Tuesday, September 17, 2013


 The African Savannah, =/- 2 million years ago...
“Bah-bah-bah! Bah-bah-bah!” Little one was hitting her hands together, making the noise. Sniffing the air and looking around, Mama made sure her little one wasn’t attracting danger.  Satisfied, she waddled the short distance across the stony bank to get water.
            The others were not far away, most of them searching the tall grasses for the remains of the beasts’ kills. Papa had one stone with an edge he had found long ago, and they would use that to cut parts of the killings to eat. Every time it took longer to cut off a leg or part of the back.
            Mama stayed back to care for little one. Little one could not walk far yet, but was too big to carry much. Mama began to scoop handfuls of the stream to her mouth. She had just finished a handful when the noise from little one changed.
            “Bah-bah-bah!” and with each ‘bah’ was a little clink. Mama looked back and saw little one bashing two small rocks together. She returned to her water. As she looked into the stream, she noticed a rock that was shinier and rougher than the others were. Carefully she pulled it out. One edge was thinner, and running her hand along it, she could feel the hurt. If she pushed hard enough, the red would come.
            Suddenly there was a loud cry from little one. Mama turned and saw that the rocks little one had been playing with had broken, one of them cutting little one’s hand. The red was dripping over little one’s legs. Mama ran over to her and picked her up before little one could cry too much in pain…that would bring the beasts.
            Inspecting the cut, Mama could see it was small, and would stop bleeding soon. She set little one back down and picked up the two rocks little one had been banging together.  One was still round, but the other was broken, and the edge was what had cut little one. Mama looked again.
            A rock had broken a rock. Mama went back to the rock she had dropped when little one had cried. Sitting down next to little one, she gave her two more small stones, then picked up two herself. She began hitting them together like little one had. Little one joined in.
            “Bah-bah-bah! Bah-bah-bah!” they made the noise together, each time banging their rocks. “Bah-bah-bah! Bah-bah-bah!
            Suddenly there was a sharp crack, and Mama felt the sharp hurt and saw the red dripping. One of her rocks had broken, leaving a sharp edge, much like the one she had just found. Mama had to stop. Now she had two sharp rocks, both could cut into the remains of the beasts’ kills.
            After the heat the others returned to the edge of the water where they’d made their night nests. Hearing the strange noise, Papa and another came upon Mama and little one. Beside Mama was a small pile of stones with edges.  Seeing Papa, she held up one. Then she made a noise that was not a scream or an alert of any kind.
            “Bah-bah-bak! Bak!” and she showed him the sharp edge. “Bak!” another rock with and edge.
            “Bak! Bak! Bak!,” cried the little one, holding up her tiny broken stones.

Some days later…
            Papa and many of the others crouched on the ground with piles of round rocks nearby. Each would grab two, then put one on the ground. Almost in unison, they would make the rock noise, “Bah-bah-bah! Bah-bah-bah!” When a rock got a sharp edge, the maker would make the “Bak!”sound.
            The group now had many baks, and these they used to cut the remains of the killings from the beasts. The cutting was much faster for they all had sharp edges now. The group was eating very well.

Sunday, June 30, 2013


Inspired by a friend's post, and with a prehistoric nod to the royal baby due soon...

