Historical Sci-Fi Novel
OldEarth Neb Encounter Excerpt
Destined for Greatness
In my historical sci-fi novel series, Oldearth Neb Encounter, Neb’s mother calls upon powerful forces to assist him, but nothing turns out as planned.
Neb grew like a sapling, wiry and strong like his father, never as thick or robust as his mother. When Meshullemeth gave birth to two strapping boys three years apart and eventually to a beautiful daughter, he paid them little mind. As long as his mother’s attention stayed focused on him, he was satisfied.
On a bright day in the southern hills with no hint of a breeze, Neb, grown to his full stature, went into the wild to seek game for his family. Other hunters in the clan could do the job as well, but rumors spread near and wide that a bear of enormous size roamed the hills to the south.
Long desiring a noteworthy prize to bring home to his people, Neb wandered the woods, scanned tree trunks for claw marks, and searched the ground for scats, crushed stems, or bits of victims scattered among the ferns and saplings. When he came upon promising signs, he slowed his steps through the undergrowth.
Late in the day, as sweat dripped down the side of his face, he stopped at the sound of rustling in the distance. He scanned the forest and saw the brown humping form of a great she-bear. It padded slowly, stopping and snuffling through the bracken with a small form shadowing her left side. Neb smiled. Mother bears with cubs were hard to kill. Finally, a feat worthy of his skill.
Keeping his scent downwind, he stealthily followed, and when he came upon the mother from the right side, he readied his spear. In his mind, he could hear his father’s voice. “Never attack a dangerous animal alone. Always keep a clear path to escape.” Neb chuckled at the memory. The bear, not he, would long for escape.
With an upturned nose, the bear stopped and sniffed the air. Suddenly, she swiveled around and rose on her back legs to her full height, a low growl emanating from her chest. Her black eyes glittered in alarm and fury.
Neb’s heart exalted. “Frightened? Ah! Fight as you wish, but I’ll spill your blood and take your cub for my own.” He approached steadily, lifting his spear, and balancing his weight with each step. After bracing himself and leaning back, he gave a mighty grunt and threw, using every bit of his muscled strength.
The spear arced through the air and then…fell short…landing softly, ignobly, in the ferns.
The bear’s growl deepened and grew louder.
In all his years of certain kills and absolute demands, Neb had never been so defied. He had willed his spear into the heart of the beast, and yet it had landed harmlessly before the animal like a pathetic offering. He stood transfixed.
Pure instinct incarnate, the mother bear charged, her muscles rippling. Her thrusting shoulders and grunts throbbed to the rhythm of her fury.
Shock quickly gave way to self-preservation. Neb turned and ran for his life. Branches and thorns tore his skin, nettles pricked his feet, sweat poured down his back, but Neb pressed on, running beyond his strength, even though he feared his heart would burst with the effort. By the time he dropped to the ground in exhaustion, the bear had given up and returned to her young.
Well after dusk, Neb dragged his weary body into his village. Seeing his ripped, bloody clothes and multiple wounds, word quickly spread that a bear had bested Neb.
He slipped into his tent and collapsed on his pallet. Meshullemeth scurried to his aid, brandishing wet cloths and strong brew. “My poor boy! How could this happen?”
Neb pushed her away. “Leave me alone, woman. I’m
resting.” He curled on his side and offered his back along with his scorn.
With a huff not unlike the disgruntled bear, Meshullemeth turned away.
Neb closed his eyes, but burning shame scoured his cheeks and intensified the stings across his body.
Heavy footsteps padded near.
Neb squeezed his eyes tighter to shut out the intrusion. His father spoke into the darkness, undoubtedly with his
mother wringing her hands beside him.
“Stupid child, you could’ve been killed. What made you
attack such an opponent, alone, against all wisdom? A mother bear is often beyond the skill of even experienced hunters.”
Ignoring the pain searing his skin, Neb turned and rose to his feet. He glared at his father. “I will challenge her again. I’ll kill her and take the cub. She will fear me in the end.”
In the darkness, Hezeki chuckled. “And who will undertake to support you in such a challenge? Not I or any of my men. We have more sense. There are many fine animals that may be had at half the risk. We are not so desperate for food as you seem to think.”
Neb’s gaze fixed on his father. “It’s not her flesh I wish to consume but her life.”
Hezeki snorted. “You, of all my children, are the most senseless. Enosh and Kenan would never attempt such a thing. Even Eva, a little girl, knows better.”
Meshullemeth stood by, watching the exchange between father and son, her eyes narrowed.
With a wave of dismissal, Neb grabbed his pillow and closed his eyes, shutting out his parents.
Grunting in disgust, Hezeki left. His distant voice soon mingled with anxious villagers who shouted questions, asking about Neb’s condition, but Hezeki did not answer.
Meshullemeth laid her hand upon her son’s head and stroked his hair. “You need more than your father or I can give you. A power we do not possess.”
Turning, Neb opened his eyes, and for a moment, he stared at his mother feeling like an infant needing comfort. But the glittering fury of the she-bear blackened out every other thought. He clenched his hands. “Truly, you cannot give me what I need.”
Exhaling a long sigh, Meshullemeth rose and stepped away. “I will find someone who can.”
His mother’s footsteps padded out the door, and at long last, Neb let exhaustion have its way with him…
In the dark of night, a howl rose with the wind. Neb stirred.
A hulking bear rose before him, large and menacing, opening her mouth in a bellowing roar.
Neb turned to run, but he tripped and fell backward. Suddenly, a frenzy of hate enveloped him. He sprang to his feet and faced the wild animal that towered over him. Gripping his spear, his gaze met hers.
The great hulking beast growled in human speech. “Honor me, and I will spare you.”
In response, Neb braced himself and thrust with every bit of his strength. This time, his spear struck true.
A. K. Frailey is the author of 17 books, a teacher for 35 years, and a homeschooling mother of 8.
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“The history is fascinating, the characters are uniquely intriguing, the plot is very rich, and the events are fascinating.” ~OnlineBookClub
“A classic good vs evil scenario. Well written. Fast-paced and adventure-filled. Readers both young and old will enjoy.” ~My Book Addiction