14 Sep


cave worms photo: hidden cave PHTO0006.jpg

Owongo was in his middle years and approaching his thirtieth birthday when he made a discovery that would change his life and add a new flavour to his life with Mirumda.

Let me remind you, first. He was an ancestor of mine many times removed, and so was she. In fact, so many times removed that he was clearly an ancestor of yours as well. He lived at a time before humanity ventured across the world from central Africa and spread out everywhere. Or he would have eventually ventured from central Africa if that’s what he called it – but he didn’t. He called it home, and that was that.

One of the biggest problems to aggravate Owongo was the dark of night. If you think about it for a moment, smother the moon and stars with a dense coverlet of cloud and make sure there’s no thunder or lightning anywhere near and you’ve got as close to absolute darkness as you’ll ever want to get. So the best thing to do, in fact the only truly practical thing to do, was go to sleep and stay asleep until the rosy sun climbed from wherever it went at night.

There was one failure with this logic, though, and that revolved round the bladder. Owongo had a bladder and during the night it sometimes filled to bursting point, which meant he either had to empty it via the gift of his own personal inbuilt and occasionally excited weeing equipment, or leak. And leaking meant an uncomfortable night, a berating from his woman Mirumda and several weeks of an unpleasantly aromatic bed.

So his usual course of action was to stand in the cave entrance (which he couldn’t see during particularly dark nights) and piss into the big wide world outside, trying to miss the dead ashes of the fire that had usually gone out long before dawn.

And he did this quite often because, before retiring for the night and in the absence of anything remotely entertaining in his world (remember – there was no telly back then, nor would there be for possibly 100,000 years) he partook of a few stone jars of deliciousness, a fermented liquid that tasted revolting but which made his head spin until Mirumda actually took on a ravishingly pleasing appearance.

Then one day, whilst out hunting for squirrels (they were plentiful and he didn’t like risking his skin in pursuit of the tigers that roamed his neighbourhood almost as plentifully) there came an unexpected storm. The rain beat down, the thunder crashed and the lightning threatened to blind him. So he did what any sensible prehistoric man would do, and sought refuge in a cave. Not his cave, not even an inhabited cave, but a deep cave that was the result of the erosive properties of a long naturally-diverted underground stream.

It was an unusual cave. To start with he pondered ,ong and hard and wondered what might be unusual about it and then dawn arose inside his head and he realised what it was. No matter how far into the cave he wandered it was still light enough to see by. He went round a sharp corner, and it was still light. In fact, it was so light he would have been able to write a sonnet had he the knowledge, the skill, a pen and some paper with which to do it. But he had none of those. He did, however, pick up a charred stick and scrawled OWONGO WOS ERE in his own variant of cuneiform lettering on smooth section of glowing wall.

Then, “Why is so blasted light?” he asked himself. “Why Owongo see in deep cave?”

Nobody answered, not even himself, but it did cross his mind that the illumination that bathed him seemed to come from the cave walls themselves. This, he decided, most certainly required closer investigation.

And so he established a closer investigation and detected that the walls were covered with a deep moss-like fungus that seemed to emit a light all of its own – and even closer examination revealed that the moss-like fungus appeared to be the home for thousands of tiny worm-like creatures the like of which he’d never seen before, and each one of them was responsible for a tiny amount of light.

“This marvellous!” gasped Owongo to himself, and slowly an extension to the glow-worm illumination of the cave formed in his mind.

Forgetting his hunt for squirrels and excited by what was rattling around in his own head, Owongo gathered as much of the moss with its creature inhabitants and placed it gently into the stone (and sadly leaky) vessel in which he’d brought water for his own refreshment when he got thirsty. Most of the water had leaked out, which had made him curse quietly to himself.

Then he found his way, once the storm wad over, back to his own home and the mostly ugly Mirumda who was waiting for him, her face bathed in one of her more fetching smiles.

“Owongo got light!” he announced, “Owongo no longer piss the bed!”

Then he spread as much of the moss-like fungus as he could on the walls of their own cave, right at the back where it was darkest and where their bedding was waiting for them. Instantly the place was filled with a dim but obvious dark blue glowing light.

Somehow both moss-like fungus and its army of inhabitants thrived and spread widely in the cave and the light it emitted became proportionately brighter as time passed.

“Now we play games at night!” grinned Mirumda, and she reached out and tugged Owongo’s genitals playfully. He grinned back.

“Many, many games,” he whispered. “Ready now?”

© Peter Rogerson 14.09.15


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