+/- 2,000,000 years ago, African river valley

It was wet. Dripping soaking wet. The grasses were soaked, making walking difficult, cold. The ground under the grasses was thick with mud. And still the waters fell from up. This was not common. They were headed for a dry rocky overhang in the hills across a stream.
Tey searched the group of just over a hand of fingers struggling through the wet day. Tey saw his aging mother, then his sister, Grah who was big with a coming baby. Walking slightly ahead, was his sister’s mate, Ahrr, who was older than Tey and the biggest of the group. Running and playing were two young ones who fed themselves, but still needed help often.Old Er, who had only three teeth left, came up behind. Tey stayed near his mother out of habit. Long since weaned, he still saw the look on his mothers face when he had romped around as he learned to walk and call her.
The water continued and soon they came to the muddy sides of the stream they had wanted to cross. It was much bigger than before, brown and running fast. Arhh crouched down in the mud. They all crouched down around him, sniffing the air for danger. It was almost impossible to hear anything coming, with the roaring and gurgling of the water.
Arhh stood up, looked around once more, and then headed across the water. One of the younger ones, being adventurous, escaped the hold of Grah and chased after Arhh. His cry of delight in the water soon turned to a scream of pain as the water knocked him down onto rocks. Helplessly, he was tossed down the rushing, angry stream. Arhh, hearing this, tried to catch the youngster. In doing so, he tripped and fell into the water. After a terrible short scream, he floated away limply; face down in the dirty torrent.
Grah called helplessly after him and would have gone to him, but Tey grabbed her and threw her on the ground. She was carrying a baby and they had just lost one. Still screaming, Tey held her down. His mother came over and started rubbing the big baby bump, crooning “Bah bah bah…bah bah bah”
As Grah quieted down, Tey stood up and looked around. He sniffed the air. The water from upwards was stopping. The stream continued to be strong and fierce. Tey grabbed a long branch that had floated down. He tested it against the flowing stream. It gave some support and was not too big to hold. He grabbed the other youngster who was quietly mourning the loss of his sibling, and put him on his hip. The youngster was heavy, but Tey was strong. Using the branch, he carefully felt his way across. The rocks were slippery and big. Finally getting across, he dropped the youngster.
Turning around he saw that his mother and Grah were doing the same thing. Old Er stood patiently, making no move to cross over. Tey started back. His mother and sister were going slow but seemed safe. Tey reached the muddy bank again and extended his hand to Er, who took it slowly. They made their way across, carefully. Grah and his mother were almost to the far bank. Tey was getting very tired now, and slipped a little. Er held steady.
Suddenly there was a painful cry. Grah was on the bank, holding mother. His mother was trying to climb up, but one foot was not coming out of the stream. When Grah pulled, she screamed. Tey and Er did their best to get there faster, both slipping several times on the large boulders they could not see. Tey came along side his mother. He still held the branch and Er. Looking at his mother’s eyes, seeing the pain, he wanted to help stop that pain.  He saw in his head that he was now the leader, with Arhh being gone. And Grah would need help with the baby. Mother could help. He let go of Er and grabbed his mother. Er grabbed once for the branch, then slipped. He too, went down the wild ride of the surging brook. Tey could not be sure, but he thought he heard Er cry out, “Bah bah bah…” as he disappeared from view.
Feeling with his foot, Tey could sense that his mother’s foot was caught between two rocks. He kicked at one of them, crying out as he broke his toes. His kick loosed the rock and as he and Grah pulled, his mother climbed onto the shore and collapsed on the wet rock. Grah stood, holding the hand of the young one. Tey limped painfully to mother and helped her up. Her foot was bleeding, but it did not look too bad. Together, the small band of one hand of fingers scrambled up to the rocky over hang.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Giant Stone Axe

… the discovery of the first of what are believed to be the world’s largest stone tools on the bed of the lake...Four giant stone hand axes, measuring over 30 cm long and of uncertain age, were recovered from the lake basin.


Maybe 100,000 years ago, the dry basin of Lake Makgadikgadi in the Kalahari Desert.

Waki was almost finished. He was relieved and yet a little sad.  He was relieved because this work had taken time and was heavy. His back ached and his fingers were raw, and cut in some places. He was sad because it meant his son was now a man, and would face a man’s dangers.
He squinted at the sun.  It was starting down.  When night came this stone axe, a gift for his son, would be finished.  Waki adjusted his feet amongst the flint chips, barely noticing yet another small cut.  When a man worked the stone as Waki did, a man got cut.
There was a noise in back with the people.  Waki’s mate and children, her sister and her mate, their children, and Waki’s younger brother were the people.  His mate’s mother had been with them until the last rainfall, when she had fallen asleep for the last time.  They were a small people, but all was well as they hunted along the lake. 
The noise grew louder; Waki’s mate was wailing. Waki lifted his head, then stood up slowly, his aching knees refusing to move as fast as he needed them to.  He walked to the people.  His brother was dragging a long tall animal behind him.  It was lean and brown, with fresh blood…as he got closer, Waki saw that it was his son. One look and he could see that his son, who had been Waga, had gotten too close to a lion.  Waki looked at his brother.
“Grothr” the one word made sense.  A female lion, probably protecting her young.
Waki hung his head.  He couldn’t look at his wailing mate, or his other children. Instead, he went back to his stones.  He picked up the stone axe he had been shaping as a fine gift for Waga.  
He finished it, hearing the heart wrenching wails of his mate until the sun was almost down.  He picked up the fine stone axe.  Large because Waga was large.  Large because Waki felt a great sense of goodness for his young man-son.  He went to Waga’s still body.  Over the head he held the great stone axe.  He lifted it to the sky and his bellow to the sky was bloodcurdling.  He roared again, shaking the axe against the twilight and the quiet stars. He turned, and purposefully strode to the edge of the lake.  In sorrow, anger and unanswered rage he threw the stone axe to the bottom.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Oracle Stone


