For #LineByLineTime “Rain”
Skyshaker dragged the mukat’s body into the cave and tossed it onto the pile of his other kills. “That’s the last. Think we’ll eat good tonight?”
Shadowstalker laughed. “I think we’ll be eating well for awhile! I haven’t seen that much meat at one time since the last Festival of Moons, and that was contributed by four clans!”
Striker stumped over to the outer entrance and stared out. She pointed her staff at the horizon. “Just in time, too. See the clouds? They tell of a storm that can last days. Could be we’ll need every bit of that meat, and all the plants we’ve gathered. Do we have enough of the fire rocks to last a while? Gathering more from the lower caverns will give us something to do when we can’t go outside.”
Skyshaker laughed. “Are you afraid you’ll melt in the rain?”
He blinked as all the others stared at him, their jaws dropped. “What? Did I say something?”
Loper shook his head. “If nothing else, that remark reminds us you have spent most of your life underground in the mines.”
“What do you mean?”
Moonsinger sighed. “The storm Striker speaks of is one well known to us. It does not come often, but when it does, everyone hides from it. It is not just rain, it is wind, and sometimes balls of ice bigger than rocks. Trees fall under its fury. Because our opening to the outside is large here, we must take our belongings and food down to a lower cave, where the storm’s power is muted. How long do we have, Striker?”
“Not as much as we need.” Striker spat out the opening. “We must hurry. Make sure the firestarters are safe from the wet first. Skyshaker, how weary are you? The rest of us will struggle to move that meat, but we must get it down below. Now!”
Skyshaker shrugged. “I’ll be fine. I won’t take it all the way down, just partway and then toss it. Just keep the bottom of the ramp clear.”
“Move, you laggards!” Striker shouted. Everyone in the cavern leaped into action.
Striker was correct. Just hours later, Skyshaker collapsed after tossing the last body down the ramp to the lower cavern. After catching his breath, he sat up and stretched aching muscles. The silence caught his attention. Usually the caverns were alive with the sound of the diggers chittering to each other or their claws scraping through the rock walls of the mountain. He looked around. They had all vanished. He ventured down the ramp and looked around. The other den members were huddled around a big fire. Striker had her biggest pot sitting over it, steam rising off the top. None of them were making a noise either.
His mouth opened to question the silence when the sound came from above him. As he jerked his head around, he saw the others flinch and huddle tighter. He raced back up the ramp. The wind met him with a face full of water and a rising scream in his ears. Holding his tail over his eyes, he managed to block the wind and rain enough to see the outside opening lit with a sky full of fire as lightning flashed nonstop.