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`What a Boy Must Do' is a series of short stories, all complete in themselves and linked by a common theme. They begin in our long ago pre-historic past and end sometime in the perhaps very near future.
A work of fiction in several parts by Ivor Sukwell.
What a Boy Must Do:
In the Beginning
Green is for grass and trees.
Slowly, so slowly that a casual observer would never have noticed movement, he eased his head upwards until he could just peer through the tall, thick grass. His dark russet hair blended with the tall, late summer grasses, and if that was not enough, he had woven strands and heads of grass into the tangled mass of his hair. As long as he made no sudden movement he was, to all intents, invisible.
It was not the hunters he feared – they would not start after him for another day yet – and he had little fear of wolves here in the grasslands as they stayed mainly in the dense forest, rarely venturing into the open grassland, if `open' was the right word for land where the grass stood as high as a man's shoulder, though he was not yet a man. Not the hunters, not the wolves, but the big cats, powerful and almost silent killers, were his fear. But the cats were lazy, hunted only when hungry, and even though they moved with stealth, invisible in the tall grass, they could not move without disturbing the grass and it was such movement he was searching for.
Seeing nothing he moved slowly forwards. Like the cats, he could not avoid disturbing the dense grass, but he knew if his movement was slow he would not attract the attention of a sleepy predator.
His scent he could do nothing about. He had long since discarded the animal skins that had covered his slender body; the scent of antelope was strong, sure to attract any cat feeling the pangs of hunger, and he had washed his body carefully in a stream he had found before he left the woods. The big cats did not have much contact with man, and though they would regard any living thing as prey when the hunger was on them, the scent of man was not one that their minds at once associated with food.
The hunters, though, would be searching the air for that scent, though, again, they would expect to smell the skin of animal and not of boy.
That it was his fate to die he did not doubt. Perhaps a cat would find him, pounce and overpower him, ripping at his throat and stomach with fangs and claws; perhaps the hunters would catch him, hang him by his feet and slit his throat to bleed him before butchering and eating him, for that was his intended fate.
He was the prey, the ritual sacrifice to bring the deer and the boar back for the tribe to hunt, kill and eat.
Why they had moved away from the old tribe lands no-one knew; the elders had no answer, for it had not happened within the knowing of the oldest of the old, though the stories known to the wisest of the oldest said it had happened long ago in the time of the ancestors. It happened, the wisest of the oldest said, because the tribe did not pay proper respect to the spirits of the deer and the boar, that they hunted and they killed, forgetting that the deer and the boar were also people of the land and they did not give their lives and their bodies willingly to the people of the tribe and their spirits needed to be appeased for their unwilling sacrifice.
Long ago the people of the tribe had given respect to those spirits with paintings on the walls of caves, a painted deer or boar for every deer or boar killed and eaten so the deer and boar spirits had a place to live. But the people of the tribe had moved down from the caves they had lived in, into the light woodland before the great forest, closer to the water they needed and closer to the lands of the deer and the boar and they had built huts of wood and of the skins of the animals and no longer painted pictures for the spirits of the deer and boar people.
And the deer and the boar, angered that the spirits of their kind were left to roam the eternal darkness, their sacrifices unregarded, shunned the tribe as they shunned the cats and the wolves who also paid no regard to their spirits.
It was necessary the old and wise ones said, for the tribe to make a sacrifice, to hunt and kill and eat one of their own to show the deer and boar people that the tribe were as they were and respected again the sacrifices they called for though they no longer had cave walls to paint on.
And he had been chosen because he was unlike the people of the tribe though he was of the tribe.
He was taller, though still not a man, walked more upright, his slender body different from the smaller, squat people he came from. His skin was smooth, although he had the beginnings of the hair that would show he was soon to be no longer a boy but a man, his arms and his legs were devoid of the dark hairs that grew on the arms and the legs of others of his age. And the hair that had grown, the man hair, was, like the hair on his head, a dark russet and not the black of the others.
