View Full Version : The Path (Fairly short, prototype)

August 18th, 2015, 09:33 AM
The Path



Ahm and Noo had been traveling the path for two world sleeps. The People had been traveling this path longer than anyone could remember, even longer than the toothless elders could remember. After the time when the water had fallen from above for many, many world sleeps they knew that the trees which bore the sweet stones would be ready for harvesting. It was not possible for the People to live near the sweet stone trees because there was no shelter nearby. The People knew it was safest to live within the holes of the stone earth but there were no stone earth homes to be found where the sweet stone trees lived. After the time of the falling water the leader of the People would send scouts to determine if there were meat beings, enemies or ripe sweet stones in the distant world. The People would then journey to the sweet stone trees to enjoy their nectar before returning to the land of their stone earth homes.

As they came over a rise Ahm and Noo could see The Breast Of The World in the near distance. They would soon be climbing the gentle slope to the top of the World Breast and from there they would be able to see the entire world. They would then be able to report to the People of herds of meat beings or enemies they had seen, but for now it was most important that they find the path of the water. Sometimes water traveled upon this path and other times they would find only the dry earth and many pebbles. Ahm and Noo had not had water to drink for one world sleep. As they approached the water path they could hear the water dancing before they saw it. Then they too began to dance and sing for they knew their thirst would soon be at an end. They traveled down to the water path and drank their fill. They then ate the small, black, beast eyes which grew upon the child trees near the water. The black beast eyes were like the tree stones, but much smaller. One had to eat many, many black beast eyes to stop the hunger. Ahm and Noo had spears but the two of them alone could not take down a mighty meat being, instead, they used their spears to pierce the water beings which swam below the water path.

When their hunger was satisfied they rested beside the water path. Noo walked back to the black beast eye child trees to pick more for their journey. Ahm closed his eyes and traveled to the dark world. All things in the dark world were real, even magical things, but you could not bring them back to the world of the People when the eyes were once again opened. When Ahm entered the dark world he found that he was riding on the back of a large bird flying high above the water path. From this height he could see even further than he could from the top of The Breast Of The World. He could see from this height that the branches of the sweet stone trees were bent with the weight of the delicious stones. Ahm’s mouth began to water as he imagined their sweetness. All at once the huge bird began to scream loudly and dive toward the earth. Ahm was severely frightened as the screams intensified and then the bird began to scream his name. "Ahm! AHMMMM!"

Ahm awoke from the dark world in terror to find that Noo was screaming his name as he limped toward him. Small streams of the red water were runinng down Noo’s leg from several places. Ahm immediately knew what had happened. A moving stick had bitten Noo several times on the leg and then had slithered back into the brush. Ahm was Noo’s friend but he knew there was nothing he could do to save him. Noo would soon become straight staring. When a member of the People became straight staring they could no longer speak to tell you what they see in the world beyond. These things can never be told, but they can still hear you. They are in a world between two worlds.

Noo continued to scream and imlpore Ahm but Ahm merely sat down to await the shaking time. The shaking time always happened when one was bitten by a moving stick just before the time of straight staring. When Noo fell to the earth and began to moan Ahm began to gather stones to put on top of Noo after the straight staring time began. He would do this to keep the enemies and air beings from eating him, for as long as Noo’s body remained Noo’s spirit would continue to exist in this world even if he was straight staring and could not speak. Eventually the tiny beasts of the ground and the air with many legs would consume Noo, but Ahm must do all he could to protect Noo’s body until then from the enemies which could scatter his bones. This was the law of the People. When Noo became straight staring Ahm took the skins off Noo’s body and threw them over his shoulder, he then took Noo’s spear and placed it beside his own. Ahm then covered Noo’s body with stones before resumimg his journey.

As he walked to the World Breast Ahm wondered if Noo would visit E-ma in the dark world to tell her he had arrived safely in the world beyond. E-ma often met people who had traveled to the world beyond in her dark world at night. E-ma always told the People what she had seen and heard in the dark world. Sometimes the departed ones would tell her when enemies were near or that the meat beings had returned to be hunted. Sometimes they were angry and refused to offer advice. At such times the People would gather around the fire and sing the name of the departed member and ask for help, guidance or forgiveness. The day that the old chief, Ramak, had gone to the world beyond he visited E-ma in her dark world the same night and told her of nearby enemies. The next day the roar of the enemy with spear teeth was heard in the distance.

