Before the Cave, part 18

Ilara was deep into conversation with the cute boy mammoth before she realized that she had no idea what to call him. She was enjoying the conversation — and learning a lot about mammoths — but she was essentially talking to a stranger.

The boy mammoth was walking along beside her and chatting away as though it was the most natural thing in the world. He didn’t know, she realized, that they were strangers. In fact, he kept acting as though they had known each other all of their lives.

And it was probably true that he had known another version of her. But that other version, she thought, was probably in her own village right now, impersonating a human. Impersonating her!

She was so lost in contemplation that she didn’t realize where they were going until they were already there. Looking around, she was startled to realize that they were now surrounded by other young mammoths.

“Now children,” came a voice from somewhere in front of them, “settle down. Class is about to begin.”

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