And so, though he was of the tribe he was unlike the tribe, and when the old and the wise called for a sacrifice it was clear that he would be chosen, and he was chosen.
And it was not to be a simple sacrifice, dragged by the people to a sacred spot and slain. Nor was it to be a willing sacrifice, accepting his fate and dying for the people; it was to be a hunt. For, the old and the wise said, and none would argue against their wisdom, the people of the tribe hunted the boar and the deer they killed and ate and so, in the same way, they should hunt and kill the sacrifice and eat him as well to show the animal people that the tribe were as they were.
And he had been given time to distance and to hide himself, for if he had not been given that it would not have been a hunt, and he left the tribe when the sun rose. The hunters would not leave until the next sun was at its height and the dew and the air had softened the scent trail he had left behind, making the hunters seek for him as they sought for the deer and the boar. And the deer and the boar would learn that the hunters were hunting one of their own people as they hunted the deer and the boar people and their spirits would be appeased and they would return again to the land of the tribe.
But first they had to catch him, to kill him and eat him and he would not make that easy for them, for though he had been born of the tribe he had been cast out, made the sacrifice and the prey and he owed now no loyalty to the tribe for they would not take him back and nor did he wish to be eaten by them though he knew he would be eaten, for he would not escape the cat people and the hunters both, for many comings of the sun and the moon.
And he had shed his covering of animal skin, knowing, though how he knew he did not know, that the scent of the tall grasses would cling to his naked skin and leave no clear trail for the hunters. He knew that thing as he knew other things and that too made him different from the others of the tribe, as different as his russet hair, his unstooping walk and the smoothness of his skin. He came from the people but he was not of the people and he knew if he was careful and cautious it would take the hunters many risings of the sun to find him, if it were not by chance.
Nor did his nakedness bother him; he liked the freedom it gave him to move unseen through the tall grasses and the difference of his nakedness was a joy to him, for naked he looked even less like the people of the tribe and he no longer wanted to be of the tribe.
And the tribe did not want him, this too he knew and the knowing was not a sadness. The hunters and men of the tribe, even the old men, did not want to mate with him as they mated with the other boys and this too had been a good thing for him. Long before the man hair began to show on him, and before the hair grew long on the legs and bodies of other boys it would have been normal for a man to mate with him as the other boys were mated, for all men mated with boys and all boys submitted willingly, for boys could be mated time and time again and never whelp and produce cubs as the women did. And all knew from the screams that although it hurt in the beginning, later it was a pleasure and boys no longer screamed when they were mated but groaned and grunted with the delight of it and eagerly sought out hunters and strong men who would use them.
But none wanted him and that made him happy because he did not want to submit to the squat, hairy bodies of the men of the tribe just as they had no urge to use his smooth, slender body.
The pictures in his mind took, for a moment, his attention from his careful passage through the concealing grasses and when he returned he knew instantly that something was wrong and his smooth, slender body tensed with fear. Through the grasses in front of him was something that was not grass, but a rod of wood, and he saw that it was not just a rod of wood but a special stick that hunters used to kill with.
It was not like the killing sticks the hunters of the tribe used; they were made from fallen wood, the ends burned in fire and ground against stone until a point was formed. They were crude, but a man could force the fire-hardened point into living flesh and a handful of hunters could kill a deer or a trapped boar. It was not a crude, fire-pointed stick that now hovered no more than an arm's length from his face; this stick was smoothly round and ended, not in a sooty point but in something that was black and glistened and shaped like a leaf of a forest tree and he knew without thinking that it would slide easily into his unprotected young flesh.
He knew too that the killing stick was not hovering an arm's length from his face by chance, the man who held it knew he was there and instinct told him that a sudden movement might cause the man to push that sharp leaf into his body. And he knew the man did not intend to kill him, not here and now, because he was not dead, and no hunter waited until his prey had a chance to escape before killing.
