Pikes Peak Pebble Pups
First Historical Fiction Piece
It was a sweat dripping summer day in the Badlands, my favorite National Park, but my dog Comet didn’t care about that. Three days into our camping trip we had explored the park, enjoyed a ranger talk about the constellations in the amphitheater, seen the stars though our telescope, and we were packing up to leave. Well, mom and dad were. Comet and I were playing fetch. The campground was mostly sand and grass so I could easily throw the ball as far as I wanted to and see Comet while he chased it. But on my last throw Comet didn’t come back. I jogged over to find him and picked up the ball along the way. Comet was in a small ditch excitedly wagging his tail and digging in the sand. As I reached him he turned around and had what looked like along stick in his mouth. On closer inspection I saw that it was a bone, long and slightly curved, easily identified as a rib…
…Badlands Park, over 30,000 years ago, although it wasn’t called that at the time. Billy was a young bison living in the Ice Age. With his thick fur to stay warm he relished snow days like any young kid that ever lived, human or bison. He lived near a water hole with his family.
He did not listen but he could run, and he was always running away from his mom to play. Six years later Billy was King of the Herd. One day Billy heard a scream that he recognized as his mom’s. He rushed to the noise and saw a hungry Saber Tooth Cat ready to feast on fat bison flesh. It was circling the herd trying to get to the children.
Billy stampeded the Saber Cat and injured his leg in the process. But he did save the herd- that day. A few days later Billy knew that he wasn’t going to survive his injury. As he had done so often before, he wandered off, this time slowly limping, knowing that he wouldn’t return to the herd. Billy was never seen again… Until, I found this rib bone on a camping trip with my dog Comet.
Note: Jack Shimon won this Ice Age rib bone by correctly guessing that it was a rib bone of a large animal in a recent Pebble Pups meeting. It measures 20 inches straight line from end to end. It was fun to think of the animal it once belonged to and that became the inspiration for Billy’s story.
Special thanks to Paleo-artist Andrey Atuchin for agreeing to illustrate this story.