The group had been on the move for a long time. The fast one had lead them for a while with the small one trying to find a good site for a cave, but the old one always wanted to keep moving. He often made the warning sound when they stopped even though no danger was apparent to the others.

At last, they came to a large forest. The trees loomed overhead, the last leaves of the season clinging to the almost bare branches. The small one backed away as the others entered the forest. He made the negative sound, then made an unusual sound.

The old one moved over and put his hand gently on the small one. He made the comforting sound, and pointed to the forest. The small one slowly moved forward, staying within the protective aura of the old one. The hard one followed behind the two, lending his solid presence to the small one’s courage. The small one stepped within the line of the trees and after a few moments moved slowly forward.

Already the ground was covered with dull leaves fallen from the trees. The hungry one scooped up a handful of leaves and munched on them. Every once in a while a hand went down and grabbed a few more to eat. The small one timidly picked up a leaf and tried it. He dropped it after eating only half of it.

The fast one made the warning noise, catching everyone’s attention. The group stopped and fell silent, watching the fast one for any information. The fast one pointed at a clump of bushes in a clearing ahead and motioned for the rest to say there as he moved into the clearing. He crept forward, careful to make hardly any noise.

A flash of white came from the bushes and crashed into the fast one, knocking him to the ground. Over him towered an animal that looked different than any the group had seen before. It like one of the wolves they had seen, but it was much larger with longer, thicker legs. The fast one threw the attacker back with one arm and stood up. Two other animals came from behind the bush to stand next to the white one on the ground. The rest of the group rushed forward to stand next to the fast one, watching the opposing group carefully.

Suddenly, a small cat head popped out from behind the brush. It made a noise at the group then looked at them. The small one broke ranks and moved toward the small cat, making the comforting noise. One of the other large cats jumped forward, landing between the small one and the bush. It brandished its claws as the small one made the warning noise and moved away quickly. The animals advanced on the group, moving behind the hard one who blocked the path.

The cat animal that threatened the small one made a fierce noise at the hard one. It stepped forward and swipes at the hard one, connecting claws to hard stone. The animal gave a shout and moved back behind the others, holding its claws tenderly. The two groups stared at each other for a long time, neither moving. The group simply sat down and watched the animals as the sun travels down toward the horizon.

In the gloom, two other animals came into the clearing carrying large chunks of meat. The three animals looked away for a moment, then make soft noises to one another. They backed away as a group to join the others while casting sideways glances at the group. The group watched as many other animals come out of hiding and into the clearing, including many small ones, all tearing into the meat and eating.

The hungry one made the hungry noise, much to the amusement of the rest of the group. The hungry one gave the beckoning noise and moved ever closer to the meat.

One of the cat animals made a fierce noise and stares down the hungry one, who stopped where he was. He pointed at the meat, making the hungry noise again. The animals looked at him and made noises at each other, then looked back at the hungry one. Finally, one of them tore off a chunk of meat and threw it on the ground near the hungry one. Scooping it up, the hungry one nibbled on the chunk of meat. He made the positive noise and consumed it entirely.

The animals continued to throw more chunks of the meat at the group, and all of them tried a bit. Even the timid small one found the meat to be very pleasing. But, the whole group stopped eating when they hear something they never would have expected: one of the large animals making the hungry noise!

The group stared at the large white one, the same that tackled the fast one earlier in the day. The white one looked at the other animals, then made the sound again while pointing at the meat. The old one made the positive noise, and all agreed.

The day’s light faded and fatigue overcame all. The fast one made the tired noise, and none of the group objected. They decided to sit down into resting positions near the brush in the clearing, preparing to sleep for the night. A few curious small ones went over and made happy noises near the group. The small one was surprised when one of the small cat ones flopped down next to him and curled up into a small, furry ball. Reaching out a careful hand to stroke it, the small one made the pleased noise quietly to himself.


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