The massive Alpha male Sasquatch was fascinated.
He had heard of the pale Hairless Ones sometimes seen in the mountains he called home but thought them to be dreams, ghosts or mistaken identity.
Yet here was one right in front of him, complete with the strange skins it wore wandering around the mountains.
He watched it for hours, unable to pull his attention away from this strange curiosity. The creature seemed to be completely unaware of his presence as it wandered about. It seemed to be looking for something but whatever it was it was not food for it walked right past the juicy sweet roots that grew everywhere this time of year.
On its back the Hairless One carried a large sack of some kind. The sack intrigued the Sasquatch almost as much as the Hairless One itself. Why cart about such a thing? No wonder it moved so slowly… burdened as it was with so much stuff.
He wondered at how it managed to survive in the world.
It was puny and defenceless, unaware of its surroundings and vulnerable to any grizzly or lion that may be about. Once it had passed so close to him in the brush he was able to reach out a curious finger and feel the texture of its skins as it passed. It seemed completely blind to his presence, absently brushing at where his finger had touched but otherwise ignoring his presence.
The sun began to sink towards the west and finally it ceased its endless wandering.
It made a nest of brush between two trees against a cliff and rigged a pole to hang its sack upon. Then it spent some time gathering large, flat rocks and built a fire.
Pulling some items out of the pack it heated some food over the fire, making the Sasquatch’s stomach grumble with hunger as the aroma drifted through the trees.
The smell as well as the darkening shadows drew the giant Alpha Sasquatch closer in towards the camp. It was night and he should be hunting meat for his troop, but he could not be drawn away from this strange sight.
The Hairless One fussed about with small things, then eventually unrolled a long skin that somehow did not look like it had come off any animal, lay it on the nest of brush and crawled into it.
Before long there was the distinct sound of snoring coming from the creature and the Sasquatch came in even closer to investigate.
He knew of the Hairless Ones of course. His father had told of seeing them when he was young, venturing into the mountains from time to time to hunt with their curved branches that threw sharpened sticks. But they were rare, even when his father had been young... though the stories told of days long ago when they had been many and had even sometimes traded with the Clans in the mountains. But the ones in the stories had been dark skinned, almost like a Sasquatch, but with a deep tint of red to them. This one did not match the descriptions… It was pale, like a ghost.
A wondrous smell came from the metal thing it had earlier held over the fire. Picking it up the Sasquatch sniffed, then licked at it. The sensation was strange on his tongue and made him hungry. He inspected the variety of things that lay about, but nothing seemed edible so eventually giving up, he left.
He needed to hunt.
The next night he passed the Hairless One’s camp and saw that the creature was still there.
Watching its flickering fire from the shadows under the trees he took note of the sack it had hung on a pole stuck into the cliff. The food he could smell cooking had come out of it. Maybe there was food inside?
Waiting for the Hairless One to once again crawl into its strange nest, the Sasquatch grew impatient. He should be hunting, not hanging around for this Hairless One to go to sleep.
Finally, when he was about to give up and go hunting, it crawled into its nest and was soon snoring.
He crept closer, keeping an eye on the nest in case it woke. He had seen the strange, long stick it carried. The Sasquatch had heard of such things and had even from a distance heard the thunderous crashes they made. He had noted how the Hairless One kept it close, even when in its nest. This night it even took with it into the bag it slept in the strange things it wore on its feet… perhaps it had noticed its belongings had been investigated the previous night?
Silently he opened up the hanging sack and peered inside. There were lots of shiny cylindrical things inside, he pulled one out and inspected it closely. It swished as he shook it. There was something inside… was it food? If so he could not work out how to get it out so he tossed it aside.
Upending the sack caused more shiny things to fall onto the ground, making him flinch at the noise. But the Hairless One snored on, oblivious. Then he noticed something else had fallen out… a bag of something that smelled deliciously sweet.
Inside was strange, wrinkled fruit that delighted his tongue. His troop would love this. Turning to go he looked again at where the Hairless One slept, a slight snoring sound coming from the strange bag it was in.
It had not stirred once during his investigations.
As quietly as he came, the Alpha Sasquatch left the camp and headed up into the mountains towards its troop. He could not wait to see the looks on his mate’s face when he again told her of this strange creature and its strange things. That morning, when he had come back to the nesting area excited with his tale she had looked at him with suspicion. This time he had something to bring her.
The following night the Alpha Sasquatch was astonished to see the Hairless One was still there… in the exact same spot.
He wished he had been able to talk his mate into coming with him but she had been more interested in gathering roots from the mountainside for their two young ones. Despite what he had brought her she had been surprisingly uninterested in his account of the previous night’s adventures, even treating the sweet shrivelled fruits with distrust. Not so his son and daughter. They had wolfed down every one and asked for more.
He thought of them now as he watched the Hairless One go about its business around its small camp. Maybe he could bring them more treats from the sack it hung on the pole?
