Written in Darkness

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic


A story of survival, the future, somewhere, someplace, and for someone. This is written as if a journal.

Submitted: August 06, 2018

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Submitted: August 06, 2018

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I found this empty book among my Grandfather's possessions, that was just after my father died. So I decided to keep a Journal in it. Why that is, I do not know.

A "Journal" is what my mother calls this book, instead of a diary. And that is something else I do not know about.

So if the word, Journal, is correct for her, it must be right. 

 

I do not know the year, 20 cycles ago my great grandfather said the former time was 6271. 

Cycles are now known and counted by the halo of the sun that falls between two rock outcroppings that rise out of a mountain. The mountain is a good distance from where we are and on the far side of the valley below.

Every time the harvest comes an Elder of our Tribe sits upon a certain stone. The Elder does this every day just before darkness falls and when the Elder sees that the halo has entered the space between the rock outcroppings they declare a cycle has been completed.

According to their count the cycle just completed is 162,

but enough about time or the lack of it. 

 

I should tell the story of how this group of people and many other creatures came to be confined to a forest of trees and plants. The story that has been told by every generation from the time of and after the dark-cloud appeared.

As my Great Grandfather told the story, and my Grandfather told it after him, and my Father told me; and now I will record the story and tell the story to my children when the time comes.

"Once our society thrived and all was well until the division came. First one great division occurred and then other divisions occurred. Trust among the populace died and a thing called "Confrontation" soon followed.

But fear of the final outcome did not overcome the populace because they were shielded from the death and destruction that was occurring on the fields of battle. No, all they saw was the reports of how well they were doing against the enemy, (whoever that was). Almost everyone just went about their lives as the dead and dying filled the battlefields.

Then came the day of the Dark-Cloud and the death of every living thing; birds, fish, and animals. It didn't matter, whatever the cloud hovered above, everything below it died.

Let me correct that last statement, everything and everyone except for those that happened to be among trees and thick vegetation; or so it seemed. 

My Great Grandfather and his female friend just happened to be in this forest when the cloud came. It was at night and they were asleep at the time.

The following morning it was apparent that every living thing outside the canopy of the forest was dead.

As time passed, those in the forest joined together for safety from the meat eating animals. And over time they organized into a close knit tribe.

It took some time for the tribe to manage to feed everyone well enough using the plants and animals available to them; many of the weaker ones died.

Now the fourth generations of those survivors are being trained and we manage to do well enough to have a store of seed and grains in reserve. How the rest of our kind is surviving, we have no idea."

 

 

Former Date: 6291

Today's Date: 162 from the time of The Cloud

Total = 6453

 

First Entry:

The cloud is always over us. The wind moves it this way and that, from time to time, but there is no breach in it's layers, ever.

One thing has changed though, over the last few cycles it is starting to rain; that is what my mother call it, Rain.

Our crops and the rest of the forest is watered by way of a heavy fog that occurs during many of our sleep time. But now the rain is watering the plants and they grow taller, and taste better too.

There was just a little rain at first, then during the next cycle it rained a lot; some of the tribe had to move their beds into the trees.

 

Entry:

The rain has been coming more often. It has rained 12 of every 20 sleeping periods for a very long time, and that is what got me in trouble.

No, the rain did not get me in trouble, dreaming while it was raining got me in trouble.

You see, I have been dreaming of my Grandfather, he and I were very close.

Ever sense the rain started I have had dreams with him in them; little dreams at first, then longer and more vivid dreams.

In the last dream, I was sitting with my Grandfather and he told me to take some seed from the stores and to toss it off  the cliff that is to the east of the tree-line.

Below these cliffs there is a river, a very large one given all the rain that has fallen.

So to toss the seed off the cliff would be a waist, a crime, because the tribe depends on that seed for survival.

But in this very vivid dream, a dream so real that I could swear it was real; my Grandfather insisting that I toss seed off the cliff and into the river below.

I have never disobeyed my parents, or grandparents, and my Grandfather was a very wise man so I trusted him implicitly.

 

The next thing I remember, I was awakened by an Elder that had hold of me by the scruff of the neck. In my hands were two empty seed baskets, and we were standing at the edge of the cliff. The rain was pouring down on us and I remember wondering how I got there.

 

The council was called to order and I had no defense, I was guilty as charged.

Purposely destroying food stores comes with a terrible price, banishment from the tribe is the only punishment. And banishment meant to be put out of the forest, altogether.

So my belongings were gathered and I was sent on my way into the darkness.

I remember the feeling of loneliness that came over me as I walked away from the firelight and into the darkness. The rain was falling even harder than before.

I just knew that death waited for me with every breath that I took.

My memory flashed back many cycles and I remembered watching a baby bird fly out of the forest canopy. The bird lasted only a few moments, its mother franticly calling after it. But by the time the bird turned itself around it was too late; it fell to the ground and died.

Now I was that bird, but my mother could only cry and watch helplessly. My family cried too, while comforting my mother.

But I had no comforters that day, I only had my tears and they were washed away by the rain.

