Children of Dawn


Children of Dawn


I leaned forward to touch the black stone. My hairy hands reached the coarse, large, broken body of the black stone. It was in front of our cave since the time immemorial. Now it got the reddish brown stains of blood on it. The remnant of yesterday's fight between Khush and Khuman.

I was the witness of their fight. I faintly recalled that Khush threw Khuman on this stone and tried to hit him with his hammer, Khuman moved his head and Khush's hammer hit the stone. The stone cracked apart. And then....then what happened? When did Khuman die? Did he die or did he flee away?

At that stage, our memory was not evolved enough to recall all the details. We were not able to mourn over the loss of anything for a long time. We were half-human, our brain was still developing. We were half-tamed to form a tribe, half-wild to rebel and fight and either flee to the forest or die at the hands of the tribal leader.

Our emotions were acute and brief. We jumped, we screamed, we cried out loud. The defeated fell to the ground and writhed in pain when the victor danced and screamed in joy. Then we forgot. All of our memories were brief. We didn't have good enough long term memory necessary for a strong and long commitment. But it was coming.

Strangely, I felt an unknown pain somewhere inside me, something like the small and sharp pieces of rocks hitting me from inside. I felt weird, as if the trembling ripples on the river were trying to come out from myself. An unknown pain, like the unknown highland from where the big river came and the unknown lowland where it went.

Our tribe lived in a valley surrounded by the hills and thick forests. That green valley was our world. We didn't know what existed outside. Old wizards and witches told the tales of big hairy giants and bright winged people who lived outside. We didn't see them, we didn't want to see.

We were safe and happy in our green valley with a mighty river flowing through it. The river appeared between two hills far away where the big ball of golden fire jumped out of the blue line of the horizon every morning. It flew through the land and went towards the horizon where the golden fireball sank every evening.

The river was very important in our lives. She was not only a river, to us she was the river goddess, we worshiped her. The river which I could see clearly from the hilltop. The cave-front was on the hill, much higher than the ground level. Before yesterday's fight, the cave was Khuman's. Yesterday Khuman disappeared, either died or fled to the wilderness. Khuman's cave became Khush's cave after the decisive fight.

I looked at the clear blue sky and saw several vultures flying, were they flying above Khuman's corpse? Were they going to eat everything?

Yesterday Khuman was a strong, vivid, young life, brimming with activity. Today Khuman's is nowhere, he is gone.

Again, I felt an acute pain somewhere inside me as if Khush threw a sharp stone to hurt me. But there was no stone! Khush didn't strike me! He only threw his strong arms around me.

I felt weak, I didn't want him but couldn't run away either. With his powerful hands he squeezed me hard. When his lips pressed against mine, I didn't feel like responding. The strange pain came back, the pain from inside, a strange feeling as if an internal fire burning me from within.

Khush didn't let me go, he enjoyed as far as he could, then he was exhausted, he fell asleep. I felt tired and heavy. I wanted Khuman to come back and take me to his arms. I wanted to weep and weep until Khuman's chest was flooded. But I knew Khuman disappeared and nobody knew where he was.

That time I didn't know that Khuman was to come back, he'll be born again, not only by himself, I will be born again with him. Through the agonizing ecstasy of developing a life inside another, the amazing thing which nobody could explain reasonably. We didn't have much reasons at that stage, we were still being developed, we were in a transition between untamed freedom and organised civilization.


Adam shook my shoulder and asked, “Hey Erin, what are you doing here? When shall we start today's work? We're already late.”

I woke up from my dreamlike state, all of a sudden I realized it was not the caveman's time, it was 21st century. Many many years have passed!

Yet, the cave-front was still the same, even that broken stone was still there! Of course, there were no blood stains, those were washed off by the rain long long ago.

I stood up, dusted off my jeans and told Adam, “Let's begin.”

We began our fieldwork for our archaeology project. Me and Adam, the children of that foggy dawn far back in time, began our excavation to uncover the truth, the long forgotten truth of our own origin.


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Mallika Dhar

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