Finally after ten years, I am close to publishing the heart-rending and fast-paced biography of Lucy. Written in the spirit of Jean Auel, this is the paleo-historic saga of our earliest ancestors as lived through the eyes of a female Homo habilis. Since Donald Johanson uncovered the tiny three-and-a-half foot clawless, flat-toothed Australopithecine, we have asked, Who is she? And how could she survive in a world of mammoth predators and unrelenting natural disasters she had no understanding about? This book answers those questions as well as more fundamental ones like, Where did God come from? Why did man create his first tool? How did culture start?
Here’s a summary:
Lucy: A Biography follows three species of early man (Australopithecus, Homo habilis and Homo erectus), as they fight for the limited resources of Pleistocene Africa. Lucy, of the species habilis, blames herself for the death of her family and agrees to mate with a stranger (Raza). As they journey to Raza’s homebase, they are tracked by two deadly predators: Xha, of the smarter and more powerful species Homo erectus, and the violent and unforgiving Nature, a sentient being who meddles with fate and Lucy’s future as though it were a chemistry experiment. The story is carefully researched to shared the geography, climate, and biosphere that would have been Lucy’s world 1.8 million years ago, when man was not King and nature ruled with a violence and dispassion we call ‘disaster’ today.
Every week, I’ll post part of this story.
Here’s Part 4 (A note: While I took Lucy’s name from the infamous Australopithecine skeleton discovered by Donald Johanson, Lucy is a Homo habilis. Her adopted child Boa is an Australopithecine):
Human nature is potentially aggressive and destructive and potentially orderly and constructive.
There the Creatures squatted, grunting noisily, no further from Raza than a well-thrown stone. Dirty clumps of hair hung to narrow shoulders. Their muscular chests tapered to pinched hips. Nut-brown skin bore only the barest layer of translucent fuzz. Their vaulted foreheads rounded high above thick rounded brows and broad muzzles—like his own, Raza thought, but flat as though Mammoth sat on them.
Raza drooped his eyes and hunkered deeper into the thick reeds across the pond from the Creatures’ camp. They were not what he expected. In fact, the only similarity to the ones he’d seen outside his home base was their movement.
They glided like Crocodile through water, with a grace belied by their over-long legs and truncated arms.
How could these winter-lean, hairless creatures be predators?
He hadn’t set out this morning to actually see them. He’d only wanted to track them. He’d waked early. He covered his body in mud and dung, barked a farewell to his Primary male Hku and set off to hunt. The day couldn’t have been more perfect. An unusual scattering of clouds shaded the parched ground with splotches of shade. Smoking Mountain slept, though Raza knew at any moment it might awaken with a ground-shaking growl, much like Eagle’s cry before her death dive or Cat’s throaty snarl. Today, though, the only indication of Smoking Mountain’s presence was a slight sulfur taste in the air.
His bare feet cut quickly through the talus field that bordered home base, across a dry patch of savanna, following the prints of Man-who-preys’. This Creature. They were bulbous at the bottom with splayed nubs on top, like his but straighter and narrower. Depth and size varied, but the scent was always sour like spoiled roots. Dust sprayed by his pounding feet tickled his nose and eyes and turned his dark feet a dinghy white.
When he caught the odor of pond reeds, he froze and let his senses explore what his eyes couldn’t. He ignored the ripening noxious cloud from his melting dung coat and focused on his surroundings. He heard water lapping against the pond’s shoreline and smelled the piquant scent of decayed vegetation crushed by hooves and paws and feet pounding to the water’s edge.
Nothing unusual, so he slid forward like Snake until he could see the watering hole. Its blue surface shimmered with heat like a watery flame. At one end, a herd of long-eared dik-dik and a lone hyaena-cat drank. Wave after wave of gentle ripples rolled from the pond’s edge as prey and predator alike lapped up the crystalline water. Cat’s cousin feasted on a bloated calf. A motley horde of flop-winged vultures squabbled nearby, hopping closer and closer to the cadaver, awaiting their turn. A mammoth family splashed directly in front of him, spraying their huge bodies with long noses. They trumpeted at something, flaring their ears and swaying their giant forefeet before trundling off to give Raza an unobstructed view across the pond.
At the face of the Creature. Man-who-preys. So much for his plan.
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