Monday, February 28, 2011


Papa did plan to return to a more benign lifestyle. He was ready to reconstruct some sort of family. Maybe Jonathon would be there with the others. He hoped that he would. It's not as if he never lived that way before. Twenty eight thousand years is a long time. He 'd seen constellations change and the heavens reconfigure.. Giant prehistoric mammals populated his youth. Tall heavy, giraffe-like creatures nibbled leaves from the trees. Saber toothed cats of many varieties spread terror everywhere. The people tried to live in huts, rather substantial huts, built on raft-like supports mounted atop stout vertical logs. Small bands could not accomplish this. It took many strong backs to force the rough supports down into the sticky ooze. But Papa's band was lucky. They were accomplished hunters. Few fell to beasts of prey. Even less were trampled or gored by the herbivores they sought. His mortal life was quite regular. His father was not a head man. His mother was not a witch. But he had a talent for story telling. And many were the nights spent 'round the communal hearth listening to his tales.. It was often a peaceful way to live. Meat could be had. Hunting was hard work, but as I said, they were good at it. Sometimes they managed to land one of the giant sturgeons inhabiting the swift river emptying into their lake. Then they'd feast on wonderful, oily. smoked flesh, not to mention the fresh, fragrant roe (eggs). True, they had no life-eater. Some bands had life-eaters. And the magical powers and strengths possessed by such beings were useful. The head man tried to get one. It was almost impossible. Most were related to the mortals in their group and completely unwilling to leave. Do to their superior strength, kidnapping was out of the question. Yet a traveller told of a band nearby, only eightteen days distance. Well, they used to be a band. But a bewitchment befell them, a sickness, a terrible pestilence. And after a while, all were dead. The life-eater grieved for his people. Yet there was nothing he could do. He offered them his blood. He did do that. But different bands have different beliefs and they would not take it. So he cried and watched them expire. It was left to him to burn the bodies and scatter the ashes. It was left to him to say the prayers. Now he existed, all alone, deep in a cavern decorated with his holy paintings. And he prayed and prayed and prayed. But when the hunger came he was forced to take whoever he could get. And so his reputation suffered. It was decided that one of the lake people would go back with the traveller and attempt to meet this miraculous being. The group picked Papa, since he was their best speaker. His wife had recently  died and his two surviving daughters were already serving husbands in nearby encampments. So he left the lake and followed the traveller deep into the forest. Deep into the green and mossy shadows. Sometimes he spoke with his guide and sometimes they did not speak. It took twenty three days to reach the cave of the life-eater. And the journey left Papa exceedingly fit. He enjoyed the roots and berries. He savored the woodland nuts. And fat squirrels were so easy to come by. Bird's eggs were tasty as well. But finally, his laconic guide (in turned out that he was on some sort of spiritual quest ) pointed toward a low cliff-face and said - The 'being' rests in there......Papa felt fear for the first time. He turned to the man and said - What happens now? Will you come inside with me?.......The man simply shook his head and walked away........Now remember, Papa was not called Papa then. He had a name. But it is not for me to say it. Let him tell you when he will. So do not think of him as old. Although he was rather advanced in years for his time. Let's see. I believe he owned about thirty two or three summers by this point. But the average person was sturdy back then. And he was well above average. So he constructed some sort of crude camp near the entrance to the cavern (which was low and somewhat hidden along the cliff-face). There he waited till the time felt right. He slept with his best knife in his hand.and thin, fine spears were close by. What were the nights like? Like none you have ever seen. The darkness was complete. Animals ranted through the blackness. His campfire repelled them, but did little to thwart the tiny things that crawled. A gossamer band of stardust wandered though the sky. The moon waxed full and fat, heralding a meeting yet to come.....Heralding an altered existence....And the start of something wondrous.............

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