As it once again crawled inside the strange bag it slept in the Sasquatch noticed that this time it took with it not only its foot coverings but also the black weapon it carried.
The Sasquatch considered his next move.
If he found more things to bring his mate she would still likely not believe him.
What if he took the whole sack?
Even better, what if he took the sack and the Hairless One as well? She would be forced to believe him then.
Making a quick decision he crept silently over to its nest and peered down at its sleeping face, just visible through a hole in the top of the bag. Grabbing the end he lifted it high above the ground, making the creature slide further down inside. It grunted but he ignored it and twisted closed the opening where its head had been sticking out. Then he heaved the entire thing across his shoulders, picked its sack off the pole and started off, back into the mountains towards where his troop had nested in a small box canyon.
The Hairless One combined with its sack was heavier than any deer so it took some time to get back but the look on his mate’s and children’s faces was worth it when he walked in with his prize slung over his shoulder.
Their wide eyes got even wider when he emptied the Hairless One out of its bag onto the ground.
It groaned and moaned, rubbing it legs and feet as it peered all about with its strange, white eyes. His troop chattered to each other excitedly and the Alpha Sasquatch realised from the way it strained its eyes that it could not see them around it in the night’s darkness.
But then the sky began to lighten over the eastern ridge and it could finally see them. Its eyes grew wide and scared, its knuckles white where it gripped its weapon, which shook as if the Hairless One had a fever.
Nervously it looked all around, as if seeking a way to escape. A light rain was falling, small droplets catching in the hair on its pale, grey face. It spoke some sounds to them, obviously a question… but with no way to understand what it asked they ignored it.
His mate was not excited like the Alpha Sasquatch had hoped. Instead she was angry, telling him to take it away, back to wherever he had found it. He argued with her, waving his arms in frustration. He had brought this amazing creature all the way through the mountains to them and now she wanted him to take it back?
With an annoyed huff of dismissal she gave up arguing with him and they all moved away a little to give the Hairless One some space. It calmed down and stopped shaking so badly. Then it began to pat itself down, checking for the many bits and pieces it carried about everywhere in pockets on its skins.
Keeping an eye on it, the Alpha Sasquatch positioned himself near the entrance to the canyon. Despite his mate’s misgivings he was not about to allow it to escape. What if he let it go and it came back with others of its kind?
They would then have to flee and this spot was one of his favourites, close to good water with plenty of game and edible roots, berries and plants close by. Maybe his mate was right? Maybe he had made a mistake in bringing it here? He pondered his options, noticing how his two children kept watch over it from the safety of some bushes. At almost 11 winters his son was nearing the age where he would soon start exploring the mountains on his own. It would be good for him to learn as much as he could from this creature before he ventured off. At only six winters his daughter was no less fascinated but much more wary, making sure to always stay a few leaps further away from it than her brother.
Gathering its things the Hairless One limped off to a pair of small trees against the western wall. There it upended its bag and sorted through its stuff, taking stock of what it had and setting up a new nest.
After a while of fussing around it left its stuff and moved off, exploring the upper end of the small box canyon. The Alpha let it go. There was no way out and perhaps it was thirsty. A small spring was up there against the cliff. It fed the canyon and kept it green and lush. The Hairless One soon came back, carrying one of its shiny tins filled with water. His son had taken the opportunity to look over the things it had left behind, but ran off as it approached.
But he did not go far, his curiosity keeping him in unobstructed view of everything the Hairless One did. In fact he moved even closer as it opened up one of the shiny round things and ate from it.
The Hairless One noted his son’s curiosity and picked up a small, round box. It opened it, inspected it contents, then closed it again and rolled it across the ground towards his son. The boy leapt to his feet and snatched it up, trotting over to his sister to show off the prize.
For a long time both played with it, opening and closing the box over and over again.
Eventually his son brought the thing over to his father to demonstrate how it worked. The Alpha smiled at his son’s curiosity and was proud how he had quickly learnt to open the strange thing. Although empty it smelled very strongly of sweetness and spice which instantly triggered his mouth to begin salivating.
The Hairless One settled into its own routine at its camp against the eastern wall and night soon fell. With a light cloud cover and no moon the Alpha sensed in its night blindness it would not try to escape and took the opportunity to go hunting. His thinking was for once correct for when he returned it was sound asleep in its bag.
As the sun rose it got active again and began rolling up its bag and packing its stuff.
Its intention to leave was obvious and it soon made its way down towards the entrance. The Alpha was tempted to let it leave but the worry it would bring others back was too strong. As it approached, holding its weapon high he jumped up and held his arms out in what he hoped was an obvious gesture to go back. Although he knew it did not understand him he added sounds to his gestures, telling it it could not leave. The sounds or the gestures worked for the Hairless One hesitated, lifting its weapon as if to use it… but then wisely deciding not to and retreating to its place against the western wall.
The next few days passed without incident.
