The Thunka Grunka clan had never been so frightened.
The storm had started the afternoon before, a clash of angry bull-mammoth fighting in the sky, but it had not seemed out of the ordinary. But the thunder did not stop. The light kept flashing. It went on, and on. Through the night. They’d never experienced such a storm. At least dawn was finally approaching.
It was the thunder, the terrible noise that sounded as though the mountains were falling on them, which terrified them so, but Thag knew that wasn’t the only danger.
He looked around the cave in the predawn gloom. The body of Nooka, one of their youngest had not been moved, and neither had her mother, Mrooga — everyone was afraid to go near them. The child had fallen dead, mysteriously, when she approached the wall of the cavern, and Mrooga had fallen when she went to get her child.
He wondered if they would continue to stay in the cavern after the tragedy.
Their shaman, Weasel-Scratch-Face-Brother, said that Nooka had angered the Sky Mother, and that was why she was killed. Thag thought the medicine man was an asshole: he had no idea why Nooka died. Nor her mother.
The copious hair on his arms stood on end again, and another crash shattered the air around them. His mate, Onga, moaned in a fitful sleep and held onto him even tighter. He hugged her back; surely the storm would end soon?
At that moment, there seemed to be only two certainties: that despite everything, he loved Onga desperately, and that for all their wisdom and traditions, they were completely at the mercy of Mother Nature.