The winters had eased up, the animals returned and the people feasted. It had been a while since we all tasted liver, warm and soft. The spring sun sent huge surges of freshwater pulsing down the rivers and we all moved from camp to camp. Since I was a boy I had dreamt of going out on those long hunts with the men, being away from my tent for weeks at a time, taking the dogs out into the vast expanses of valley floor and grasslands. But I had no-one to learn from, what few hunters we had were exhausted and us young men had been trained to catch small game, trap birds and reptiles and snakes, like women. What we hated most were the seasonal gatherings, where the other clan boys would mock us. One time an older boy left a carved ivory necklace by our fire, the laughter still rings in my ears. We sat that time and listened from the elders about the value of not fighting, not restoring the air. Our cheeks flush with anger as we were forbidden from seeking revenge. The summers brought the biting insects in clouds of humming fury, seeking out every pinch of exposed skin. I was just about ready to explode.
"Humiliation isn’t just the sense that someone is having fun at your expense - real humiliation is taking a lion cub and scraping down it’s claws, until they just have stubs. Breaking the talons of the eagle, or extracting the teeth of the serpent, and then observing them trying to pursue their instincts. Its pathetic. Humiliation is taking a boy on the cusp of manhood and turning his face from that horizon, pushing it down towards the ground, towards the water bladders and the seed grinders and thumb scrapers for cleaning the fat from delicate little hides."
Hauntingly written - well done, Herb.
Very interesting. I want very much to know why the boys have been being kept at 'women's work' and how they will do at their new won manhood. Very interested to see their story unfold.
Herb, this series is excellent! The pictures you paint with your prose are fantastic. Patiently awaiting the next installment.
this is amazing, thank you and please continue!