 

Entry:

I have no idea how long or in what direction I walked in the downpour, but somehow I came upon a cave.

I did not know where I was in relation to the forest because it was so dark, but I saw the cave as a safe haven from the rain, so I went in.

There were old sticks and twigs just inside the cave so I gathered what I could find and started a fire. It was not much but at least there was something to dry my clothing.

 

Entry:

The rain has stopped so I ventured outside to see if I could see the forest.

To my amazement I found that I was on the other side of the valley and the river. I was now on the lower part of the mountain.

I must have passed over the river but I have no idea how I was able to do that.

 

Entry:

The rain has not come down for a long time and the ground has dried beyond being mud; so I ventured down toward the river.

Strangely enough the air seems less stinging to my nostrils. And it has not killed me over the time that I have been away from the forest; I am wondering why.

Speaking of the air, the air inside the cave smells different than the air outside. I do not know how to describe the smell except to say that it smells fresh, without the harshness that hurts the lungs.

Another thing I noticed, the smoke from the fire in the cave does not go to the ceiling and then out the entrance, it flows out the entrance as soon as it leaves the flames; I need to investigate to find out why.

 

Entry:

The provisions that I was given when I left the forest are gone. I will go out when enough light permits and look for something to eat; I grow weak with hunger.

 

Entry:

The river has greatly subsided from its rain swollen size. In some places I can walk across large rocks to get to the other side.

To my surprise I have seen living creatures in the river water, from the looks of them they may be fish. My grandfather used to tell me stories about them; he heard the stories from his father. They were fanciful tales and some were hard to believe, even when told to a child.

But they were interesting stories and now I think that some of the fish stories may even help me catch one.

I searched for and found a reasonably straight stick that was as long as I am tall, then I used the knife that my father gave to me to sharpen the end to a point.

After some time and many tries I manage to poke a fish and toss it from the water. Then I waited for it to stop moving and I ate the meat below the scaly skin.

The fish stories always described how best to eat a fish so I ate the meat just under the scaly skin and anything else that I could swallow, aside from bones. It was not very appetizing but I believe it gave me the strength to continue.

After a brief time, I built a fire by the river's edge and cooked the other two fish that I managed to poke; they tasted much better cooked.

 

Entry:

I am getting pretty good at cutting fish and knowing what is worth eating; which leads me to the next topic.

I made a friend today.

Apparently animals have been coming out of the forest to look for food because I was given the opportunity to share my fish leftovers with a fox.

She is heavy with pups, I think, so I was happy to be of some assistance. Besides, I do not like wasting the fish parts that I can't eat, and except for the bones she ate all of it.

I call her Lady.

 

Former Date: 6291

Today's Date: 163 from the time of The Cloud

Total = 6454

 

Entry:

It has been one cycle from the time I left the forest and I know that because I have seen the Elder sitting on the stone.

The sky has brought white clouds during this cycle and that has diminished the gray ones. I believe that they will soon be gone.

The air smells almost as fresh as the air in the cave, and my skin is beginning to heal.

Looking back, I believe that the heavy rain the night I left the forest may have saved me from the same fate as the baby bird. We will see. 

The biggest surprise of all is the wheat, corn, and barley that are growing all along the river's edges and in various places where the river spilled into the wide part of the valley.

I believe the growth is from the seed that I tossed off the cliff that night.

If that is true then the dreams that I was having were the work of the "Spirit of Life"; or so my Mother would say.

She would say that Grandfather's image was the Spirit's choice to use, a form that I would trust enough to listen.

 

Entry:

After doing much gathering from along the river and into some areas of the valley below, I now have plenty of food to eat.

The fish I catch are a nice addition to my meals. And they are still Lady-Fox's favorite. She now has three hungry mouths to feed so the added nourishment is needed.

Also, I have started storing seeds in the cave, just in case.

Speaking of the cave, I have found the reason the air in the cave smelled better than the air outside.

In the far back section of the cave it splits into two pathways. 

The first pathway just leads around in a big circle and comes back on itself.

But the second pathway is blocked by some rocks that appear to have fallen from the walls. The rocks have blocked access to that pathway. I believe it is an open pathway because there is air flowing through the rocks.

 

Entry:

After clearing the rocks enough for me to pass through I searched the rest of this very long and winding passage. The cave winds down, turns this way and that way, then exits on the other side of this mountain; it exits into a jungle.

I know it is a jungle and not a forest because of the kinds of trees and vegetation that grows there.

My Great Grandfather left books behind and one told of different places on the planet. The book told my Grandfather all about jungles and my Grandfather often put us to sleep showing us pictures and telling stories about the places described in that book.

All the children of the tribe learned to read from these books.

One thing for sure, the stories about jungles being hot and humid were true. I was sweating all the time that I was there.

I did manage to weather the environment long enough to take some fruit from some bushes and trees. I took all that I could carry after taste testing each kind.

But I felt that it was time to leave when I started hearing what I believed to be the sound of a large cat. I did not want to be a meal for any creature.

When I returned to the place in the cave where the rocks had fallen, I rolled one large stone over the hole that I had made. I didn't want a hungry cat sneaking up on me in the darkness.

