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Part Twenty-Six - Football

Daylight brought nothing new. Bohen was the first to awake, Tom the last. Tom finished the last of the bunny, so that only bones remained. He said very little as he had nearly no rest. He slept most of the night, but it was filled with nightmares.

“Well,” Chaphar said seeing that Tom had finished his food. “We have a long way to go. I suggest we get moving.”

“Ah, good,” Bohen said standing up. “I don’t think I’ve ever sat in one place for this long before. My legs feel the need to run.”

“I think that is just what we have to do to get where we’re going,” Shehleg said groaning a little. “Even if I don’t feel like it anymore.”

Chaphar thought a moment. “Tom, would you mind riding me so Shehleg can have a break?”

“No, he most certainly is not riding you,” Shehleg blurted. “He is the only reason I am still willing to run. With him on my back, his touch is a constant reminder.”

“Tom, forget I said anything,” Chaphar added.

“Yet another inconceivable thing,” Bohen said.

“What?” Chaphar asked.

“Fighting over who gets to carry someone,” Bohen answered. “In my opinion the answer is simple. ‘Not me.’ ”

“Bohen, you would not make a very good horse,” Chaphar said smiling.

“Why would I need to be?” Bohen asked. “I’m not a horse, far from it.”

“You don’t,” Shehleg answered for Chaphar. “But you do feel a kind of joy knowing you are helping another.”

“You two are becoming irritating,” Bohen said taking a few steps in the direction they would be heading. “Let’s get moving.”

Tom was smiling as he hopped onto Shehleg’s back. His night may have been bad, but it was a fun argument to watch. His day was a little bit brighter. The group began their trip again. Bohen, even at less than half the size of the horses, kept pace with them.

After about fifteen minutes, Bohen stopped and yelled, “End of my scout zone, have a good rest of your travel.”

Tom was relieved in a way to see the last of Bohen. He started to watch the foliage zip by, trying hard to keep his mind off of his dreams and the reason behind them. After only a minute or two of this, two Raptors appeared in their path.

Chaphar and Shehleg skid to a stop. The raptors seemed to have the intention of stopping them. Chaphar was about to ask them a question, when Tom noticed something flying at him from the left. Before he could even look, he was flung off of Shehleg’s back and onto the ground.

He rolled onto his back. As he did, a clawed foot landed on his chest. The big toe gave it away instantly. He looked up into the eyes of the attacking raptor wondering what he did wrong. Why had he upset these creatures?

The big toe lifted up, ready to thrust its protruding claw into his heart. Tom heard Chaphar neigh and saw two hooves rear up over the raptor. The raptor lifted its head a few inches, smiled and yelled, “Surprise!”

Tom knew the voice. “Bohen?”

“I’ve always wanted to do that,” Bohen answered stepping off his chest. Chaphar dropped his feet to the ground again.

“Do what?” Tom asked still looking up at Bohen.

“Tackle a rider off his horse of course,” Bohen said smiling wide. His smile looked a lot like baring his teeth, but wasn’t as threatening.

The other two raptors were laughing. “I don’t think it’s funny,” Tom said rising to his elbows. “I thought I did something to anger you and I didn’t know what I did. I thought I was going to die.”

“Probably true,” Bohen answered. “I just remembered what Chaphar said about this being your only chance to see one of us. It made me think that this might be my only chance to do what I just did.”

“Well, you should apologize,” Shehleg said.

“That is also probably true,” Bohen said again. “I am sorry for the scare, but it was fun nonetheless.”

“You know what else might be fun?” Tom asked.

“What? Next time I have the chance I might try it,” Bohen said excited, he leaned in close to Tom to catch every word.

“Not on us if you please,” Chaphar said snorting.

“No, I promise not on you,” Bohen answered. “Now what is it?”

Tom smiled, jumped up and tackled Bohen to the ground. “That!” Tom yelled smiling wide.

Bohen was shocked at the sudden attack. His scout mates were also, as their laughs halted. “You know,” Bohen said beginning to smile again. “That was fun! I’ve never been tackled before.”

“You’re not serious!” one of the other raptors said. “That was fun?”

“Oh yes, quite serious,” Bohen answered laughing.

“Me next,” the other one said.

“No me next,” the third one said stepping forward.

Tom stood up; this was going to be fun! Within minutes they had their own version of football going, but without the football. At one point a raptor tackled Chaphar, but he said, “No thanks, we horses get hurt too easily.”

The game lasted about twenty minutes. Tom collected a few scratches from the sharp claws, but they were minor. The raptors were very careful with their weapons, but when you’re having fun, accidents happen.

“Thanks a million claws for the new game Tom,” Bohen said bowing. “But, we’ve been away from our scouting for way too long. We must be off.”

“Yeah thank you,” another raptor said bowing. The third just bowed.

“If you’re ever in the area again, call for Bohen and his scouts and we’ll be there,” Bohen said running into the brush. The other raptors followed.

“Tom, you are amazing!” Shehleg said. “Everywhere we go you make friends. It’s as if you have a part of you which everyone can relate to.”

“I agree,” Chaphar added. “Are you sure you’ve never been here except for the two times I saw you?”

“Nope, never,” Tom said jumping aboard Shehleg again.

“Hmm, weird,” Chaphar said leading the way into a gallop.

Copyright © 2010 C. L. Richardson, All Rights Reserved; "Untamed Picture" © Nathanael Eisner