#163 The Universal Language

by Shauna Roberts

Temperoarchaeologist Hélène Martel strode along the stream toward the waterfall, carrying an Aurignacian flint hand axe.

Thirty thousand years earlier, inside a cave behind a waterfall, a fire burned, spitting sparks. Smoke wafted up to the ventilation hole. Graceful Deer examined the edge of her hand axe by the fire’s light. Chipped. Worn. Dull. She must knap a new one.

Hélène scanned the hand axe with the ChronoLockX strapped to her waist, clicked the GPS coordinates, and pressed a button. The roaring of the waterfall softened to a whisper. The sky disappeared, replaced by rough rock. She was in a cave smelling of dust, sweat, smoke, and roasted meat.

An unfamiliar cough startled Graceful Deer. The sound came from a dark recess where everyone tossed bones and broken tools. Cold raced down her back. Who hid there, friend or enemy? She rose silently and crept toward the corner, hand axe gripped in her raised hand.

When Hélène’s eyes adjusted to the dark, she found herself facing a muscular, fierce-looking woman. Heart pounding, Hélène held out her palm, displaying the hand axe. She pointed back and forth between it and that of the other woman.

Graceful Deer struggled to understand. Her hand axe was here and it was there. She reached out and bumped her axe against its other self. The cave echoed with a crack. The axe, both of it, disappeared.

Hélène and Graceful Deer looked at each other with identical expressions of astonishment. Together, they broke into loud laughter.

In the great city of Uruk, there is no peace when Gilgamesh is restless, and he is never at rest. Shamhat, a priestess of Inanna, goes into the wilderness to find and civilize a match for Uruk's violently active God-King. Like Mayflies in a Stream brings new life to the Epic of Gilgamesh, diving into one of the earliest conflicts between civilization and wilderness, civic order and freedom, romance and sexuality. A book of the Hadley Rille Books Archaeology Series.

Click on the cover to visit the book's Amazon page.


JRVogt said...

Fun and creative time travel piece.

Jude-Marie Green said...

Wonderful story! Time travel and the Lascaux caves. Nice!

Shauna Roberts said...

Thank you. JRVogt and Jude-Marie!