The Burrow (MM)
Adama lives in a time long before recorded history, when the small population of human beings exist at one with nature. Intelligent, they still retain something of the wild animal.
The climate is tropical summer, punctuated by a short rainy season that isn’t only a time of constant heavy rain, but also when the Grim appear. These creatures are the reason humans build burrows, to hibernate in during the rainy season. But the Grim have begun to detect these underground burrows and root out their inhabitants.
When Adama meets Graf, a traveller from the north, they share a quick sexual encounter before Graf continues on his way. However, the rains have come early this year, and with the threat of the Grim, Graf turns back. They share Adama’s burrow, but even securely tucked away, there are dangers.
Who, or what, is banging on the entrance to their burrow? Will Adama and Graf survive to explore their burgeoning friendship?
“Graf!” he shouted out.
Graf glanced up to see where he was pointing. Immediately he spun around as the intruder knocked him to the ground. The bison hide fell from Graf’s shoulders and he was naked in the cool air. Blows were exchanged, and at one stage Graf had knocked the intruder to the ground. No sooner had the intruder hit the ground than Graf was on top of him, laying into him with his fists; the sound of each punch being landed echoing up to Adama where he watched, transfixed, from the comfort of the burrow.
The fight took them to the mouth of the cave and as they tumbled to the ground they rolled out of sight.
Adama’s eyes were wide. He clambered out of the burrow and along the ledge, nearly falling down the rock ladder in his hurry to see whether Graf was all right. The air was cold, but not intolerable. The fact he was running meant the chill didn’t register with him until he stopped at the small rise at the mouth of the cave.
Below, on the slope, dangerously close to the surface of the water, which now covered the grasslands completely, the brutal fight continued. Great splashes erupted as one man or the other hit the ground and landed in one of the many puddles. And while the fight itself was violent and bloody, it couldn’t compare with the horror of seeing three Grim rising slowly and silently out of the water near the men.
Adama’s whole body tensed. His eyes grew wide. As he realised what he was seeing, he opened his mouth to shout a warning, only to discover his vocal cords weren’t up to the task. He raised a hand, but alas, the men were too focused on their fight, which Graf was clearly winning. Even though he had beaten the intruder into unconsciousness, he still he didn’t stop. Both the intruder’s face and Graf’s fists were pale crimson, and small flecks of blood exploded into the rain as Graf drew his fists back, landing them again and again.
Finding his voice, Adama bellowed, “Graf! Behind you! Graf!”
Graf stopped mid-punch and glanced over his shoulder.
There were only three of them, but where there were three there could be more. They loomed over the men, water dripping from them, and long strings of algae dangling from their outstretched arms. They were leaning forward, the black gape at the bottom of their face unnaturally large, open, and ready to inhale. At barely ten paces from where Graf sat atop the intruder, they were a nightmare come to life.
Suddenly there was movement. The intruder had regained consciousness and had bucked Graf off him. But Graf was lightning fast. He spun around, landing a punch. However, the intruder appeared unbelievably resilient. He took the blow and landed one himself, hitting Graf square in the cheek.
Graf staggered backwards, towards the outstretched arms of the Grim.
“Graf!” Adama screamed.