That he was a hunter he knew because only a hunter would carry such a killing stick but he was not a hunter of the tribe – they would not yet have started the hunt and, despite his fear, his eyes were working and he could make out, almost hidden by the tall grass, the legs of the man, legs that were not covered in the dark, almost fur that covered the legs of the people of the tribe.
The wicked, sharp leaf-tip moved up and down, its meaning obvious; the hunter wanted him to rise from his crouched position and stand upright. Doing that would mean raising his head above the shoulder-high grass, but he could see from the legs of the hunter that the man was also standing, his head and probably shoulders above the grass and he would not do that if there was danger around.
Slowly he rose, arms outstretched and opening his body to a killing thrust from the hunter – a position of submission that could not be mistaken for a threat. The sharp leaf point rose with him, pointing now at his throat, the hunter still wary for only a fool would not be. He sucked in his breath sharply when he set eyes on the man who had found him for what he saw was something shocking to him. The man had no hair on his face, nor on the top of his body, no more hair than he had himself, yet the man was not a boy though he had no wrinkles of age.
The hunter grunted, though it was not a grunt that he understood, and after a long stare the leaf pointed killing stick lowered and the hunter made a movement with his head that he did understand – he was to follow behind, the man finding him no threat.
The man moved upright and steadily, though silently, through the tall grass, and though he looked about him there was no sign of tenseness nor smell of fear and so he followed behind not thinking of escape for the grasslands were not familiar to him as they were to the man and he knew the killing power of the stick the man carried.
The land sloped slowly upwards and the tall grass thinned and grew shorter and he could see more of the man he followed and what he saw filled him with surprise for the man was naked like him and as more of him became revealed as the grasses grew lower he could see that, again like him, there was no fur on the man and his sun-browned skin was clear to see.
The man was taller by far than the people of the tribe and walked, as he did, fully upright, moving easily on his muscled legs, the round globes of his buttocks – though he did not know those big, powerful muscles by any name – tensing and flexing as he walked. Intrigued, for he was curious by nature, he watched the movements of the man's body and felt behind himself, finding with surprise that his own body also tensed and flexed there as he moved and he wondered why he had never noticed this in the people of the tribe before understanding that they moved in a different way and that the fur on their bodies concealed the movement of the muscles.
There was hair on the legs of the man, but fine hair, not thick, and it did not conceal the skin there either and he thought that the man was better to look at than the people of the tribe and wondered why all men were not like this.
The grass now was no higher than his knees and he could see ahead, past the man he followed dutifully, that there were some trees, not the trees of the forest but smaller and far apart and the man stopped and turned.
He saw, for his eyes were drawn to that place without him thinking, that there was a growth of autumn coloured hair above the hunter's man thing, but it was not a wild growth and did not hide the shape and size of his thing as the fur on the tribe people did. It hung long and open for anyone to see although it was at rest and not risen for mating and he saw with shock that the hunter's eyes were looking at him as he was looking at the hunter and he knew at once that the hunter did not intend to kill him later and even eat him. Whatever the reason had been for the hunter to make him follow, now he knew the man would not eat him and he wondered if the man would wish to mate with him and he knew he would willingly allow that to happen for though it had not happened to him, all boys knew that being mated, though it hurt at first, was a thing of pleasure and that he would find pleasure being mated by this man just as he would not had it been with a man of the tribe.
He followed the man more until the trees came closer and he saw that one small group of trees had been turned into a cave for living though it was not like the caves the tribe people made. Those were done with fallen branches piled together but this had been made from the still living branches of the trees and with skins of animals stretched above and behind so it was a real cave. And he hoped that the man had paid proper respect to the spirits of the animals who had given their skins to make the living cave and feared again that he may be a sacrifice to them and not be used for mating, for if he were to choose between being sacrificed or mated he knew he would want to be mated, however bad the pain of the first mating might be.
