Boneyard Series Short Stories by George and Linda B

Listen to Eva Conquers All but love

EVA Conquers All but Love

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The young woman looked down from her favorite place in her empire, to her credit she had no thought of ownership. The sunset was wonderful. She celebrated being alive. The supreme leader had met every challenge, every threat to her existence. Eva was the uncontested ruler of a territory the size of a country. From her position, no one challenged her. Even the Terror Birds succumbed to her leadership. While triumphant her heart ached at what she had lost in her journey to prominence. Though Eva had overcome every challenge, she, never-the-less, was empty and sad.

The peerless leader lost Limp last winter, her dog she appropriated from a band of Mammoth Herders. Credo her Companion Saber Cat from her youth visits only off and on. Raven and Jewel her loyal friends and leaders of the Terror Bird Clan had their own life and Eva was desperately lonely. As the healer and sometimes midwife she was part of most of the families within her world. This was wonderful but was not fulfilling her inner most needs.

She often dreamed of her parents and grieved over their loss. Eva felt her decision to move the Clan while her parents stayed as the healers to care for the sick an injured sealed their fate. She had no choice. To have hesitated in the face of the extended drought would have starved the entire Tribe.

Her Clan, the Rock-pile Clan, the Terror Bird Clan and the rescued members of the Fanatics now comprise the Boneyard Nation. All tolled they number 1,500 individuals. They control the area which now includes the Yellowstone National Park, Teton Mountain range and adjacent hunting grounds.

Because of her deformity, the Leader is forbidden by her Clan’s tradition to marry and have children. While this custom is not shared by all the people groups in the Boneyard; Eva has so far accepted its edict. However, It has become painfully apparent the burden imposed by this practice is harming Eva. She is now in her mid-twenties and in her time, she is the equivalent to a middle age spinster. Unless she acts soon the opportunity to have her own children will forever be lost.

There is a capable warrior she respects. He has been highly effective and trustworthy and is her highest ranking lieutenant. The bachelor’s name is Toby. He was one of the first Fanatics captured and bears the brand on his head from the blazing hot arrowhead she had placed there. He was at her side the night she thrust her knife into the Strongman’s body. The handsome warrior could have turned against her many times but has been loyal to a fault. Toby like three hundred of his Tribe stayed in the Boneyard over five cycles ago. The rest returned to their people in their forced exile from Eva’s empire.

Since the expulsion of the Fanatics, the Boneyard had not been invaded or even challenged by outsiders. The Clans had domesticated some bison and were even using them as beasts of burden. Their village in the old breeding basin is still their capital but other settlements were now springing up elsewhere.

Eva has had several recent vivid dreams like when she was younger. Occasionally she dreamed of a child named Mona. She wonders who’s child this is? Mona is a name not known to her tribe. However, she remembers a mystery woman warrior with that name who visited her when she was just a small child. This woman showed her how to use the sling, taught her to swim and many other things. Occasionally, Mona appeared in Eva’s dreams advising her how to build a bow and make arrows, manufacture a spear lever and use pitch in leather pouches to catapult burning missiles to frighten enemies.

It was time to ride the perimeter of the hunting grounds. Eva normally rode on Raven’s back. However, he was getting older and his son Sprinter accompanied her this time. Sprinter was an extremely handsome and large Terror Bird. He was a good foot taller than his father (some ten feet tall) and probably weighed nine hundred pounds. He was enormously strong, fast and had endurance unequaled in his Tribe. If it were not necessary to stay with the rest of her surveillance party Eva could have covered over eighty miles in one day. She had three other riding pairs in her group, Toby being her senior Lieutenant stayed to her left and slightly behind her at all times, he was riding Sprinter’s sister Topaz. One other mount pair stayed in front and one to her trailing rear. To the Boneyard Nation, Eva was precious cargo to be protected at all costs. The team was specifically interested on the health and numbers of elk and bison herds. They checked the fish spawning areas and the waterfowl breeding areas as well. All surveyed looked abundant and healthy.