As I rolled the stone into the opening an idea came to me, maybe someone, many years ago, had put the rocks there to keep out the wild animals from the jungle.

 

Entry:

I have passed through the cave many time now, gathering fruit and other eatable things.

I believe the fruits, and other things, that I am eating from the jungle are helping my body to fix its ailments; we will see.

The many sounds that are in the jungle amaze me, but I fear the unknown creatures that live there too.

Death could be waiting around any given bush so I am reluctant to spend much time exploring.

Also, I heard what I believe are the sounds of something pounding on hollow logs. The next time I hear them I will investigate.

 

Entry:

I passed through the tunnel again to do some gathering in the jungle.

It was an unusually hot day so the humid air was flowing through the tunnel at an ever increasing rate; the closer to the jungle I got the hotter it became. So I decided to grab what I needed and head home.

But by the time I exited the cave and into the jungle I needed water badly; so I made a quick dash for a rather large pond that I had seen before.

I didn't bother drinking, I just jumped right in. The experience was wonderful!

As I was about to get out of the water I was confronted by a monstrous cat, a cat so beautifully stripped that I was spellbound. I had seen pictures of this cat in the book, but to see it that close, well.

I remember thinking, "Cats do not like water." so I just stood in the water and did not move.

But the big cat just waded into the pond as if I was not there.

I was sure the cat was going to attack so I slowly pulled an arrow and loaded my bow.

Just as I took aim I heard a voice say, "Purr, Come!"

The big cat turned and leaped in the direction of the voice. When I looked there was an old woman standing on a ledge, which was to one side of the pond, and the cat was standing beside her.

"What is your name," the woman inquired.

I responded with a great amount of reverence in my voice, after all, she was the one with the big, powerful, cat and all I had was a skinny little wooded arrow.

I told her that my name was Kindle. And I asked who the lady was that keeps friends with very big cats?

She smiled a motherly smile and said that her name was Mist and that she was Council to the Yale; that is a tribe living in the jungle.

She asked where I came from.

I told her that I was from the far side of the mountain and that I came by way of a passage that was in the mountain.

Mist asked me how I survived in the open, or was there a jungle on both sides of the rock mountain.

I stated, "If you speak of the dark cloud that kills, it is gone. I believe that the rains washed it away. 

She said that her tribe had notice more sunlight but were still afraid to leave the jungle. She said that it provided the oxygen they needed to survive.

That sounded right, about the oxygen, it surly would explain why we survived in a forest too.

I had to ask, because I am a curious kind of guy, how it was that she was a friend with this great cat.

She laughed and said that the Tiger's mother had rejected the cub, so Mist cared for her. Now this Tiger thinks that Mist is her mother and that the Yale tribe is her family. She is a great help in protecting the tribe from other big animals.

I was taken to the Yale Village and met most of the tribe. I found out that their story was a little like my tribe story.

It seems that their Great grandparents were in the jungle doing research for a university when the Dark-Cloud came.

Their Great grandparents were living with some jungle dwellers at the time, so after the cloud came they had to learned to survive from them. It seems that they have done well.

I stayed the night with them and they played music using those hollow logs. It was very exciting.

The Yale were very kind, they even sent me away with some handmade baskets to carry fruit in; that was very helpful.

 

Entry:

I returned to the Yale Tribe and brought corn, barley, and wheat. I will show them how to cook them and if they like this food, well, maybe we can do some business together. They make some very nice tools that I would like to aquire.

 

Entry:

My brother called to me and I went to the edge of the forest to talk to him.

The Tribal Elders wanted him to ask me if I thought that it was safe to come out of the forest. I told them that I would not give them an answer because if anything went wrong they would blame me.

But I did tell my brother, my mother, and my two sisters to come live across the river. I told them that I had more than enough food for us all. And if they were there to help in the harvest, we would have even more.

 

Former Date: 6291

Today's Date: 164 from the time of The Cloud

Total = 6455

 

Entry:

My family has joined me across the river and we are building a dwelling for them to live in. Actually, two dwellings are being built because my oldest sister is now married and they have a child of their own.

The cave was never meant for a large amount of people to live in. And besides, my Yale wife and I need time alone; her name is Rose.

The Foresters are leaving the forest and beginning to harvest the crops already grown. So my family laid claim to some land along the river and there we will plant and harvest for generations to come.

I am teaching some of them to fish, and they can teach the others.

Speaking of fish, they are more abundant than ever. Even Lady and her cubs have caught some in the rocky areas.

 

Former Date: 6291

Today's Date: 165 from the time of The Cloud

Total = 6456

 

Last Entry:

I have run out of room in this book, so it must end.

Rose, our new baby, Kindle Jr., and I had to move out of the cave today.

There are so many members of both tribes, Yales and Foresters, using the passageway as a trade route, well; we had to build another dwelling to live in.

I have to admit, our new home is a lot cozier and a lot less drafty.

 

 

D. Thurmond / JEF

08-04-2018


© Copyright 2018 D. Thurmond, aka, JEF. All rights reserved.

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