Fire-Carrier was old and slow. The people waited for her in the safe place, anxiety squirming like sickness in their bellies. If she dropped the fire-seed, how would they make more fire?
Squirrel knew. She struck flints clean and sharp, not like the fumblings of Fire-Carrier, made sparks quick and kept them alive. Squirrel knew more than any of the people. That was why Chief hated and feared her. She had hair the colour of squirrel fur, long legs that could run, like the new people, like her father. She knew Chief was afraid enough to kill her. She knew his thoughts before he knew them himself.
She had found her own safe place and would go there, before the night-fear drove Chief to smash her head with a stone. She had her own flints, shaped sharp, and a glitter-stone. She would survive. Until she found her father’s people.