Alexandria, Egypt  +/-200 BCE
         Phatha wondered why Damianos had him wait here in this warm room, especially without water.  He had items and information specifically intended for Damianos. The room got warmer as the day progressed. Phatha was sweating and pacing when Damianos and his aide, Esdras, finally came in. Phatha went down on one knee and offered up the scroll and small satchel he had carried.
            "Greetings, Dear Phatha. Rise, rise! I am so very sorry you had to wait, but there were other pressing matters." As Phatha rose Damianos kissed him on both cheeks. "Forgive my lack of hospitality; one forgets these things here in Alexandria"  With a snap of his fingers a slave came in, placing a large jug of water and a bowl of apples on the table. Esdras made not a move, but kept his eyes on Phatha.
            Phatha again extended the items but Damianos stalled him. "I know, I know, it is important. But please”, he indicated the table, "first drink, eat; you must be parched"
            "I thank you." Phatha took the jug and drank long. The water was cool and surprisingly sweet. As he drank, Damianos snapped his fingers again and the slave brought in chairs, first for Damianos, then Esdras, and finally Phatha. After he had finished he wiped his mouth and looked again at Damianos.
            "Better? Good, please, let us sit so we can see what our dear Phatha has brought us" Damianos extended his right hand. Into it Phatha placed the sealed scroll and satchel.  Damianos broke the seal and read the contents, the smile never leaving his face. "Ah, from my father in Delphi. He sends his greetings and wishes me health!" Damianos chuckled, then crumpled the large scroll. Phatha was still sweating, but not from the heat now. He had seen the contents of the scroll before it had been sealed. Damianos' father could no longer send greetings to anyone but the ferryman crossing the Styx.
            Phatha took the jug and drank some more water, hoping it would conceal his shaking.
Damianos looked at him keenly, picking up the satchel. Esdras said not a word, but kept watching Phatha. Damianos opened the satchel and a small green stone fell into his hand.
            "Interesting!" Damianos exclaimed. "Look Esdras, it is the Delphic Stone from my childhood. See, you toss it onto the table and discern your fortune from the letter inscribed. Do try it." Esdras took the proffered stone and examined it. From across the table Phatha could see the stone had been shaped and gold inscribed into the letters. Esdras tossed it gently onto the table where it rolled and stopped, showing a fancy Alpha.
            "Excellent! You shall have much success my friend." It seemed Damianos could do nothing but smile. He turned to Phatha. "Your turn! Let's see what your future holds"
Phatha could do nothing but try. He picked up the cool stone. Clearly someone had spent time making this small wonder. He let it roll. Theta.
            "Oh dear how dreadful! Theta stands for thanatos, death, my dear Phatha. Do roll again!" Phatha had paled. He picked up the stone, hands visibly shaking. The stone made an ominous clunk-clunk-clunk on the table. Theta.
            "Well, it is but a child's toy, so do not worry, dear Phatha. Please, have an apple or two. I've more business so dinner will be delayed." With that, both Damianos and Esdras stood up. Esdras was still watching Phatha, but now he smiled.
            "As you wish" Phatha stood and bowed his head.  Damianos and Esdras exited and closed the door. Phatha could hear the quiet thunk from outside that meant he was locked in. Absently, Phatha grabbed and apple and took a bite. Who had betrayed him? He picked up the crumpled scroll and perused it. In an addendum that had not been there before, it was made clear. The apple was good, if a bit soft. He took another bite; this one was softer and tasted badly. Looking at the apple, he could see blackness around what could have been a wormhole. He spat it out.
            In anger, he threw the Delphic Stone on the floor. Theta. He kicked it. Theta. As his strength left him and he fell to the floor he flicked it one last time. Theta.