A Pet For Akan
The tribe was on the move. Winter had come to the desert. The elves set up a temporary camp while the hunters went to find fresh meat. Akan and Sasha were not really interested in the affairs of the tribe. They were off to one side of the encampment, playing. Close by, Ame was helping Vindra put finishing touches on some new clothes.
Between the two children, Kitty was walking with Kabu flopped precariously on his back. "Look," Akan squealed. "It's Uncle Kumo and Mizzy!"
Kabu tumbled to the ground. "Kumo, fall down and go boom," Sasha laughed. She picked up the ragged doll and dusted him off. She handed the toy back to Akan. He took the doll and watched as Sasha cuddled on Kitty. Sasha noticed him watching. "You need bond beast . . . not just Kabu."
"I love Kabu . . . he was present from Daddy." Akan tucked Kabu inside a small pouch he wore around his waist.
"I know . . . I know . . . but you need somfin like Kitty. You no heart talk to Kabu like me can wif Kitty."
"But my Mommy say I can't . . . she say I not ready."
Sasha nodded her head thoughtfully. "Still no fair! Jardan have free and you have no one. Maybe . . . you Mommy let you have pet!"
"It's like Kitty but no heart talk . . . just friend."
"I like . . . I want pet!" Akan yelled. "How you get pet?"
"We find you one,"Sasha said, standing.
The two children looked over at Ame. She had her back to them as she listened to something Vindra was saying. Laughing the twosome ducked behind a tent and out of sight. "Where we look?" Akan asked.
"Let's go for walk,"Sasha suggested. "Maybe, we find a pet in sand."
Akan thought for a moment. "Yeah, we can do that. We not go far."
So the two children joined hands and walked out into the desert, with Kitty on their heels. They had not gone far when Akan tugged on Sasha hand stopping her. "Wait, I saw somfin'." He bent down and studied the sand at his feet.
Sasha squatted down beside him. "What? I see just sand."
Just then Akan's hand shot down and scooped up a handful of soil. "Got it!"
"Got what?" Sasha demanded. "You got sand . . . sand no pet!"
"No sand, silly . . . this!" Akan opened his hand. Resting inside was a small hood spider.
Sasha reached down and touched the top of the insect. "It furry like Kitty."
The small spider began to crawl around Akan's hand. "He tickles,"the child laughed. He set the insect down and watched as it quickly buried itself beneath the sand.
"You let him go!" Sasha cried.
"Mommy hate spiders . . . she squish it."
"Okay, no spider for pet." Sasha agreed. "Let's keep lookin'."
The next critter to catch their attention was a small rock rattler. The two children watched it from a distance. "What you fink?" Sasha asked.
"Snake bad . . . I no touch it!"Akan told her.
"Okay, no spider, no snake."
They went a little further and Akan looked over his shoulder. "I still see tents . . . we okay."
"Hey, what about dat?!?"
Akan looked to where Sasha was pointing. In the distance he could see a lone striped deer. "Come, let's see if he wants to be pet!"
The children raced up the dune toward the feeding animal. As they neared, the deer's head shot up and a second later it ran off. "Come on, hurry!" Akan tugged on Sasha's hand. By the time they reached the top of the hill the deer was already far away. Akan groaned. "No deer . . . too fast!"
"Dat's okay . . . Kitty eat deer anyway!" Sasha told him. "Okay, no spider, no snake, no deer . . . how bout ravvit?" Only a couple feet from the small elves, the object in question sat cleaning its ears.
"Sh-sh . . . dis time, we be very quiet."
"Like da hunters,"Sasha whispered.
The children tried to be silent, but once again their prey caught sight of them and ran off. "Now what?!?" Sasha groaned. "Ravvit went bye-bye, too."
Akan pointed to the sand at his feet. "We track it . . . like my Daddy!"
Sasha looked to where he gestured. In the dirt were tracks. "We follow, to hims home,"she agreed.
The pair followed the tracks for quite some time, when the trail suddenly disappeared. "Where did tracks go?!?" Sasha demanded.
"Da wind blowed it away . . . no ravvit neifer!"
"No spider, no snake, no deer, no ravvit . . ."Sasha sighed. "No pets, no where!" She dropped to the ground. "We walk forever . . . me tired, Kitty tired too! Me fink we shud go home and find pet next day."
"Okay . . . wait!" Akan pointed. A few feet away he could see a wild cat and another creature engaged in a struggle. "Looky, dat cat fighting dat funny fing!"
"Uh-oh,"Sasha whispered. "Cat bit it hard . . . it going to die now."
Akan picked up a stone and hurled it at the cat. The rock hit the cat, causing it to drop the other animal. Growling the wild cat moved toward the elves. The small desert tiger at Sasha's feet answered the challenge with a growl of its own. The cat froze and after a moment of consideration turned tail and ran. Sasha stopped Kitty from following. The children walked over to the injured creature that laid on the sand.
"Don't touch, Sasha,"Akan instructed. "I never seen fing like dat . . . not know if it good or bad fing."
"It hurt bad,"Sasha told him. "We can no leave it like dis . . ."
"Over here, Sasha! Looky what I find!"
Sasha ran over to where Akan stood. At his feet, in a nest, was a handful of small rodent looking creatures. They were very tiny and their eyes were still closed. "Dey look like puppies, when dey just born!"
"Dat's deir Mommy,"Akan said, sadly. "She not going to be able to help dem no more."
"So . . . you help dem!" Sasha cried. "Dese can be you pets . . . you can be deir Mommy now!"
