The group of them had stayed in a nearby cave for several days after following the big ones to the special place. The rock near the river was similar to what they had found by the sea and digging out the cave was easy for the group. They spent the days soaking up the life-giving energy in the area.

It was late in the day when it came crawling out of the water, differently than the others they had seen. It made a loud noise which they had not heard before The big loud one then moved away from the water to the cave across the sand.

The group was trapped in the cave, and old one made the warning noise as the broken one approached. The group quickly ducked down into hiding position. Together, they felt fear rising as the broken one crawled into the cave. They had never seen one of the fleshy ones so close before! He looked at his lower appendage, touching it carefully and making a sudden noise. The broken one then looked around for a while, before lying flat seeming to rest.

The fast one overcame his fear first, feeling restless as always. He moved slowly toward the mouth of the cave, seeing if the broken one would stir. He moved along the wall, careful not to touch the broken one, and then slipped outside. The rest remained where they were, watching the newcomer for any reaction. After a while they started to move toward each other. The small one made the warning noise, and the hungry one agreed.

They all froze when the broken one started moving and making strange noises. The group dropped into their hiding postures, fearing that the stranger would see them. Sitting up and looking around quickly, he seemed to be searching for something. He might have noticed them! They worried about the fast one, who had gone outside but not returned yet. What if he returned while the broken one was awake and moving around? The broken one then moved out of the cave and into the evening’s sunlight.

The fast one saw the strange one come out of the cave and decided to huddle down into a hiding position. The broken one went to the river to take some water and do something completely inexplicable. After finding some plants and putting them into his head, the broken one then stood tall against a nearby rock and looked at something in the distance.

Picking himself up and moving slowly, the fast one showed amazing restraint and crept toward the broken one. The broken one stopped moving and glanced over toward the fast one. Again, the fast one huddled into a hiding position and waited for the broken one to ignore him.

But, he didn’t. The broken one moved quickly away from the fast one and bumped into a pile of ordinary rocks. He then pushed off and landed in a heap on the sandy area near the water. The broken one made a loud noise as his lower appendage hit the ground.

Taking a risk, the fast one started moving cautiously toward the broken one. The broken one turned on his side to face the fast one’s approach, and had his arms up in the air, reaching toward the fast one. The fast one was confused about what the broken one was trying to communicate, so he moved slowly forward and made the soothing sound. From the cave behind the broken one, the hungry one was repeating the soothing sound. The fast one then got within range of the figure on the ground and waited.

The broken one reached out a hand to touch the fast one. Calming his fear, he let the broken one touch him, feel the delicate warmth of flesh against his rough exterior. The fast one reached out his arm to touch the end of the broken one’s arm and notice the gentle hand at the end. The fast one considered his crude fingers for a moment, looking at the differences.

Leaving the cave, the small one took in the sight of the two near the broken one. He made the warning sound, but they were watching the newcomer too closely to notice. After a while, even the small one became entranced with the stranger as well and watched him interact with the fast one.

The hungry one went to the cave and grabbed one of the pieces of wood it had been eating earlier in the day. The hungry one dropped the bit of wood near the broken one as an offering. The broken one picked it up, looked it over, then put it down. The small one also went back into the cave to gather some of the mushrooms he had been eating earlier in the day, and took them over to the broken one. Once again he picked them up and then put the mushrooms in his head. He made quiet noises and seemed to relax a bit.

The fast one made the appreciative noise, and the others joined in. The hard one made the warning noise, then the negative noise. All agreed that the broken one was no threat to the group so far. The hungry one even reached out an arm to try to touch the broken one, but drew back at the last moment.

The fast one then made the beckoning sound and they all gathered around the fast one holding up an arm. After a few moments, he formed the end of his arm into something resembling the hand of the broken one. The hungry one made an appreciative sound as the rest examined it closely.

The small one then made the quieting noise. They all listened and heard something in the distance making a repeated sound. It was another of the broken one’s type! The hard one made the warning noise and the small one made the agreement noise. Only the fast one kept his attention on the broken one, who seemed to be listening for the sound as well. The hard one was already moving away, making the beckoning noise to lead the others away. The old one, who didn’t care get too close to the broken one, got up from his hiding place and followed the hard one as he went along the water’s edge. The others decided to follow, leaving their cave and the broken one behind.

The last of the sun’s light faded away, leaving only the moon to light their way. They decided to stop for the night, huddling between some stones to get some rest. The fast one didn’t feel much like sleeping, he used his new hand to pick up small rocks and plants in the area.

In the morning, the group got together. The fast one held up his hand and showed off the second hand he had made in the night. Making the appreciation noise, he showed the others how he could pick up small things easily and manipulate them.

The old one made the positive noise and held out his arms. He shaped the crude ends into hands just as the fast one had done. Then the others concentrated on their arms and did the same thing. They spent the rest of the day testing the use of their new hands.


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