The Lavalite World by Philip Jose Farmer. Chapter 13, 14, 15, 16

No matter. What else was there to do here but to search for it?

For a while they guided their grewigg through the shallow water. Then they headed across the beach into the woods, where she cut off a branch and smoothed out their traces with its leaves. For the rest of the night, they holed up on top of a hill deep in the forest.

In the morning the grewigg got nasty. They were tired and hungry. After she and McKay had come close to being bitten and kicked, Anana decided to let them have their way. A good part of the day, the animals ate, and their two owners took turns observing from the top of a tall tree. Anana had expected the Indians to come galloping along in hot pursuit. But the daytime period had half-

passed before she saw them in the distance. It was a war party, about twenty warriors.

She called McKay and told him to have the grewigg ready for travel, whether the animals liked the idea or not.

Now she realized that she should have taken the animals through the water at once after leaving the camp. That way, the Indians wouldn’t have known which direction to take in pursuit, and they might have given up. The precaution was too late, like so many things in life.

The warriors went on by. Not for far, though. About two hundred yards past the point where the refugees had entered the woods, the party stopped. There was what looked like a hot argument between two men, one being the man holding the lion skull on the end of the pole. Whoever wanted the party to go back won. They turned their grewigg around and headed back at a trot toward the camp.

No, not their camp. Now she could see the first of a caravan. It was coming at the pace of the slowest walker, and the hunters met them. The whole tribe halted while a powwow was held. Then the march resumed.

She told McKay what was happening. He swore, and said, “That means we got to stay here and give them plenty of time to go by.”

“We’re in no hurry,” she said. “But we don’t have to wait for them. We’ll cut down through the woods and come out way ahead of them.”

That was the theory. In practice, her plan turned out otherwise. They emerged from the woods just in time to see, and be seen by, two riders. They must have been sent on ahead as scouts or perhaps they were just young fellows racing for fun. Whatever the reason for their presence, they turned back, their big beasts galloping.

Anana couldn’t see the rest of the tribe. She supposed that they were not too far away, hidden by a bend of the shore. Anyway, she and McKay should have a twenty minutes’ head start, at the least.

There was nothing else to do but to force the tired animals into a gallop. They rode at full speed for a while, went into a trot for a while, then broke into a gallop again. This lasted, with a few rest periods, until nightfall. Into the woods they went, and they took turns sleeping and standing watch. In the morning, the animals were again reluctant to continue. Nevertheless, after some savage tussles and beatings, the two got the grewigg going. It was evident, however, that they weren’t up to more than one day’s steady travel, if that.

By noon the first of the hunters came into view. They drew steadily though slowly nearer as the day passed.

“The poor beasts have about one more good gallop left in them,” Anana said. “And that won’t be far.”

” Maybe we ought to take to the woods on foot,” McKay said.

She had already considered that. But if these Indians were as good trackers as their Terrestrial counterparts were supposed to be, they’d catch up with their quarry eventually.

“Are you a strong swimmer?” she said.

McKay’s eyes opened. He jerked a thumb toward the water. “You mean … out there?”

“Yes, I doubt very much that the Indians can.”

“Yeah, but you don’t know. I can swim, and I can float, but not all day. Besides, there may be sharks, or worse things, out there.”

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