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I waited a bit. Made sure there wasn’t anymore wheeled things before digging the hole. I didn’t want to get hit by one. It’s smaller than the metal hunk. But getting hit by one might break bones. The rolling trees weren’t as large, didn’t go as fast. They injured lots of others, preventing them from walking ever again. This wheeled thing should do the same. After waiting around a little longer, no more wheeled things came by. I always have all my tools on me. It’s a bit cumbersome. And sometimes tools slip. But it’s better to be a little inconvenienced than to not have tools when I need them.

How deep should I make the hole? Deep enough to prevent the prey from taking it out. That’ll prevent me from taking it out as well. But that’s fine. I went to the middle of the road, took out my hole-digging tool, plunged it into the ground. And failed. The road was too tough, the ground too hard. Occasionally, there’d be rocks that I couldn’t dig through with my hole-digging tool. I had to dig around them, then move them out of the way. But the whole road is a giant, black rock. It’s impossible to dig through. It seems to stretch on endlessly; I don’t think there’s a point where the road turns to dirt.

Then how do I stop the wheeled thing? Trees won’t work. Holes are impossible. Rope? There’s some thin rope, black too. The prey might not notice if I stretch it across the road. It’s not difficult to set up either. I’m not sure if it’ll stop the wheeled thing. But it can’t hurt to try. If the rope breaks, I can tie it back together. I have nothing to lose; there’s still two weeks before the meat is done smoking. Rope probably can’t stop it. But what if I don’t have to stop the wheeled thing? What if I only have to stop the prey on top of it?

The prey sit on top the wheeled thing, their heads above the handles that they grab onto. If I tie a rope to two trees, stretch it across the road at head height, it’ll only hit the prey. If I’m lucky, the wheeled thing will be undamaged, only the prey thrown off. I think it’s feasible. The only problem is the prey might see it. No, if the rope is at their eyelevel, they’ll definitely see it. Unless there’s a way to make the rope invisible. Or a way to distract the prey for the whole time it approaches the rope. Both are impossible for me. It might be possible to make a rope invisible. But I don’t know how.

What if I don’t stretch the rope all the way until the prey arrives? If I tie the rope to a tree, walk across the road to the other side, wait for a prey to arrive before lifting the rope up with my hands, the rope will seem like it appeared out of nowhere, catching the prey off guard. I’ll do that. Tie the rope to this tree. Is this how high it should be? I was a bit far; I’m not sure if this is the right height. I’ll adjust it if it misses. The rope is a bit obvious on the ground. But if a prey is moving that fast, surely it can’t see properly, right? Its vision must blur as it travels. If it does notice, maybe it’ll stop. Then I can shoot it with my bow. I’ll adapt as the situation arises. For now, I’ll go to the other side of the road, wait with the rope in hand.

A long time passed. Enough time for the hunger to rear its ugly head. I ate salted and smoked meat to pacify it. Luckily, after meat is smoked, the others don’t go for it. They don’t recognize the smell of smoke as food. Maybe it’s because they’ve been burned by fire the first time they encountered a smoky smell. I smart. But I was burned by flames. The others definitely had bad experiences with fire and smoke too. Maybe that’s why prey always have fires burning. Not only is the pillar of smoke in the sky obvious to other prey, the smell keeps others away. No, not away, just not interested. It masks the smell of prey without the risk of infection from spreading stink sauce.

How long do I have to wait? The sun is setting. The last bit of orange is lingering in the sky before it becomes dark. Prey aren’t active during the night. If they didn’t pass through this road during the day, the chance of them passing through at night is even less. But if they do come when it’s dark, there’s no chance for them to notice my rope. That’s one big reason why they won’t come. It’s dangerous without vision. Should I go back to the building, wait out the night? I’ve been keeping the others here with me by tapping my spear against my metal stick. I feel safe with twenty others surrounding me. There’s no need to go back.

It feels like I wasted a day. I didn’t accomplish anything, spent my time waiting with a rope in hand. But there’s nothing else I could’ve done. I could’ve dug a few holes, set some traps. But only in the area near the end of the rope. If I went too far, I’d miss the wheeled thing. And all digging holes would do is trap the others. I haven’t forgotten how easy it is for them to ruin my hard work. Maybe I should go back, do something productive. Practice shooting with my bow. Carve more wooden spikes. Gather more jars of stink sauce. Instead of waiting for something that may or may not happen, I can do something with definite results. But I already spent so much time waiting. If I leave now, I won’t catch a prey on a wheeled thing; the time I spent would really be wasted then. But if I wait some more, catch the wheeled thing, I wouldn’t have wasted my time. The choice is obvious. I’ll wait some more.

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Virlyce

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