Akan knelt down and took Kabu out of his bag. Taking some of the dried grass from the nest he lined the bottom of his pouch. Then he tenderly picked up the babies and placed them inside. Standing he tucked Kabu inside his sash. "Dey're crying . . . dey want deir Mommy."
"You take good care of dem,"Sasha said, patting Akan's shoulder. "I help you too!"
"I not ever seen anyfing like dem . . . wonder what dey is?"
"I not know, maybe Sharana know . . . she know everyfing."
"Yeah, let's go ask her!" The two excited children turned to go back to camp. They only took a couple of steps. "Which way, home?" Akan asked.
Sasha looked around. "I no see tents . . . I no see footsteps of us . . . we lost!" The child started to panic. "What we do?"she cried. "I know, we call for Mommy!"
"No!" Akan yelled. "We no head talk for our Mommies. Dey find out we lost, dey going be very mad at us . . . going to yell at us!"
"Not want to be yelled at,"Sasha agreed. "Not want to be lost eifer."
"I know!" Akan cried. "I head talk to Uncle Kumo! He not yell at us . . . he like us!" The child was quiet for a moment as he sent a message to his uncle.
Sasha watched as he frowned. "What wrong?"she asked.
The young elf seemed hesitant to tell her more bad news. Then he shrugged his shoulders and whispered, "He no answer me."
Before she could reply there was a loud roar and a giant desert tiger sprung out from behind a pile of rocks. The children screamed and jumped away from the growling beast. The huge tiger sauntered closer to the terrified children until his nose brushed against Akan's face. The child closed his eyes and waited for the tiger to finish him off. A wet tongue licked his cheek.
"It's Mizzy!" Sasha cried out.
Akan opened his eyes to see his uncle standing beside Mizu. "Uncle Kumo!" Akan and Sasha ran into the opened arms of the brawny elf.
After the embrace Kumo stood up and glared down at the twosome. "Why did the two of you leave camp? You could have easily ran into a band of humans instead of me and Mizu."
"Don't be mad, Uncle Kumo . . . we not do again."
"Darn right you won't,"Kumo said, lifting the children onto the back of Mizu. "But do you mind telling me what you were doing?"
"We was looking for pet for Akan . . . we find one too . . . we find five pets!"
Akan opened his pouch and showed Kumo the babies. "Uncle Kumo, dey Mommy is over der . . . she hurt bad . . .can you . . ."
Kumo looked over at the injured animal that laid on the ground. "Yeah, kitling, that is something I can do." He unsheathed his knife on his leg. The elf did not even try to shield the children as the blade quickly ended the creature's suffering. They were DesertWinds tribe members, they knew life could sometimes be harsh.
Afterwards, as the trio made their way back to the camp, Ame's anxious sending brushed their minds. Kumo quickly calmed his mother's fears.
"You no tell?"Akan asked.
"Tell what, kitling?"
"Dat we go off by our self,"Sasha answered.
"You were never, alone."
The children were silent for a moment. "You followed us!"Akan accused.
"Of course, you didn't really think I'd let two of my favorite kitlings go on a hike alone . . . did ya?"
The newborns in Akan's pouch began to cry louder. "Uncle Kumo, what's wrong wif da babies?"
"They're probably hungry."
"What do babies eat?" Sasha asked.
"Dey need milk . . . don't dey, Uncle Kumo?"
"That's right,"Kumo answered. "Ato, just whelped . . . but she lost all but one pup. Maybe, your mother can convince her to let those rodents nurse on her."
"Dey not rats!" Akan declared. "And Ato will be der Mommy . . . I just know it!"
"We'll see, kitling, we will just have to wait and see." They were on the outskirts of the camp. Kumo helped the children off the tiger. ** One more thing, if either of you ever do this again, I will tell your mothers. Do we have an understanding? **
The small elves nodded their heads.
"Good, now I think your mothers are back. Why don't you go show Shima what you brought home."
The children laughed and raced into camp. "You coming, Uncle Kumo?" Akan yelled back.
"I wouldn't miss the look on your mother's face for nothing,"Kumo answered with a chuckle.
A few weeks later . . .
Akan's laughter caused Shima to look up from oiling her Throwback. She watched as her son dashed out of their tent. On his heels were two of the rodents he had adopted. Ato followed behind, as did her sole pup. The group ran over to where Sasha was waiting with Kitty. The small desert tiger sniffed one of the long furry rodents and knocked it over gently with his paw.
"Well, Sister, looks like Akan and his new pets have been accepted by the tribe."
Shima drew her eyes away from her son and toward her brother who sat beside her, sharpening one of his knives. "Yes, I've only had to stop two dune dogs from trying to eat the little rats."
"They are not rats. They're Snake Killers." Kumo answered, sheathing his knife. "At least they're useful. They'll keep rock rattlers and sting tails out of your tent, when they get older." He glanced over at the children. "I only see two, I thought three survived?"
"Three did,"Shima answered. She studied the creatures playing with her son. "Little Foot is missing,"she said after a moment. Just then the furry object in question appeared beside her. It paused a second and then scurried up her leg. It came to rest on her shoulder and nestled into her curls, purring. Shima sighed, "dumb rat."
Kumo laughed as he stood. "Smile, Sister, at least he didn't bring home the first pet he found."
"And what would that have been?"
"A hood spider."
Kumo was still chuckling as he walked away from his dismayed sister.
"Well, Little Foot, I guess I am glad to have you around. You and your brothers make my kitling happy and you are not a creepy eight leg." Shima thought to herself as she returned the "rat"to her son, with a smile.