Part 59 of the ongoing saga of The Great Being, the One Self that manifests as each of us.
We have been following the experiences of two Agents of Cosmic Intelligence, Melchizedek and Layla, here on a mission that started in 200,000 BC. To infiltrate the Rebel forces on the planet, they walked into the near-dead bodies of Blu and Ska around 40,000 BC on the coast of northwestern Spain. Taken into the Rebel Stari-ki’s army, they trekked southward, made a miraculous crossing over the Straits of Gibraltar, and are now discovering Africa. Previous episodes.
Still in a heightened state of consciousness following the eventful crossing of the Great Water, the vanquishing of the enemy in pursuit, and now exploring a completely new land, Blu and Ska continue to peel back the layers, getting more in touch with what seems to be their true selves. The same is happening to Stari-ki, forcing him to reconsider just about everything, including following orders from Planetary Command. In their mission to find and conscript natives into the Rebel armies, Blu and Ska had gone south, paralleling the army to the north. They came to the edge of a huge desert and saw their first humans in the new land — quickly deducing to their shock and disgust that these primitives were cannibals.
Blu and Ska made no sound as they peered through the heavy brush in the dusky light. They had stealthily tracked the troop of savages back to their tribe, who appeared to live in the open without dwellings. Some had burrows like creatures that live in the ground, and others just had a piece of earth they called their own. In the center of the encampment, where they expected to see a leader’s tent or hovel, there was a large flat rock on which the setting sun now shone, turning it a blood red. From their distance they could not see that the rock was actually covered in dried blood.
The squad they had been following went directly to the center of camp and carefully deposited what they had been carrying onto the rock. It was a lighter-skinned teenage girl wearing primitive clothes, apparently dead or unconscious, and obviously not from this tribe. Possibly even a different species, Blu thought, and then wondered what the word “species” meant. No time to think about it.
Something was going on in the back of his mind and lately he had been practicing paying attention to such things, in the hopes of recovering his true identity. He had noticed something — what was it? He had a feeling two and two had been put together in a dream at the back of his mind, the spaces one usually ignores. There — he had it.
He whispered to Ska, “Do you see any other teenage girls anywhere?” Ska looked carefully around camp from one end to the other. They looked at each other. Did this mean that the tribe had already eaten their own teenage girls, and then had gone out looking to kidnap those of neighboring tribes? Why teenage girls — softer, tastier? Blu wondered. Ska looked at him meaningfully, seeming to read his thought. “What else do they do to her first?” he whispered. Blu considered this.
“We have to save her,” Blu said.
Ska nodded reflexively, then whispered “Those are not our orders of course,” and they both smiled grimly. This was not going to be easy, and the likelihood was that they would just get overpowered and eaten. But something would not let them slink away. They thought it must be honor, but actually it was their Agent compassion, coming from deep down within.
“Maybe we’d better act now before they kill her and eat her for dinner,” Ska suggested, “unless she’s dead already, in which case we’re throwing our own lives away for nothing.”
Blu’s gut feeling told him something else. “They don’t seem to be focusing on her. The tribe seems to have eaten dinner already, they seem to be bedding down, and there’s a couple over there having sex. For some reason I’m imagining some kind of ceremony…” He stopped abruptly. He pointed and turned Ska by the shoulder. The girl’s leg had moved by itself. She was alive. As they both peered at her in the gathering gloom, they could see that more of her was moving. She seemed to be only partially conscious.
They waited until the tribe had settled down and all was still, except for the girl’s random movements lying on the big rock. There were no guards standing watch over her. Apparently the tribe had reason to believe she was not capable of running off on her own — perhaps she was too severely wounded or maybe even dying.
They looked at each other and Blu nodded. They both stood up cautiously into a half-crouch, assuming the posture of the savages, and then moved quietly and with the same graceful shuffle of the tribesmen toward the girl — method acting that they were just two of the savages off to take a look at the prize. On the ground around them, people turned over but did not raise any alarm. Then they were at the girl’s side. Her eyes were open but she didn’t seem to see them. Was she blind? With no time to discuss it, they lifted her and Ska threw her over his back and they shuffled quietly away. About halfway to the perimeter, the cry went up and suddenly the ground was boiling with people jumping up and yelling, and Blu and Ska broke into a run.
TO BE CONTINUED
My best to all,
- Digital rendering by CK Niver
- Digital rendering by CK Niver
- Background painting: Cavegirl by Jeffrey Jones