Project ZEAL

Scene 7 - In the Fields, in the Heavens (1stoftheLast)

In the fields, it was about 30 degrees and snowing--a warm day for spring. A young man walked briskly out of his igloo with his hunting panoply. He approached a group of a dozen or so like-dressed men.

"Jack," they all chorused in disunion. Jack acknowledged them all with a slight bow of the head before looking around him and asking who was left.

"Only Jayhawk," said the man with red scars across his face.

They all continued to wait for the man they called Jayhawk, and when he arrived the group set out south of the village. They didn't know it was south; in fact, they had no word for any directions because north, south, east, and west all led to the same place: away from the village.

Hunting was light, but no one seemed too concerned. The real work in the spring, or as the villagers knew it, the first through fourth cycles, was in fortifying the village after the winter storms and to prepare for the next. In general, the making and gathering of the less perishable items was done first while the major hunting was tackled during the fall. After the fall, there came a two-cycle period where the village entered a sort of hibernation, and nothing could be done in the way of gathering tools or working outdoors.

While trekking, the hunters placed a brushy limb at approximately every quarter mile so that they would be able to find their way back. After they returned to the village, they broke into smaller groups and began to clean their kills, trade, make tools, repair their homes, and go about their daily routines, which had remained unbroken since before there were cycles to count.

Life in the village was more a circle than it was a flow; there was no progress, only a monotony that went unrecognized by the people because of its singular familiarity. In this village, it seemed there was always a village and always people to live in it. Just as there was always the man with the red scars across his face, who was unlucky to be disfigured but luckier then the man who fell to that beast.

No one questioned this way of life. The villagers all played their parts as if they had rehearsed. And they had, for every villager had lived and died a thousand times, replaced by themselves to pick up their life at some random part of the circle.

The only thing different in this village, at this place and during this year, was the man that Jack Nova was going to become.

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