Apes are humanity’s closest living relatives. In fact, people are apes. Humans share about 98 percent of their DNA with chimpanzees.
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When Ciaran arrives he finds Donnchadh in his shop as usual hammering away on something and a fire going in his forge. When he looks up at Ciaran he seems somewhat surprised to see him, throws down his work gloves and comes running out to greet him.
“Hello ol’ lad! How are ya this fine mornin’? Did ya sleep well? You seemed a bit out of sorts when you wandered away from the revel fire last night. How are things?” Donnchadh probed.
“Well, I got a little too deep into my drinking horn and the mead was buzzing around in me something fierce so I stumbled off to bed.” Ciaran didn’t want to mention stopping by his fishing spot beforehand or what he saw and heard. Not until he knew a little more about it himself at least. Too soon to start spilling beans just now.
“Hey, you wouldn’t happen to have a really long ladder I could borrow would ya?” Ciaran asked, trying his best to sound casual.
“Uhm, well how long do ya need? Where are ya trying to get to lad?” Donnchadh inquired.
“The top of Big Blackie, the old Walnut tree down by the creek.” Ciaran revealed.
“Whoop!” Donnchadh laughed long and hard until his face turned red and tears began to form around his eyes. Finally he gasped “In all yer born days have you ever seen a ladder that big? You’d be better off to sprout wings and fly up there with the faeries!”
Donnchach has no idea how close he is to the fact of the matter Ciaran thought to himself.
“Well, is there some way we can safely get up there? I spotted something odd I’d like to get a better look at.” Ciaran implored.
“Well, it might be better to get one the younguns to climb up and get it for ya maybe. You’re probably not up for a climb like that anymore ya old dog.” Donnchadh chuckled and jabbed Ciaran in the ribs playfully with his fist.
At this point Ciaran isn’t sure what to do. Considering the circumstances it’s probably not a good idea to have a kid go up there and retrieve what he was pretty sure might be up there. But he wasn’t sure if he should reveal to Donnchadh his experience from the night before just yet. Still, how was he ever going to get to the bottom of the matter unless he confided in his friend and sought help?
Ciaran sighed, “OK, Donnchadh, let me level with ya a bit here. Last night, when I left the fire, I was on my way home but first I stopped by my fishing hole to relax a bit and to drain the main vein as it were. But when I got there, a strange buzzing sound was coming from the top of Big Blackie and when I looked up I saw a shadow up in the top but it didn’t look like an owl, or a bird or anything else I’ve ever seen in these woods. To tell ya the truth I was frightened and I ran home straight away because I wasn’t sure what it might be. So this morning I go back there to have a look and indeed there is something up in that tree but it’s too far for me to get a good look at it. But, it looks like…..well, it looks like a wing of some sort. ” Ciaran inhales a deep breath and continues ” I don’t want to get people spooked and worked up until I have a better look at the thing though.”
This time it’s Donnchadh’s turn to sigh deeply and look Ciaran over thoughtfully before speaking.
The Apes Find A Cave
“Okay, I suppose it is soon to be the time of your induction into the Circle Of Elders so the things I’m gonna show ya and tell ya will be revealed to ya before much longer anyhow and considering the circumstances ya might as well know. But no telling anyone, I mean anyone at all, and especially the elders because this is serious, oathbound, stuff here. I could be in really big trouble for revealing it even if you are destined to know anyway.” Donnchadh disclosed while still eyeing Ciaran cautiously as if weighing whether he was doing the right thing or not.
Everyone in the tribe knew that behind Donnchadh’s place was his workshop and behind that was his fenced in yard where he kept his dogs when they weren’t out hunting. The reason the dogs were there was not only for their own safety but also as watch dogs because they would sound the alarm if anyone came unannounced to snoop around the mound which was on the south end of his back yard where the fence stops. On the side of this mound was a locked door to which only Donnchadh had the key and behind that door was a crevice in the mound. If you slip past the crevice there is a set of stone stairs which lead down into what everyone calls “the stores”. The apes knew about this opening and the natural caverns which opened up beneath this mound when Ciaran’s grandfather as well as Donnchadh’s grandfather and the other apes chose this location to settle. It was here that they established storage for all of the tribe’s long term food, equipment and supplies, away from the watchful eyes of the stalkers, satellite imaging and other technological spies. Under the ground things were out of video site and deep within the ground EMF frequencies, radiation and other tell-tale signs of technology were not readily picked up on. The apes wanted a place to keep out of sight and this was just the place. But all of this was common knowledge to the members of the tribe. In “the stores” were walk-in refrigerators, freezers as well as shelves and shelves of food. For the first generation apes there were lots of freeze-dried and canned rations but over the years those have before more difficult to come by even through barter with the wandering traders who occasionally stop by.
Still, there were solar dehydrators, pickling and canning methods in use among the modern apes of the tribe so the shelves were kept well stocked to make it through even the harshest winters. Hunger was never a problem for the tribe because the tribe knew how to live off the bounty of the land. A lot of things most people in the “before times” called weeds and considered a nuisance in their well manicured “lawns was actually food and that food as well as wild boar, deer and other meats were plentiful. But the really interesting part is how the big fridges and freezers were powered. In the very back of the big chamber where all the food is stored is another opening which leads into a tunnel and down that tunnel is a thing which is about the size of a full grown cow. It’s a sleek, black box and it hums. Everyone calls it “the generator”. Before the apes moved away from the city Donnchadh’s grandfather worked for the government of the old United States in the “before times”. He brought this generator out here on his very last trip before he went “off grid” and cut his ties with the outside world. It was a very special kind of generator which required no fuel that anyone knew of and would provide power for many generations to come according to Donnchadh and the few he trusted with this knowledge. He discouraged any curious visitors from going down the tunnel toward the generator by shouting “Stay away from that thing, radiation will get ya!” Just as his father and his grandfather always warned before.
But even this wasn’t what Donnchadh was ready to reveal to Ciaran. Ciaran already knew all of this.
“Okay, come with me.” Donnchadh finally decided after a long minute of evaluating Ciaran and the gravity of the situation.
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- Apes here sometimes refers to the colloquial name given to descendants of a fictional organization called the Alliance of Pagan Eclectics.