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Short Story: E1 Tribe Life

Cave Painting

This story is inspired by science, history and anthropology, but is in no-way accurate.

This is a work of pure artistic fiction.


Episode 1

Today I woke up and stared out at the landscape. It was quiet, peaceful. Everyone was out and about already; they always let me sleep in. The Shammon warned them not to disrupt me lest my dreams become an awful reality we are forever stuck in. I don’t know if I believe in all that, but I do know the shaman always protects the natural world, even natural sleep. No one has been able to figure out why I’m the only one who sleeps like this, or what it means, but I do love to stay up late into the darkness gazing into the sky. In our new resting place I found a large rock that I like to climb up when everyone else is climbing into their sleeping spaces, and I lay on my back and watch the tiny glowing dots. It gives me such a sense of calm. I feel like they are me, or I am them. I don’t know how this is possible, but it feels true. The Shammon always tells me to trust my feelings, they are part of the natural world and should be worshiped and protected. The Shammon says our inner feelings are the most sacred and without them we are forever lost. The shaman also says I’m destined for greatness and it is written in the glowing dots. I love the Shammon even though I’m very confused about who I am supposed to be.

There is leftover morning food in our protected spot. A mau has been following us and taking any food left in the open. We cannot make the mau leave, we’ve tried to trick it, trap it, hunt it. Nothing helps. It insists on following us everywhere we travel, it sits at a distance and watches us. Sometimes I think it understands us. The mau has become my favorite, I have asked the council to make it part of our tribe. My request has been mostly ignored. I think the mau knows it is not part of the tribe and stays just far enough away so as not to upset us. I feel the mau really wants to be a part of the tribe. It definitely likes our food. I go out into the landscape to check on the mau. It is not there. I’m sure it will be around later. A tiny human cries nearby.

“Come here,” I tell the little one as I pick it up and cradle it. I am fond of this tiny human. It stares at me with big wondrous eyes, like all the glowing dots live inside its eyes. It has only been a few moons since this one came into the world. I’m not fond of life giving ceremonies, so I had stayed away. I remember that day clearly, many of the tribe were getting ready for a big hunt, some were playing the running game, some of them were checking our tools and making new ones. I sat by the youngest in that group and asked why they liked to work with tools. The young one shrugged. I sat by the oldest in the group and asked the same question. The wise old one smiled and said, “Because it feels good in my hands, I feel happy making them.”

What made me feel happy? Sure, I helped forage for food, sometimes I went to hunt, I tried making tools, but it never made me happy, not like the wise one next to me, I could feel that happiness and it made me feel nice, but I wanted to feel it for myself for once. The one I laid with often, came to sit with us, and I asked the same question. The answer: “Gathering foods. I like knowing what is poison and what is healthy, even where to find the sweet berries. It makes me happy when I can find any plant for the Shammon to make healing happen. And pleasure. That makes me always happy.” The wise one next to us smiled and nodded. The little one looked between us and said, “I have not felt the pleasure. I have tried, I have done the things you do, but no pleasure. I don’t think I’ll ever know the pleasure and have the ceremony.”

I put my arm around the little one’s shoulder, and said, “Do not try so hard, you are still young, your pleasure will come when the natural world says it is time, and you will have a ceremony.”

“It is true,” the wise one said, “Everyone receives pleasure when it is time, and not before. Everyone has a ceremony.” The little one blushed and went back to the tool making with a big grin.

I looked down at the tiny human in my arms, “You’ll have a pleasure ceremony one day, too. Just you wait, it’ll be the biggest ceremony we’ve had in a long time.”

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