It was night and the flames danced like red tongues over the pieces of burning ash wood. Around the campfire sat the women and children and the men, and while they talked, their faces were half-covered in light and shadow. They were satisfied. During the day they had collected a good amount of food from the bushes. Enough to last them until they killed another aurochs for meat. In the meantime they were passing out fruit. Someone gave Laguz a handful of berries and he took them and said, "Thank you." He was short, stocky, muscular, and at 30 years of age, he was also very old. As he chewed on the soft delicate berries and their pleasant smell reached his broad nostrils, Laguz became lost in thought again. He was remembering the many past seasons he had lived with his group. Like them, he had spent most of his days in search of food and moving to distant lands when it had run out. But with each passing season, an idea had started growing inside him. The idea that this constant hunting and gathering of food made no real difference in their lives. They needed food in order to live, but in the end, wouldn't they all die? Food, said Laguz to himself, can't stop anyone from dying.
A man poked the fire with a stick and the flames doubled in size. Bright orange sparks then broke off from the burning wood and rose swirling high into the night air. With his large blue eyes Laguz followed the sparks as they flew. Then he looked above, at the starry sky, and wondered... What if we reached higher? Could we leave the ground, the way those sparks left the dead wood burning on the floor, and escape death?
A young woman touched his shoulder and returned him to reality. "What are you looking at?" she asked. Her name was Jera and she offered him berries from her share.
"The sky," said Laguz.
"Why are you looking at the sky for?"
"It's hard to explain."
"I think–" He coughed and cleared his throat. "I want to reach it."
"The sky? But there's nothing up there. Only cold air," she said. "It's nicer here by the fire."
"Not that sky. Another sky."
Jera looked across the lake and over the horizon. "Well, if you only had a giant bird to fly on, maybe you could reach it."
Laguz shook his head. "It's a different kind of sky. You will never reach it that way."
"No?" Jera looked him in the eye. "Then tell me how."
Laguz tried explaining it to her but soon he realized he couldn't.
"I- I don't have enough words," he confessed, and became very quiet.
"Oh, don't feel sad. Here, eat some berries."
He started feeling better. "You know, Jera," Laguz said to the young woman, "one of these days, someone with more words will come, and he will tell us how to do it."
"How to reach–"
He nodded. "And what a great day that will be for us all!"
Thank you for reading!
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