But his fears ebbed again as the living cave came closer, for he could see, even from the distance he could run in a few heartbeats that there were wooden carvings of deer people and he knew the man had made them for the spirits of the deer he had slain.
Closer now and once more his stomach knotted with fear for he could see the fire pit and it was black and no smoke rose. The fire had gone and the man would be angry and hurt him because, instead of feeding carefully his fire, the man had gone into the long grasses and found him.
But the man was not angry, but pointed to the ground beside the fire pit and grunted and when he did nothing because he did not know what the grunts of the man were meant to be, the man pointed at the ground again and pushed him on his shoulders so he staggered a little and understood he was meant to sit. He did, and then a thing of wonder happened. The man reached for his head and though again he tensed with fear nothing happened but the man pulled from his hair the grasses that he had put there to make him look like the grasses of the plain.
And the man put the grasses and more that he had in his skin cave into the blackened fire pit, but no smoke rose for the fire had gone. And the man picked up two stones and struck them together several times and a spark leapt from them onto the dried grasses and fire bloomed and blossomed and the man put small sticks on the growing flames and there was a fire in the pit again. And this was a thing of great wonder for the people of the tribe could not do that and a man who was smooth like him and could make fire was a man he would surely be happy to mate with for there was much to be learned from a man like him, though his man thing even at rest was bigger than any he had seen, bigger even, he thought, than the man things of the tribe people when they were grown hard for mating.
And he could not take his eyes nor his thoughts from the man and his thing filled him with wonder at its size and he thought of the pain to come when it was forced into his mating hole for he knew his fate had changed and he was not to be eaten but mated instead.
But though he could smell the mating smell of the man, for it was a scent he knew well from the men of the tribe when they searched amongst the boys for one they wished to mate with, the man's thing did not grow hard and he was not thrown over and mounted as the boys of the tribe were and used until a man had seeded them and he wondered why this did not happen and if, perhaps, the man did not want to mate with him as he thought.
And then another thing of wonder happened for the man went into his skin cave and returned with a strange piece of wood in his hand. It had been cut from the trunk of a small tree, or perhaps from a branch of a larger one for it was round, but wonder of wonders, it was flat underneath and on top it had been hollowed out and he had never seen the like of it for it had not grown like that and the man had made it so and the people of the tribe knew not how to do things like that. And the man set it beside the fire and took water from the little stream that ran beside the trees and put the water in the hollow and then with flat sticks took stones from the fire and put them in. And the water hissed and smoke came from it and when the smoke died the man took the sticks in his hand and scooped out the stones and took more from the fire and put them in the water and again it hissed and smoked. Three times he did this and the water bubbled now in the hollowed out wood and he wondered what magic this was and why the man did it.
And he wondered again when the man went once more into his cave and returned with two handfuls of seeds and some green leaves that were dry and put them in the water and sat back, grunting a grunt that meant he was happy for his mouth curved a little.
And soon a smell came from the wooden thing and the smell was good and he went on his hands and knees to look closer and see why there was the smell and he saw with amazement and wonder that there was water and seeds no more in the hollow but it was thick and green and this was more magic than he had ever seen and he would have put a finger in it to see how it had happened but the man grasped his hand and pulled it away and grunted a grunt that he did not understand.
But though the man had grabbed and held his hand he was not angry for the grip was not hard and not meant to hurt and though the man's mouth had curved and was showing his teeth it was not a snarl. And the man took his hand gently and moved it towards the round wooden thing where the thick green stuff was and he placed it gently on the very top edge of the wood and he jerked his fingers away because it was hot though there was no fire in it there.
And he understood why the man had grabbed his hand for he did not want him to hurt himself and he curled his lips like the man did and showed his teeth, though not in a snarl, for he was learning many things from the man.
