The Ice Age never happened. Dinosaurs still roam the earth and humans weren't as up-to-date as before. The Dinosaurs are a great threat, and most humans live underground. Those who live above ground are hunters and trackers, so they know at least the basics of dealing with the beasts. Something is coming, a darkness of sorts. This darkness threatens the small population of humans, and only the best of the above-ground-humans are able to fight it off.
I felt my heart swell with pride while also feeling a twinge of sorrow at the fact that Aidan, David's father, wasn't alive to see him growing up and learning like this.
I miss you, Aidan. I let the thought cross my mind for the first time in a long while.
I had met Aidan in the Caves, where I had been living with my older brother Lucas after my parents were killed by Dinosaurs.
Lucas and his wife didn't approve of Aidan, but I loved him. So I showed them up by leaving without a good-bye and running away with Aidan to the surface, where we traveled on our own until our son David was born about a year later.
Aidan was barely able to spend a few months with our son before he was killed by a Dinosaur to protect the two of us.
Ever since then I've been taking care of David on my own, doing my very best to keep him out of danger while remaining above ground.
I've thought about returning to the Caves, but I don't even remember where the entrance was, and if I could make it there with David.
There were too many if's.
I shook myself out of my thoughts when David looked up at me curiously.
"Mommy, why do you look sad?" he asked worriedly, looking up at me with those deep blue eyes that were exactly like his father's.
I sighed and ruffled his curly black hair slightly. "Nothing, sweetie. I-"
Suddenly, I heard footsteps in the distance, coming closer and closer to the clearing David and I were in, the one that we'd managed to stay in for several weeks now without attracting much attention from Dinosaurs.
I scrambled to my feet and scooped my son up into my arms as he started to ask what was wrong.
"Shhh...David, it's going to be fine, okay honey?" I whispered as I tucked David behind a busy near the edge of the clearing. "Mommy's going to be right back, okay? Stay right here for Mommy, okay David? Don't leave until Mommy comes to get you, okay?"
David nodded even though he looked scared.
"I love you," I whispered, giving him a kiss on the top of his head before darting to the other side of the clearing snatching my pack and bow and arrow off of the ground as I went.
I hid behind a tree and waited to see what was going to enter our clearing.
After about a minute of the footsteps still coming closer to where we stood, someone stepped into the clearing.
The first thing I realized was that it was a tall man with a spear that looked very sharp.
The man had tangled and knotted black hair pulled back in a low ponytail, and he was wearing grey pants and a dirty tank top.
From my angle I couldn't see his face, but it didn't matter when I suddenly heard David whimper across the clearing.
The man seemed very cautious, holding his spear out at the ready, and he slowly turned towards where David's hiding spot was, beginning to inch towards it.
Without even thinking, I launched into action, leaping from my hiding spot and tackling the man from behind, knocking him down flat on his stomach and kicking his spear out of his hands.
"What the hell?" The man cursed, his deep voice surprised and irritated.
I crouched on his back and frantically searched his shirt and pants pockets to see if he had any other weapons.
None that I could see, but that didn't mean I believed what I saw.
I stood back up and immediately strung my bow, aiming it at the man's head as he whirled around to glare up at me.
He looked surprised at first, but then he growled, moving his hand for a weapon I would assume.
"Now who the bloody hell do you think you are?" He snapped, holding out a small knife in his right hand.
I held my bow tighter, knowing that I would kill this man if I had to to protect David, I knew that I would do anything to protect my son. "I could ask you the same question."
I narrowed my eyes at the man, seeing a flicker of surprise flash across his face for a split second. "Well, you were the one who tackled me. I didn't even know you were-"
"Mommy Mommy Mommy Mommy Mommy!"
The man broke off as David ran out of the cover of the trees, giving the man a wide berth until he ran around and clung to the back of my legs, peeking around my knee carefully and cautiously.
"Mommy," he whispered loudly, "who is that?"
I kept silent and took a few careful steps back, going slowly so that David could still hold onto my legs. "Didn't I tell you to wait for Mommy to come and get you, David?" I said levelly as I continued to aim my bow at the man, whose face had dawned to one of understanding.
"I was scared Mommy," David whispered, his little voice whimpering slightly. "I'm still scared."
The man stood up carefully, obviously not wanting to move to quickly with me still aiming an arrow at his chest. He glanced at the sky and then looked down at me, and I held up my chin defiantly, for some reason feeling the need to try and look a little taller. "Now you know who the bloody hell I know I am."
The man seemed surprised at my words, and the right corner of his mouth tugged upward slightly, as if he was mildly amused. He tucked his knife away and held his hands up in the general motion of surrender. "I'm not going to hurt either of you. I had no idea that I was walking towards your son. I didn't come in here trying to hurt anyone, I thought I was going to have to defend myself."
The guy paused and nodded to himself. "And obviously I'd have to if you get all ferocious Mamma Bear again." He chuckled to himself and I just shook my head, lowering my bow and putting it away.
I didn't trust the guy too much, however, which is why I picked David up and started walking towards the edge of the clearing without another word.
"Hey, where are you going?" The guy called after me. I felt David turn to look over my shoulder. "You got a name?"
I stopped at the very edge of the clearing and looked back over at him, hefting David onto my right hip, giving myself a little more support. Jesus, he's getting heavy. I need to teach him how to run soon, I can't always be carrying him.
I met the guy's eyes and I could see he was genuinely surprised that I was leaving.
I mean, why would he be? I don't know the guy, and he doesn't know me. For all he knows, I could kill him in his sleep.
But all the same, I decided to appease the guy. "The name's Natalia. This is David. And I was just walking this way, you know, as in for us to leave the area."
The guy seemed even more confused. "Why would you leave? You're the first human I've seen in months who hasn't tried- well, who hasn't continued trying to kill me. And I'm sure it's the same for you, isn't it?"
I smirked slightly. "What's your name, kid?"
The guy seemed to stand up straighter when I called him kid, as if he was trying to prove something, but I could tell he was younger than me by at least two or three years.
And besides, having a kid makes you age much faster than normal to begin with.
"I'm Titan," the guy said before bending down to grab his spear off of the grass where I had kicked it when I attacked him. "And just so you know, it would be much smarter for you to have someone else around to help you."
I rolled my eyes and put the back of my hand to my forehead. "Oh yes, I nearly forgot! Because I'm such a poor, defenseless woman, I need a strong man to help protect me. Someone like you, right?"
Titan gave me a look like I was jumping to conclusions, which I had done on purpose obviously, but then I just grinned and turned around to start walking.
"Come on Shorty. Let's go!" I waved at him without looking as I continued to walk in a new direction.
David scrambled to the top of my shoulder and yelled back at the guy, "She's just kidding Titan! You're tall, not short!"
I felt a laugh escape my lips that was echoed by a laugh from Titan's direction as he followed us out of the clearing.