They camped for the night at Eva’s favorite spot. The site had a fantastic scenic view of the wild river who’s head waters originated in the mountain glaciers in the center of their wilderness nation. She walked to the edge of a ledge which overlooked the river and stood there as the sun sank below the horizon. The rest of her party was preparing the fire and putting a stew together. They were able to find mushrooms, wild onions, with freshly killed elk. The Terror Birds were feasting on the majority of the carcass, while the humans selected the most tender portions of the elk for their meal. They used a terracotta pot manufactured for such a purpose. The smell of the cooking meal was mouthwatering. While Eva knew herbs and the healing application of natural plants and minerals, she was not a cook by any measure, this was one reason she loved these trips . . . she could eat other’s cooking.

The Clan leader carried with her a round bowl in her pouch along with her manufactured sling stones. This bowl was for a stew and any tea that was brewed. Eva carried another pouch which contained medical supplies including herbs that were antibiotics and painkillers. The healer kept strips of leather and select sticks to use as splints and tourniquets, she carried the thinnest gut she could find and a sharp needle for suturing wounds. At the Basin, Eva was training several boys and girls in the healing arts and was proud of their progress. This made her happy and sad at the same time. It reminded her of her parents and brought back the pain of their loss.

Eva had also learned how to heal and treat the injuries and common medical issues of the Terror Birds and bison that now populated her immediate world. It never failed to amaze her that her life was so busy, full and meaningful but was still so empty. She often cried herself to sleep when alone. This night the supreme leader would have to suppress her normal nighttime ritual and stiffen her spine and conceal her tender feelings. She was the leader, not the led.

In the morning as they broke camp Eva went for a walk to take care of personal business. As she returned there was a very large badger on the trail in front of her. For some reason she had not taken any of her weapons with her.

This animal was more than Eva’s match and she had nowhere to escape nor the speed and agility to avoid being mauled or killed. The animal was aggressively approaching and seemed intent on attacking her despite her desire to avoid a confrontation. Eva thought how utterly ironic. the legendary warrior that defeated the redhaired skunk giants and the Beast, leader of the Fanatics, is dispatched by an angry badger while returning from relieving herself. What an embarrassing story to tell over the campfire in years to come. About the time she was resigned to her fate an arrow hit the charging animal in its chest most likely piercing the heart. The angry animal moved no further. Eva, stunned and speechless, dropped to her knees. When the bewildered warrior recovered her senses she saw Toby standing over the dead badger.

Instantly, Eva fell in love. In probably the most vulnerable and embarrassing time of her life, the man who had stood by her all these years without her even saying thanks to, just saved her life. The supreme leader laughed hysterically. If she had not laughed she would have cried. Eva walked over to Toby and whispered very softly: “this is to be our little secret, O.K.? We wouldn’t want everyone to know their leader is an idiot, right?” He smiled real-big and with a big smirk on his face responded: “Of course I wouldn’t want to make a big deal out of the fact I just saved your life. It could have happened to anyone preoccupied with her leadership duties.” Eva slapped him on his chest and said: “if you tell anyone I will, I will, just cry!”

They returned to the team getting ready to continue their rounds. As Toby adjusted Topaz’s halter, he winked at Eva. She looked into his eyes and returned a playful grin. What previously was all business began to evolve into a much deeper friendship. When they stopped to allow the Terror Birds drink and rest, they really talked for the first time. She asked him why he stayed in the Boneyard and did not go with the other Fanatics. He breathed deeply and said: “I saw no future under the Strongman, he was cruel and a fool. The first time I met you, you showed compassion and reason, the decision was easy. You are a natural leader with incredible capabilities and love for your people. Who else could charm Terror Birds to work for her and love it?” Eva, blushed and lowered her eyes. She was obviously embarrassed, not knowing how to take his sincere complement.