And the man let go of his hand and pointed to him and where he stood and he knew the man wanted him to stay there and so he did while the man went back into the skin cave and came back with smaller wooden things that were hollowed out and he dipped them in the green thickness and gave one to him. He held it, knowing not what to do and he watched with amazement as the man raised his to his lips and drunk from it. And he did the same and his eyes went wide with amazement for the thick green was hot and it burned his tongue a little and it tasted good and when he drank it there was warmth all the way down to his stomach and this was another amazement for he had never drunk things that were hot and tasted good.
And he knew there was much magic he could learn from the man and he wondered if the man mated him and planted his seed inside him the seed would grow and give him understanding of that magic.
And the sun was almost gone now and dark was coming and the man put more wood on his fire so it would burn through the dark and this he did understand for the people of the tribe did that for all men know that the hunting animals of the dark do not go near fire and that men are safe in the dark if they have a fire burning.
And the man took him by the arm and led him into the skin cave and he sat on the ground and laid him across his legs so his mating place was upward though the man could not mate him that way though he could feel that the man's mating thing had grown hard and was pressing against the side of his stomach.
And then he felt sudden pain as the man struck him hard on the roundness of his body behind him and he stiffened in shock for he had not expected this. And the man struck him again and again until his legs jerked each time he was struck and pain flowed through him but it was not bad pain though it hurt and made his eyes water and, he knew not why, his own mating thing grew hard and pressed against the legs of the man.
And the man grunted when he felt that hardness and did not strike him again but stroked and squeezed the tingling, heated mounds of that part of his body and it felt good to him and he began to understand that this was part of the man's mating ritual and not like the mating ritual of the men of the tribe who would punch a boy or a woman till they fell to the ground before they mated with them.
And he understood that the man was claiming him as his own for mating and his own thing grew harder as he made this understanding but the man did not mate him then as he expected.
But he was turned over so he lay now face upward and his thing pointed hard to the top of the skin cave and the man grunted again and did a thing that sent fear through him for he lowered his face and his mouth closed round the hard thing that pointed upward and he feared deeply that the man would bite it from him and eat it.
But he felt no searing agony of teeth biting into him there but a thing of wonder beyond all other wonders as the man's mouth slid down his thing and soft lips stroked him there and a tongue licked around him and he felt things he had never felt before and did not know he could feel. And this man was indeed a mighty magician for he could make fire from stones and make a fire inside a boy with his mouth.
And the man sucked and licked on his thing until strange feelings grew great inside him and his body went tense with every muscle of his body stretched tight and the feelings inside him were beyond any he could think of and his thing grew even harder and from it he felt stuff spurting and he understood the man had made his seed flow into his mouth.
And the man lifted his weak now body and made him kneel on the ground and put his hands out so his mating place was open for the man. And the man opened wide the roundness of his body and he felt the warm wet stuff that the man spat onto his mating hole, though he did not know it was his own seed that had been spat there. And he felt the man's hard mating thing push at that hole and it felt strange and then there was a great pain shooting through him as the man's thing pushed deep into his mating hole, forcing it to open and he screamed at the pain as the man went into him.
And then the man did magic with his mating thing for slowly the pain went away and a feeling that was even greater than the feeling he had had when the man sucked his thing grew in his body as the man moved inside him.
And the man's hands were on his hips and pulling him back deep onto the mating thing inside him and he began to move with the man and the more he moved and the man moved inside him the greater that feeling grew and he knew now why the boys of the tribe liked to be mated even though at first the pain was great.
And as the pain went he felt more and more. He could feel the thickness of the man inside him and wondered at the fullness of it and could feel it as it moved inside him and he clenched his body inside around it so he could feel it more and when he did that the man grunted and moved even deeper inside him and did something inside his body that made him want to feel it again and again and he did not hear the moans that he was making as the man mated him.
And then his body tensed again and his seed once more shot from him and as it did his body clamped tight round the man's mating thing that was now so deep inside him it could go no deeper and the man gave a loud shout and his thing jerked and went even harder inside him.
And then it was finished and he was lying on his stomach with the man on top and inside him though he could feel somehow that the mating thing inside him was no longer hard but was softening and shrinking until it slipped out of him.
