03 January, 2013

3 January 2013

Neither of them wanted to answer Juni’s question about long-term plans, so they did not, Liz continuing her work over the fire and Einar staring silently into the shadows behind the water barrel before suddenly being struck with a bit of inspiration, rising and seeking out the buckskin pouch in which he kept the bits of bone and stone from which he made atlatl dart heads and arrows.  Tossing the small bag to Juni—she caught it, was apparently learning—he passed her one of the finished darts he always kept with the atlatl.

“Seem to remember you taking a pretty keen interest in these the first time you were up here.  Care to learn how they’re made?”

“Yes, I was interested!  Up there in the mine tunnel where you where you were staying, that time when the photographer and I met you in the woods when you were carrying home a baby mountain goat for your supper…but as I remember, things didn’t go too well that time when I showed some interest in the atlatl.  Not too well at all.”

“You never go for a fella’s weapons, especially unexpectedly like that.  Gives him the wrong idea, and yeah, you’re somewhat lucky to have survived that one.  You and your friend.  Whatever happened to him, anyway?  He manage to walk out without his shoes, or is he still up here somewhere, doing his best to figure out how to catch a critter or two so he can make shoes out of its hide?”

“Oh, he made it out.  Though it took us an awfully long time and he was none too happy about you having taken his boots.”

“Could have taken more.”

“I know.  And so did he.  He figured we really were fortunate to get out of there with out lives, in the first place.”

“Had to give myself some time.  Knew what I thought your intentions were, you two, but wasn’t going to stake my freedom on what I thought.  Could have been wrong.”

“Were you?”

“Don’t know yet.  Sometimes I still wonder.”

Not very reassuring for Juni, his uncertainty, but she hardly blamed him for it.  The life he was living made no allowance for unearned trust or lapses in the constant vigilance required if one as to maintain his freedom, not to mention his life.  He doubted her because he must, because he could not afford to trust any man, or woman—at least, she hoped that was the only reason, as she’d certainly done what she could, otherwise, to earn his trust.  She shrugged, saw him looking at her strangely, and, unable to read his eyes—never had been able to do that with him, not in the least, and it was a good part of what made his presence so unsettling, at times—looked away.  Wished he’d get back to talking about atlatl darts and perhaps even showing her how they were made, but instead he seemed intent on scrutinizing, studying, and she wondered what might be coming next. 

After a time Einar seemed to lose interest in his study, eyes drifting half closed as the warmth of the fire began seeping in to ease some of the ice from his bones.  Relief.  It was the closest thing to physical pleasure that he seemed capable of experiencing, of late, and half the time he thought himself doing wrong for allowing even so much as a hint of it to creep in around the edges.  Should have at that moment scooted farther from the stove, taken off the deer hide, stuck his head in the water barrel so that he ended up streaming with icy water and allowed himself to slowly dry while freezing to the wall—something, but instead he kept still, allowing the radiant warmth to slowly edge its way further into his core, loosening muscles and leaving him slouched over against the water barrel, not far at all from sleep.

The sound of clanking rock chips brought him back to full awareness, scrambling to his knees and glancing about the cabin in a somewhat desperate attempt to gage the length of time that might have elapsed since his beginning to doze.  Not much at all for the looks of things, Will still fast asleep, Liz tending a pot of stew and Juni—ah, that explained what had wakened him—sorting the small pile of chipped rock and bone that she had just poured from its buckskin pouch.

“So, tell me how you do it.  The atlatl heads.”

“You’re looking for a pretty narrow point on the front, tapering wider towards the back.  Gonna vary some depending on what you’re hunting, but that’s generally what you’re aiming for.  The stone, you’ve got to chip.  Knap.  That’s a skill that takes a lot of practice, especially with this quartz, which is just about all I have to use up here.  No chert or obsidian or anything up in these parts.  You can work on learning to knap later, maybe, but for now how about some carving?  It’s easier.”

“The bone is really sturdy enough to use as dart points?  I mean, it doesn’t just break off when it hits something?”

A dangerous little sparkle in Einar’s eye, quickly concealed by a turn of his head.  “Want to find out?  Let’s head outside, and we can do a few quick experiments to settle that matter once and for all.”

She was about to go, Einar on his feet also with atlatl and bone-tipped darts clutched in one hand, when Liz stepped in and saved the situation.

“How about you wait until the storm’s over?  You wouldn’t even be able to see what you’re aiming at, in this whiteout.”

“Huh.  Good point.  Would kinda hate to hit the neck or torso instead of a less-critical  arm or leg, just because the snow was blowing in my eyes…”

The women exchanged glances over his head, Juni as if to say, is he serious? and Liz shrugging.  Who knows?  Your guess is as good as mine…


  1. Juni should remember her Photographer, walking out from the tunnel adventure, with No BOOTS, and then question Inside Her Mind, is he serious....

    Goofy gurl, Hey, is she a distant cousin of Einar?

    I spent the day with Young Master Forest, dry assembling his Estes Rocket, I did not bring glue etc. on purpose, it stretches out the team work time with him.

    First thing he did was cut himself with my SwissTech Mini Multi tool, opening his box "I was scared"

    Great learning time, GrandPa reminded Forest of his EMT2 training and fixed the finger, then gave him MORE lessons on Knife work....

    Ending with TXTING mom, for permission to Gift forest that same KNIFE/Multi-tool, and diasmond sharpener....

    Days that are remembered forever are made like that...

    Starting off the New year right....

    Oldest Grand Child, Grand Daughter, asked if I was still going to buy her a 22 LR.... YES. 15 Years Old, knows the need of weaponry.... I brought in my Orphan to let her see... KOOL!

    A great day with Grand Children


    1. To FOTH: thanks for the new chapter.


      We were having a discussion on another site earlier this week. I observed that I had never known a woman that was taught, as a child, the safe and proper handling of firearms and had a little plinking fun, who was anti gun. I believe that by and large, for every anti gun woman you find, there is a father and a grandfather somewhere that didn’t do their job.
      My oldest granddaughter is 15 and the younger 13, their father and I had them over to the pistol range last week for some handgun training, it was more fun than eatin’ worms.


  2. Philip and Mike--you have some pretty fortunate grandchildren, I would have to say, the way you guys are looking out for them. :)

    There can hardly be a more valuable or important way to spend your time than passing these lessons and skills on to the youngest generation. God bless you both.