The surveying group camped for the second evening. They had not killed any new game so they all pulled out jerky and some dried fruit and brewed some tea. The Birds only gorged every two to three days when on a mission so they were satisfied to rest without eating. Eva left the fire and walked off to collect her thoughts, taking her knife and hatchet this time. Toby followed at a distance making sure she was safe but not interfering with her privacy. Eva was very aware he was there and instead of aggravation she was comforted with his presence. She returned to the fire after sundown and settled in for the night. Feelings of warmth and companionship flooded Eva’s soul. Her loneliness diminished. The woman warrior slept deeply for the first time in weeks.

In the morning all were up early and on the way, their progress was excellent and they agreed at their present pace they would complete their rounds and three more days. By noon they rounded the north side of the enormous lake within their territory. Eva could see the ridge above the old Fanatics encampment. This was where she learned to trust and appreciate Toby. Without his assistance she might have died the night she took control of the Beast (Strongman of the Fanatics). Eva’s mind flashed example, after example of Toby’s value to her life. Why hadn’t she realized this before? She had no explanation.

That night. Toby instead of following Eva at a distance, walked up to her and asked permission to inquire about personal issues. Eva responded immediately, promising to answer any questions he asked. Toby first hesitated and then asked: “Why have you not married and have a family?” She stared at him and said incredulously; “are you not aware of my people’s custom? I am deformed and not allowed to marry.” Toby responded; “I know of no such limitation demanded from you because of your deformed foot. My people do not require such extreme measures. You are no longer just the leader of your first people but now lead all here in the Boneyard. All the Clansmen love and trust you with their lives. They would not prevent you from a full life. It would be a bad thing to deny the future the benefit of your children. If you don’t believe me . . . ask them.”

Eva was stunned. She had not even imagined having a husband or children. She had never allowed such thoughts, she was overwhelmed. She kneeled down and cried silently. Toby, stood at arms length quietly and did not move. He stood guard as she came to grips with her life. Never in her memory had she felt such deep grief and anger simultaneously. Eva’s inner child wanted to scream in rage and strike out but knew she had to get control of herself. They stayed there for what seemed to be hours. She finally stood up and dried her eyes. Not wanting the others to see her, the supreme leader realized she allowed Toby to witness something no one, not even her parents had witnessed. In stead of being embarrassed she looked at Toby and asked him for his silence. He immediately acknowledged her request, saying. “Your heart and person is forever safe in my hands, no one will know this moment from my lips.”

The scouting party was on their way back to the basin and everyone was anxious to get home. The rest of the journey was without incident and they arrived at the Basin just before nightfall. As they entered the village, the children rushed to welcome Eva home. She gave hugs all around and acknowledged each child individually. The older adolescents came to find out when she was going to start their instructions again on healing and other arts. Toby was always amazed at Eva’s unlimited energy and concentration. She was such a rare and endearing person. His respect and affection grew with every minute he was near her. Here and now Toby decided to gain Eva’s hand in marriage.

How was he going to accomplish his objective? What would win the Clan leader’s heart and convince her to marry him? He planned it like a military campaign. First, he went to her Elders to out flank any objections she might use to turn him down. Since she did not have parents, they were the next authority in line. As was the Clan’s custom, the oldest man and woman would officiate any wedding. The meeting was tense at least from his point of view, he had all his logical arguments to use in his defense. To Toby’s surprise they were delighted. They not only supported his campaign, they asked what took him so long? So, he took the opportunity and ask them how to win her heart. Their response was simply, continue what you are doing. The jubilant warrior left walking on air.

Flowers were nice, new buck skins were good, but food was the best persuader. Eva might have a sweet tooth. He decided he would hunt down some bee honey, and pinion nuts to make a confection to present to her. Since she was a self-admitted dunce when it came to cooking his interest in such things might prove to be beneficial to his plans. This was the ammunition he chose to use first.

