Manak-na's Story, 75,000 BC, page 1
MANAK-NA’S STORY, 75,000 BC
BOOK TWO OF
WINDS OF CHANGE,
FICTION SERIES ON
THE PEOPLING OF THE
PO Box 221974 Anchorage, Alaska 99522-1974
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 2013908395
Copyright 2013 Bonnye Matthews
Cover photo of Neanderthal by Okologix.
Cover background photo by Vitaliy Krasovskiy
All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in any form, or by any mechanical or electronic means including photocopying or recording, or by any information storage or retrieval system, in whole or in part in any form, and in any case not without the written permission of the author and publisher.
Manufactured in the United States of America.
Other Book in the Winds of Change Series:
Ki’ti’s Story, 75,000 BC, Book One
Manak-na’s Story, 75,000 BC
BOOK TWO OF WINDS OF CHANGE, A PREHISTORIC FICTION SERIES ON THE PEOPLING OF THE AMERICAS
also known as Lorene Signi Lyster—Tibbetts—Meggitt—Henderson, a true friend, wonderful artist, and excellent editor. To use the terms of the People in the first two books in this series, Skip has gone to Wisdom, and it rips my belly.
Without the assistance of several people, this book would not be. These people are, first, my brother, Randy Matthews, and then Skip (Lorene) Henderson, Sally Sutherland, Barry Wise, Patricia Gilmore, Robert Arthur, and Pat Meiwes. Each contributed far in excess of what could be expected or hoped for on the basis of family or friendship or love of reading. I also thank my publisher, Evan Swensen, who had the courage to take on this project.
Winds of Change
Manak-na’s Story, 75,000 BC is the second novel in the Winds of Change series that focuses on prehistoric peopling of the Americas. This novel mainly takes place in what is today Asia and Mexico.
The novel series deals with two issues:
(1) Clovis-First vs. Pre-Clovis Views
Clovis-First View: Clovis-First is an opinion that no humans were in the Americas until the Holocene (11,700 years ago to present). Proponents of that view are C. Vance Haynes, Aleš Hrdličcka, Paul Martin, and Tim Flannery. The Clovis-First View recognizes no Pre-Clovis sites in the Americas. Along with the Clovis-First View is the idea that intelligence along with body shape evolved.
Pre-Clovis View: Pre-Clovis is an opinion that humans were in the Americas in the Pleistocene (2.6 million to 11,700 years ago), and may have been present here as far back as hundreds of thousands of years ago. The Pre-Clovis proponents are: Thomas Dillehay, James Adovasio, Christopher Hardaker, and Michael Cremo. They point to some 400 Pre-Clovis sites in the Americas. This view conceives that humans have always had the same level of intelligence; they just applied it to different sets of circumstances and built on different bases.
Winds of Change
(2) The Intellectual Level and Life Styles of Neanderthals
Neanderthals have been viewed as hunched over, dark-skinned brutes, without the function of spoken language. We know today that Neanderthals had fair skin, and some had red hair, and blue eyes; could speak as well as we can; were intellectually bright (catching dolphins, something which can’t be done from shore), killed mega fauna with spears, and survived temperatures that would be a challenge to our best outdoors men and women; buried their dead with red ochre and/or flowers; and cared for their disabled. It might be noted that many people today carry residual Neanderthal DNA.
The series explores the Pre-Clovis View and speculates on the mores and lifestyles of a People who could endure for hundreds of thousands of years without killing off others or their own kind. Manak-na’s Story, 75,000 BC portrays mingling of Neanderthals, Homo erectus, Cro-Magnons, and Denisovans.
Manak-na’s Story, 75,000 BC focuses on the life of Manak-na, who has dreamed of an exploratory adventure since childhood. He participates in a boat trip from Asia to Mexico, where people have already been living for a significant period of time, while his People head toward the Lake Baikal region, having been forced to move by an increase in earthquake activity and reduced game where they lived. The plan is that Manak-na will return to resume his life among the People. Manak-na’s adventure is not as free as he expected, because he unintentionally invites his young nephew to join him. Read to see whether Manak-na can keep the commitment of a single adventure as he promised his wife, or whether he has become, as a result of his travels, an adventurer.
Manak-na’s Story, 75,000 BC contains a bibliography.
For more information see: http://booksbybonnye.com
Manak-na’s Story, 75,000 BC
Nanichak-na struggled with anxiety. His white hair blew about in the breeze as he rubbed his upper arms. He was a seasoned hunter governed by a logical, common sense approach to life. This trek was the source of his frustration. Ki’ti was leading. Nanichak-na knew she was thirty-one but at his age of seventy-six, he continued to see her as a young girl. Until now, seasoned hunters had led treks. Specifically, he led treks. Not Wise Ones. In the past Wise Ones were placed towards the rear of the line for protection. This was unprecedented! It felt all wrong. In his lifetime he’d seen the simple life of the People complicated by the Winds of Change—something that happened when Wisdom exhaled. Even the Minguat and Mol were now People. Didn’t matter what you looked like anymore, he thought thoroughly irritated, Now everyone was People! And, they didn’t even smell like People! Nanichak-na spat. He thought that if the huge man-like apes wanted to, they could probably become People, too. Things used to be so simple! Life was getting too complex. He yearned for the past, but he also had a bit of curiosity about how things would come to be in the future.
