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Irving Crump's
1936. Og - Son of Fire
"Based on the famous radio adventure series"

Big Little Book #1115
Racine, Wisconsin
Whitman Publishing Co.

CHAPTER ELEVEN

The Flat Heads

If the giant lizard, Stalking Death had expected his tormentor to give up the seige and flee before him, he was disappointed. Despite the warning cry of Nada, Og placed another arrow in his bow. Dodging the pain-crazed beast, he stepped behind one of the mushroom rocks and took careful aim.


Og Placed Another Arrow in His Bow

"Hi-yah!" he shouted exultantly. "I shall be the first Cave Man to overcome a giant lizard!"

Ru had led Nada and Wab to the shelter of a narrow cave passage. In horrified anger he watched as Og pointed his weapon at his victim.

"Have you no sense?" Ru shouted. "Make for this passage. There is no need to throw your life away!"

Og appeared to recognize his great danger for the first time. With a leap he gained a place of safety at Ru's side. Enraged that he was unable to seize and crush his enemy, the Stalking Death emitted such screams of anger and rage, the cave walls trembled.

Nada grasped Og roughly by the shoulder.

"Og, are you mad?" she cried, indignation overcoming fear. "If you had been killed — " Little Wab was weeping frankly. "There would be only Ru left to get us out of this dreadful cave!" The boy's tears brought a flush to Og's cheek.

Perhaps I acted rashly," he admitted. "But what a story could be told if a Cave Man overcame the Stalking Death!"

"It is a miracle you are not killed!" Ru scolded. "And you — the wise one!"

"Oh, if you had been killed!" Little Wab whimpered.

Nada come forward in Og's defense.

"Og IS wise," womanlike she now praised him. "Were it not for his wisdom we should have no fire — no arrows. We should not be here!"

"Hush," Og silenced her. "The lust to kill was in my blood. Now it is gone. We must look about us for a way of escape."

The passage was so small the Cave People were forced to progress on hands and knees, lest they jar their heads against the low hanging rocks overhead. The way grew steadily more difficult, Slowly, painfully, their knees raw and bleeding from the sharp rocks, Og led them deeper into the cave.

"The dark is horrible!" Nada choked, breathing with great difficulty. "I can even taste the blackness!"

"Taste the blackness!" Ru spoke with a jeer against his own fears, "Who ever heard of such a thing! Your mind runs away with you."

"I do not like this place!" sobbed Little Wab. "We will die if we stay here longer!"

Og had not spoken for some time and now Nada reached her hand forward to discover if he were still there in the lead.

"Og!" she said hoarsely. Then gave a great cry. "Og! Og! Where are you? Oh, he is gone!"

Ru felt about him in the darkness. "Perhaps he fell through a hole in the rocks!"

"We are lost! We will die!" sobbed Little Wab.

"Call him, Ru," said Nada. "See if he will answer."

"Og!" Ru called out loudly, "where are you?"

Then, as from a great distance, came the muffled voice of Og.

"Hi-i-i-yah! Crawl ahead!" he called. "Crawl through the narrow opening!"

Nada found the opening and, stifling a cry as the rocks tore her knees and shoulders, she forced herself through, Ru and Little Wab following.

After the blackness of the narrow cave, the gleaming light that now flooded them was almost blinding. They found themselves in a place of magic whiteness; the walls about, the roof overhead sparkled like the sun on the water. It was as if they had been suddenly transported into a cave of snow, and yet it was not cold like snow. They could not understand it.

Og stood watching them, smiling at their cries of astonishment.

"Og, what is it?" questioned Wab. "Where are we? Is this a treasure cave?"

"Almost, Little One." Og laughed at his expression of mystified wonder. "That white stuff on the rocks is salt."

"Medicine Sand!" Ru spoke reverently.

"Aye," Og replied. "Medicine Sand as Pong calls it."

Nada drew back fearfully. "Pong said the medicine sand belongs to the Gods! Remember, he would give only a hand full of salt for a jackal skin full of mussels."

Ru appeared worried. "There is magic about salt," he said slowly, "It can make people sick! It can make people well. Perhaps it does belong only to the Gods."

"That is nonsense!" Og spoke sharply. "Always Pong has lied to trick the people. He desired to keep it secret where he obtained the salt, so that he could make them pay for it!"

Og strode to a rock, running the precious salt through his fingers. He turned to Ru.

"Remember how Pong would disappear a few suns from the village and then return with the salt? I feel certain we have discovered his own place to obtain the Medicine Sand!"

Nada clasped her hands. "Then we cannot be far from our People!"

Buoyed with this new hope of finding the Cave Dwellers, they eagerly pushed on to a place where the light of day streamed behind a jutting rock.

The joy they experienced in witnessing the daylight was short lived.

From afar came a monotonous chant, which rose and fell as the winds carried the sound to the mouth of the cave where Og motioned the others to wait in silence.

"Flat Heads!" he spat the words. "I once heard their chant."

"I, too," Ru spoke in fear. "Once they attacked our village! They are enemies to the Cave People."

