Readers, it is best to first read my story:
‘From Out of the Darkness’
“Stay away from me, Tanemahuta!” Mahuika hated what her brother had done, “I will never forgive you for making us play that horrid, stupid game which separated our parents, changing our lovely existence with our loving parents…”
“Mahuika,” Tanemahuta pleaded with his sister, “we need to be together, we need to make sure that us humans continue, do not die out…”
“We have other brothers and sisters, choose another sister!”
“They are still too young, Mahuika, trust me, it’s not that bad up on the surface, you don’t have to dwell in the caves, we will survive this…”
“Then why are you still clutching hold of the branches of the Pahutakawa tree as if afraid you’d fall into the abyss Tanemahuta, you don’t even believe that yourself…”
Mahuika had done all she could to comfort the others when their parents had been separated, most of all the other creations detested their new hot and cold, bright and dark, gusty, stormy environment. And with time, some, found refuge in tiny crevices and gaps in their now dry and hardened mother created by the strong winds and ferocious storms that terrorized all, in the now large space between their parents. Mahuika wandered the underground regions, she even coaxed others to follow her, but they were just as much afraid of the dark underground world, as their new tempestuous one, and she vowed that she would never live on the surface of their dangerous new world.
Tanemahuta attempted joining her in the dark caverns, but she made him feel unwelcome.
“You created that hot and cold, dark and bright, wretched windy world out there,” she’d taunt him, “now get used to it!”
“We used to be so close, Mahuika, you, alone, would sit with me, on the outer edges of our parents, and we would gaze out at all those little lights in the darkness together, wondering what they were, and what else was out there…”
“Yes, I loved you, and loved being with my clever, brave brother, but I thought that that’s all we were doing, Tanemahuta, I risked sitting on the outer edges, risked slipping out and away, holding desperately on to the creepers imbedded in out mother’s flesh, hoping that we won’t dislodge them and fall out into the darkness forever, because I trusted you, and, because I thought that we were just – looking!"
“I’m sorry; you don’t know how much I wish I hadn’t tricked you all into playing that fateful game which helped me to separate our parents. If I could change it all back, I would – but in the meantime, we must do what we can to survive our new existence, we must do all we can to make sure that our species survives…”
“No Tanemahuta, you must do all you can to make sure that our species survive your new world! I will not be sharing your new world with you! You will have to wait a few years, because our next human sister is still a child, but I will not have anything to do with you and your new world! Now go! Leave me in peace in the safe bowels of our mother. And never seek me out again. Never, ever come back!”
Tanemahuta watched her backing away from him, further down into the dark bowels of their mother. He remembered the girl he had first seen when she was a baby, and how she had entwined her tiny fingers around has own as he had reached out to touch his precious little sister. He remembered the little girl he had played with, giggling together, as they grew. And he remembered that she was the only human sibling who had sat precariously with him on the outermost further edges of their parents, watching the tiny little lights together – the little lights that can almost always be seen now, especially in the darkness of night, when not too cloudy, the little lights that albeit, he still, knew nothing about. She had been his closest, most trusting, companion. And he remembered the words of his mother. ‘Do not be curious my son, for knowledge, there is always a high price to pay…’ He understood that Mahuika no longer trusted him. He understood that she felt she and the others had been tricked. He understood that he had lost the devotion of his once adoring, loving sister. And he also now understood, that she, the most precious thing to him, was his sacrifice, for what he had done.
The branch of the Pahutakawa tree that he was holding onto swayed in the wind, bringing him out of his reverie. He yanked on that branch and it lifted him up, out and away, from Mahuika’s cave entrance.
Mahuika leaned against the cool cave wall and cried. As far back as she could remember, she and Tanemahuta had always been together, and they had both presumed that they would always be together. She remembered how he had patiently taught her how to do everything, crawling around between their parents together, sometimes being able to briefly stand and walk, he taught her all about their parents, and environment, and how to talk, laugh, and play – but that last fateful game of his, was unforgiveable.
But how she missed him. To keep from thinking about him, she busied herself getting used to her underground world – there were areas where open shafts to the upper-world let her know when it was daytime – there were areas where insects glowed, and there were areas where even the waters gave off some light - her eyes adjusted to the darkness so well, that it seemed that she was never in complete darkness, but during her wanderings - she came across areas of heat, sometimes extreme heat, where even water in those areas steamed – as those above were getting used to living in their new world, she got used to using her domain also, and it was believed, that she was the one who created fire – it is now more likely thought that perhaps she came across volcanic areas with lava flint that sprang into flames quicker than other methods, and also smouldered longer than other fires; however, according to the story, Mahuika would speak with her mother constantly, and Papatuanuku took pity on the girl, and showed her that food tasted better when smoked, and fires warmed her usually cool environment. This knowledge though, eventually prompted her to share her discovery, and use of fire, with those above. But after so long being separated from her siblings, she was not prepared, for even more changes.
As she made her way to the cave entrance closest to where she last saw Tanemahuta, she was surprised at how excited she felt at the prospect of seeing him again. Had she finally forgiven him, she must have, she thought to herself, and she actually smiled as she quickened her pace, clutching her lava flint tightly, and wondering what she would say to him, how she would proudly show him that there was a reason she stayed underground for a while, to show him her discovery, and how helpful this kind of fire could be for their people.
But when she came out, the daylight momentarily blinded her. One of her younger brothers recognized her, and ran to help her out.
“I have something to show you all,” she smiled up at him, “my, you’ve grown, have I been away that long?”
“You have been hiding away far too long, but being underground hasn’t changed you at all,” he gasped, “you are still, very beautiful…”
Mahuika blushed – she hadn’t given her appearance a thought since she chose to live in the caverns – she subconsciously ran a hand through her dishevelled hair. “Where’s Tanemahuta?”
The boy hesitated. She noticed. She pushed him aside and strode past him purposefully. Then she saw Tanemahuta. Sitting in a Pahutakawa tree; of course, he loved those trees, but he was not alone – the next eldest sister was with him, comfortably perched on a branch beside him, and they were cuddling, laughing, and enjoying being together, just as she remembered how they used to.
She turned back to her caves. She had to pass her younger brother to get to them. He stood in her way. “You said that you had something to show us?”
She shook her head. She felt ill. She’d stayed away too long. And even though she kept telling herself that Tanemahuta was doing exactly as she had told him to do, she felt betrayed. She felt hurt. And another thing she did not know even existed until then, she felt jealous.
She looked up at the handsome young man standing before her, and sighed. “I have discovered…no, I have made something that…” she could not get the sight of Tanemahuta with another girl out of her mind. “That…I have found something that…could be useful…if used correctly, it…” She threw the flint to the ground, and took his hand in hers. The atmosphere was cooling, as evening approached. She smiled up at him in the fading light of day, just as the first light in the sky twinkled brightly. “Would you like me to show you how to keep…warm at night?”
Go to: Part 3 ‘The Fire Goddess’
About the Creator
When I was a child, I would wake up in the night because of nightmares. As time went on, I realized that I was looking forward to my dreams. Now, I write them, among other stories as well.....