long leap out into the road. One foot touched it and he was gone again, into the brush on the Young Sasquatch’s side of the road.
At the same time his giant father dropped to his fingers and toes and crawled across the road, getting even closer to the Hairless Ones. The Young Sasquatch saw the move as an intended distraction for his brother quietly stepped out of the trees and crept directly towards the beast, obviously intending to wrench it apart or tip it over.
The Young Sasquatch never found out which for suddenly the beast roared back into life and with a spray of gravel, tore off down the road at great speed.
It went so fast even his father missed as he lunged out at it as it passed.
The entire troop came out into the road to watch it depart. In no time it was around the next corner and they had to content themselves with listening to it flee down the mountain, skidding around corners and roaring with desperation as it went.
Soon the sounds of its departure faded and once again the quiet returned to the night.
The Young Sasquatch’s giant father was furious. It had taken too long. They would go hungry this night for dawn would soon come and the opportunity to hunt had passed. Every deer within earshot would have fled.
He looked up at his grandfather, the only troop member who did not seem angry. Instead, the Old One was quietly laughing. In his great age he had experienced many a hungry night and this one had been worth it to see how scared the Hairless Ones had been as they had fled.
He smiled at the Young Sasquatch as he reached down and tussled his head in good humour. The Alpha snorted in disgust. The flatulence of the strange beast still hung in the air, tainting it. He turned and headed back into the forest, his troop trailing behind.
As he moved off he allowed a smile to break his frown and dispel most of the anger. The Hairless Ones would surely never come back after that experience. Their fear had been so great he doubted they would ever even share it with any of their kind.
Hear this encounter from the Human's perspective:
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