The line came to a halt. Again. Nanichak-na stepped out of his place in line to confer with the Wise One. Where once he had been convinced that they must move from the long tree home in the valley, now he had serious misgivings about the Wise One’s leading the refugees to a place unknown. He admitted that earthquakes had been increasing and game animals were harder to find, but it was a good place. Who knew what the new destination would be like? he wondered, agitated. Ki’ti’s brother, Manak-na, and Untuk, her husband, walked beside her, but they were there to protect her, not to lead. When Nanichak-na reached the front of the line, he could see the reason the line had halted. The ancient path they had been following had disappeared in a landslide. He edged closer to the Wise One, who appeared to be gazing out into the air above a lush, summer-green lowland.
“Wise One?” he said quietly.
Ki’ti turned and looked at the old hunter who had pierced her spiritual moment. “Yes?”
“What happened here?” he asked.
“Come, sit with me on that point,” she offered.
He shrugged off his backpack. Nanichak-na wasn’t really enthusiastic about sitting but followed Ki’ti to the promontory where the two sat alone overlooking t
Ki’ti allowed some time to pass before she spoke to him. She smiled to herself. Since childhood she had been fascinated with the hunter’s wiry, long white eyebrows that stuck out at the sides. They still did. His tunic was new. Likichi, Ki’ti’s original mother, made it for him when his last one had fallen apart. Getting him into the new garment tried the patience of Likichi to the extreme. He wanted to keep the old one and she wanted to be sure that he did not. Finally she succeeded, but the battle was hard fought. The new tunic was made like his last one with a strap over the left shoulder. Down the side of his tunic were a series of new holes he’d made with a medium awl and widened by cutting the leather with a sharp blade. The holes represented people whose deaths brought holes to his life. He had never spoken to anyone about what they represented, but from time to time he could be seen fingering one or another of the holes. Each hole represented a specific person whose life had gone back to Wisdom. He wanted to keep the old tunic because that is where he first made the holes. No one understood with certainty because he did not discuss the holes, but several people had accurately guessed the meaning.
Finally, Ki’ti said, “This was foretold. You know that, Great Hunter.” She also wore a tunic that was new. Made of a deerskin that was cut into a rectangle, there was a transverse slit for her head to go through. The sides were pierced with an awl and laced together with thin leather strips. It was very soft.
For a moment his heart melted. Her use of the epithet, Great Hunter, originally used by her sister, was for him alone only when the two of them were by themselves. It was, he had realized, her way of showing her real respect for his leadership and for him.
“You’re telling me that you’ve seen Kimseaka and you know where to guide us without the path?”
“Great Hunter, can you not see the light yonder?” She pointed to a spot below. His hunter’s eyesight, remaining acute at his age, could see no light below. She really didn’t know whether he or anyone else could see the light or only she could.
“I see only the light that leaps to the sky from that stream,” he admitted.
Ki’ti rose from sitting to kneeling and rested her weight on her heels. She noticed that Untuk had caught their daughter, Elemaea, to prevent her from interrupting the meeting. He would remind her again to leave her mother uninterrupted when she was talking. He was glad he’d made the intercept. So was Ki’ti. His daughter liked to act and then think, he mused. She was yet very young.
“Great Hunter, be still, rest your thoughts and concerns for a brief time.” With her attention no longer divided, Ki’ti lowered her head and shut her eyes.
Suddenly Nanichak-na felt surrounded and looked around himself, the hair on the back of his neck standing on end, showing his increased anxiety. This sensory awareness resembled how he felt when he knew a predator watched him, only it was significantly more intense. Were there many? He wondered. He scanned their surroundings.
“Wise One, please, this is not my world,” he quietly implored her, hoping that she would remove that presence he could not see. “I agree, Wise One, Wisdom is with you.”
“You really don’t see, do you Great Hunter?” She put her hand on his forearm.
“I see nothing. I feel the presence of something unseen now. It awes me more than facing,” he showed ten fingers twice, “enemy warriors—alone. I’d rather face the warriors. I’d know what to expect.”
Ki’ti looked into his eyes. Their worlds and ways of knowing were so different.
“You are in the presence of Kimseaka, and you are aware. Most of the time on this trek, none of you are aware that Kimseaka, our great messenger from Wisdom, has been among us. We will not be forsaken by Wisdom.”
Nanichak-na relaxed when he realized that he didn’t need to get his hunter tools for defense against an enemy, certainly not one he couldn’t see. Nanichak-na’s awareness of Kimseaka’s presence slowly left, but it had been overpowering to the old hunter and he was having difficulty reestablishing his equilibrium. At present, he had no sense of where they would go without the ancient path they had followed.
