Tag Archive: fire


Year 2, Day 280

The rains are late. Either that, or they have been early the last two years.

Is it possible that they will not reach this far south, that the nomads will not return? Certainly they follow the herds, and the herds will not come south until the vegetation greens, after the rains have fallen. In the two years I have been here, the rains have come before the summer solstice. But my crude calendar says the solstice is today, and there is no sign of rain. Only of dust and smoke, which forced me to levitate to see the direction in which the sun set. I did not even see cloud tops, or dry lightning.

The stream has gone dry, and I am seeing more and more dead animals on my exploratory flights. To the west are sand dunes – I don’t explore much that way. A day’s flight north, though, it is raining in places. How much longer will the rains move southward? If they reach me, will they last long enough to turn the vegetation green? Should I go farther north, and try to find the nomads?

I have burned off most of the dry vegetation around my shelter. Not that the starving animals left much. Predators were glutted at first, but now they, too, are gaunt and starving. The warnoff has become a necessity if I leave the shelter on foot.

Luckily I can teleport myself and Patches to greener areas where I can fish and she can hunt the small mammals we both prefer as food. The large mammals would be tastier, but without the nomads I am not very good at preparing them.

I hope they come back.

Perhaps I should teleport north of the rains, and try to find them?

This is an excerpt from Jarn’s Journal, the journal kept by a fictional human-like alien, Jarn, who was stranded on Earth roughly 125,000 years ago. He has made friends with one tribe of early humans, but they have followed the grazing herds northward. Jarn’s Journal to date, from the time of his crash landing, is on my author website.

Advertisements

This is an excerpt from the (fictional) Journal of Jarn. In my science fiction world, Jarn was an alien who was stranded on earth in Africa during the penultimate interglacial, roughly 125,000 years ago. He has rescued a prehuman child, Songbird.

Day 490

My calendar is coming along – slowly, but I am now fairly certain that this planet has nearly the same rotation rate and year length as Kentra. The year length is no surprise, as both the sun and the climate are very similar to what I am used to. The rotation rate, and thus the day length, are a pleasant surprise, but not really unexpected – the climate would not be nearly as much like Kentra’s if the coriolis force differed much.

It is now about 90 days past the northern solstice, and it should be near the equinox. It is not as easy to determine the equinox as the solstice, but the day is as nearly as I can measure it the same length as the night, and the sun appears to be rising directly to the east, counting east as being at right angles to the pole around which the stars seem to revolve.

This should mean the sun is directly over the equator, and the rains should be at a maximum there. They will move southward now, and should be here in around thirty to sixty more days—sixty, if I go by last year. So far, the sky is cloudless, and the grass is very dry. Songbird keeps insisting that I watch for fire, and she is so concerned that I have burned off the ground near out shelter.

She has reason, I have found. Several years ago – her counting skills are not quite good enough to tell how many years ago – her people attempted to stay in the area later than usual. The herds had started their migration, but many animals remained to eat the tall, dry grass. Songbird told me what she remembered, but she could not have been more than seven at the time. Nevertheless, she gave me a very clear image of a wall of smoke and flame that very nearly wiped out her group, and in fact killed several who panicked and tried to outrun the fire. Only the shaman saved them, insisting that they lie down in the waters of a narrow creek, covered with wet hides, and let the fire burn over them.

“It was very hard to breathe,” she said, “but most of those who obeyed the shaman lived.”

I am getting more and more intrigued by this shaman.