“I am hungry,” she said; “so you must be, too. We will hunt.”
She had brought her weapons. Those of the Stone Age who would survive have their weapons always at hand.
“Come, Rahna!” she said, and started up the valley away from the village.
A man, standing in the doorway of a hut farther down the village street, saw them leave. It was Zurk, the son of Jalu the chief. When a turn in the little valley hid them from his sight, he started after them with his jalok. He was a heavy barreled man, short on his bowed legs; and he lurched from side to side a little as though one leg were shorter than the other. His face was coarse and brutal, with beetling brows overhanging close-set eyes.
O-aa and Rahna moved silently up the valley, searching for game. There was a high wind blowing from the direction of the sea, and presently the sun was obscured by black clouds. There was a flash of lightning followed by the deep roar of thunder. The wind rose to violence and rain commenced to fall. But none of these things appeased O-aa’s hunger; so she continued to hunt.
The valley turned suddenly to the right, paralleling the coast; and it became narrower. Its walls were neither high nor steep at this point; so O-aa ascended the right hand wall and came out upon a tree dotted mesa. Here there were tall grasses in which the smaller game might hide.
And Zurk followed with his jalok. O-aa’s spoor in the light mud of the new fallen rain was easy to follow. When Zurk came out upon the mesa, O-aa, who had been advancing slowly, was not far ahead. So intent was she on her search for game that Zurk closed rapidly on her without attracting her attention or that of Rahna. The wind and the rain and the rumbling thunder were all on the side of Zurk.
Zurk’s plan was made. He would shoot the girl’s jalok; then she would be at his mercy. He closed up the distance between them to make sure that he would not miss. He fitted an arrow to his bow. He made no sound, but something made O-aa look behind her at that very moment.
Her own bow was ready for the kill, for any game that she or Rahna might flush. Recognizing Zurk, seeing his bow drawn, she wheeled and loosed an arrow. Zurk’s bow string twanged simultaneously with hers, but the arrow was aimed at O-aa and not at Rahna.
Zurk missed, but O-aa’s arrow drove through the man’s shoulder. Then O-aa turned and fled. Zurk knew that on his short bowed legs he could not overtake her. He spoke sharply to his jalok and pointed at the fleeing girl. “Rah!” he snapped. Rah means kill.
The powerful, savage brute bounded in pursuit.