Ki’ti smoothed out the dirt at her knees. With a stick she drew the lowland below. She showed the mountains they’d crossed and placed a tiny stone to mark the promontory where they sat. She showed a continuation through the mountains to a place where a tree grew horizontally from the rocks below. Beside it was a great boulder jutting out, but they would have to go carefully around it to find again the ancient path that would take them to the lowland. The huge boulder hid the path.
Nanichak-na looked into the eyes of the Wise One. “You have never set foot upon this land.” He put his flattened palm on the dirt where she had drawn. “Yet you have seen this tree and the boulder?”
“Great Hunter, you remember the cave of the animals where images were drawn?”
“Wisdom makes images in my mind web so I can see just a little ahead. Not far enough that I would become puffed up thinking I could do without Wisdom, as if I were somehow able to see this on my own, but just far enough to assure the safety and right direction of the People. Great Hunter, walk with me. When we reach the tree and boulder, you’ll see. I ask you to stand at the boulder to make sure that all pass around it safely. It’s a steep place with little foothold.” She stood, ending the meeting.
Nanichak-na rose. At seventy-six he was in remarkable condition physically and mentally. He had nodded to Ki’ti showing his willingness to walk with her and to assist at the boulder. He didn’t understand her spirit ways, but he’d be interested to see whether the tree and boulder existed. As an afterthought, he struck his left palm with his right fist, and Ki’ti did the same. They exchanged bittersweet smiles. That once important gesture was falling into disuse by the People. Soon the palm strike would no longer affirm agreement or add emphasis to their speech.
The People reassembled this time with Nanichak-na beside Ki’ti at the forefront and Untuk and Manak-na next in line. They walked for quite some time along the edge of the cliff. Nanichak-na continued to wonder whether Ki’ti really knew what she was doing. A pine tree growing horizontally from the side of the cliff came into view. Beside it was a huge boulder. Nanichak-na looked at the little Wise One only to find her eyes already on his face. She knew he doubted. Her ways of knowing were so different from his. This and the obvious boulder she’d described restored his faith in Wisdom. For the first time, he also grasped the truth that Wisdom was leading through Wise Ones. Wamumur and Emaea, former Wise Ones, had both tried to explain it to him. He hadn’t understood how leadership could be from Wisdom through someone. Wise Ones, he reasoned now, were serving for Wisdom. He wasn’t following Ki’ti but rather he was following Wisdom who communicated through Ki’ti what to do. It came as a profound understanding to the old hunter. He had always thought that Wise Ones initiated strange things, not that they were following directions directly from Wisdom. To him there was no denying that following the lead of Wisdom was superior to following the lead of a hunter or Wise One. He bowed his head deeply to Wisdom and touched the two holes in his garment that represented Wamumur and Emaea, previous Wise Ones. They had tried to explain what he now understood. He wondered why, not for the first time, it took getting old, really old, for him to understand some things. He wondered whether the mind web changed with age.
Nanichak-na positioned himself at the edge of the boulder. He motioned for Untuk to come down with Elemaea. Then he motioned for Ki’ti to descend. One by one he called those who waited above. In the midst of helping the People around the boulder, the dogs also needed assistance when they dragged poles with skins laden with heavy items or carried heavy backpack loads. Manak-na came with the responsible girls to help unload and reload their burdens. Finally, a
Nanichak-na returned to the end of the line. He no longer had concerns that the leadership should be in the hands of a hunter. No hunter on this trek had been to the big lake. No hunter knew the land. With Wisdom in the lead showing their Wise One where to go for safety, his concerns could rest. He’d seen how Wisdom had shown Ki’ti the path. He knew now that he could use his hunter skills to look for predators, enemies, and food, or to assure that they were not being followed, and leave the leading solely to Wisdom. Even if it did look like Ki’ti was leading. He admitted to himself that a hunter probably would have missed the connection to the path, as hard as that was to admit. Then, he realized he was feeling hunter’s pride again. He lowered his head to Wisdom in shame. Wisdom had chosen Ki’ti. He’d had all the facts for years. It just now made sense. He wondered whether he’d ever grow up in things that pertained to Wisdom. In that respect he knew tiny Ki’ti was a giant.
Manak-na was alive with the new experience. He thrived on exploring, and their group had been sedentary for so long. Certainly, he and others had explored around their cave and the tree home to a radius of about a twenty-day hunter walk, but they covered basically the same ground each time. Instead of exploring, they were alert for changes that would show the presence of humans that might pose threats to the People or wildlife that might provide food. This trek was new and exciting. You never knew what would unfold. He felt that he was seeing better than he normally did—his awareness heightened in strange places. His energy seemed limitless. Midway down the mountain he noticed a tree with oddly unique flowers. The petals, their shapes discernible though past their prime, hung as upside down white ovals with a great brown center in the rounded part of the petals. If you were to hang a fish by the mouth, a fish with a very large eye, that’s how it would look, he thought. He showed the tree to Untuk.
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