The nervous warrior showed up at Eva’s compound with a basket with his honey creation. She met him outside and asked what was in the basket. He told her if she would take a walk with him he would show her. The delighted woman acted as if she had to decide and finally relented to his request. They walked down to the lake and sat on a few boulders at the edge. The moon was reflected off the water and the air was chilled. The frightened Toby stammered with tension, and finally says; “I made these for you.” She quickly put her hand in the basket and he snapped the lid shut. She screamed and quickly removed her hand.  Toby, said: “Not so fast, you need to promise me something first.” She protested: “That wasn’t very nice, what do you want?” He responded: “You need to go with me to the Thermals to watch the Thunder Bird pairing ceremony, Sprinter and Topaz are both choosing their life mates.” “Oh, is that all. I was going to ask you to go with me!” Eva said in a coy way. “Then it is a date.” Responds Toby. “Sure, now let me see what is in the basket . . .” Eva, pleads.

Eva, Toby, Jewel and Raven are standing together on the edge of the steam clouds arising from the thermals. There are two groups of four Terror Birds. A total of eight in all looking at each other with a space of about twenty yards between them. The males are closest to Eva and Toby. The females farther away. Jewel and Raven, start to snap their enormous beaks and stomp their feet in an alternating cadence. It is both rhythmic and hypnotic. The females close the distance between the two groups and start to circle the males as they separate with about ten yards between each male. The Males stand as tall as they can and become motionless. Then one female comes up to Sprinter and pulls a feather out of her side and places it at his feet. Another female does likewise until there are three feathers at his feet. Only his sister Topaz plucks her feather and leaves it at the feet of another male. Two males receive no feathers. Toby thinks: Wow, what a disappointment for the two rejects.

The male with Topaz’s feather at his feet is named Runner. Sprinter and Runner pick up one feather each and rush off into the steam clouds. Topaz and a female named Garland immediately follow the males that took their feathers. The remaining two males and two females repeat the same ritual. The rhythmic beats performed by Raven and his mate continue until the choices have been exhausted. One male and one female remain unmatched and the ceremony stops. Three pairs were chosen and one will be left for the next cycle. The pairings are permanent, only death of one of the mates will result in a repairing ceremony. Toby is exhausted. He was crushed because not all the pairings were made. Eva was delighted that Topaz and Sprinter found their mates.

When they returned to the Basin, Toby was sullen and dejected. Eva had a big smile on her face and was animated. She was joyful and suggested they go for a walk. Though mildly depressed Toby agreed to do anything to spend more time with the object of his efforts. Eva spoke first: “If you were a Terror Bird and no female left a feather at your feet, how would you feel?” Toby responded: “are you kidding, I would feel like running into the fog and never returning.” Eva laughed and her eyes gleamed with mischief. She told Toby to close his eyes and stand very, very still. She then told him to hold out both hands in front of him. Eva took a feather from her hair and placed it in his hand. He felt its near weightless touch on his palm and fingers. He couldn’t believe what she did. He was speechless. She whispered: “You can open your eyes now.”

Toby, said the only thing in his head: “I may not be a Terror Bird, but I think I know what you just did, right?” Eva nodded and Toby continued: “I don’t see any fog bank to run into so, in stead, I will just stand here and say, I can think of nothing more I want to do than be your mate for the rest of our lives.” He laughed with joy and picked her up in his arms and swung her around until they both fell down from dizziness.

The village was buzzing with activity. The common area by the lake was congested with hundreds of people, including dozens of Terror Birds in the back so they didn’t block others line of sight. Nearest to the lake stood the two elders of Eva’s Clan, the oldest woman and oldest man. In front of them was a hide laying on the ground. From different directions Eva rode in on Raven and Toby rode in on Topaz. They dismounted and the women quickly surrounded Eva and tied her hands behind her back and put a fur hood over her head. The men did likewise to Toby. The two were led to the two Elders and placed just behind the hide. Both stood motionless. The woman asks first: “What woman asks to be married,” Eva yells, “it is I, Eva” The male Elder asks: “What man asks to be married,” Toby responds, “It is I, Toby.” The woman says; “Bring these two forward but first cut their hands loose and take their shoes. Let them feel the same ground and bind their hands one to the other. The attendants cut their bonds and loosely ties Toby’s left to Eva’s right hand.” The Elder male then asks: “Do you freely agree to this oath and do you acknowledge the Creator who protects your union.” They both answered: “I do!’