The life of the troop went on as usual. For the most part his mate ignored the Hairless One, pretending it was not even there. She went out to forage for grasses and spruce for new bedding, returning with some tasty ground nuts she had found. His son on the other hand remained fascinated, even sharing with the creature some sweet roots he brought back from one of his expeditions up the steep mountainside above the canyon.
In trade for the roots the Hairless One gave his son another one of the small round boxes it occasionally took a bit from to stick under its lip. His son tasted it and brought it right over to his father, who sniffed at it. It smelled so nice, the aroma making his head spin with delight. He licked it clean, there was only a tiny bit left of whatever had been in it but it was wondrous in the sensations that filled his mouth and somehow even filled his head. He and his son chattered excitedly about it. He knew the Hairless One probably had more and wanted to go and take it from him but his son objected. Maybe it would give them some. It seemed friendly enough.
No creature had the patience of a Sasquatch so the Alpha contented himself with watching and waiting.
Besides the sweet roots his son had given it the Hairless One only ate from the shiny things it kept in its sack. Once emptied of food it would then fashion the things into containers with handles made from sticks. One it gave to his son, who immediately brought it over to the Alpha to show it off. The Alpha dismissed it as yet another useless thing but his son protested, claiming it could be useful for carrying things in.
The Alpha shook his head. What did they need to carry? If you needed a drink you went to the spring and drank your fill there. Why carry the water around to drink elsewhere?
Not convinced, his son went back to the Hairless One and used his hands to point to his sister, asking it to make her one too. The Hairless One obliged, dipping it into water and drinking from it before handing it over. Then it opened another small tin, took something from it, placed it under its lip and made satisfied smacking sounds.
The boy stared at the new tin and asked for it, pointing to the Alpha and suggesting his father would like some too. But the Hairless One would not hand it over, instead waving for the Alpha to come closer. Something about its movements made the Alpha suspicious of its intent and he ignored its motions. Suddenly distrustful as well, his son took the container it had made to his sister and they all ignored the Hairless One for the rest of the day.
A few more days passed without incident. His son spent most of his time observing the Hairless One at its camp, getting closer and closer with each passing day.
Then one morning it made a fire.
Sasquatch knew of fire and avoided it. The flames were dangerous to their long, shaggy hair which was naturally oily and highly flammable.
It placed one of its strange black containers filled with water on the flames and soon the water was bubbling from the heat. It had dropped in some stuff which was putting off a strong aroma. Curiosity from the wondrous aroma drew both the Alpha and his son in closer to observe.
The Hairless One was slathering a pale looking paste over some if its food and smacking its lips in obvious enjoyment as it ate, occasionally sipping from the black, strong smelling brew it had boiled up. Then it put down the can holding the brew and picked up another one of those strange round tins that smelt so intriguing.
The Alpha’s eyes widened. He knew it must have had more. He watched intently as it stuck some of the contents under its bottom lip, smiling with delight. This tin was nearly full! Before it could close it again the Alpha reached out a hand, requesting some.
The Hairless One smiled again, holding the tin high for him to take it. The Alpha noticed slyness in the smile but his desire for the contents of the tin overwhelmed his caution… after all the Hairless One was taking it?
He grabbed the entire tin and emptied it into his mouth, swallowing the contents whole. The tastes and sensations that flooded his mouth was unlike anything he had ever experienced! He licked the tin clean. Quickly the sensations moved from his mouth into his head and his vision began to swirl.
His teeth felt strange and his mouth suddenly painfully dry. His tongue so devoid of moisture it stuck to the sides and roof of his mouth. The world around him danced and swirled like a raging river and he noticed the container the Hairless One had boiled the water in. Sweeping it up in one hand he quickly drank it down, but it was bitter and somehow left his mouth even drier!
He dropped to the ground into a ball, holding his swirling head between his knees, his temples suddenly throbbing in severe pain that made him squeal like a baby. He rolled about on the ground, trying to squeeze away the dizziness from his head. He desperately needed water and crawled off towards the spring.
In shock at how his father was reacting, his son raced over to his mother who screamed in rage at the now fleeing Hairless One. She started after it but it turned and fired its weapon towards her, something striking the rock near her face as she ran. She skidded to a stop as the thunderclap of its roar echoed through the canyon. Before it could fire it again she turned and ran back towards her mate who was now lying prone, gulping in huge mouthfuls of water from the spring.
Her children were there, confused as to what to do. Her mate was obviously extremely sick and totally incapacitated. Furious rage filled her son’s eyes and he made off to run down the Hairless One. It would pay with its life for doing this to his father. She had to leap to stop him, struggling to hold him back with her barely superior strength.
She looked deep into his eyes, her own anger swiftly fading to be replaced with concern and sadness for her mate. Let it go. By the time the Hairless One returned with others of its kind… if it dared… they would be long gone. She just hoped her mate would survive and quickly recover from its poison so they could travel.
His eyes still burning, the young Sasquatch stopped pushing against his mother and looked down at where his father lay, groaning and vomiting. His forced down his rage til it faded to a low burn. He would never forget this treachery.