But the man did not climb off him and go away leaving him lying there as the men of the tribe left boys they had mated, but when he got up he lifted him and carried him to the bed of furs and laid him on it and lay beside him and held him close and tight and he knew no better thing could happen to a boy than to be mated with a man like this and he knew the man would not leave him and he would not leave the man for he would be as a woman to the man and be his mate.
And being mate to the man was good for he learned many things that he thought were magic, but the most magic thing was when the man slid inside him and that was magic that he wanted every day.
And many days passed, he knew not how many for counting was a magic that neither he nor the man had yet discovered, and then the hunters came. He had tried to tell the man of the hunters and the danger they were, but his grunts were not the grunts of the man and he had not succeeded in his telling and the man did not want to leave his skin cave where life was good for he had the water and the fish of the stream and the grasses that gave seeds to eat and plants to eat with them. And he had him for his mate and they mated often.
And the hunters came for they were skilled hunters and had followed the faint trail he had left though it had taken many days for the hunters knew they had to catch him and kill him and eat him so the deer and the boar people would return to the land of the tribe.
But the hunters did not come unseen for the man kept watch on the tall grasses and when he did not because he was finding food, he kept watch for the man instead for the world was full of dangers. And though the man stroked him and felt him all over when the sun was in the sky they mated only when the dark was on them for it was not possible to keep watch while mating.
And it was the man who saw first that the tall grasses moved as they should not move for they moved against the autumn breeze and when he saw it too he felt fear for he knew it was the hunters and they had come to kill and eat him. And the man saw his fear and held him close to comfort him though he did not know why there was fear, but when he had comforted him he went to the skin cave and came back with a length of hide and pointed to him and to the stones on the ground so he understood that he should gather stones and the man showed him which stones were good stones and he made a pile of them by the man though he did not know why.
And the hunters came to the lower grasses and could see the trees where the skin cave was and the man stood to his full height and made him stand with him so the hunters could see them though they were still small in the distance. And he wanted to hide for the hunters had come to kill and eat him and the man did not know that but the hunters saw him and raised their killing sticks and shouted though from the distance he could not hear their shouts properly.
And the hunters began towards them though the rising ground slowed their run but they waved and shook their killing sticks and the man knew then that their hearts held death and he picked up a stone and placed it at the end of his hide strip and swung it round and round and then aimed it at the hunters and he saw the stone fly from it and a hunter fell to the ground.
And the other hunters ran on for their need to kill him was great and the man again did magic with his hide thong and a stone and another hunter fell and another and another and the last hunter stood still in terror and amazement. And the man threw one more stone and he saw the hunter's head split in a spray of blood and he knew all the hunters were dead and he would not be killed and eaten.
And he fell to his knees before the man and he opened his mouth to take the man's mating thing and he did for the man as the man had done for him that first time and the man rose and grew hard in his mouth. And the man stroked his hair as he did it and though he did not know it the man did not take his eyes from the tall grasses for he knew not if there were more hunters.
But he pleasured the man until his mating thing jerked and spat its seed into his mouth and he swallowed the seed for it had the magic of the man.
And when the darkness came the man put the fat of an animal round his mating hole and he sighed with delight as the man slipped into him for there was no pain now in mating and he felt whole with the man inside him.
And he had much pleased the man by taking his thing in his mouth when the sun was high and this he did when there was light and the man mated with his mouth and he mated with the man's mouth for both knew that mating that way was good for them and it was good that the man ate his seed as he ate the seed of the man.
And he learned the meaning of the grunts of the man and the pleasure grew greater and they left the cave skin and went towards where the sun was at its highest for winter was coming and they needed to follow the sun to be warm. And they mated often for a man needs to mate with a boy and a boy knows he must give his mating hole to a man who has saved him from being eaten.
That was the first part of this little series – hope somebody enjoyed it.