A few days after they reached the cave, Kallan returned from hunting with one small rabbit, barely enough for a meal.
“That the best you can do?” Growled Owen from the back of the cave where he sat, arm in a sling, not even greeting his friend.
Kallan, not in the best mood himself, threw the rabbit on Owens lap and proceeded to strip off his hunting gear.
“It was all I could get a shot at.” Kallan replied back. “I’m not the better hunter, remember?”
Owen only grunted back.
Kallan looked over at him with a frown. “The least you could do is help cook it.”
“It’s not my fault that I am an invalid!”
“You could be helpful at least!”
Owen jerked to his feet.
“So I should have just let that bear plow you down and smash you into the ground, eh?! Then who’d be laying on the floor, complaining and whining for your next meal?!”
Kallan looked over with fury. “I should just throw you out into the snow and let you die, you ungrateful little……”
Owen swung his fist right at Kallan’s head so fast he had no time to react. The knuckles smashed his nose and he fell back to the ground, holding his face blood poured from his nose. Owen panted from the exertion, than collapsed on the hard ground. He breathed hard, then began to cry, holding his head in his hands.
Kallan lay against the wall of the cave, holding his nose in shock. They sat there for what seemed like forever. Then the bleeding on Kallans nose slowed and he sat up. Owen looked at him.
“I don’t know what came over me. It’s just…..” He shook his head, looking at the ground.
“I know. It’s all too complicated.”
Owen pulled himself up.
“We can’t fight. No matter what. We have to learn to live with our differences.” Kallan nodded.
The barbarian camp did not stir much for the next two weeks, allowing the two boys to recuperate and heal. Owens ribs were in pretty bad shape, from running and hiking, and neither of the boys were expert healers, so they worried about whether they cracks would heal. After two weeks, it was the only serious wound left.
Owen undid the bandages on the wound. It was almost unnoticeable on the outside, except for a faded bruise and two small bumps where the bones had grown together. He carefully touched placed his hand on it, running it across the wound, and then flinched as his hand rubbed one of the small hard lumps. He stood up carefully, and then stretched toward the ceiling of the cave, turning his body. He bent down, reaching toward his toes. He nocked an arrow onto an invisible bow, pulling it back and sending it into an imaginary deer, then spun on his toes and jumped across the cave.
Kallan raised his eyebrows.
“Yep! I’m ready now.” He grabbed a pack off the floor and began to fill it with their supplies. Kallan stood up from where he sat sharpening a knife and shoved it back into its sheath. He walked to the door and looked out.
“It’s snowing again.” He said.
Owen looked up. “Snow or not, tomorrow we go pay those scoundrels a visit.”
Kallan turned around again, a worried look on his face.
“I don’t know, Owen. Just the two of us can’t take on the whole tribe.”
“I know that. I have a plan. First, we go down to the camp and get the lay of the land. We can see if there are any other survivors, and get together.” He slipped the jerky, which they had saved, into the pack. “Then we form a plan to either rescue our friends, or, if there’s no one to save, to destroy the tribe.” He continued packing. Kallan sat down.
“I was all for this, but now, I do not know if it is wise. You are the better strategist, but I almost feel as if we are walking into a trap.”
Owen looked up. “We can’t continue our sheltered existence up here knowing that the monsters that killed our family are camped only several miles away.” He had a sorrowful look on his face now. “Kallan, you have to understand. They destroyed everything we ever had, our lives. We have to try to reclaim that.”
Kallan sighed. “I know. I have felt hopeless over the past couple of weeks. I could almost pretend that it was just like old times, you and I camped up here, just us and the wind. But, no matter what, I couldn’t forget the dying faces of all our friends.”