Little Wab shook with terror.

"Can't we hide back in the cave?" he begged piteously.

It was too late to seek refuge in the cave. The Flat Heads were upon them. They greatly resembled the Tree People, only their bodies were bigger, stronger. They advanced with a savage hooting, but paused in surprise, when they beheld the Cave People. The leader of the Flat Heads drew in closer. His big teeth gleamed like the fangs of a wolf. All the Flat Heads carried big clubs, but their leader's was an enormous cudgel for he appeared a giant in strength.

Og stepped forward and addressed him, extending his hand, "Ho, Long Tooth, we are friends of the Flat Heads!"

"Whooo!" Long Tooth muttered deeply. "You Cave People. Not — friend — Flat Head. What — for — you — take Flat Head Medicine Sand — Whoo!"

Long Tooth hooted his suspicion, and all his tribe echoed the hateful sound. The leader turned to his fellows and swung his big club over his head, shouting words which were meaningless to the Cave People, but which were evidently an order to take the intruders.

"Whoo! Cave People — no — get — back — to — village!" Long Tooth chuckled hideously. "We — kill-'um — Flat — Head — Village. Make — Sun — God — happy."

Hooting and chanting in derision, the Flat Heads seized the Cave People and carried them off down the mountainside, pausing only when they reached their queer village on the banks of the Great River. The captives were borne to the center of the village where, in an open place, there stood a strange tree, its trunk splintered, its arms reaching out like a giant's.

"That is the Sun God of the Flat Heads," Og whispered to Ru when they had been roughly put down upon the ground.

Nada heard him. "Their Sun God!" she spoke derisively. "But it is only an ugly tree!"

Ru noticed how the Flat Heads stared at the tree. "You are right, Og," he said, "they worship it."

"It was once struck by lightning," Og studied the trunk. "That is no doubt the reason they fear it."

Nada made a discovery which caused her to leap up in horror.

"See those dark stains! That is blood — blood of men who were sacrificed by the Flat Heads!"

"Aye," said Og sadly. "They do make sacrifices. Once every moon they kill whatever prisoners they have taken to make their Sun God happy."

Wab clung to Og's arm and cried, "That is what he said they would do to us! Oh, Og, save us! Please save us!"

Absently Og stroked the terrified boy as he watched the movements of the Flat Heads, who were beginning to form a council ring about the tree. The men carried hollow logs upon which they pounded making dismal sinister sounds. Long Tooth strode among them, looking more hideous than before with his ugly face smeared with mud.

"Whooo! Long — Tooth — make — medicine — for — Sun — God — Whoo!"

He strutted proudly, chanting above the weird pounding of the drums, working his way nearer to the Cave People. Suddenly he pointed a hairy finger directly at Little Wab.

"Whooo! Sun — God — say — he — want — little — one."

Ru clutched at his stone axe, but Og held his hand.

"No. Wait, Ru. I have a good thought."

Og raised himself to his full height and, with slow, majestic steps, advanced till he came face to face with Long Tooth.

"I am a bigger medicine man than Long Tooth!" he chanted. "If Long Tooth kills Wab I bring down fire from the sun! I destroy the Flat Heads!"

The Flat Heads ceased their pounding and gave respectful attention, but Long Tooth was not impressed.

"Whoo! Cave — Man — lie!" he stammered.

"I do not lie!" There was thunder in the monotonous tone as Og raised his arms high above his head. "If I do not bring fire inside the council circle, Long Tooth can kill me for Sun God! Now have men bring me wood; many pieces. Have them bring wood here inside council circle."

Long Tooth looked searchingly at Og for a moment and then gave the command.

"Whoo! Flat Heads — bring — wood — for — Cave Man. Quick."

The wood was brought hastily, and, under Og's directing hand, it was placed at the foot of the old tree. Then Og motioned to Nada.

"Bring some dried grass to catch the spark in!" he whispered cautiously.

Nada brought the grass and Ru stood in readiness to blow the spark as Og scraped the flint stones together. It was a good spark which grew into a flame. The flame shot up in a mighty blaze, creeping upward, upward, till it embraced the gaunt arms of the tree.

Above the roar of the fire and the frightened cries of the Flat Heads Og shouted with all his strength.

"I have brought fire into the council circle. I am big medicine man!"

Long Tooth cowered back among his people.

"We must attack while they are frightened!" Og spoke swiftly to Ru. "Seize a brand. I will take another!"

Nada drew close to them and cried excitedly, "There is a log on the river. See, Og?"

"Take Wab and make for it," ordered Og. "Hurry!"

The Flat Heads scattered, panic stricken, as Og and Ru came upon them with the blazing fire-brands. To the mouth of the salt cave the men followed, and then, with great speed, retraced their steps and ran to the river where Nada and Wab awaited them.

"Here is the log!" Nada called. "A great one. It will carry us all!

Hurry Og — Ru, Hurry!"

For already the Flat Heads discovered the ruse of the Cave People. With an angry cry Long Tooth came out of the cave hooting and giving orders for their capture.


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