The Elder woman ordered the attendants to remove the hoods. Eva felt the hide under her feet and knows the texture was wrong, she looked down and smiled knowingly. They were standing not on a bison or elk hide but on the hide of the badger that almost took her life and brought Toby into her world. The woman told them to look upon their new mate. The badger hide was rolled up and handed to the couple. The old man loudly announced: “This hide is the foundation of your new life. Remember you stand on the same ground from this day forward hand and hand.”

The celebration went on for hours, that evening a strange circular light (never before seen) erupted over the lake for several minutes. This was taken as a good omen, the creator acknowledging the new union between Eva and Toby.

To be Continued;

Post Script: When Mona returned to her mothership the Dragonfly, she met with her sisters and they went over their findings and compiled a report for the Time Travel Management Council.

She was exhausted from her so called vacation and needed to rest. While in her favorite spot in one of their wilderness biospheres, Mona rolled Eva’s tiny turquoise stone repeatedly in her fingers. She decided to confront the Council with a request she felt was ethically proper. At the meeting she pleaded her case. Captain Lisa asked the council to allow one more mission to Ancient Earth admitting she had already taken the liberty to schedule. This mission was to target coordinates ten years forward in time from the mission to save Eva from assassination. After considerable debate and assurances that no disruption in the future would result her request was granted.

Mona immediately coordinated with her sisters to plan the excursion. This time most activities would be using primarily the Federation’s Shadowland capabilities and only one brief personnel insertion. Mona went to the quiet lab and prepared for the journey. Levie put the earphones on Mona and she lost consciousness. For weeks prior, the sisters had been interrogating the memory manuscripts to pinpoint the exact time and location Eva’s parents were left in place to take care of the sick and injured. It was assumed Sunrise and Rain Child, never left the locality but succumbed to starvation or injury. It was assumed they died within days or weeks after Eva evacuated the clansmen that could travel to the Boneyard. Mona’s first journey to the past would try to confirm the details.

The area observed by the 4D coordinates chosen by Moonbeam and Levie, was desolate. There were the remnants of an encampment near a failing water source. Mona saw only three tent like shelters that were still standing as if tended to. As she went forward she was getting very depressed sensing the awful things she would be seeing. In one of the tents were three older clansmen, all dead. In the other shelter there was no one to be found. That left the last tent and Mona became frightened of the possibilities. There she found two starving persons, alive but comatose.  To her remembrance these were Eva’s parents, they were ten years older and mere shadows of themselves. Her assessment was they could not live but a few more hours.

The Captain returned to the laboratory and suddenly awoke. She told the technicians to prepare the time dilation capsule for use immediately. She stripped and jumped into the capsule. Within minutes she was laying on her back in the desolate compound. She rushed into the shelter and moved the couple to within inches of each other, Mona then laid over them and put her arms around both and continued counting down. When she reached one hundred, the trio disappeared from the miserable tent. Within a few minutes, they were on the Dragonfly. A medical team gave Mona a jumpsuit and took the couple to intensive care. The two were placed further into an induced coma and given liquid nutrients and I.V. therapy. It would probably be a few days before an attempt would be made to awake them.

In the meantime, the three sisters and a host of primitive culture experts tried to design a way to decompress and orient the couple to their new surroundings and life. The plan was to take them to a wilderness biosphere and slowly revive them over several days. Since these two were highly observant and intelligent people it was expected they would eventually adjust; however, great care would be taken to integrate them into the highly sophisticated, complex and technologically advanced future.

