Born to be Wild

This is a story about running, wolves and yellow fever. Lots and lots of yellow fever. “Phew,” I said just as my sister had recovered before immediately getting stung myself. And mum said we had to move even after I recovered so I had to leave my basket, and then sis got the fever again and so yes, life in the wild was fairly desperate. My name was Jasmin Star of the second generation, a little, cute, somewhat annoying for her family, blond headed girl. My mother had the unlucky combination of wanting a good camp and not being lucky enough to find one. She died of a boar… but more on that later. I was born in the wilderness and spent my early years running around searching for a place to camp with my mum as she had children on the fly. Soon our dream team grew to a sizeable number. I had a sister, mentioned above, and a few brothers. But one day I found myself watching my mother bleed to death amongst the bones of my siblings and I thought “Well this is it. Enough is enough, we’re staying here.” And of all the people to survive was my faithful brother Dez. Ah, yes, Dez. He was good at working and liked to work hard while I was busily raising the kids. “Look at our new home” I told my firstborn as he looked around our basic, freezing camp. He didn’t agree with our lifestyle choices and promptly died in my arms. As did the next two. “Look, do you want to stay or go?” I asked my next child eventually, a sweet kid called Emily, “because we’re running out of voters.” Unlike her sublings, Emily thought that sticking around would be a good idea. Dez thought differently, preferring to gather up some tools in a basket and leg it before we got boared by some boars like our unfortunate mum. “We can’t,” I explained, for Emily refused to leave. She sat in our excuse for a camp and wouldn’t budge when I tried to pick her up, always returning to our original spot. “I guess we have to stay,” I admitted one year while picking berries with my bro; right before walking over Emily’s freshly starved bones on the floor. We looked at that dry pile for a second. “All right, let’s go,” someone said, and so once again the Star family ran. Through the jungles and the swamps. No luck here, or there, nothing. Yellow fever routine. More running. (“Dig those burdock roots, would you?”). And then suddenly I called out for Dez to stop. He was far ahead of me and needed to come back so I could tell him that I had seen a banana tree. And if this wasn’t cool enough, it was a partially picked banana tree. Players! I thought; about time. I think we both thought that. I was verging on thirty and had yet to have another child since Emily. Better yet, my bro had found a fertile biome only a little way north. We hurried onwards and quickly came across more and more signs of human involvement. How come players need to be so destructive? Although to us it didn’t look like destruction. No natural landscape could have had half the same beauty then as one of those partially exploited soil pits. And before very long we had discovered success. A city! Wait no, a village? We couldn’t tell. There was an iron shovel, sheep, compost… but no carrot farm or sheep pen. The domesticated critters had migrated north and for some reason or another had decided to stay there. It appeared we were in a village post-griefer-apocalypse. The berry farm was patchy and someone must have let those sheep loose. Tut tut, I thought. Wow I was getting old. This fact hit me like the train we might never get to engineer. I only had a little while left to pop out a child before it would be too late. I fought to get as nutritious and warm as possible so that when I finally gave birth for the last time it was with great relief that it was a girl. “Look,” I shouted to Dez at the kiln we’d just finished, “a niece!” He nodded happily, before noticing a wild wolf edging slowly towards him and we all backed away slowly. We had a pest problem. While he made a bow I was busy cooking some mutton in a makeshift bakery from the few butchered sheep that there still were. When I saw Dez again he was standing there with a shot bow looking thoroughly unannoyed for the first time in his life. “Killed it.” Was his happy explanation. I found the skin and, with a gleefulness you wouldn’t expect from butchering an innocent animal, I skined it and make a rugged hat. “Here, my daughter,” I said to my kid when I next saw her, “I now annoint thee head of the tribe. Pass on this here hat as a symbol of leadership.” And so she put on the hat, yelled “Thanks” and ran off.
“Youngsters these days,” I muttered.
And soon there would be a lot more of those running around. My excellent daughter rekindled the lineage all on her own. “Found some iron!” I heard my little bro exclaim from far away as I came into my twilight years. I thanked them all for all their hard work, and (mostly) not dying. They thanked me in return and I spent my last few years of life sweetly clubbing a few seals to death and bringing back their coats for my grandchildren to wear proudly. Youngsters indeed! But they were good youngsters for all that, wishing me the best of luck just as I saw the light of the world fade away.

And it all goes to show. Don’t assume that simply because you’re born early in a town’s development, you won’t be able to have a fun life. By generation four our town was coming into the Iron Age and preparing to make compost, with enough food to keep us healthy for generations to come besides, all through the work of one surviving brother and sister who kept the family going despite all adversities. I’ll admit that most of this was due to luck. I’m sure that my daughter might have been killed by the wolf if there hadn’t been a sick lamb standing next to her and blocking the animal’s movement. But that all ultimately serves to make it all the more rewarding when a town survives and, hopefully, thrives.
We can only hope I guess.


Great story!

1 Like