Flowering. Approach. Part 7: Dinner Preparations
We don't just prepare food for dinner, but also ourselves.
Reader discretion is advised: This series contains death, violence, and sexual content. Flowering is not a lighthearted series. Flowering is meant for a mature audience. It is not my intention to mislead those who read it, thus misleading the perception of the series itself, leading your hearts astray.
Please, "take this lesson to heart." - LaRha and Wetah
Stepping carefully around it, LaRha placed her foot over the print. “Her foot isn’t as long as mine,” turning it from side to side, “nor is it as wide. She may not be a runner. Why would they not send somebody more fit?” Looking down at her son, she gestured for him to copy her. “That being said, her foot is still bigger than Zephyr’s. However, she may not be as fast as him, but that’s not a gamble I’m willing to take. She may not have chased after him since she could’ve been shocked as well. Worse case scenario, there could be a camp with others nearby, and she’s either a follower or meant to be used as bait.”
Wanting to ensure his safety, she held his hand as they exited the woods. When they got back they found Wetah with a bow and arrow in hands, and Xelu and Zariah were nowhere to be seen.
“Where are the girls,” she asked him.
“Hiding beneath the hollowed out logs in the hut,” he whispered to her.
She let out a sigh of relief. Whispering to him, “I thought you would’ve gotten the cart prepared or at least an inducement.”
“The inducement is only meant for a last resort of combat, or needing to put distance between us and them.”
She rolled her eyes at him, “I know, but do you still have it on you, just in case?”
His eyes went towards a pocket sewn onto his shirt, “I always carry it with me. Just in case.” He looked down at their son, “We should make some more just in case. Especially for his sake.”
“He’s too young.”
“We need to teach them to at least learn how to cultivate it.”
“Okay, but really?”
“It’s just another thing we’ll grow within our garden. He can plant them right next to the tomatoes or cabbage if he likes.”
“Alright,” LaRha compromised, “but we’re keeping those away from the pea pods and hot greens. If the rabbits nested near those, let alone ate them, they could turn aggressive.”
“Tell that to Zaria. Last time she picked up a baby hopper it bit her on the finger and ran away into a hole.”
She laughed at that. “Go get the girls, let’s cook the moon’s meal.” She turned and looked at Zephyr, “He brought back some food for us in his trap.”
“This is good,” Wetah said. “He’s learning not just to be proficient, but generous too.”
“I’ll go get the kindling, you and him start a second fire. I don’t want those near whatever you collect from the traps.”
Nodding in agreement, they both went off in their separate directions. After getting the girls out from hiding, the entire family helped to prepare for the moon’s meal. While the girls went and grabbed apples, chopping them up into stone bowls and putting them on wooden sticks, Weather grabbed stones and sticks for Zephyr. After making a second area for a cooking fire, LaRha had brought out some kindling for them to light after they had put the shiners and pinchers on sticks to roast.
While the river critters were cooking, Wetah had Zephyr join him to collect the bounty from the traps. Today, they were blessed with a bounty. Wetah’s traps had ensnared two songbirds and three squirrels.
Upon bringing the harvest back to the campfires to clean and cook them, Zaria asked, “Bushy tails?” Xelu looked at her and shook her head yes. “Eating bushy tails makes me feel sad.”
“I’d rather eat bushy tails than fluffy tails. Fluffy tails are cute.”
“I like fluffy tails!”
“Then eat the bushy tail so we don’t have to eat the fluffy tails.”
“Hmph…” Zaria was frustrated with the outcome. “Okay…”
“Come on,” Xelu said, “at least they taste good. Unlike some of the plants that they make us eat.”
“I heard that,” LaRha said whilst grinding some yellow carrots into a bowl, turning them into a fine mush.
“What are you making Mom?”
“This Xelu is a berry paste.” She reached for a handful of blueberries from the basket next to her. “This will be going in the fluffy tails and birds.”
“Will it make them taste better?”
“On the contrary. The animals will make this taste better.” She dipped her finger into the bowl for a taste test. Licking her lips, she dipped her finger into the bowl again and let Xelu taste it as well. “This still tastes perfectly fine on its own, but there’s nothing wrong with enhancing the flavor. Here, try some for yourself.”
Upon opening her mouth and tasting the paste which she thought was odd, she got a sweet taste, but also a tart one as well. It felt sour, and her mouth started to water. LaRha read the look on her face, and offered some to Zaria. She declined upon seeing the sour face that her older sister made.
“It’s bland and sour at the same time. How is that possible?”
“All things are possible with proper planning and preparation. However, it’ll all become different to our senses once we introduce it to the fire.”
While they were preparing the fruit, Wetah had cleaned the birds and squirrels. Emptying their innards onto a piece of bark he passed them to Zephyr saying, “Here, please go and bury these in the garden. It’ll be good for the plants.”
Wrinkling his nose at the smell of blood and guts, Zephyr asked, “Could we not put these in a trap for more shiners and pinchers.”
Wetah sighed, “Yes, yes we can, but not tonight. We’re not traveling back to the river except to wash up. Besides, all of us can eat what we grow from the garden. We all can’t eat what grows from the waters.” He turned to point his knife at Zephyr while skinning the squirrels, “Now go and bury those beneath the plants. You’ll thank me later when we have a good harvest.”
Doing as his father bid, he went along and buried each of the animal’s entrails beneath the dirt. “Life may end in one form,” he recited a phrase as his parents told him, “but it continues on in others.” After patting the ground, he checked around the garden looking for rabbits. “If I can catch a few more hoppers, we can have a few more for our cages, and less food stolen from our garden.” Sadly for him, he had to give up his pursuit early when his father called him over.
After washing their hands with ash soap, and rinsing off the suds, Wetah handed him two sticks. “Hand this one to Zaria, and this one to your Mom.” Eagerly doing so without hesitation, he handed both a stick that had a cooked fish and a crawfish on it. LaRha watched Zaria closely, as she ate the fish, wanting to make sure that she didn’t choke on any bones. Yet, still being so young, she had to help her crack open the shell of the crawfish.
Running back over to his Dad, Wetah had come Xelu over to join them. Handing her a stick that had a skinned mouse on it, he said, “Here, this one is for you. The little rascal was around while I was skinning the fluffy tails. It’s not much, but put it on the fire with the other animals that your mother’s stuffed.” Running off back to the first fire, cooking her field mouse, he grinned.