After several days Mona was briefed on their progress. As of today, they were to be free of all medication that would suppress their perceptions or curiosity. Mona, put on some fabricated hides and primitive gear they had thrown together. She put Eva’s gemstone in her pocket to help prove who she was just in case the couple might not recognize her. With great hopes she took a deep breath and went to meet them.

Rain Child and Sunrise were setting at a waterfall and Captain Lisa walked up on the other side of the pool between them. Mona waved and they waved back. Since in real time the Captain had only been away from Ancient Earth about three weeks, she still remembered their words, expressions and language. They had aged ten years since their last encounter with her but the advanced nutritional and medical technology of the Federation had taken twenty years off of them. They looked younger now than they were when Mona left them.

She walked around the pool and approached. When close enough she asked them in their language if they remembered her. They both answered yes. Mona asked if they had questions. Sunrise, asked: “Just where are we and have we died?” Mona smiled and answered. “You are both quite alive and you are no longer on the Earth. Do you remember I told you I came from beyond the sun and stars and from many, many cycles that had not happened yet.” They both nodded yes. Well, you both are now in that same place. You have nothing to fear here. You are our honored guests and I want to show you something.

Your daughter Eva, is OK. However, she has grieved over your loss for many cycles. I am not able to let you talk to her but I will let you see something wonderful. I am going to show you where she is eight to ten years since the time she left for the Boneyard. The celebration you see is in a basin near the thermals area of the hunting grounds. You will see some amazing things. We can fill you in on the history in the months to come; however, trust me what you see is real.

The hidden drones were showing the wedding ceremony from three different perspectives. Eva’s parents were enthralled by every detail. The technology allowed them to hear, see, smell, and even feel the breezes and temperature surrounding the event. Eva’s mother recoiled in shock when she saw what looked like her twenty-five-year old Eva ride in on an enormous Terror Bird with a Black Plume on his head. Rain Child reacted simultaneously as well. Mona forgot they had never seen such a sight. These birds had been their most feared competition and predators.

Mona stopped the transmission and explained. Your daughter was able to create an alliance with the Terror Birds. They are highly intelligent and capable animals, Eva communicates with them and they are close allies. Raven, the bird she rode in on is their Clan Leader. In fact, Raven and his Queen Jewel, live within Eva’s compound.

The two looked in amazement as Mona turns the transmission back on. They watched the rest of the ceremony and were stunned. Along with Captain Lisa they watched the aftermath of the wedding and the celebration going on into the night. Mona was just as mesmerized as Eva’s parents. She cried with the parents multiple times. Eva looked radiant and beautiful and Toby was no ugly duckling either. Before they turned off the drones. Mona said we are going to do one last thing. One of these observation drones is at the end of its capabilities. We are going to send it to thirty-seven thousand feet and detonate it in a series of visually brilliant demonstrations of light. Within moments one drone left the surface and within seconds it was looking down on the dark earth below it. As the other drones recorded, there appeared high overhead multiple circles of light, some of the best fireworks anyone could have designed. It took about three minutes for the light show to dissipate. Eva, Toby and the Boneyard would forever remember the light show and the wedding ceremony.

To be Continued:

Volume 1, Mona Lisa on the Moon, Thirty-Two Thousand Years in the Making Kindle Edition

Thirty-two thousand years ago, a gifted child is born into a world most would consider paradise. There has not been a war or hunger for some eight thousand years. The ozone layer is four times thicker than it will be later. Genetic abnormalities are nearly nonexistent and there are no diseases. As she matures, Mona Ann Lisa—just one of a highly advanced civilization on Earth—prepares to fulfill her destiny.

Check out George B’s book about Mona at…

Check out George B’s book about Mona at…

Volume 1, Mona Lisa on the Moon, Thirty-Two Thousand Years in the Making by [George B.]

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