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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1985054-The-Precarious-Neanderthal
Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Fantasy · #1985054
How two misfits became a change for the future.
  Come my grandchildren, gather around, and I will tell you a story. It is a story of me, starting before I was born.

We're cave dwellers, but only when it is cold. When it is nice we like to live outside under the stars. I mean my clan did.

    Years before I was born, so I was told, the earth shook and cave dwellers fell down and were tossed about until it stopped.

    That fall my clan discovered a new cave in which the ground was the color of the night with no moon, and warm.  (modern man would have had a Geiger counter and knew it was radioactive)   

    My people moved in for the winter and even in the coldest of nights did not need fire.

    By the time warm weather came the children and moms were sick and listless. Women

were having their babies early. Their babies were stillborn, including my mother's child.

    They left the cave that spring and that summer babies were being born with no arms, inside out, or just early.  The elders were concerned, but didn't know what to think.

    That fall there were no babies, and the clan returned to the cave.

    My mother was reluctant to return to the cave with her mate and three children, because the cave, to her, was an unhappy time.

    That winter she spent as much time as she could outside, plus made my brothers and sister play outside in the day time or they went with the men to kill animals for food.

  That spring my mother was one of the women that was pregnant.

  By fall I was born and almost died on the same day. I was born with a big head and couldn't hold it up. The elders had the power to send any baby down the river if it was weak or abnormal. They gave me ten days to hold my head up which I did, barely.

    That winter we found a different cave and the clan started having babies again.

  Everyone thought I was strange looking. They accepted me because I was better at throwing rocks and spears at animals than anyone else.

  At sixteen winters I was almost as tall as a grown man. You think this is odd that I say this, because for us this is normal. Not for my clan. Nine to ten winters a cave dweller was full grown.

  About this time one of the young girls took a liking to me and I loved her. She was mischievous, cute, and had a thick mat of fur all over her body. She died in the spring having my baby, and he died too.

  The elders said I had to leave because my head was too big. Leaving meant  I was going to die since hunting was a group effort.

  One day, half starved, I found a skeleton of a rodent in a vine patch. The rodent had accidentally hung himself, and I got an idea. I made loops, that we call snares now, and put them along rodent trails. All at once I was eating meat again, along with grass and pods and tubers.

  In the winter a little cave was all I needed. I chose one with a very small opening to keep meat eaters away when they were hungry. With fire and hot coals in the opening I could sleep at night without worry.
In the summer I slept in a tree.

  Three winters later I found I was very lonely. I was thinking about stealing someone from the clans around me, but I knew I would be hunted down and killed if I did this. I was so lonely that I started not to care.

    This feeling kept bothering me for another year. Why stay alive if there is no reason to be alive.

  One evening in the fall when it was colder I stopped off at the cave for the night and saw a body under my night furs. Lifting them up I couldn't believe what I was seeing. A hairless, starved skeleton of a grown girl with a face that was sooo ugly. Small beady eyes looking from brows too big for a face, with too big of teeth, for too big of a mouth.

She was all covered with sores and scabs, and even her hide was peeling off.

  I fed her and she told me why she was by herself. Her clan had taken to staying in the old cave where
I was made. They had always hoped she would grow hair as she grew up. Finally the elders decided to put her out of the clan when she had a deformed baby.

  What could I do? I fed her, taught her how to set snares, and covered her up. You see, I used furs to carry my throwing stones and keep warm when I am cold, but in my mind she needed furs to look normal.

  One winter later she insisted on lying with me. The dark helped, but I could still smell her. All of her babies were born without hair and as they grew up I insisted they wear fur on their bodies.

    Except for one activity.
 
  The only benefit I've seen is the complete unnerving of the other clans when we fight them. Hammer headed, hairless men scare everyone and we have become the dominant clan in this area. Every one of my sons have at least ten wives and more children then my fingers and toes. Now my grandchildren and great grandchildren, even though you have fur on your heads, this too is disturbing. My fur is like the bark on a tree and short. Your fur on your head is like the flames of a fire, and down to your butts. What have I done?

            Analogy= This is a story that depicts the bases of a hypothesis of the origins of the Neanderthal, presumably more then 600,000 years ago.   


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