Finally after ten years, I am close to publishing the heart-rending and fast-paced biography of Lucy. Written in the spirit of Jean Auel, this is the paleo-historic saga of our earliest ancestors as lived through the eyes of a female Homo habilis.
Since Donald Johanson uncovered the tiny three-and-a-half foot clawless, flat-toothed Australopithecine, we have asked, Who is she? And how could she survive in a world of mammoth predators and unrelenting natural disasters she had no understanding about? This book answers those questions as well as more fundamental ones like, Where did God come from? Why did man create his first tool? How did culture start?
Here’s a summary:
Lucy: A Biography follows three species of early man (Australopithecus, Homo habilis and Homo erectus), as they fight for the limited resources of Pleistocene Africa. Lucy, of the species habilis, blames herself for the death of her family and agrees to mate with a stranger (Raza). As they journey to Raza’s homebase, they are tracked by two deadly predators: Xha, of the smarter and more powerful species Homo erectus, and the violent and unforgiving Nature, a sentient being who meddles with fate and Lucy’s future as though it were a chemistry experiment. The story is carefully researched to shared the geography, climate, and biosphere that would have been Lucy’s world 1.8 million years ago, when man was not King and nature ruled with a violence and dispassion we call ‘disaster’ today.
Every week, I’ll post part of this story.
A note: While I took Lucy’s name from the infamous Australopithecine skeleton discovered by Donald Johanson, Lucy is a Homo habilis. Her adopted child Boa is an Australopithecine.
Here’s Part 24:
Chapter 10–Part 2
The Return of the Hunters
“…the most important survival tool is the mind. …We do not have the legs of the deer, the fur of the rabbit, or the claws of the cat. But we have the will and intelligence to adapt to almost any natural environment on earth.”
—Tom Brown Jr.
When Ma-g’n was Yoo’s young age, he wondered why he, a chimpanzee, lived with bipeds. His long arms were designed for swinging through trees, and his squatty legs made running a cumbersome effort. During the day, he chased up buttressing roots, leaping limb to limb through the verdant understory and the spreading boughs of the canopy. Raza and Vorak were in awe of him. Though he lacked a gripping foot, Ma-g’n melded dexterity with the ability to outthink his more agile chimp playmates, and always beat them to the best seasonal fruit and nuts.
Until the day Ma-g’n missed the branch high in the jungle’s canopy, bounced down through layer after layer of woody limbs and thudded to the ground like one of Chimp’s melons. There he lay, silent except for the rasp of breath in and out of his chest. Raza and Vorak hung his limp body between their shoulders and carried him back to Camp. He awoke with no memory of what happened, a paralyzing fear of heights, and he couldn’t get rid of the pain in his head.
It pounded above his ears and behind his temples every waking moment. Even sleeping, he dreamt blazing bone shards had been driven deep into his eyes until he snapped awake and wandered the campsite, afraid to return to that dire world of suffering. Finally, he gouged a hole into his skull, thinking he could release whatever it was that thumped so painfully behind his eyes. Blood poured from the gashes blinding him, but he continued until he fainted. He awoke in a pool of blood with Rat chewing at his blood-encrusted ear.
One day soon after her arrival, Lucy handed him the pain bark. Before Sun went to sleep where sky meets earth, he felt the fires dim and the blissful lack of pain he hadn’t felt for as long as he could remember. From then on, Ma-g’n championed the odd-looking female’s acceptance into the band. She became the friend he’d lost with the disappearance of his mate. He shared his love of the forests, the guilt he felt over the death of his child, and the insecurity that dogged him in this world of strong, powerful males. Lucy, too, shared her memories of home—the pungent smell of decaying leaves, the chirring of insects, and the damp muggy joy of life lived in the jungles. Ma-g’n was the only one Lucy spoke with about her brother Feq, her part in the destruction of her tribe and Garv’s death.
Only Ma-g’n understood the adamance Lucy felt that predators—be they animal or hominid—never again destroy her life. Only Lucy understood the grief Ma-g’n endured day after day, inside his chest, that no amount of healing herbs cured.
“Ma-g’n. Those must be yours.” Raza turned toward his friend, pointed toward the odd monkey-with-long-arms—and froze. Ma-g’n had the same look he’d worn the day his pairmate disappeared. “Where did you find these creatures?”
Part XXV next week…
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Jacqui Murray is the editor of a technology curriculum for K-sixth grade, creator of two technology training books for middle school and four ebooks on technology in education. She is the author of Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy midshipman. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, Cisco guest blogger, IMS tech expert, and a bi-weekly contributor to Write Anything. Currently, she’s editing a thriller for her agent that should be out to publishers this summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.