Is this worth completing, or is is crap? Your HONEST opinions would be welcome.

August 18th, 2015, 04:20 PM
An interesting piece of primitive perspective, or as I would think of it a stage of our subjective being.

It caught my eye as imaginative writing that I find refreshing ;-) But, to me, as a storyline thus far I doubt compelling enough to pull the average (whatever that is) reader in.

So, what I'm saying is don't give up on it, but rather find a way to ease the reader into the atmosphere and characters. That is, work on pulling the reader into that primal stage of thinking that lies just below the layers of cultural dribble we've accumulated.

By way of disclosure, I find it of particular interest because the next eco-fiction book I'm toying with is set in the time of my Shoshone forebears, before the all consuming wave of migration. So please don't abandon it as we may be wrestling with some of the same writing issues :-)

Thank you for sharing this refreshing piece of writing :-)

August 19th, 2015, 10:08 AM
Past or future? Hard to place but in a good way. I was kind of reminded of The Time Machine when the main character goes millions of years into the future. As far as saying should you scrap or keep it, its hard to be so forward about it. I think should you already know the direction you are going, then work at it. But ifs a quick scribble, not sure if it would keep my attention for very long. I think the world could have much life. I was curious as to what beast eyes and meat beings are. I also thought that the characters were miniature and that meat beings were just normal sized people. Don't know why I thought that but I did hahaha.

August 19th, 2015, 08:05 PM
I say complete the story. The perspective you're using to tell the story is intriguing. It gives it a mythical and primordial flare.

The thing that almost killed it for me was the redundancy at the beginning. "The People" and "sweet stones" were repeated over and over again. I know redundancy can be a good thing if it's used correctly, but I felt it was a bit too much.

Overall, I'm liking the story. This could have been your run-of-the-mill tale of an ancient people, but the style you chose just makes it pop. :highly_amused:

August 20th, 2015, 05:23 AM
It was not possible for the People to live near the sweet stone trees, for because there was no shetlter nearby

That works better in this case, I think

Otherwise a fun read. I am not sure what is going on or what this is all about, but that's good I think. It's comedy and silly. It's no supposed to be profound and worth saying, "What is is this breast mountain thing, etc"

August 20th, 2015, 07:14 AM
I am happy to have received, and grateful to note your comments and criticisms.

The excerpt I have written above was inspired by the 1981 film Quest For Fire, and like the film it is meant to be set in the prehistoric past.

One of the challenges I am currently attempting to deal with concerns the vocabulary employed by these primitive people. Terms like "sweet stone trees" and "straight staring" are meant to signify the limited understanding of the "People" with regard to both the tangible as well as the abstract things which impact their lives. They define things by comparing them with other things: for instance, the "water path" (brooke) looks like a path, but it contains water of course; the "child trees" (bushes) look like trees, but are much smaller etc. At some point I felt that the terms I was inventing made me sound like a blithering idiot but I didn't know how else to phrase these things and both make the reader understand what I was getting at and at the same time reflect the limited comprehension of the characters with regard to these things.

To have invested this much literary real estate in what you have read thus far I'm sure you can intuit that this is meant to be a much longer work. What I have described in this opening segment is engineered to condition the reader to the essence of the setting and the mannerisms and world-views of the People - to lay a basis so to speak, a background, upon which to paint.

LeeC - If you feel we can be of any help to each other with regard to our individual projects as you have suggested in your comment, please feel free to PM at any time, and I will do the same with you.

Once again, I thank you all for your comments.


Tbird0000 - Meat Beings = animals which the People hunt. Black Beast Eyes = berries (they resemble the eyes of small animals). Good to know that these were ambiguous to you. I may try to make the meaning more understandable in future drafts.

20Oz - I was keenly and cringingly aware of the redundancy myself. I will try to improve the delivery.

wainsscottbl - Noted and corrected. Thank you!

August 20th, 2015, 01:50 PM
Enjoyed the beginning of the story and the style you used. At first, it bothered me that the people had names, but the objects (trees, creeks, carnivores, berries, etc.) did not have names. But then (not being a linguist) I imagined most things would first be named by a characteristic and evolve over time from a primitive language, which continues today such as bird of paradise being named in the South Pacific for its appearance by the first Europeans to see them. Whether called by its aboriginal designation or the European name, it still means the same. A rose by any other name. . .
Keep on with it.